Saturday, July 31, 2021

One More Week to Register for CSLSA WIP Conference


There is still time to register for the Central States Law Schools Association 2021 Scholarship Conference, which will be held September 24-26, 2021 at Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kansas. Law faculty from across the country are invited to present papers or works in progress.

As I've mentioned, the conference is not subject specific, but usually includes panels on immigration, international law, and criminal law. From experience, I can report that CSLSA provides a friendly, intimate, and collegial setting in which to present scholarship. It's open to both junior and senior scholars.

Registration (free!) closes August 7, 2021.


July 31, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Senate Confirms New Director of Citizenship and Immigration Services


Official White House Photo

The Biden administration looks very different from Trump's.  That much is clear.

In that vein, Hamed Aleaziz for BuzzFeed reports that

"Ur Jaddou will become the first woman and first person of Arab and Mexican descent to be sworn in as director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services after the Senate confirmed her nomination on Friday.

The agency has not had a Senate-confirmed leader in more than two years . . . . "

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas released this statement on Jaddou's  confirmation:

“It is my honor to congratulate Ur Mendoza Jaddou on her confirmation as Director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.  Ur has two decades of experience in immigration law, policy, and administration.  She will administer our Nation’s immigration system fairly and justly.  As the daughter of hard-working immigrants, Ur understands how immigrant families enrich our country and the challenges they face.  I want to thank the United States Senate for confirming Ur.  I look forward to working closely with her to rebuild and restore trust in our immigration system.”

In announcing Jaddou's nomination, President Biden offered the following biography:

"Ur Mendoza Jaddou has two decades of experience in immigration law, policy, and administration.  Most recently, she was the Director of DHS Watch, a project of America’s Voice, where she shined a light on immigration policies and administration that failed to adhere to basic principles of good governance, transparency, and accountability.  She is an adjunct professor of law at American University, Washington College of Law and counsel at Potomac Law Group, PLLC.  Previously, Jaddou was the Chief Counsel for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) . . . from June 2014 to January 2017.  Jaddou’s experience on immigration policy began as counsel to U.S. House of Representative Zoe Lofgren (2002-2007) and later as Chief Counsel to the House Immigration Subcommittee chaired by Rep. Lofgren (2007-2011).  Jaddou has also served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Regional, Global and Functional Affairs in the Bureau of Legislative Affairs at the U.S. Department of State (2012-2014).  Jaddou is a daughter of immigrants – a mother from Mexico and a father from Iraq – born and raised in Chula Vista, California.  She received a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from Stanford University and a law degree from UCLA School of Law. " (bold added).


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

Friday, July 30, 2021

From The Bookshelves: (Re)Born in the USA by Roger Bennett

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(Re)born in the USA by Roger Bennett promises to be the humorous read you're looking for this late summer. Here's the write up:

One-half of the celebrated Men in Blazers duo, longtime culture and soccer commentator Roger Bennett traces the origins of his love affair with America, and how he went from a depraved, pimply faced Jewish boy in 1980’s Liverpool to become the quintessential Englishman in New York. A memoir for fans of Jon Ronson and Chuck Klosterman, but with Roger Bennett’s signature pop culture flair and humor.

Being a teenager isn’t easy, no matter where in the world you live or how much it does or doesn’t rain in your hometown. As an outsider—a private-schooled Jewish kid in working-class, heavily Catholic Liverpool—Roger Bennett wasn’t winning any popu­larity contests. But there was one idea, or ideal, that burned bright in Roger’s heart. That was America— with its sunny skies, beautiful women, and cool kids with flipped collars who ate at McDonald’s. When he embraced American popular culture, the dull gray world he lived in turned to neon teal—a color which had not even been invented in England yet. Intro­duced first through the gateway drug of The Love Boat, then to Rolling Stone, the NFL, John Hughes movies, Run-DMC, and Tracy Chapman, Roger embraced everything that would capture the imagination of a teenager growing up Stateside. When he made a real, in-the-flesh American friend who invited him over for the summer, he got to visit the promised land. A month in Chicago, and a life-changing night spent in the company of the Chicago Bears, was the first hit of freedom, of independence, of the Roger Bennett he knew he could be.

(Re)Born in the USA captures the universality of growing pains, growing up, and growing out of where you come from. Drenched in the culture of the late ’80s and ’90s from the UK and the USA, and the heartfelt, hilarious sense of humor that has made Roger Bennett so beloved by his listeners, here is both a truly unique coming-of-age story and the love letter to America that the country needs right now.

I am particularly intrigued by this sentence from the book: “One of the earliest beliefs that I still cling to in life is that I was born an American trapped in an Englishman’s body." This type of citizenship dysphoria in my article A Citizenship Market (around FN 13).

WaPo has a Q&A with Bennett about his book that's also worth a read.


July 30, 2021 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

Attorney General Garland Warns Texas Governor About State COVID-19 Travel Ban


Official Picture of Attorney General Garland from Department of Justice website

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland is in the news on immigration.  In a letter dated July 29, 2021, Garland warned Texas Governor Greg Abbott to “immediately rescind” an executive order aimed at travel into the state of undocumented immigrants who may pose a COVID-19 risk.

“The order violates federal law in numerous respects, and Texas cannot lawfully enforce the executive order against any federal official or private parties working with the United States,” Garland told Abbott in the letter.  He warns that if Texas continues to implement the ground restrictions on migrants, then the Department of Justice will “pursue all appropriate legal remedies”.

Garland’s letter came just a day after Abbott signed the order, which states that “no person, other than a federal, state, or local law-enforcement official, shall provide ground transportation to a group of migrants” who have been detained by federal immigration officials for crossing the border.  It also directed the state’s Department of Public Safety to “stop any vehicle upon reasonable suspicion of a violation” and gives the department authority to “reroute such a vehicle back to its point of origin or a port of entry”

The executive order stated that the new policy is warranted because of President Joe Biden’s “refusal to enforce laws passed by the United States Congress” and the measure is aimed at protecting Texans.


UPDATE (July 30, 4:00 p.m. PST):  The United States filed suit to invalidate Governor Abbott's executive order on federal preemption grounds.  Click here for details.


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

Thursday, July 29, 2021

White House Task Forces to Fight Corruption and Trafficking in Central America

From Lexology:

Recently, the Biden Administration has taken significant steps to ramp up anti-corruption and other law enforcement efforts in Central America. On June 7, 2021, the White House and Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the launch of two new, multi-agency task forces dedicated to fighting corruption and combatting human smuggling and trafficking in Mexico and the Northern Triangle, which consists of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. The announcement followed shortly after President Biden's June 3 declaration that the fight against corruption is a core US national security interest. In light of these enforcement developments, multinational companies, particularly those with operations in Mexico and the Northern Triangle, should take proactive steps to assess key risk areas and ensure adequate compliance measures are in place.

The White House announced plans to create a new anti-corruption task force focused on Central America following Vice President Kamala Harris's bilateral meeting with the President of Guatemala on a trip that also included a stop in Mexico. The announcement states that DOJ, with support from the State Department, will establish an anti-corruption task force to investigate and prosecute corruption cases connected to the United States, Guatemala, and the region. The task force will include US prosecutors and law enforcement experts and will involve three components:

1. Increased focus of the global Kleptocracy Initiative to prosecute corruption cases and seize illicitly gained assets arising from corruption in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras;

2. Expansion of the number of Resident Legal Advisors to provide capacity-building, training, and case-based mentoring to the Guatemalan Public Ministry, including the Special Prosecutor Against Impunity (FECI), to build corruption cases; and

3. Rapid response capability to deploy US prosecutors and law enforcement experts to provide mentorship to develop corruption cases.

On the same day, the White House and DOJ also announced the creation of another task force, "Joint Task Force Alpha," which will seek to identify, disrupt, and prevent migrant smuggling and human trafficking operations, and serve as a complement to the Department's anti-corruption efforts. The task force, which is being established in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), will include federal prosecutors from Arizona, California, and Texas, as well as personnel from DHS, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). In its press release, DOJ specifically noted that Joint Task Force Alpha will complement its efforts to fight corruption in the region. Specifically, DOJ stated that it intends to increase its focus on investigations, prosecutions, and asset recoveries relating to corruption in Northern Triangle countries through its Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement program, counter-narcotics prosecutions, and Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative.



July 29, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Urban Institute: Three in 10 Adults in California Immigrant Families with Low Incomes Avoided Safety Net Programs in 2020


This Urban Institute report (Three in 10 Adults in California Immigrant Families with Low Incomes Avoided Safety Net Programs in 2020: Building Trust and Improving Access to Safety Net Programs in the Pandemic Recovery by Hamutal Bernstein Dulce Gonzalez, Sara McTarnaghan, & Sonia Torres Rodríguez) looks at public benefit receipt by immigrants in 2020.  Check out the abstract below:

"Many immigrant families have avoided safety net and pandemic relief programs in recent years over concerns that their participation would have adverse immigration consequences. These chilling effects on program participation occurred in the context of a restrictive immigration policy environment under the Trump administration, including the expansion of the “public charge” rule. Though the Biden administration has reverted to prior guidance on the public charge rule and reversed many other immigration policy changes, chilling effects may continue to deter adults in immigrant families from seeking safety net supports for which they or their children are eligible. This study draws on Well-Being and Basic Needs Survey data collected in December 2020 and interviews conducted with adults in immigrant families with low incomes and people who work at organizations that connect immigrant families to health, nutrition, and other support programs in California. We conducted the interviews between March and May 2021, in the early months of the Biden administration, offering unique insights as policy priorities were shifting. The findings of this study highlight the economic hardships experienced by California immigrant families with low incomes during the pandemic, the lifeline that safety net and community supports can offer, and the barriers such families face to greater access to these programs. It also highlights opportunities for building trust with and expanding access to safety net programs for families who have not received basic supports."


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

Japanese American swimmer Erica Sullivan wins silver, says she is "epitome of the American person"

Erica Sullivan is a Japanese-American swimmer and won silver in the 1,500 meter freestyle, finishing behind her USA teammate Katie Ledecky. Sullivan told reporters after the event that she is familiar with Japan and fluent in Japanese, having visited family in Japan many times while growing up with a mother who is a Japanese citizen and U.S. green card holder.

"It's just awesome that I get to do this and really set a landmark for women and also get to do it in Japan where I have half my famly."

In her press conference, Sullivan spoke in fluent Japanese to reporters about her upbringing and training as well as her pride in being ethnically Japanese and representing the LGBTQ+ community. She remarked that she feels like the "epitome of the American person" to be "on the podium, in Japan, as an Asian American woman whose mother is not a U.S. citizen. Her grandfather served as an architect on some of the Olympic venues in Japan. She also remarked that she is proud to win in a historical women’s event for the first time as someone who "likes women" and identifies as being gay. Her parting repartee: "I'm multicultural. I'm queer. I'm a lot of minorities. That's what America is."

Her inspiring press conference can be watched here.

Erica sullivan


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

US Gymnast Suni Lee at Olympics


BREAKING NEWS [and spoiler alerts]

The US Gymnastics team came into the Olympic competition with strong odds to win. The team was led by Simone Biles, the US all-around gold medalist in the 2016 Olympics who has dominated the sport and bcome known as G.O.A.T. (greatest of al time). The second spot on the team went to a newcomer, Sunisa Lee (a.k.a. Suni), who is the first Hmong American to compete in the Olympics. She is 18-years old and at 15-years old had barely become eligible for senior competition when she placed in the US championships that would qualify her for Olympic competition. Lee secured second place at the Olympic trials and qualified to compete in beam, uneven bars, and the all-around. Olympic watchers know that this week she contributed to a silver medal team-award for Team USA at the Olympics. This morning she went on to win the gold medal in the individual all-around. 

There will be significant media coverage in light of her Olympic achievements and her heroic floor routine, delivered unexpectedly for the team competition after her teammate Biles withdrew from competition. But her back story is even more inspiring. Lee is Hmong American and grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota. Lee's athletic success shows the commitment of her family and her Hmong community. In a Time Magazine profile story, the Athletic Director at her high school Koua Yang said:

It’s exceptional to see this kind of investment in young women in particular, says Yang. “I’ve coached Hmong women for many years and I’ve had to beg their parents to let them play. For an athlete like Suni and her family to break out of that is incredible because it takes so much support.

Her parents, John Lee and Yee Thoj, were refugees and live in the largest resettled community of Hmong outside of Laos, in Minnesota. The Hmong people fought on the side of the US in the Vietnam War, having been recruited by the CIA for a military operation in Laos dubbed the Secret War, and then fled persecution when the communist government retaliated against them -- first to refugee camps in neighboring countries like Thailand and subsequently to the US. A story map of Hmong refugee migration describes the history of the 18 Hmong clans, and the Minnesota Historical society has a detailed timeline of their exodus. According to the 2010 US census, 260,000 Hmong now live in the US and 60,000 of them live in Minnesota near the Twin Cities.

Hmong mgiration - large

When she was young, Lee's father took her to the gym and built a make-shift beam out of lumber scrap so that she could practice in her backyard. Like the majority of Hmong families, they live modestly. (Nearly 60% of Hmong Americans are low-income and more than a quarter meet the definition of poverty.)  Her community has rallied around her rising star for years, raising money for the training, equipment, and travel required for competitive gymnastics and encouraging her to do it for herself, her family, and their heritage. She has become well known and well loved, an inspiration for many of the younger athletes who have grown up watching her compete on TV and become the first Hmong American athlete to go to the Olympics.

Her Olympic scores are summarized on NBC's Olympic website and sports media coverage will comb over her other record-breaking feats. (More sports spoilers described therein, so I'll let you read them yourself!)


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

From the Bookshelves: The Trespassers? Asian Americans and the Battle for Suburbia by Willow Lung-Amam

A new book by sociologist Willow Lung-Amam describes the transformation of American suburbs (more specifically Silicon Valley, in Northern California) by the settlement of highly-educated professional Asian American families. These immigrant families increased racial diversity in the Bay Area suburbs and transformed the technology industry. It also changed the face of immigration from China, Taiwan, and India that had previously been driven by lower-wage work. The response to these newcomers among long-time community members in these affluent and mostly liberal places, and the urban places they left behind, was complicated. 

The publisher's description says:

Trespassers? takes an intimate look at the everyday life and politics inside Silicon Valley against a backdrop of these dramatic demographic shifts. At the broadest level, it raises questions about the rights of diverse populations to their own piece of the suburban American Dream. It follows one community over several decades as it transforms from a sleepy rural town to a global gateway and one of the nation's largest Asian American–majority cities. There, it highlights the passionate efforts of Asian Americans to make Silicon Valley their home by investing in local schools, neighborhoods, and shopping centers. It also provides a textured tale of the tensions that emerge over this suburb's changing environment. With vivid storytelling, Trespassers? uncovers suburbia as an increasingly important place for immigrants and minorities to register their claims for equality and inclusion

Read an excerpt of the book here. A detailed analysis appears in this book review. I would add that the book is very readable and that its portraits of Fremont and its surrounding suburbs resonates with contemporary local politics and the landscape of schools, neighborhoods, and commerce in a thriving part of the country that is once again booming in pandemic times that depend so heavily on many technologies developed by these Asian immigrants.


July 29, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Biden Encountering Immigration Political Minefield

NPR looks at the complex immigration political pressures on the Biden administration.  Earlier this week, the administration announced a new immigration plan, which includes a renewal of expedited removal of families.  The NPR story reports on President Biden's remarks to UnidosUS on immigration, COVID, and economic issues.  Here is a report on that address.


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

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Immigration Court Cases Jump in June 2021; Delays Double This Year


The number of new deportation cases filed by the Biden administration is on the rise. Deportation orders sought by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) jumped by nearly 50 percent in June, compared with the number filed in May. The number of new cases continues to severely outpace the rate at which judges can keep up. As a result, the Immigration Court backlog has increased by almost 100,000 cases since September 2020 at the end of the fiscal year 2020. The total backlog as of the end of June 2021 had reached its highest level ever at 1,357,820 cases waiting to be heard.

Another factor adding to the backlog's growth was that cases have been taking longer to complete. On average, cases completed during the first nine months of FY 2021 took 891 days (or 2.4 years) from the date of their Notice to Appear (NTA) to a decision, twice as long compared with FY 2020. Unusual circumstances beyond the control of the courts, and the pandemic certainly falls into that category, affected the composition of cases that made it to the final stage of the deportation process and may have played a significant role in shaping these outcomes.

As the backlog grows, however, cases in the pending court workload will wait even longer. Already, the average wait for a hearing date as of the end of December 2020 was 1,642 days or about 4.5 years.

These findings come from the latest case-by-case court records obtained and analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University.

To read the full report, go here.


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

Black Immigrants Denied Basic Necessities in ICE Detention Facilities

From the Southern Poverty Law Center:

Immigration Advocates Call to End Contracts and Shut Down

Two Louisiana ICE Facilities Over Racial Discrimination & Abuse

Black Immigrants Denied Basic Necessities, Medical Care & Abused

NEW ORLEANS, La. – Black migrant survivors of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention and immigration advocates at the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) are urging the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to fire contractors and staff over racial discrimination and abuse of individuals held at Allen Parish Public Safety Complex and Pine Prairie ICE Processing Center, both in Louisiana. The complaints are the latest in a series of filings that illustrate the horrific abuses individuals detained in these facilities have faced for years.

The complaint, made to DHS, was filed by Black migrant survivors of ICE detention and attorneys and advocates with the SPLC’s Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative (SIFI) today. One of the detention centers is run by the GEO Group and the other is run by the Allen Parish Sheriff’s Office.

“The fact that these brave individuals are willing to come forward after they have been released from immigration detention and are no longer under ICE’s power and control speaks volumes,” said Rose Murray, a SIFI attorney. “As a result of their horrific experiences, they feared for their well-being and even their lives. Every day it grows clearer that these facilities are incapable of operating without violating the rights of those detained as well as U.S. and international laws. Swift action must be taken to shut down these prisons, safely release those detained by ICE and end ICE detention.”

The complaint details the experiences of four previously detained individuals illustrating the abuses they faced, which are representative of trends across the New Orleans ICE Area of Responsibility and ICE detention broadly. According to the complainants, ICE, Geo Group and Allen Parish officials denied Black immigrants basic human necessities, including potable water and necessary medical treatment; physically abused detained persons, including physical abuse of a person in detention while he experienced a mental health crisis; threatened lethal force against Black immigrants in ICE custody; threatened Black immigrants with punitive solitary confinement in retaliation for peacefully expressing their rights and for their support of the Black Lives Matter movement; and ignored written grievances related to racial tensions between detention officials and immigrants in detention.

In a contemporaneous statement included in the complaint, Mr. Kem, a 40-year-old father from Cameroon, who came to the U.S. seeking asylum and who was imprisoned by ICE for one year and three months shares threats he endured, “…I said, ‘in what way? Just standing for our rights? How does that mean that we are trouble-makers? He said ‘don’t try it here, because I have my gun.’ And he said it twice. Not just once. He was threatening us. With that he keeps us…we are not safe here. I don’t really think that we are safe here…is this where they kill people? What do they do here to people that are, as he said, ‘stubborn’? Later on, other detainees told us this is normally how the people are being threatened, and they will threaten you within the corridors where there are not cameras.”

The actions described are in direct violation of the First, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution; ICE’s own policies within the Performance Based National Standards 2011 (PBNDS 2011), Federal Non-Discrimination Laws, Louisiana state laws against assault and battery; and international human rights law, including the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment, both of which the United States has ratified;. Importantly, the described conduct, patterns, and practices also run afoul of contracting and acquisition laws and regulations, and thus provide a basis for immediate contract cancellation at these sites.


July 28, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Your Playlist: Coco Tea

Add a little reggae to your immigration playlist with Coco Tea's New Immigration Law:

The song dates to 1997 and, I'm guessing based on the timing (I can't find any interview to confirm absolutely) that it's about the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA), Pub. L. No. 104-208, 110 Stat. 3009 (1996).

Some choice lyrics: "the Law, treating everyone like outlaw" and "it might earn you indefinite detention."


July 28, 2021 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Learning to Detain Asylum Seekers and the Growth of Mass Immigration Detention in the United States by Smita Ghosh and Mary Hoopes

Smita ghoshdownload Mary_hoopes_210x270The Immigration Article of the Day is: Learning to Detain Asylum Seekers and the Growth of Mass Immigration Detention in the United States by Smita Ghosh and Mary Hoopes. The article is published in 2021 in Law & Social Inquiry and available for download on SSRN.

Here is the abstract:
Drawing upon an analysis of congressional records and media coverage from 1981 to 1996, this article examines the growth of mass immigration detention. It traces an important shift during this period: while detention began as an ad hoc executive initiative that was received with skepticism by the legislature, Congress was ultimately responsible for entrenching the system over objections from the agency. As we reveal, a critical component
of this evolution was a transformation in Congress’s perception of asylum seekers. While lawmakers initially decried their detention, they later branded them as dangerous. Lawmakers began describing asylum seekers as criminals or agents of infectious diseases in order to justify their detention, which then cleared the way for the mass detention of arriving migrants more broadly. Our analysis suggests that they may have emphasized the dangerousness of asylum seekers to resolve the dissonance between their theoretical commitments to asylum and their hesitance to welcome newcomers. In addition to this distinctive form of cognitive dissonance, we discuss a number of other implications of our research, including the ways in which the new penology framework figured into the changing discourse about detaining asylum seekers.


July 28, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

From the Bookshelves: The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen coming to HBO

Downey Sympathizer
Viet Thanh Nguyen's novel The Symphatizer is an espionage thriller and satire about the struggles of a half-French, half-Vietnamese communist spy during the final days of the Vietnam War and his resulting exile in the United States. It is told in the form of a forced confession from the conficted spy. It won the 2016 Pulitzer prize and the author additionally won a 2017 MacArthur Foundation "Genius" Grant.

The novel will become a film starring Robert Downey, Jr. Oldboy director Park Chan-wook will be the director. They will co-produce together with Don McKellar, Susan Downey, Amanda Burrell, Niv Fichman, Kim Ly and others. The series is a co-production between HBO, A24 and Rhombus Media in association with Cinetic Media and Moho Film. (Additional coverage here.)

A worldwide search is currently underway for the lead role and the rest of the predominantly Vietnamese ensemble. 

The publisher's book description says:

A profound, startling, and beautifully crafted debut novel, The Sympathizer is the story of a man of two minds, someone whose political beliefs clash with his individual loyalties. In dialogue with but diametrically opposed to the narratives of the Vietnam War that have preceded it, this novel offers an important and unfamiliar new perspective on the war: that of a conflicted communist sympathizer.

It is April 1975, and Saigon is in chaos. At his villa, a general of the South Vietnamese army is drinking whiskey and, with the help of his trusted captain, drawing up a list of those who will be given passage aboard the last flights out of the country. The general and his compatriots start a new life in Los Angeles, unaware that one among their number, the captain, is secretly observing and reporting on the group to a higher-up in the Viet Cong. The Sympathizer is the story of this captain: a man brought up by an absent French father and a poor Vietnamese mother, a man who went to university in America, but returned to Vietnam to fight for the Communist cause. Viet Thanh Nguyen’s astonishing novel takes us inside the mind of this double agent, a man whose lofty ideals necessitate his betrayal of the people closest to him. A gripping spy novel, an astute exploration of extreme politics, and a moving love story, The Sympathizer explores a life between two worlds and examines the legacy of the Vietnam War in literature, film, and the wars we fight today.

Here is a clip of an NPR interview with Viet Thanh Nguyen describing the book and its inspirations in his own life as a Vietnamese refugee growing up in San Jose.



July 28, 2021 in Books, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Expedited Removal for Families is Back! DHS Statement on the Resumption of Expedited Removal for Certain Family Units


The Department of Homeland Security on July 26 announced the comeback of expedited removal:

"Beginning today, certain family units who are not able to be expelled under Title 42 will be placed in expedited removal proceedings.  Expedited removal provides a lawful, more accelerated procedure to remove those family units who do not have a basis under U.S. law to be in the United States.    

Attempting to cross into the United States between ports of entry, or circumventing inspection at ports of entry, is the wrong way to come to the United States.  These acts are dangerous and can carry long-term immigration consequences for individuals who attempt to do so.  The Biden-Harris Administration is working to build a safe, orderly, and humane immigration system, and the Department of Homeland Security continues to take several steps to improve lawful processing at ports of entry and reforms to strengthen the asylum system. " 

As Bill Hing posted yesterday, President Biden has just announced a number of immigration measures.  Improving expedited removal was part of the Biden package:

"Improving the expedited removal process for those who arrive at the border. The Administration is working to improve the expedited removal process at the border to fairly and efficiently determine which individuals have legitimate claims for asylum and other forms of protection. Asylum and other legal migration pathways should remain available to those seeking protection. Those not seeking protection or who don’t qualify will be promptly removed to their countries of origin."

The return of expedited removal as the Biden administration seeks to quiet immigration critics has not been greeted with enthusiasm by immigrant rights advocates.  It comes as Texas is ramping up its own immigration enforcement efforts.   A New York Times by Miriam Jordan quotes Lee Gelernt, a lawyer at the American Civil Liberties Union, on the Biden  administration's announcement:  “Jamming desperate families through an expedited asylum process would deny them the most basic due process protections and can hardly be called humane.”  

Click here to see a summary of the Biden immigration plan. Alex Roarty and and Adam Wollner in the Sacramento Bee outline the complex political issues facing the Biden administration and Democrats on immigration.

It was noteworthy to me that the first items on the Biden list (under the heading "ENSURING A SECURE, HUMANE AND WELL-MANAGED BORDER") were immigration enforcement measures, such as the call for improvements to expedited removal.  At the end of his list, Biden notes that

"Congress should pass through reconciliation or other means:

  • The U.S. Citizenship Act (H.R. 1177/S. 348) that reunites families, gives businesses access to a workforce with full labor rights, and creates a path to citizenship for those already living and working in the United States.  These critical reforms, coupled with measures to address the root causes of migration from Central America, will relieve pressure at the border by dissuading irregular migration.
  • The Dream and Promise Act (H.R. 6) and Farm Workforce Modernization Act (H.R. 1603) to create a path to citizenship for Dreamers, TPS recipients, and farmworkers. Both bills passed the House with bipartisan support.  They will protect millions of families, children, and essential workers who live, work, study, and worship in our communities. 


Official White House Photo


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

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

DACA Recipient Allowed to go to the Olympics


ImmigrationProf has some immigration news.  Sports Illustrated reports that Luis Grijalva, who finished second in the men's 5,000-meter final at the NCAA track and field championships and did well enough to realize a dream of his and qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.  He hoped to competing for home country of Guatemala.   And he will after ironing out some immigration issues.

Grijalva, a student at Northern Arizona University, came to the U.S. from Guatemala when he was just 1 year old, and has lived here ever since. He's a DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipient.  As a DACA recipient, Grijalva needed a special permit to leave the country and return.  He got it on Monday.  

After receiving his advanced reentry document, he's going to be allowed to leave the country in pursuit of his dreams, his agent announced.


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

Immigration Article of the Day: Texas and the Dangers of State Immigration Enforcement by Geoffrey A. Hoffman


Texas has been in the news a lot lately (see, for example, here) on immigration matters.  This is what Geoff Hoffman says about that.

Texas and the Dangers of State Immigration Enforcement  Geoffrey A. Hoffman, Yale Journal on Regulation Notice & Comment (July 27, 2021).  The first paragraph lays out the basic argument:

"In a series of bold actions, Texas has attempted to continue where the Trump administration left off in terms of immigration enforcement. These attempts recently have included threats to build a border wall, the devotion of space in state jails to immigration violators, and the use of the arrest power against immigrants under the theory of trespass. The relationship between state, municipal, or local enforcement and the federal government’s authority to do so is legally complex. But one thing is clear, the states do not have the power to enforce immigration law in the expansive ways Texas is attempting. To allow the use of state power in this way is to give tacit permission to a state’s illicit activities and should be reigned in by the federal government."



July 27, 2021 in Current Affairs, Law Review Articles & Essays | Permalink | Comments (0)

DACA Lawsuit Against Discover Bank Expands


 A class-action lawsuit challenging a national bank’s policy of denying loans to DACA recipients and other immigrants because of their immigration status is being expanded, according to documents filed in federal court last week.

MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) amended its complaint against Discover Bank to include a Northern California man represented by Outten & Golden LLC. The man was denied a home equity loan because of his status as a recipient of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) in violation of state and federal civil rights laws, according to the amended complaint. The two initial plaintiffs in the suit were denied student loans and other related financial services by the bank for the same reason, according to the lawsuit.

“It is not only bad business practice, but unlawful under federal statute, for Discover Bank to discriminate against DACA recipients in its consumer banking operations,” said Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF president and general counsel.  “We look forward to resolving this case so that DACA recipients nationwide can receive fair treatment from Discover Bank.”

In July 2020, MALDEF filed a class-action suit against Discover in California state court challenging the bank’s denial of student loans and other related services to applicants who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Six months later, the lawsuit was expanded to include class members who reside in states other than California, and a claim that the bank’s policy of assessing loan applicants based solely on their immigration status, instead of their credit-worthiness, violates federal law was added.

The lawsuit alleges that Discover Bank violated federal and state civil rights laws, including 42 U.S.C. § 1981 and the California Unruh Civil Rights Act, which prohibit discrimination based on alienage and immigration status.

“Policies that deny equal access to credit to Dreamers’ who have lived in the U.S. since they were children and are setting out to finance their education, to buy homes and start businesses, are incredibly destructive to their ability to live and thrive in the U.S.,” said Ossai Miazad of Outten & Golden who is counsel for one of the plaintiffs.

The three DACA recipients representing the class are:

• Josue Jimenez-Magaña, of Modesto, called Discover Bank’s customer service to inquire about applying for a home equity line of credit (HELOC) in March. Jimenez-Magaña, a registered nurse who worked with COVID-19 patients, was looking for financing to start a business. During the call, after giving the bank representative his credit information, the bank representative asked Jimenez-Magaña about his citizenship status. When Jimenez-Magaña told the bank representative he was a DACA recipient, he was told the bank did not extend credit or loan money to non-legal permanent residents.

• Iliana Perez of San Francisco secured a $15,000 student loan in 2010 with The Student Loan Corporation, a subsidiary of Discover Bank.  When she applied to refinance the loan at a lower rate with the bank in 2018, the company informed her it would not be able to grant her request because of her immigration status.

• Flavio Guzman Magaña, of Los Angeles, applied for a $35,500 loan to attend grad school in 2016. Because he is a DACA recipient, Discover Bank required him to apply for his loan as an international student and with a U.S. citizen or permanent resident co-signer, a condition that is not required of U.S. citizen or permanent resident applicants.

In all cases, Discover Bank rejected each plaintiff’s application based on their immigration status and not on their credit-worthiness, according to the complaint.

“Discover Bank’s discriminatory lending policies are not limited to student loans," said Deylin Thrift-Viveros, MALDEF staff attorney. "We are looking forward to continuing with Josue as a plaintiff to ensure that economic opportunity is available to all applicants for Discover Bank’s products, regardless of their immigration status.” 

Read the amended complaint HERE


July 27, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Congressional fellowships on racial equity accepting applications

The Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies' Congressional Fellowship is designed for young AAPI professionals looking to increase their experience in public policy and service. The full-time paid, 9-month program places fellows in congressional offices to gain policy experience as part of the legislative team. Applications are now open for their 2022 Congressional Racial Equity Fellowship program, in which Racial Equity fellows will research and analyze community-based recommendations along with key public policy initiatives that affect economic opportunity, structural racism, and health equity. Application deadline is July 20, 2021.

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute is offering a similar internship on Capitol Hill. The program is accepting applications from college students and recent graduates to serve as a Congressional Intern in the halls of power in Washington, D.C. The intern will gain professional experience by working closely with the Hill staffers, policy experts, and elected officials. Application deadline is October 1, 2021.

Disclosure: I worked as an APAICS summer intern at the U.S. Department of Justice, Office for Community Relations in college and had a great experience learning about DC policy and networking with APA leaders.


July 27, 2021 in Jobs and Fellowships | Permalink | Comments (0)