Wednesday, June 30, 2021

The EOIR is Hiring

The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) is hiring! According to the public job postings, there are vacancies for immigration judge positions in San Francisco, CA; Santa Ana, CA; Miami, FL; and Lumpkin, GA. According to AILA, there are also openings in Hyattsville, MD and Sterling, VA where new immigration courts are planned. 

IE

June 30, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The false promises of more immigration enforcement

President Trump aggressively sought to enforce the immigration laws.  Did those efforts have the desired impact?  Nicole Narea for Vox in a thoughtful argues that "[h[arsh detention and deportation policies haven’t deterred migrants."  She explains that "research shows that the threat of detention and deportation in the US doesn’t dissuade migrants from making the journey to the southern border, especially if they are victims of violence and may be seeking to escape the “devil they know” in their home countries."  The article reviews some of the reports in the area, including one by immigration law professor Emily Ryo.  The Narea article is worth a read.

KJ

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

Ninth Circuit Leaves Flores Settlement Intact

The Flores settlement, which governs the detention of migrant children, lives.  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit today rejected the latest challenges to the settlement:

"In the latest iteration of this decades-long litigation, the district court issued two orders enforcing the consent decree incorporating the Flores Agreement. The orders enjoined the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) from detaining certain minors in hotels for more than a few days in the process of expelling them from the United States. We conclude that the district court’s second order was a final decision for purposes of 28 U.S.C. § 1291, and we therefore have jurisdiction to review it. As the district court did not err in requiring DHS to apply the Flores Agreement to these minors, we affirm the district court’s order."  

KJ

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

Immigration Article of the Day: Remand and Dialogue in Administrative Law by Christopher J. Walker and James Saywell

Remand and Dialogue in Administrative Law by Christopher J. Walker and James Saywell, George Washington Law Review, Vol. 89, 2021 Forthcoming

Abstract

A bedrock principle of administrative law is that when a court finds an agency has erred, the court generally remands the action for the agency to consider anew (as opposed to the court deciding the matter itself). The conventional understanding is that this ordinary remand rule is part of the suite of judicial deference doctrines in administrative law. In our contribution to the George Washington Law Review’s annual administrative law issue, we argue that this understanding is incomplete—at least when it comes to high-volume agency adjudication. In that context, the vast majority of agency adjudication decisions never make it to federal court. Judicial remands in the cases that do allow the courts to engage in a dialogue with the agency, producing a more systemic effect on the agency adjudication system. Indeed, courts have developed and utilize a variety of tools to engage in a richer dialogue with the agency on remand. Remand, thus, can be a tool for judicial engagement and dialogue, not just one for judicial deference.

This argument, however, assumes that a dialogue between courts and agencies actually takes place—that remand is not just a judicial monologue. This Article explores the empirical realities of that assumption by presenting the findings of two separate studies: a cross-agency study for the Administrative Conference of the United States on agency appellate systems and a FOIA-based study of agency immigration decisions on remand. Although much more empirical work needs to be done, the findings from these studies provide an empirical window into how agencies engage with and respond to courts on remand. In light of these preliminary yet promising findings, we argue that courts (and agencies) should consider how to better engage in a dialogue on remand in order to produce a more systemic effect on high-volume agency adjudication systems.

KJ

June 30, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Civil Immigration Suits Continue to Rise

TRAC Reports earlier in June released a report on civil immigration suits, which continue to rise:

"The latest available data from the federal courts show that during May 2021 the government reported 467 new civil immigration filings. All but one were suits filed in which the federal government or its officials were the defendant. According to the case-by-case court records analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University, this number is up 4.0 percent over the previous month when the number of civil filings of this type totaled 449. See Table 1.

Table 1. Civil Immigration Filings
Number Latest Month 467
Percent Change from previous month 4.0%
Percent Change from 1 year ago 8.1%
Percent Change from 5 years ago 98.8%
 

When monthly civil immigration filings are compared with those of the same period in the previous year, their number was up 8.1 percent. In general, civil immigration filings have been rising over the past five years particularly during the last two years. Overall, the data show that civil immigration lawsuits have almost doubled — up 98.8 percent — from levels reported in May 2016.

The long-term trend in civil filings for these matters going back five years is shown more clearly in Figure 1. The vertical bars in Figure 1 represent the number of civil immigration filings recorded each month. The superimposed line on the bars plots the six-month moving average so that natural fluctuations are smoothed out. One-year and five-year change comparisons are based upon the moving averages."

Click the link above for the rest of the report.

KJ

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

Immigration in the Supreme Court, 2020 Term

2021_Roberts_Court_Formal_131209_Web2
 
In the 2020 Term, the Supreme Court decided five immigration cases.  The U.S. government prevailed in four of the five cases, an 80 percent success rate.  This rate was higher than that seen in recent Terms.  In my estimation, there are no blockbusters among the five immigration decisions.  The decisions primarily focused on interpreting the complexities of the Immigration & Nationality Act.  The cases are in the chronological order of their decision.
 
 
1.    Pereida v. Wilkinson.  Holding:  A noncitizen seeking cancellation of removal, who bears the burden of persuasion to secure relief, fails to carry his burden of showing that he has not been convicted of a disqualifying offense when the conviction is ambiguous about whether it included a disqualifying offense.  U.S. government wins.
 
Kate Evans for SCOTUSblog encapsulates the impacts of the decision:
 
"Under the majority’s reasoning, the decision is limited to cutting off deportation relief when a noncitizen’s conviction could be for a disqualifying or non-disqualifying offense and the criminal records are unclear. . . . What is clear is that unavailable or insufficient court records will prevent many long-time immigrants from even asking an immigration judge to consider the hardship of deportation on their U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident family members. For them, instead of leaving the decision to the immigration judge’s discretion, deportation is now mandatory." 
 
 
2.    Niz-Chavez v. Garland.  Holding: A notice to appear sufficient to trigger the stop-time rule for measuring the time necessary for cancellation of removal is a single document containing all the information about the individual’s removal hearing specified in 8 U.S.C. § 1229(a)(1)Niz-Chavez is a follow-up to the Court's decision in Pereira v. Sessions (2018), which held that a  the Notice to Appear (NTA) is invalid if it does not specify the date and time of the hearing.  That decision has had significant ripple effects on the notices provided to noncitizens by the U.S. government.  Noncitizen wins.
 
Ashley Oldfield in the Wake Forest Law Review notes that:  "Thus, Niz-Chavez presents another opportunity to challenge an immigration court’s jurisdiction.  After all, `if men must turn square corners when they deal with the government, it cannot be too much to expect the government to turn square corners when it deals with them.'”
 
 
3.    Garland v. Dai, Garland v. Alcaraz-Enriquez.  Holding: The Ninth Circuit's judicially-created rule that, absent an express adverse credibility finding by an immigration judge or the Board of Immigration Appeals, a court of appeals must treat the noncitizen’s testimony as credible, is inconsistent with the Immigration and Nationality Act.  U.S. government wins.
 
Victoria Neilson for CLINIC sums up the decision as follows:
 
"The Dai decision does not fundamentally change appellate review in asylum cases other than within the Ninth Circuit. It remains to be seen whether this interpretation will affect any other areas of judicial review beyond the limited credibility determination analysis in this case.  . . . 

Once the BIA issues its decision, federal courts will employ highly deferential review, upholding the BIA’s finding regarding credibility unless `any reasonable adjudicator' should have reached the opposite conclusion. Practitioners should be mindful of these standards at each stage of review and craft their arguments accordingly.  Where the record contains conflicting evidence, practitioners should explain why the inconsistencies should not lead to a finding of adverse credibility." (bold added)

 
4.    Sanchez v. MayorkasHolding:  The Court  held 9-0 that two Temporary Status (TPS) recipients from El Salvador, who was not lawfully admitted into the United States, is not eligible to adjust his status to lawful permanent resident.  This decision affected tens of thousands of TPS recipients, many of whom had been threatened with loss of their legal status by the Trump administration.    U.S. government wins.
 
Elura Nanos for Law and Crime encapsulated the decision as follows:

"The Supreme Court of the United States unanimously decided Sanchez v. Mayorkas . . . , ruling that a married couple who fled earthquakes in El Salvador cannot receive green cards even though they have been lawfully in the U.S. for 20 years . . . . The ruling, which has potential to affect hundreds of thousands of immigrants with TPS, was not unexpected, but is being hailed as evidence of the urgency to create a `pathway to citizenship” for TPS holders and other immigrants.'"

 

 
5.    Johnson v. Guzman Chavez:  The issue in the case was whether the detention of a noncitizen who is subject to a reinstated removal order and who is pursuing withholding of removal based on alleged persecution is governed by one of two provisions of the immigration statute (8 U.S.C. § 1231 or 8 U.S.C. § 1226).  Jack Chin described the case as "rais[ing] a complex question about bond for migrants in removal proceedings."  Since 1996, when Congress expanded the immigrant detention powers of the U.S. government, the courts have seen increasing numbers of immigration detention cases in recent years.   
 
Holding:  The Court held that 8 U.S.C. § 1231, not § 1226, governs the detention of noncitizens subject to reinstated orders of removal.  Section 1231, which the U.S. government argued applied, was narrower than Section 1226, in providing bond hearings to noncitizens. Justice Alito delivered the opinion of the Court, except as to footnote 4, which was joined by Chief Justice Roberts, Kavanaugh, and Barrett.  Justice Breyer, joined by Justices Sotomayor and Kagan dissented.   The dissent summarized the case as follows:

"The question in this case is whether respondents are entitled to a bond hearing while immigration authorities engage in the lengthy process of determining whether respondents have the legal right (because of their fear of persecution or torture) to have their removal withheld.  The Court points to two statutory provisions that might answer that question.  The first, §1226, is a more general provision governing detention, and favors respondents. It says that `pending a decision on whether the alien is to be removed from the United States,' 8 U. S. C. §1226(a), the Government `may release the alien on . . . bond' or `conditional parole.' §§1226(a)(2)(A), (B) . . . .  The second, §1231, is a provision that more specifically applies to `aliens ordered removed,' and can be read to favor the Government because it does not expressly provide for a bond hearing during what it calls the 90-day `removal period.' 8 U. S. C. §1231(a)(2) . . . .

The Court agrees with the Government."

U.S. government wins.

***
 
By my count, the Supreme Court decided eight immigration cases in the 2019 Term, including the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California) and the expedited removal (Department of Homeland Security v. Thuraissigiam) cases.   It does not seem to me that the Court's immigration decisions this Term were as significant in terms of legal change or impacts as either of the DACA or expedited removal cases.
 
The Court might have ended up reviewing more immigration cases.  The Court dropped from the docket a couple of cases after the Biden administration changed Trump administration policies.  Those cases were challenges to the controversial  Migrant Protection Protocol (Remain in Mexico) policy and the Trump administration's reinvigorated "public charge" rule.
 
There are, of course, other decisions from the 2020 Term that do directly interpret the U.S. immigration laws but will affect noncitizens.  One of those cases is Borden v. United States, which involved the interpretation of the term "violent felony" in a federal criminal statute and likely will affect the interpretation of "aggravated felony" for removal purposes. 
 
So far, the Court has only granted certiorari in one immigration case for the 2021 Term.   Patel v. Garland raises the question whether 8 U.S.C. 1252(a)(2)(B)(i) precludes judicial review of non-discretionary determinations underlying the determination of the Board of Immigration Appeals that a noncitizen is inadmissible to the United States for permanent residence and therefore ineligible for adjustment of status.  John Elwood for SCOTUSblog explained the basics of the case as follows:

"Petitioner Pankajkumar Patel checked a box on a Georgia driver’s license application falsely stating that he is a U.S. citizen, even though he was eligible for a license regardless of his citizenship. . . . When Patel later sought to adjust his status to lawful permanent resident and obtain a green card, a divided panel of the Board of Immigration Appeals denied him relief, holding that he is inadmissible because he `falsely represented' himself as a U.S. citizen for a benefit under state law. . . . .  When Patel sought review of that decision, the en banc U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit parted with decisions of other courts — and rejected the government’s own reading of the governing statute — to hold that the court lacked jurisdiction to review threshold eligibility findings for discretionary relief from removal, including whether the immigrant is inadmissible for incorrectly representing himself as a U.S. citizen. (The government takes the position that the statute forecloses only review of discretionary decisions not to grant relief, not factual findings that are factored into those decisions.) "

KJ

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

Analysis of Johnson v. Guzman Chavez by Gabriel Chin

Earlier today we posted a brief summary of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Johnson v. Guzman Chavez. In this June 29, 2021 decision by the Court, the Justices split 6-3 in denying those who reenter without permission (and thus subject to a process known as reinstatement of removal) from eligibility for release on bond or parole during their proceedings. Gabriel Chin has posted an excellent analysis this afternoon of the decision on SCOTUSblog available here.

In addition to analyzing the reasoning in the decision, Chin makes an interesting observation about the difference in terminology used to refer to immigrants by different Justices. He writes:

Alito and Thomas both used the word “alien” to refer to a person who is not a national or citizen of the United States. That term is often used in the Immigration and Nationality Act. Breyer used “noncitizen,” the nomenclature preferred by those who contend that “alien” is dehumanizing. Justice Brett Kavanaugh is among the justices who prefer the term “noncitizen.” 

IE

June 29, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Supreme Court Decides Immigrant Detention Case

The Supreme Court decided the last immigration case of the 2020 Term today.  In Johnson v. Guzman Chavez, the Court held justices held 6-3 that 8 U.S.C. § 1231, not § 1226, governs the detention of noncitizens subject to reinstated orders of removal.  Section 1231, which the U.S. government argued applied, was narrower  than Section 1226, in providing bond hearings to the noncitizen.  The decision involved a complex question of interpretation of the immigration statute.

Justice Alito delivered the opinion of the Court, except as to footnote 4, which was joined by Chief Justice Roberts, Kavanaugh, and Barrett.  Justice Thomas concurred except for footnote 4 and concurred in the judgment, which Justice Gorsuch joined.  Footnote 4 reads "We have jurisdiction to review the decision below. See Jennings v. Rodriguez, 583 U. S. ___, ___–___ (2018) (plurality opinion) . . . . "  Justice Thomas concluded that the statute barred jurisdiction and did not join the footnote.

Justice Breyer, joined by Justices Sotomayor and Kagan dissented.   The dissent summarized the case as follows:

"The question in this case is whether respondents are entitled to a bond hearing while immigration authorities engage in the lengthy process of determining whether respondents have the legal right (because of their fear of persecution or torture) to have their removal withheld. The Court points to two statutory provisions that might answer that question. The first, §1226, is a more general provision governing detention, and favors respondents. It says that `pending a decision on whether the alien is to be removed from the United States,' 8 U. S. C. §1226(a), the Government `may release the alien on . . . bond' or `conditional parole.' §§1226(a)(2)(A), (B) . . . .  The second, §1231, is a provision that more specifically applies to `aliens ordered removed,' and can be read to favor the Government because it does not expressly provide for a bond hearing during what it calls the 90-day `removal period.' 8 U. S. C. §1231(a)(2) . . . .

The Court agrees with the Government."

We will post analysis of the opinion in updates.

UPDATE (June 29, 4:00 p.m. PST):  Jess Bravin for the Wall Street Journal summarizes the holding in this articleJack Chin in his opinion analysis for SCOTUSblog characterized the split on the Court as revealing the Court's "ideological divide."  He also observed that:

"There was also a terminological disagreement [among the justices]. Alito and Thomas both used the word `alien' to refer to a person who is not a national or citizen of the United States. That term is often used in the Immigration and Nationality Act. Breyer, in parts of his dissent, used `noncitizen,' the nomenclature preferred by those who contend that “alien” is dehumanizing. Justice Brett Kavanaugh is among the justices who prefer the term `noncitizen.” The solicitor general’s office also has recently used `noncitizen' in place of `alien.'"  The terminology of immigration law has been the subject of discussion in recent days.

KJ

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

Podcast: Migrations: A World on the Move

Podcasts are the rage.  Need something for walking the dog?  Here is one for ImmigrationProf readers. Migrations: A World on the Move is a podcast from Cornell that "seeks to understand our world through the interconnected movements that shape it. 

With each episode, postdoc Eleanor Paynter speaks with experts who highlight how multidisciplinary, multi-species perspectives on migration help us understand key global issues. In season 1, we are broadening our scope of understanding by focusing on highly relevant themes like pandemics, climate, racial justice, and more. Keep an eye out for new episodes, released on the first Monday of every month."

KJ

June 29, 2021 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Estimating the Economic Impact of the 2021 Dream Act by Ike Brannon and M. Kevin McGee

Estimating the Economic Impact of the 2021 Dream Act by Ike Brannon and M. Kevin McGee

Abstract 

In 2012 President Obama established Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, providing legal protection for foreign nationals who arrived in the U.S. as children. In 2017 President Trump took steps to end DACA, only to be rebuffed by the courts. In 2021 President Biden reinstated DACA.

DACA protects only those who arrived as children under the age of 16 before June 2007. That leaves millions of other foreign nationals who arrived in the U.S. with their families, either as 16- or 17-year-olds before June 2007, or under the age of 18 in the subsequent nine years, without recourse to obtain employment or various other legal protections themselves. Recently proposed legislation – The 2021 Dream Act, co-sponsored by Senators Lindsey Graham and Richard Durbin – would make DACA’s protections permanent, while extending those protections to up to 500,000 other minors.

We estimate the economic and budgetary impact of the passage of the bill. Our analysis suggests that it would lock in the current gains from DACA, which include nearly $57 billion of additional federal tax revenue in the 2022-2031 budget window, and $92 billion in additional income for this population. By extending DACA’s protections, it would also generate nearly $20 billion of additional federal tax revenue in the 2022-2031 budget window, while boosting the income of those who gain this protection by approximately $26 billion. The total impact it would have on U.S. economic activity would be well above this increased income.

Because of the young age of most of these potential Dreamers, most of their increased earnings from obtaining legal status would accrue outside the budget window, which means that incremental revenues from passing the 2021 Dream Act would grow sharply in subsequent years.

KJ

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

Monday, June 28, 2021

National Association of Immigration Judges

Immigration Judges are under intense pressure to mete out individualized justice while navigating  long overdue dockets, strict performance quotas, insufficient resources, shifting case law, and political pressure. Their union, the National Association of Immigration Judges (NAIJ), has attempted to voice concerns for the group but came under the additional challenge of decertification during the Trump administration. The Biden administration's EOIR has withdrawn its opposition to NAIJ's efforts to recertify as a union.

The NAIJ is the recognized representative of NAIJ for collective bargaining purposes. According it its website, its mission is "to promote independence and enhance the professionalism, dignity, and efficiency of the Immigration Courts," "to improve our court system through educating the public, legal community and media, testimony at congressional oversight hearings, and advocating and lobbying for immigration court reform," and "to protect the interests of our members, collectively and individually, through dynamic liaison activities with management, formal and informal grievances, and collective bargaining."

Among the recent battles taken on by the NAIJ is the lifting of a gag order on immigration judges and operating mode of the immigration courts during the COVID-19 pandemic. They have also sought increased independence from the DOJ through reformation as an Article I court, an action supported by the Federal Bar Association, American Bar Association, and other groups.

MHC

June 28, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Supreme Court Grants Certiorari in Judicial Review/Adjustment of Status Case

The Supreme Court granted certiorari today in Patel v. Garland, which raises the question whether 8 U.S.C. 1252(a)(2)(B)(i) precludes judicial review of non-discretionary determinations underlying the determination of the Board of Immigration Appeals that a noncitizen is inadmissible to the United States for permanent residence and therefore ineligible for adjustment of status.  

John Elwood for SCOTUSblog explained the case as follows in predicting that Patel v. Garland was a "a likely [certiorari] grant, because the government, as respondent, agrees that there is a circuit split and review is warranted on one of the questions presented."

"Petitioner Pankajkumar Patel checked a box on a Georgia driver’s license application falsely stating that he is a U.S. citizen, even though he was eligible for a license regardless of his citizenship. . . . When Patel later sought to adjust his status to lawful permanent resident and obtain a green card, a divided panel of the Board of Immigration Appeals denied him relief, holding that he is inadmissible because he “falsely represented” himself as a U.S. citizen for a benefit under state law. . . . .  When Patel sought review of that decision, the en banc U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit parted with decisions of other courts — and rejected the government’s own reading of the governing statute — to hold that the court lacked jurisdiction to review threshold eligibility findings for discretionary relief from removal, including whether the immigrant is inadmissible for incorrectly representing himself as a U.S. citizen. (The government takes the position that the statute forecloses only review of discretionary decisions not to grant relief, not factual findings that are factored into those decisions.) "

KJ

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

Immigration Article of the Day: Terrorism and the Inherent Right to Self-Defense in Immigration Law by Faiza W. Sayed

The Immigration Article of the Day, just published in Volume 109 of the California Law Review, is "Terrorism and the Inherent Right to Self-Defense in Immigration Law" by Faiza W. Sayed.

Here's the abstract:

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) deems an individual inadmissible to the United States for having engaged in terrorist activity. Both “engaged in terrorist activity” and “terrorist activity” are terms of art that are broadly defined under the INA to include activity that courts, scholars, and advocates agree stretches the definition of terrorism. An individual found inadmissible on terrorism-related grounds is barred from nearly all forms of immigration relief, including adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident, refugee status, asylum, withholding of removal, and cancellation of removal. These INA provisions, meant to exclude terrorists from accessing immigration relief, have been perversely interpreted to deny relief to individuals who have taken actions in self-defense, although state and federal courts, state constitutions, and scholars alike describe self-defense as a right so fundamental as to be inherent. There is no principled reason to deny noncitizens the right to present a self-defense justification with respect to acts that may otherwise qualify as terrorist activity in the immigration context. In fact, when properly interpreted, the INA as currently written already excludes force used in self-defense from the definition of terrorist activity; the challenge lies in the fact that the current exclusion is too burdensome for adjudicators to apply properly and too narrow to shield all individuals who have taken actions in self-defense from being denied immigration relief. Given this perplexing state of affairs, Congress should adopt reforms to ensure that the government does not deny immigration relief to individuals who have exercised the most basic of rights—that of self-preservation. These reforms can accomplish two desired immigration law goals: excluding terrorists and providing protection to individuals fleeing persecution.

IE

June 28, 2021 in Law Review Articles & Essays | Permalink | Comments (0)

Nolan Rappaport: "Border crisis deepens as governors assert control"

Nolan Rappaport for the Hill calls for the Biden administration to adopt more enforcement measures to quell the political  pressure from some states:  "This is not going to end well for Biden or the country unless he reinstates Trump’s border security measures or finds some other way to secure the border before the political battle he is having with the governors gets out of hand."  I tend to disagree but do agree that the Biden administration needs to focus its attention on immigration, including in seeking to push for some kind of immigration reform.   Immigrant advocates have pushed for change from the Trump years and have been buoyed by some of the changes, such as the end of the Migrant Protection Protocols.

The big question is what must be done to jumpstart discussion of immigration reform.  As we learned during the Obama years, reform will not just come about spontaneously or by deporting more noncitizens than any President in U.S. history (a dubious achievement of President Obama, the "deporter in chief").  It is time for a new game plan.  Otherwise, the immigration system will remain broken and immigrant communities devastated on a regular basis, whoever the President.

KJ

June 28, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s #Pride tweet conceals a violent history

 

Jessica Ordaz and Alejandra Portillos for the Washington Post remind us today of the homophobic history of the operation and enforcement of the U.S. immigration laws.  As they note, "ICE’s [Tweet above on June 16], that immigration enforcement and LGBTQ equality can be compatible, is uniquely dangerous because it conceals a violent history of immigration enforcement that has targeted and harmed LGBTQ people in the name of policing borders." (bold added).

The anti-LBGTQ history is not ancient history:

"While formal bars on LGBTQ migrants ended with the passage of the Immigration Act of 1990, many restrictions remained, including the ban on people with HIV until 2010. Immigrants in same-sex relationships were denied access to marriage-based visas and benefits and lived with the threat of deportation — until 2013 when the Supreme Court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act."
 
KJ

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

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Kenya To Expel Refugees?

Kenya
TUBS, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Kenya has been a temporary home for more than 500,000 refugees. According to the UNCHR, those refugees are mostly from Somalia (54%), though Kenya also hosts refugees from South Sudan (24.6%), the Congo (9%); Ethiopia (5.8%), as well as Sudan, Rwanda, Eritrea, Burundi, Uganda and others (6.8%).

In March, Kenya told the UNCHR to close two of the country's largest refugee camps--Dadaab and Kakuma--WaPo reports. The Dadaab camp has mostly held Somalis, with multiple generations born there. The desire the close the camp comes from security concerns; Kenya believes that the terrorist organization al-Shabaab is connected to the camp and has attacked Kenyan sites in retaliation for Kenya's military involvement with Somalia. The Kakuma camp, in turn, largely houses South Sudanese refugees.

The UNCHR has agreed to shut the camps within the next year. It is planning to repatriate refugees or relocate them to camps in other nations.

-KitJ

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

Saturday, June 26, 2021

The Last Days of Immigrant Heritage Month

The last days of immigrant heritage month are upon us. On June 1, 2021 President Biden declared June immigrant heritage month, stating "it is vital that our Nation reflect on the leadership, resilience, and courage shown by generations of immigrant communities, and recommit ourselves to our values as a welcoming Nation." California's Governor Gavin Newsom did the same, proclaiming: "California will always support and stand with immigrant families and newly arrived immigrants who are just beginning their next chapter in America." Cities around the country, like Minneapolis, have hosted events throughout the month to celebrate the many contributions of immigrants.

IE

June 26, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Medical experts urge coordinated vaccine strategy in ICE detention

Three medical experts are urging the Biden administration to do more to vaccinate immigrants in Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention, according to a letter obtained by CNN. According to their letter to Congressional leadership, medical experts who contracted with the Department of Homeland Security say DHS has not implemented a comprehensive plan to address the spread of COVID in immigration detention facilities and that it is a continuing threat:

The Biden administration has made great strides in controlling the pandemic in many areas of the country, largely by concentrating on vaccine distribution to the general public. Immigrant detention settings, however, continue to be a significant source of spread for COVID and disproportionate harm to detainees, workers and the public, yet DHS has still not implemented a comprehensive plan to address the spread of COVID in immigration detention facilities."

Drs. Scott Allen, Pamela McPherson and Josiah "Jody" Rich explain that ICE vaccination procedures (in a document titled "Covid-19 Pandemic Response Requirements,") put the onus on detention facilities to contact their states' vaccine resources, such as state or county departments of health, to obtain vaccines. This strategy has resulted in only a limited number being vaccinated, in part because of the differing priority guidance across states. "
 
Acting ICE Director Tae Johnson says they have been considering working directly with CDC and HHS to get their our own batch of vaccines and deploy them across the country to the ICE detainee population. As of May 5, some 2,707 detainees had received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine and 1,229 were fully vaccinated.
 
ICE detention facilities have wrestled with a growing number of positive cases during the pandemic, totaling more than 18,000 confirmed cases and nine deaths. As of June 23, there are 765 Covid-19 cases in ICE custody, according to agency data. There are more than 26,000 immigrants in ICE custody, as of June 18.
 
MHC

June 26, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 25, 2021

"World's Happiest Country" Seeks Migrants

Finland has been named the World's Happiest Country four years running by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network. But Finland has a problem: an aging population. Indeed, only Japan has a bigger aging problem.

The Nordic nation is looking to turn things around with, you guessed it, immigration.

Check out this video from the Hindustani Times covering why Finland needs migrants and why it's having a hard time attracting them. 

As one news outlet summarized: "Despite scoring extremely high in international comparisons for quality of life, freedom and gender equality, lack of corruption, crime and pollution; Finland is also known for its high prices, cold weather, dark winters and notoriously difficult language." Oh, and "Anti-immigrant sentiment as well as a unwillingness to employ outsiders are also widespread in one of western Europe's most homogenous societies." Yeah, that's a tough sell.

Still, if those images of the Northern Lights are tempting you, check out the Finnish Immigration Service's website: I want to apply.

-KitJ

June 25, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

On border visit, Vice President Harris cites ‘progress’ in ‘tough’ situation

 

Alexndra Jaffee for the Associated Press reports on Vice President's Kamala Harris visit to the U.S./Mexico border.  Watch her statement in the video above.  She emphasizes that "the Biden administration had made progress tackling a migration spike that’s drawn fire from Republicans and made fellow Democrats uncomfortable. . . . Visiting El Paso, Harris called the situation at the border `tough' and said more work is needed, anchored in a thorough understanding of why migrants leave their homes."

The Vice President met with five young girls, who had been held at a Customs and Border Protection processing center after crossing the border, before visiting the border itself at the Paso del Norte Port of Entry.

KJ

UPDATE (June 27):

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejando Mayorkas accompanied Vice President Harris on the border visit.  The DHS website posted this "Readout of Secretary Mayorkas’s Visit to El Paso, Texas with Vice President Harris": 

"On Friday, June 25, 2021, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas joined Vice President Kamala Harris, along with Senator Dick Durbin and Representative Veronica Escobar, in El Paso, Texas to receive an operational briefing at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facility, visit the Paso del Norte (PDN) Port of Entry, and meet with community leaders.   

`This Administration inherited a decimated immigration system and the Biden-Harris Administration is making progress to restore order and humanity to that system,' said Secretary Mayorkas. `I am proud of the work that CBP is doing to keep the border secure while we work to implement a safe, orderly, and humane process for those seeking asylum.  I am grateful to the Vice President for leading the effort to tackle the root causes of irregular migration.  We know that what happens at the border is directly connected to the work of addressing the root causes of migration: poverty, corruption, violence, and a climate crisis.'  

. . . .  

Secretary Mayorkas also provided Vice President Harris with an update on the progress being made in facilities across the Southwest Border to decrease the amount of time unaccompanied children remain in CBP custody and the work being done to reinstate orderly processes and protocols at the border:  

  • The number of unaccompanied children (UC) in CBP has fallen from 5,767 at its peak on March 29 to 890 on June 24.  
  • Average time in custody for UC has fallen from 133 hours on March 29 to 22 hours on the morning of June 15.  
  • Projected UC encounters for June are down approximately 21 percent from their peak of 19,000 in March.  
  • Family unit encounters remain well below the high levels observed in 2019: peaking this year at about 55,000 in March, compared to a peak of 89,000 in May 2019. In fact, 2021 family unit encounters have consistently tracked below 2019 encounters for each month of the year.  

The Vice President, joined by Secretary Mayorkas, Senator Durbin, and Representative Escobar, led a meeting with El Paso community leaders who shared the experiences of migrants they work with, as well as their own valuable perspectives.  The Vice President and the community leaders committed to continuing their work to address the root causes of migration and the needs of the children who have left to seek safety and humanitarian relief. 

Vice President Harris and Secretary Mayorkas also discussed the Vice President’s continuing efforts to address the root causes of migration from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras as well as the need for Congress to pass urgently needed immigration reform.  "

KJ

 

June 25, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)