Monday, February 28, 2022

TRAC Finds Over 180,000 Immigrants Now Monitored by ICE's ATD Program

A new report released on February 28, 2022 by Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University finds that the "number of migrants monitored by Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Alternatives to Detention program has more than doubled since the start of the Biden administration, from around 87,000 people in January 2021 to nearly 183,000 in February 2022."

From the report:

ICE’s ATD program includes three types of technology: GPS ankle monitors, telephonic reporting (TR), and SmartLINK, which is a smartphone app that uses facial recognition. All of the growth in ATD monitoring during the Biden administration has taken place through SmartLINK technology, while the number of people enrolled in ATD through GPS monitors and telephonic reporting has remained constant. At the start of the Biden administration in January 2021, ICE was using SmartLINK, GPS ankle monitors, and telephonic reporting in equal parts so that each technology constituted roughly one third of the total number of cases. However, between January 2021 and February 2022, GPS and telephonic reporting remained largely stagnant, while SmartLINK technology more than quadrupled from about 27,000 to more than 118,000.

Although the total ATD enrollment has more than doubled during the Biden administration, some of ICE’s Areas of Responsibility or AORs (i.e. enforcement regions) have experienced higher growth than others. Boston and San Antonio have seen much higher than average growth. Boston’s ATD enrollment grew nearly fivefold in the past 13 months, from 1,503 in January 2021 to 7,118 in February 2022. El Paso saw an even larger growth; the ATD population in ICE’s El Paso region grew eightfold. And Phoenix saw by far the most growth, with ATD numbers increasing from just 1,101 in January 2021 to 14,306 today.

The increase in ATD’s enrollment in the San Antonio AOR would have been the highest in the country but its Area of Responsibility which covered both Central and South Texas at the start of the Biden administration was split into two in FY 2022. ATD cases that were in South Texas which were formerly attributed to San Antonio were then tabulated under the new Harlingen AOR starting in FY 2022. This left San Antonio covering just Central Texas. The Harlingen AOR first appeared in ICE’s ATD reporting in November 2021 and today stands at 16,070—the largest number of people on ATD for any AOR in the country.

See the report here:


Austin Kocher

February 28, 2022 in Data and Research | Permalink | Comments (0)

PODCAST: Biden administration wants to undo landmark ruling that found criminal immigration law unconstitutional

Check out this podcastFederal Public Defender Lauren Gorman describes it as follows:

"This podcast tells the story of Federal Public Defender Kara Hartzler’s quest to challenge the constitutionality of the most prosecuted federal offense in America on the grounds that it is intentionally racist and has a disparate impact on Latinos. While no judge in San Diego would give Ms. Hartzler an evidentiary hearing, Lauren Gorman, a Federal Public Defender in her sister office in Nevada brought the challenge when her client was prosecuted during the pandemic while already serving a life sentence for a nonviolent drug offense in the state of Nevada. Ms. Gorman was given the opportunity to be heard and to present the testimony of a historian and political scientist. The historical and legislative history unearthed in her client’s case was damning. The Chief Federal Judge in the District of Nevada found the law violated the equal protection guarantee of the Fifth Amendment because it was motivated, at least in part, by racism and had a disparate impact on Latinos. The Biden Administration’s Department of Justice, despite its stated commitment to racial justice, appealed the decision arguing that courts should not engage in the traditional `sensitive inquiry' of congressional intent because the law at issue, though it imposes up to twenty years in prison, is part of the country’s immigration framework."

Courthouse News reports on the district court's ruling here.

Hat tip to Carrie Rosenbaum.


February 28, 2022 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Stories of Mexican Deportees: The Human Impacts of U.S. immigration Enforcement


On the 10th anniversary of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Latino USA presents the untold stories of forced return through the voices of three women who are trying to form a life in Mexico.

Maggie, Madaí and Esme left the United States before and after DACA was implemented because of the federal government’s inability to offer them a clear future as undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children.

The Southwestern Law Review published a symposium on Beth Caldwell, Deported Americans:  Life After Deportation to Mexico (2019), which also tells stories about long-term U.S. residents deported to Mexico.


February 28, 2022 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

The World Welcomes Ukrainian Refugees


Map courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has led to a mass exodus from the nation.  As previously reported on this blog, Poland, West of Ukraine, is bracing for evacuees.  Thousands of Ukrainian refugees are fleeing to Moldova, where the government set up tents and vowed to keep its borders open for refugees.

Renata Brito for the Associated Press offers interesting insights on the response to Ukrainian refugees.  She reports that "[t]hey file into neighboring countries by the hundreds of thousands — refugees from Ukraine clutching children in one arm, belongings in the other. And they’re being heartily welcomed, by leaders of countries like Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Moldova and Romania.

But while the hospitality has been applauded, it has also highlighted stark differences in treatment given to migrants and refugees from the Middle East and Africa, particularly Syrians who came in 2015. Some of the language from these leaders has been disturbing to them, and deeply hurtful.

`These are not the refugees we are used to… these people are Europeans,' Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov told journalists earlier this week, of the Ukrainians. `These people are intelligent, they are educated people. ... This is not the refugee wave we have been used to, people we were not sure about their identity, people with unclear pasts, who could have been even terrorists…'

`In other words,' he added, `there is not a single European country now which is afraid of the current wave of refugees.'

Syrian journalist Okba Mohammad says that statement `mixes racism and Islamophobia.'” (bold added).


February 28, 2022 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

President Biden's Immigration Poll Numbers: 2/3 of likely midterm voters disapprove of President's handling of immigration

The new poll was commissioned by the immigrant advocacy group NILC Immigrant Justice Fund and provided first to NBC News. 

"According to the survey, 71 percent said immigration reform should be an extremely or very important priority for the White House and Congress. The survey of 802 likely 2022 voters was conducted February 10-17 . . . ."


February 28, 2022 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Free American Immigration Council Webinar on the Mendez Rojas Settlement

The Mendez Rojas case successfully challenged the government’s failure to give adequate notice of the one-year filing deadline for asylum applications to two separate classes of persons encountered shortly after crossing the border. Class members have until April 22, 2022 to seek relief under the settlement agreement.

Join experts from the American Immigration Council, National Immigration Project, and Immigrant Rights Clinic at the Duke University School of Law for a webinar highlighting new resources and answers to frequently asked questions about how to assess and assert class membership and seek relief before the deadline. 

Attorneys and pro se applicants can download the necessary templates with guides in English and Spanish on how to complete the filings with the court or USCIS. These resources are available at or (in Spanish).


February 28, 2022 in Data and Research | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Border wall becomes part of outdoor church during weekly services


For 10 years, people on either side of the border have hiked to a spot in California’s Border Field State Park for prayers and church services, reports Salvador Rivera of Border Report. Ideally, they would like to be at another section of the border, Friendship Park, but it remains closed"We’ve begged Border Patrol to please open Friendship Park and they deny it …" said Alexis De Bram, a supporter of the park. "Over decades, people come here to connect with friends, relatives … Then the wall started going up and we were limited to Saturdays and Sundays four hours a day, but now there’s no way for people coming from anywhere to join their loved ones." 



February 27, 2022 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, February 26, 2022

The Immigration Record of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, President Biden's Supreme Court Nominee


Amy Howe in SCOTUSBlog summarizes the news about President Joe Biden's nomination yesterday of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to be a Supreme Court justice. Judge Jackson would be the first Black woman to serve on the court.  If confirmed, the 51-year-old Jackson would  succeed Justice Stephen Breyer.  According to Howe, "the ideological balance on the conservative-dominated court is unlikely to change. But Jackson’s confirmation would ensure that Breyer’s seat remains occupied by a justice nominated by a Democratic president for the foreseeable future, and she would also make history in another way, as the first federal public defender to serve on the court."

  • Notably, whether ruling for or against immigrants, Judge Jackson has consistently acknowledged the humanity of immigrants by declining to refer to them as “aliens” or “illegals;”
  • In a close call, Judge Jackson asserted the power of the federal court to check the Trump administration’s abuse of executive authority in expanding expedited removals; and
  • After the Trump administration changed documents so that they incorrectly stated asylum law, Judge Jackson held the Trump administration accountable by requiring it to provide relief for those harmed by the administration misstating the law.
  • However, Judge Jackson rejected a challenge to two Trump-era immigration programs that improperly prevented asylum seekers from consulting with a lawyer;
  • Judge Jackson denied a challenge to Trump’s border wall, holding that the challenged statutes were exempt from judicial review. 

On the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Judge Jackson was bound by circuit and Supreme Court precedent. As a Justice, she would be setting precedent. If she is the nominee, a deeper inquiry into her record on immigration related issues will be required." (bold added).

American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) President Allen Orr welcomed the nomination of Judge Jackson to the Supreme Court with the following statement:

“I am inspired and encouraged by President Biden keeping this promise and making history by nominating Judge Brown Jackson to take up the mantle of Justice Stephen Breyer on the U.S. Supreme Court. Judge Brown Jackson is the first Black woman nominated to the Supreme Court, and one of very few nominees with any experience as a public defender. She is an individual who has not only developed a legal knowledge of immense depth and breadth, but someone who embodies the strength that comes through diversity and inclusion, something needed on the immigration judges’ bench as well. Her decision on the efforts of the Trump administration to expand ICE’s authority to fast-track deportations showed both empathy for real-life consequences and legal expertise. We all know the Supreme Court of the United States has a monumental responsibility and the decisions of the Court impact all of us, immigrant, non-immigrant, and citizen alike. I welcome this nomination and look forward to congratulating a new Supreme Court Justice Brown Jackson when the confirmation process ends.”

February 26, 2022 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

From the Bookshelves: The Book of Mormon for the Least of These, Volume 1 by Fatimah Salleh and Margaret Olsen Hemming


For those immprofs intrigued by what religion has to tell us about immigration, try this book by Fatimah Salleh and Margaret Olsen Hemming: The Book of Mormon for the Least of These, Volume 1.

The work provides "social justice commentary" on one of the principal texts of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: the Book of Mormon. Authors Salleh and Hemming aim to "empower" readers of this historic work to "understand the text as a book that speaks to issues of racism, sexism, immigration, refugees, and socioeconomic inequality." 

Their book "offers an unflinching examination of some of the difficult and troubling sections of the Book of Mormon, while also advocating for a compassionate reading of holy text. As a verse-by-verse close reading, this book examines new layers of interpretation and meaning, giving even those deeply familiar with scripture innovative tools for engaging powerfully with the Book of Mormon."



February 26, 2022 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

Listen to the Podcast with Laura Gorman, the Federal Defender Who Successfully Challenged 1326

We have previously posted about a landmark decision by the Chief Judge for the District Court of Nevada, Miranda Du, who found that the statute criminalizing unlawful reentry was unconstitutional. She found that the law was based on racism and violated the equal protection clause. 

The decision has now been appealed by the government to the Ninth Circuit. What does this mean and what comes next?

Laura Gorman, the federal public defender in Reno who argued the case before the district court, discusses the decision and the Biden administration's attempt to challenge it, in an excellent new podcast episode of This is Reno Radio.

Listen here!


February 26, 2022 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 25, 2022

Systemic racism is rooted in immigration laws — it can no longer be ignored

Last week, I blogged about the American Bar Association recent immigration resolutionsIn this commentary on The Hill, Karla McKanders and yours truly take a look at the challenge of the resolutions to systemic racism in U.S. immigration law and its enforcement.

hundreds of comments were posted in the first hour of the commentary's release.  I guess race and immigration are controversial issues.

I especially liked this comment:


    Would reading this article in a classroom in Texas result in firing the teacher?


February 25, 2022 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

ICE Settles with Immigrant Activist in Selective Removal Case

As we previously have blogged, immigrant activists have allegedly been subject to retaliatory removal actions because of their political activities. Lawful permanent resident and activist Ravi Ragbir has claimed that the U.S. government's efforts to remove him from the country are a response to his political actions.   In addition, the Trump administration allegedly went after Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival recipients who were active politically.


Nick Pinto for The Intercept reports on the settlement of Ragbir's legal challenge to the U.S. government's attempt to remove him from the United States"

"A NEW YORK CITY activist who alleged in court that he was targeted for deportation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement because of his political speech settled his lawsuit against the government, winning a three-year reprieve from deportation, the activist, Ravi Ragbir, told The Intercept.

The settlement ends a long-running court battle over whether the government is allowed to target people for deportation based on their political speech, and whether courts have the power to protect the First Amendment rights of undocumented immigrants.

Ragbir was the executive director of the New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City in 2018, leading an organization that helped undocumented New Yorkers fight deportation and rallied public opinion against ICE and harsh immigration policies. Ragbir himself lived under the cloud of a deportation order."

Click the link above for details.


February 25, 2022 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: The importance of race, gender, and religion in naturalization adjudication in the United States by Emily Ryo and Reed Humphrey


This study examines group disparities in naturalization approvals by race/ethnicity, gender, and religion. We find that all else being equal, non-White applicants and Hispanic applicants are less likely to be approved than non-Hispanic White applicants, male applicants are less likely to be approved than female applicants, and applicants from Muslim-majority countries are less likely to be approved than applicants from other countries. In addition, we find that race/ethnicity, gender, and religion combine to produce a certain group hierarchy in terms of approval probabilities. For example, Blacks from Muslim-majority countries are much less likely to be approved than Whites from other countries. These findings underscore the continuing importance of race, gender, and religion in the making of US citizens.


This study presents an empirical investigation of naturalization adjudication in the United States using new administrative data on naturalization applications decided by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services between October 2014 and March 2018. We find significant group disparities in naturalization approvals based on applicants’ race/ethnicity, gender, and religion, controlling for individual applicant characteristics, adjudication years, and variation between field offices. Non-White applicants and Hispanic applicants are less likely to be approved than non-Hispanic White applicants, male applicants are less likely to be approved than female applicants, and applicants from Muslim-majority countries are less likely to be approved than applicants from other countries. In addition, race/ethnicity, gender, and religion interact to produce a certain group hierarchy in naturalization approvals. For example, the probability of approval for Black males is 5 percentage points smaller than that of White females. The probability of approval for Blacks from Muslim-majority countries is 9 percentage points smaller than that of Whites from other countries. The probability of approval for females from Muslim-majority countries is 6 percentage points smaller than that of females from other countries. This study contributes to our understanding of the nature of inequalities present in agency decision-making in the naturalization process.

CNN reports on the study here.


February 25, 2022 in Current Affairs, Law Review Articles & Essays | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Virtual Symposium: Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Protected Classes

The Hastings Journal on Gender and the Law and the Race and Poverty Law Journal are co-hosting a symposium on Impacts of the COVID Pandemic on Protected Classes Th 2/24/22 and Fri 2/25/22. The Friday event includes remarks by Professor Ming H. Chen  on the intersection of immigration, AAPIs, and COVID and a discussion of Hate Crimes against AAPI communities by Anita Channapati, Trial Attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice. 

The symposium will take place remotely and is free with registration. Webinar Registration - Zoom (Links to an external site.)

The full schedule is posted here.  Schedule — Hastings Journal on Gender and the Law (

February 24, 2022 in Conferences and Call for Papers, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Judicial Imperialism and the “Remain in Mexico” Ruling, or David Martin Takes Down the Fifth Circuit's Remain in Mexico Ruling


David A. Martin for Lawfare has some unkind words for the Fifth Circuit's opinion halting the Biden administration's effort to rescind President Trump's "Remain in Mexico" policy:

"In December 2021 the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed a sweeping injunction against President Biden’s termination of the “remain in Mexico” program (also known as the Migrant Protection Protocols or MPP). The central part of the 117-page opinioncaptioned Texas v. Biden, presents itself as a straightforward correction of an egregious misreading by the agency of certain statutory provisions enacted in 1996. Under the court’s interpretation, Congress has denied the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) any discretion to terminate the program;  MPP is mandatory unless the agency detains virtually all arriving migrants whose admissibility is in question until their admission cases are resolved.

The court’s opinion carries the reader along on what purports to be textual analysis and implacable logic. On closer examination, however, it is a startling exercise in judicial imperialism." (bold added).

Click the link above for martin's careful analysis. The Supreme Court is reviewing the Fifth Circuit decision and will hear oral arguments in April.


February 24, 2022 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Centering Race and Structural Racism in Immigration Policy Research: Considerations and Lessons from the Field byHamutal Bernstein, Sara McTarnaghan, Ayesha Islam  (Urban Institute, December 2, 2021)


Foregrounding race and racism in immigration research is a critical priority because the majority of immigrants in the US are people of color, and conceptions of race intersect with the lived experiences of immigrant communities at multiple levels. Historical and structural racism have also shaped immigration policies and other policies that lead to disparities in outcomes. Yet the intersections between the US immigration system and racism have been neglected in both policy and policy research circles. This is critical for understanding the experiences of all immigrants of color and their descendants, including Latino immigrants, whose identities have been racialized, as well as Black, Asian American and Pacific Islander, Indigenous, and other immigrants who have received less attention in policy research but constitute a rising share of new immigrant arrivals. These issues were explored in a September 2021 virtual workshop on centering race and structural racism in immigration policy research that convened leaders in policy research and advocacy. Discussions focused on how race and structural racism influence the experiences of immigrants, who policy research has left out, and which policies and issues demand research attention. In addition, the discussion explored how immigration policy researchers can work with community partners and address data limitations. This brief provides key priorities and themes discussed during the workshop and identifies promising practices, ideas, and considerations for better addressing the intersections between immigration, race, and structural racism in policy-oriented research.


February 24, 2022 in Current Affairs, Law Review Articles & Essays | Permalink | Comments (0)

Freedom in the World 2022 Report Briefing

Freedom House Logo - Torch next to words Freedom HouseOn Friday February 25, 2022 at 10:00 AM Eastern, Freedom House will be holding a briefing on its new report, Freedom in the World 2022. This new edition of the flagship annual report will assess the condition of political rights and civil liberties globally. The new report includes numerical ratings and supporting descriptive texts for 195 countries and 15 territories.

To listen to the Webinar, register here.


February 24, 2022 in Data and Research | Permalink | Comments (0)

NLG Review Is Accepting Submissions for Summer/Fall 2022

The NLG Review (NLGR) is the law journal of the National Lawyers Guild. It publishes timely, insightful articles that address and respond to the interests and needs of the progressive legal and activist communities. NLGR's readership includes lawyers, scholars, legal workers, jailhouse lawyers, and activists. The NLGR board is composed of an inter-generational group of Guild members, including attorneys, law professors, and legal workers.

The NLG Review is currently seeking submissions for their Summer and Fall 2022 issues! If you would like to submit an article, book review, or artwork please see the submission guidelines.

Previous issues of the NLG Review are available here.



February 24, 2022 in Law Review Articles & Essays | Permalink | Comments (0)

U.S. Troops in Poland Brace for Possible Ukrainian Evacuees


Russia has invaded the UkraineEurope is expecting an exodus of people from the Ukraine.

Eric Schmitt for the New York Times reports that "[m]any of the nearly 5,000 troops from the 82nd Airborne Division who arrived in Poland last week [have been] working with Polish forces to set up processing centers for tens of thousands of people . . . , who are expected to flee neighboring Ukraine if Russia launches a full-scale invasion . . . ."

While the Biden administration has repeatedly said U.S. troops will not fight in Ukraine or rescue Americans trapped there, U.S. commanders in Poland have been preparing parts of several Polish military facilities and erecting tents for possible evacuees.  "[A] nationwide attack on Ukraine could result in one million to five million refugees, with many of them pouring into Poland, Pentagon officials have estimated. That could lead to the largest flood of refugees in Europe since nearly a million Syrian refugees arrived in 2015, a surge that had a profound impact on European politics by bolstering far-right parties."

UPDATE Feb. 24, 3 p.m. PST: Immigrant advocacy organizations urge Biden administration to extend immigration relief to Ukrainians

UPDATE Feb. 25:   Is Europe Prepared for a Possible Large-Scale Ukrainian Displacement Crisis? by  Hanne Beirens


February 24, 2022 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Biden immigration enforcement guidance on trial


Under enforcement guidance issued by the Biden administration's Department of Homeland Security, living without immigration authorization in the United States is no longer, by itself, enough reason to arrest or deport someone.  This is the zero tolerance approach of the Trump administration.

The Biden administration use of prosecutorial discretion has provided relief to many noncitizens.  It points to the guidelines as a success, improving the lives of immigrants all over the country.

The Biden enforcement guidance is in jeopardy.  A legal challenge by Texas and Louisiana is set for trial this week in Houston before Judge Drew Tipton.  President Trump appointed Judge Tipton. Tipton previously tried to block the DHS enforcement guidance.


February 24, 2022 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)