Sunday, December 26, 2021

Migrant Deaths Rise in 2021

Today's print edition of the New York Times reports that at least 16 migrants died on Christmas Eve in the Aegean Sea. This was the third fatal incident in the past few days, resulting in a total of 30 deaths according to Greek authorities.

This sobering report is yet another reminder of the rising tragedy of migrant deaths in 2021. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported that the number of deaths across the globe in 2021 was 4,470 as of earlier this month, already higher than in all of 2020.

Today's news from Greece is yet another sobering reminder that the death toll for 2021 is continuing to rise. Countries around the globe need to take action to assist those forced to migrate and to reduce these deadly risks.

IE

 

 

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

From the Bookshelves: Joan Didion, Salvador (1994)

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Literary giant Joan Didion passed away last week.  ImmigrationProf posted on her book Miami, which might interest blog readers.  Didion's book Salvador (1994) might be of interest as well. Here is the blurb on the book from the Amazon.com website:

"`Terror is the given of the place.' The place is El Salvador in 1982, at the ghastly height of its civil war. Didion `brings the country to life' (The New York Times), delivering an anatomy of a particular brand of political terror—its mechanisms, rationales, and intimate relation to United States foreign policy.

As ash travels from battlefields to body dumps, Didion interviews a puppet president, and considers the distinctly Salvadoran grammar of the verb `to disappear.' Here, the bestselling, award-winning author of The Year of Magical Thinking and Let Me Tell You What I Mean gives us a book that is germane to any country in which bloodshed has become a standard tool of politics."

KJ

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

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Oral Arguments Set in Public Charge Case in Supreme Court

CourtBuilding

Official Supreme Court Building Photo

On February 23, 2022, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case involving the Trump administration's "public charge" rule.  As described by Amy Howe for SCOTUSBlog,

"the justices agreed to decide whether a group of 13 states, led by Arizona, can defend a Trump administration rule that broadened the definition of `public charge,' a term in immigration law for people who are ineligible for a green card if the government believes that they are likely to rely too heavily on government assistance. When two federal courts of appeals ruled in favor of groups challenging the rule, the Trump administration asked the Supreme Court to weigh in, and the justices agreed to do so. But the Biden administration and the challengers subsequently agreed to dismiss the case, prompting efforts by the states to intervene to defend the rule. The justices eventually granted review in Arizona v. City and County of San Francisco to decide whether states with an interest in the dispute should be allowed to intervene to defend a rule when the United States is no longer doing so.

. . . 

Arizona v. City and County of San Francisco (Feb. 23): Whether states should be permitted to intervene in litigation and defend a federal regulation when the federal government declines to do so."

As Howe mentions, the Court will decide a procedural issue surrounding the intervention of the states in the public charge litigation, not whether the public charge rule is valid.

KJ

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

Poetry Break: Refugee by Malcolm Guite

Refugee

by Malcolm Guite

We think of him as safe beneath the steeple,
Or cosy in a crib beside the font,
But he is with a million displaced people
On the long road of weariness and want.
For even as we sing our final carol
His family is up and on that road,
Fleeing the wrath of someone else’s quarrel,
Glancing behind and shouldering their load.
Whilst Herod rages still from his dark tower
Christ clings to Mary, fingers tightly curled,
The lambs are slaughtered by the men of power,
And death squads spread their curse across the world.
But every Herod dies, and comes alone
To stand before the Lamb upon the throne.

-KitJ

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

Friday, December 24, 2021

From the Bookshelves: Joan Didion, Miami

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The world lost author Joan Didion earlier this week.  I found her book Miami particularly insightful and perhaps of interest to readers of the ImmigrationProf blog.

Here is a description of the book from Amazon.com:

"Miami is not just a portrait of a city, but a masterly study of immigration and exile, passion, hypocrisy, and political violence, from the bestselling, award-winning author of The Year of Magical Thinking and Let Me Tell You What I Mean.

It is where Fidel Castro raised money to overthrow Batista and where two generations of Castro's enemies have raised armies to overthrow him, so far without success. It is where the bitter opera of Cuban exile intersects with the cynicism of U.S. foreign policy. It is a city whose skyrocketing murder rate is fueled by the cocaine trade, racial discontent, and an undeclared war on the island ninety miles to the south.

As Didion follows Miami's drift into a Third World capital, she also locates its position in the secret history of the Cold War, from the Bay of Pigs to the Reagan doctrine and from the Kennedy assassination to the Watergate break-in."

KJ 

December 24, 2021 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Canada meets 2021 immigration target with 401,000 new permanent residents

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Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Reuters reports that "Canada met its target of granting 401,000 foreigners permanent residency in 2021 by focusing its efforts on temporary residents already in the country, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser said on Thursday."

Canada depends on immigration to drive its economy and support an aging population.

The majority of the new 401,000 permanent residents - a figure reached for the first time in more than a century - were already in Canada on temporary status, according to a statement from the immigration minister.

KJ

December 24, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Your Playlist: Alex Boyé

This is Refugee's Christmas by Alex Boyé:

Here are some choice lyrics:

I′m calling America one time
Tell me what you say
Please don't put me on hold
Don't call me useless
***
I am here
To remind you
We're not invisible
Standing right here
We are Humans with hopes & fears

-KitJ

December 24, 2021 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Music Break: Foreigner, Head Games

 

I was listening to some classic rock radio and wondered how the band Foreigner got its name.  It turns out that half the band was British and half was American.  And it turns out that one of the band's hits was about the law.

 

KJ

 

December 23, 2021 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Top 3 immmigration decisions in 2021

Law 360

Mike LaSusa from Law360 reports on the three most signifiticant immigration decisions in the federal courts. 

Mixed Results for Anti-Private Detention Suits

Immigrant advocates have closely watched the litigation over the anti-private detention laws in both states. 

California lost and Illinois won as they faced challenges to their respective laws aimed at restricting the use of privately run immigration detention facilities.

In October, a Ninth Circuit panel ruled against a California law banning private immigration detention facilities and other private prisons on the basis that it would impede the federal government's immigration enforcement. The decision upended a lower court's order that had kept most of the law in place as litigation proceeded. California has asked the full Ninth Circuit to reconsider the ruling.

On the other hand, an Illinois federal judge in December dismissed a suit challenging a state law that barred companies from contracting with federal agencies to hold migrants in civil immigration detention. The judge said the statute is not preempted by federal law.

Detention numbers have begun to ramp up again from a record low seen at the beginning of President Joe Biden's administration, despite immigrant advocates' earlier hopes that Biden would use measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 as a jumping-off point for actions to further reduce immigration detention. They have also critiqued Biden for issuing an executive order intended to phase out the federal government's use of private prisons in the criminal context without taking a similar step with respect to private immigration detention facilities.

Justices Revisit Deportation Notice Requirements

The U.S. Supreme Court took another step toward clarifying that notices to appear in immigration court, used to initiatite deportation proceedings, must contain all required information in one document for the notice to be valid. Their ruling said that one document is preferable to multiple documents issued separately.

The decision built on the high court's 2018 ruling in Pereira v. Sessions  in which the high court said the government's notices to appear must tell immigrants when and where their court hearings will be held in order to be valid under the stop-time rule, which stops the clock on accrued residency.

The Board of Immigration Appeals has acknowledged that defective notices to appear don't trigger the stop-time rule, but it hasn't embraced the idea that immigration judges shouldn't order deportations for people who received a notice without a hearing date and time, said Jeremy McKinney, the president-elect of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Foreign Workers' Spouses Get Automatic Work Permits

Spouses of certain foreign workers in the U.S. won a significant victory when they settled a lawsuit against U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services over its policies for issuing employment authorizations.

Under the settlement, USCIS agreed to change its policies regarding work permits for those who are eligible for H-4 and L-2 visas based on their partners' status as H-1B specialty workers or executives transferred to the U.S. The H-4 visas are for spouses of H-1B visa holders, and the L-2 visas are for spouses of executives holding L-1 visas.

Those who hold L-2 visas will be allowed to work in the U.S. by default, and those with H-4 visas will be eligible for an automatic extension of their current work permits for up to six months if they satisfy certain criteria, according to the settlement agreement.

MHC

December 23, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

CFP Academic participation in International Migration Review Forum

UN Network on Migration

The UN Network on Migration is seeking academic participation in the upcoming International Migration Review Forum (IMRF) May 10-13, 2022.  This event will involve evaluation of the first 4 years of the UN Global Compact for Migration.  Academics are invited to give written input and also to participate in the events leading up to the IMRF.  

The purpose of the Forum is to assess the status of the implementation of the Global Compact for Safe Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM), including as it relates to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, at the local, national, regional and global levels and with the participation of all relevant stakeholders. It will result in an intergovernmentally agreed Progress Declaration (see the Modalities Resolution on the format and organizational aspects of the Forum).

There are multiple entry points for academia to engage in the Forum.

  • Contribute to the Voluntary GCM reviews, the IMRF Dialogue Series (December 2021– April 2022), the Migration Network Hub’s Discussion Spaces and Repository of Practices and the different components of the Forum itself, including the Multi-stakeholder hearing. You can find information on these entry points in the summary report from the last Quarterly meeting.
  • Academics engaged in the process are also invited to participate in the GCM pledging initiative launched by the UN Network on Migration on December 17, 2021.  A guidance note on the Pledging Initiative can be found here. Basic instructions: self-record a short video (20-60 seconds) and post it on Twitter, using the campaign hashtag #Migration2022 and tagging the Network’s Twitter account @UNMigNetwork. When possible, end the video by saying: “Make a pledge.” You can also simply post a Tweet, without a video.

Questions should be directed to Alix Defrain-Meunier (adefrain@iom.int) and Monami Maulik (mmaulki@iom.int) at the UN Network on Migration. A dedicated Website containing links to important documents is currently under construction. 

 

MHC (h/t Jill Goldenziel)

December 23, 2021 in Conferences and Call for Papers, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

ICE announces new body camera pilot program

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Yesterday, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement released the following announcement:

"ICE announces use of body worn camera in new pilot program

WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced a pilot program in select cities where ICE law enforcement officers will begin to wear body worn cameras for pre-planned operations.
`With its body worn camera pilot, ICE is making an important statement that transparency and accountability are essential components of our ability to fulfill our law enforcement mission and keep communities safe,' said Secretary Mayorkas. `The Department will continue to seek ways to ensure the safety and security of our workforce, our state and local partners, and the public, while at the same time building confidence with the communities we serve.' . . . . ”
 
 
KJ

December 23, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

TRAC Immigration: A Mounting Asylum Backlog and Growing Wait Times

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Here is the introduction to the latest from TRAC Immigration:

A Mounting Asylum Backlog and Growing Wait Times

Over four out of every ten Immigration Court cases in which asylum applications have been filed since October 2000 are still pending. That means that of the 1.6 million Court cases in which asylum applications were filed, two-thirds of a million asylum seekers (667,229) are still waiting for hearings to resolve their cases. See Figure 1.

These wait times have ballooned. Current wait times for cases in the asylum backlog now average 1,621 days. This translates into 54 months or nearly four and a half years. See Table 1.


Figure 1. Pending vs. Completed Immigration Court Asylum Cases, FY 2001 - FY 2021

 

KJ

December 22, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

At the Movies: The Infiltrators

 

The Infiltrators

POV SEASON 33
  • FEATURE FILM
  • 2020
  • 90 MINS

Here is a description of the film:

"A true story of two young immigrants who get purposefully arrested by Border Patrol, and put in a shadowy for-profit detention center. The film follows Marco and Viri, members of a group of radical Dreamers who are on a mission to stop deportations. And the best place to stop deportations, they believe, is in detention. Official Selection, Sundance Film Festival. A co-presentation of Latino Public Broadcasting."

This "discussion guide" offers ideas on how to structure class discussion of the film. It even included "discussion prompts."

KJ

December 22, 2021 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Volunteers Help Migrants Along Italy/France Border

I feel a bit guilty about posting bad news about migration in Europe (like a few hours ago).  So here is a feel good story from Europe that is appropriate for the holiday season.

John Leicester of the Associated Press writes how a network of hundreds of volunteers working along the Italy-France border are providing comfort and shelter to migrants making the trek up the freezing Alps.  

Since around 2016, volunteers have come "[a]rmed with thermoses of hot tea and the belief that their own humanity would be diminished if they left pregnant women, children and men young and old to fend for themselves," writes Leicester"... In the Alps, on both sides of the border, the approach is essentially humanist and humanitarian, grounded in local traditions of not leaving people alone against the elements." 

 KJ

December 22, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hungary Refuses to Change Immigration Policies, Faces Heavy Fines From EU

Brexit

Photo courtesy of Don Roth

Remember Brexit?  The United Kingdom in 2016 decided to leave the European Union.  Anger over immigration fueled the vote in favor of leaving the EU.

Ferment continues over immigration in the EU.  The latest evidence of the turmoil comes from Hungary.

Ayumi Davis for Newsweek reports that

"Hungary refuses to change immigration policies despite a ruling from the European Court of Justice, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said [yesterday], potentially resulting in heavy fines from the European Union.

Last year, the European Court of Justice ruled that Hungary had failed to follow EU law by creating pushbacks of people entering the country without permission, refusing them the right to apply for asylum, and detaining them in `transit zones' along Hungary's southern border with Serbia."

KJ

December 22, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Immprofs Among New ALI Members

The American Law Institute just announced its new slate of members. Among, them... IMMPROFS!

A huge and hearty congratulations to Jill Family (Widener), Anil Kalhan (Drexel), and Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia (Penn State)! Y'all are AMAZING! Woot. Woot.

-KitJ (hat tip David Thronson!)

December 21, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Fifth Circuit’s Interventionist Administrative Law and the Misguided Reinstatement of Remain in Mexico

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Cristina Rodríguez and Adam Cox for Just Security take to task the Fifth Circuit's recent decision blocking the Biden administration's attempt to end President Trump's "Remain in Mexico" policy.

KJ

December 21, 2021 in Current Affairs, Law Review Articles & Essays | Permalink | Comments (0)

National Immigration Project Explainer on United States v. Carillo Lopez

The National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild has published an informative advisory on the recent decision in United States v. Carillo-Lopez by Judge Miranda Du of the District of Nevada. As we have posted previously, in Carillo-Lopez the court granted a motion to dismiss an unlawful reentry prosecution (under Section 1326) on the ground that the law is unconstitutional because it has a disparate impact and was passed with a racist intent. This advisory is a helpful update and an excellent teaching tool about the equal protection challenges being brought throughout the country by persons charged with violating Sections 1325 and 1326 of Title 8 of the U.S. Code.

IE

December 21, 2021 in Data and Research | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 20, 2021

Top 10 Immigration Law Stories of 2021, Immigration Book of the Year

It is the end of a wild pandemic year.  And time for our annual Top 10 Immigration Law Stories.  As you might recall, President Donald Trump, who frequently made immigration news, topped the 2020 list.

The year has seen many changes.  Joe Biden became President.  President Trump, and his fervent dedication to a restrictive immigration agenda, now is in the rear-view mirror.  Despite repeated efforts by Democrats, any type of meaningful immigration reform failed in Congress.  Reminiscent of the old adage "three strikes and you're out," the Senate Parliamentarian on three occasions ruled out efforts to squeeze in immigration changes into budget reconciliations. 

 
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Official White House Photo
 
1.  President Biden Brings in a New Immigration Regime
 
In January, President Biden brought to Washington D.C. a new approach to immigration and immigration enforcement.  Nonetheless, a variety of Trump policies, such as the much-maligned "Remain in Mexico" policy, remained in effect.  Its survival led to an op/ed by Ruben Navarrette Jr. entitled "Trump Lost the Presidential Battle but Won the Immigration War?," which to many raised a very good question. 
 
The Biden administration also continued the Title 42 border closure justified by public health concerns, a move  that has been harshly criticized.  Former Yale Law Dean Harold Koh left the State Department and ripped President Biden’s use of Trump-era Title 42.
 
Events on the United States' southern border almost immediately put the Biden administration on the defense.  On her first visit as Vice President to Guatemala, Kamala Harris expressed optimism about cooperation with the Guatemalan government on reducing migration to the United States but bluntly told the Guatemalans considering the journey:  Do not come.  Do not come.”  This blunt message provoked controversy and criticism.

 

 
With challenges from the left and right, the Biden administration has a tough row to hoe in formulating a coherent and effective immigration policy.
 
The Biden administration made important changes in the top officials making U.S. immigration policy decisions.  New Attorney General Merrick Garland has a very different perspective on immigration and immigrants than President Trump's first AG, Jeff Sessions.  Alejandro Mayorkas, the new Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, is very different from John Kelly and Kirstjen M. Nielsen, DHS secretaries in the Trump administration.
 
 
2.  The Shocking Treatment of Haitian Asylum Seekers by the U.S. Government

In August, an earthquake devastated Haiti.  Thousands of Haitians fled the country.  The sight of Border Patrol officers on horseback chasing Haitians on the U.S./Mexico border was, to say the least, "bad optics."  It provoked controversy and a spirited defense from the Biden administration

Human Rights Watch condemned the treatment of Haitian migrants on the U.S./Mexico border.  This headline says it all:  "US: Treatment of Haitian Migrants Discriminatory -- Chased by Border Agents on Horseback; Returned to Danger in Haiti."

 
 

3.  The Afghan Refugee Crisis
 
 
There have been many calls to help Afghan refugees. A number of governmental and nongovernmental (including faith-based) groups publicly offered assistance to the refugees.  Nonetheless, resettlement in the United States has been challenging.
 
ImmigrationProf posted regularly about the plight of Afghan refugeesOne of those posts highlights the complex immigration avenues in the United States -- including Special Immigrant Visas, refugee status, and asylum -- for persons fleeing Afghanistan.  "The tens of thousands of Afghan refugees who made it to the United States as part of a historic humanitarian evacuation are entering an extraordinary system with very different benefits."
 
 
4.  Immigration in the Supreme Court
 
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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. 
 
There were no blockbusters among the five immigration decisions -- nothing like the DACA decision in 2020.  The decisions primarily focused on interpreting the complexities of the Immigration and Nationality Act. 
 
Although the U.S. government prevailed in all but one case, there were no sweeping statements about the power of the U.S. government over immigration, such as the statements in the 2020 expedited removal case (Department of Homeland Security v. Thuraissigiam) and its ringing endorsement of the plenary power doctrine.  
 
There continued to be a steady stream of immigration rulings in the lower courts, especially as the Biden administration sought to walk back Trump era policies.  Two lower court decisions stand out.   
 
In one case, a U.S. District Court found  "strong and disconcerting evidence" of the racist origins of 8 U.S.C. § 1326, which criminalizes unlawful re-entry into the United States.  Judge Michael H. Simon's opinion carefully reviewed the historical record of the racial animus behind Section 1326.
 
In another case, Chief Judge Miranda M. Du of the U.S. District Court, District of Nevada ruled that:

"Carrillo-Lopez has demonstrated that Section 1326 disparately impacts Latinx people and that the statute was motivated, at least in part, by discriminatory intent . . .  [T]he Court reviews whether the government has shown that Section 1326 would have been enacted absent discriminatory intent. Because the government fails to so demonstrate, the Court finds its burden has not been met and that, consequently, Section 1326 violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fifth Amendment."

It is rare for a law to be found unconstitutional.  It is even rarer for an immigration law to be found unconstitutional.  Will these two rulings start a trend? 

 

 
 
Earlier this mnnth, the Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review agreed to a settlement with the National Association of Immigration Judges (NAIJ) to again recognize NAIJ as the exclusive representative and collective bargaining agent for the nation’s immigration judges.  The settlement put an end to the Trump administration's effort to end the union's representation of the immigration judges.
 
 
 
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6.  Economist with Major Immigration Contributions Wins Nobel Prize
 

Card studied the effect that the large influx of Cuban workers (125,000 arrived between May and September of 1980) had on the Miami labor market. He found that the labor force grew by 7%, with a greater increase in less-skilled occupations and industries. But he found no effect on the wages or unemployment rates of non-Cuban workers nor non-boatlift Cuban workers. There was, in fact, "rapid absorption" of the Mariel immigrants into the Miami workforce.

Card's cutting-edge scholarship is a briefly summarized here.
 
 
7.  Death on the Border Continues
 
Sadly, the regular deaths along the U.S./Mexico border are not breaking news.  But they are a reality of modern immigration enforcement along the border. 
 
Migrants die on a regular basis and the death toll has risen over the years.  ImmigrationProf regularly reports on the deaths to remind readers of the deadly impacts of U.S. immigration enforcement.  Shouldn't the nation be considering alternative enforcement strategies that do not result in deaths?
 
 

8.  The Complicated Legacy of 9/11:  20 Years After
 

In "How 9/11 stalled immigration reform — and inspired a new generation of activists," Meena Venkataramanan for the Los Angeles Times offers an interesting -- and more positive -- take on a collateral impact of September 11, 2001:

"The Sept. 11 attacks upended U.S. immigration policy, linking it for the first time to the nation’s anti-terrorism strategy and paving the way for two decades of restrictive laws. But it also gave rise to a new kind of immigrant rights movement led by young people . . . . "

 
 
9.  Census 2020
 
The Trump administration's proposed citizenship question, which it abandoned after a Supreme Court ruling against the administration, on Census 2020 provoked controversy and concern with an undercount.  Although some noncitizens may have been too fearful to respond to the Census, The Census revealed some interesting thingsCNN reads the data as follows:  "America is more diverse and more multiracial than ever before, according to new 2020 Census data . . . ." (bold added).
 
 
 
This, I believe, was the first Leiter Law Report citation court of immigration scholars.  "Based on the latest Sisk data, here are the ten most-cited law faculty working on immigration law . . . in the U.S. for the period 2016-2020 (inclusive) . . . ."
 
 
 
HONORABLE MENTION
 

1.  A Surprising Immigration Factoid (At Least to Me)
 
I would not have guessed that, at least for a moment, Honduras was the largest source of migrants to the United StatesConditions in Honduras have fueled greater migration to the United States so that the number of migrants from Honduras currently exceed those from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Mexico. 
 
 
 


2.  Belarus Uses a Border Crisis as a Political Weapon
 
Sadly, we cannot make this stuff up.  
 
In November,  CNN reported that thousands of people trapped on the border between Poland and Belarus were being stopped from crossing the border into Poland.  The European Union, the United States and NATO accused Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko of manufacturing the migrant crisis as retribution for sanctions imposed on Belarus over human rights abuses. Stranded migrants have faced "catastrophic" conditions in freezing forests and makeshift camps.
 
 
 
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3.  DACA Recipient Heads Georgetown Law Journal
 
Here is a positive immigration storyDeferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient Agnes Lee, was named the editor-in-chief of the Georgetown Law Journal.  NBC News reported that.  "Growing up in Los Angeles, [Lee] saw many in her community incarcerated for petty drug charges. Several of her friends’ family members were deported. . . . [She] learned from her parents to fear the police and remain quiet . . . . `The best thing you could do with the law was to stay away from it,' she said."
 
 
 
 
5.  Law Faculty News
 
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Photo courtesy of UC Davis
 
RIP Cruz Reynoso, first Latino Justice on California Supreme Court.  A Professor Emeritus at UC Davis, Justice Reynoso devoted his life to defending the rights of immigrants and other vulnerable communities.  In an amazing career, Reynoso was appointed by President Carter to serve on the Congressional  Select Commission on Immigrant and Refugee Policy.  President Clinton appointed Cruz to be the vice-chair of the U.S. Commission of Civil Rights and, in 2000, gave Cruz the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his social justice work.
 
 

Professor (and former Dean) John Eastman has long been known for taking dubious immigration positions, including questioning Kamala Harris eligibility to be President,  arguing that birthright citizenship was not required by the U.S. Constitution, and more.  In 2021, Eastman entered the national spotlight in a big way.  He spoke to Trump supporters just before they stormed the U.S. Capitol.  The mob included many white supremacists.  The New York Times reported that Eastman was in the Oval Office with President Donald Trump the day before the Capitol violence, arguing that Vice President Mike Pence had the power to block certification of Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory.  Later, CNN  published a copy of the “Eastman Memo” advising President Trump’s legal team on a strategy to overturn the election results. 

Eastman retired from his law professor position at Chapman in the middle of the academic year.

Eastman has filed suit to protect his phone records from discovery by Congress.  He also is the subject of a new complaint with the California State Bar signed by nearly 1,000 lawyers.  The complaint alleges Eastman was working in concert with Rudy Giuliani and Jeffrey Clark to overturn the 2020 election results. Attorneys who signed the complaint include Erwin Chemerinsky, Laurence Tribe and two former presidents of the American Bar Association.

 
 
Book of the Year
 
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Remember Sheriff Joe?  The book describes his immigration reign of terror on Latina/os in Arizona.   Until he lost a re-election bid in 2016, Sheriff Joe gave me an almost daily story for this blog.    The new book brings back memories.
 
The book specifically tells the story of
 
"How Latino activists brought down powerful Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio

Journalists Terry Greene Sterling and Jude Joffe-Block spent years chronicling the human consequences of Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s relentless immigration enforcement in Maricopa County, Arizona. In Driving While Brown, they tell the tale of two opposing movements that redefined Arizona’s political landscape—the restrictionist cause embraced by Arpaio and the Latino-led resistance that rose up against it."

Jude Joffe-Block guest blogged about the book on this blog.

 

Honorable Mentions

These two great books are important scholarly contributions.

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Mae Ngai, The Chinese Question: The Gold Rushes and Global Politics (2021).  She has been speaking widely on this important book.

 

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"Why does a country with religious liberty enmeshed in its legal and social structures produce such overt prejudice and discrimination against Muslims? Sahar Aziz’s groundbreaking book demonstrates how race and religion intersect to create what she calls The Racial Muslim. Comparing discrimination against immigrant Muslims with that of Jews, Catholics, Mormons, and African American Muslims during the twentieth century, Aziz explores the gap between America’s aspiration for and fulfillment of religious freedom. With America’s demographics rapidly changing from a majority white Protestant nation to a multiracial, multi-religious society, this book is an essential read for understanding how our past continues to shape our present—to the detriment of our nation’s future."

KJ

December 20, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Poetry Break: Refugee by JJ Bola

This is Refugeea poem by JJ Bola from his book Word. Bola is a refugee from the Congo who resettled in the UK at the tender age of 6. My favorite line in the below poem is this one: "they called us refugees so we hid ourselves in their language until we sounded just like them."

 

imagine how it feels to be chased out of home. to have your grip ripped. loosened from your fingertips something you so dearly held on to. like a lovers hand that slips when pulled away you are always reaching.
my father would speak of home. reaching. speaking of familiar faces. girl next door
who would eventually grow up to be my mother. the fruit seller at the market. the lonely man at the top of the road who nobody spoke to. and our house at the bottom of the street
lit up by a single flickering lamp
where beyond was only darkness. there
they would sit and tell stories
of monsters that lurked and came only at night to catch the children who sat and listened to stories of monsters that lurked.
this is how they lived. each memory buried.
an artefact left to be discovered by archaeologists. the last words on a dying
family member’s lips. this was sacred.
not even monsters could taint it.
but there were monsters that came during the day. monsters that tore families apart
with their giant hands. and fingers that slept on triggers. the sound of gunshots ripping through the sky became familiar like the tapping of rain fall on a window sill.
monster that would kill and hide behind speeches, suits and ties. monsters that would chase families away forcing them to leave everything behind.

i remember when we first stepped off the plane. everything was foreign. unfamiliar. uninviting. even the air in my lungs left me short of breath.
we came here to find refuge. they called us refugees so we hid ourselves in their language until we sounded just like them. changed the way we dressed to look just like them.
made this our home until we lived just like them and began to speak of familiar faces. girl next door who would grow up to be a

mother. the fruit seller at the market.
the lonely man at the top of the road
who nobody spoke to. and our house at the bottom of the street lit up by a single flickering lamp to keep away the darkness.

there we would sit and watch police that lurked and came only at night to arrest the youths who sat and watched police that lurked and came only at night. this is how we lived.

i remember one day i heard them say to me
they come here to take our jobs
they need to go back to where they came from

not knowing that i was one of the ones who came. i told them that a refugee is simply
someone who is trying to make a home.
so next time when you go home, tuck your children in and kiss your families goodnight be glad that the monsters
never came for you.
in their suits and ties.
never came for you.
in the newspapers with the media lies.
never came for you.
that you are not despised.

and know that deep inside the hearts of each and every one of us
we are all always reaching for a place that we can call home.

-KitJ

December 19, 2021 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)