Thursday, June 30, 2022

Ukrainian Immigrants in the United States


Flag of Ukraine

In Ukrainian Immigrants in the United States, Joshua Rodriguez and Jeanne Batalova for the Migration Policy Institute  looks at the Ukrainian immigrant population in the United States.

Amid the displacement of millions of Ukrainians after their country was invaded by Russia in February 2022, the United States is extending protection to as many as 180,000. In what has become Europe’s largest humanitarian crisis since World War II, nearly 8 million Ukrainians have been internally displaced and more than 6 million civilians (predominantly women and children) have fled the country—the vast majority seeking refuge in neighboring Poland, Moldova, Romania, Hungary, and Slovakia.

Before Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the United States was home to nearly 355,000 Ukrainians. While most displaced Ukrainians have remained in neighboring countries, small numbers have come to the United States. This article examines the pre-invasion Ukrainian immigrant population in the United States—its history, sociodemographic characteristics, modes of arrival, and more.

Click on the bullet points below for more information:


June 30, 2022 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

The UK's Home Office Seeks to Reopen Closed Detention Facility to Create an New "Immigration Removal Centre"

MoranThis week, the UK's Home Office announced plans to open a "immigration removal center" (IRC) in Oxfordshire.

According to the press release, the new IRC, which is scheduled to open next year, "will be a secure facility and will accommodate men only." 

The decision has already been met with opposition. The announced plans would actually reopen a facility called Campsfield House, that was already closed in 2018, following community protest.

Layla Moran, a Liberal Democrat MP, has created an online petition as part of a campaign against the reopening of the detention facility. The petition declares: "It is shameful that the Government will be locking up people fleeing war, persecution and torture for an indefinite length of time with no idea about when they will be released."


June 30, 2022 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Breaking News: Supreme Court Decides Remain in Mexico Case

Today, in the very last decision of the 2021 Term, the Supreme Court decided the Remain in Mexico Policy case, Biden v. TexasHere is the opinion.
The issue in Biden v. Texas was whether the Biden administration could dismantle the Trump administration's Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), or Remain in Mexico policy, which requires asylum seekers arriving at the U.S./Mexico border to be returned to Mexico while their claims were being processed. The MPP had come under critical scrutiny and immigrant advocates pushed for its elimination. As the Council on Foreign Relations put it, "[c]ritics say the program is inhumane and that it violates U.S. and international law, but courts have blocked President Joe Biden’s attempts to end it."
Chief Justice Roberts wrote the opinion for the Court and was joined by Justices Breyer, Kagan, Sotomayor, and Kavanaugh.  The Court held that the Biden administration's decision to terminate the MPP did not violate federal immigration law, and the administration had taken the final agency action that ended the program.  Justice Kavanaugh filed a concurring opinion.  There were two dissents, one by Justice Alito and one by Justice Barrett, which Justice Thomas, Alito, and Gorsuch joined all but the first sentence  (" I agree with the Court’s analysis of the merits—but not  with its decision to reach them.").
Check for updates with analysis of the opinion in Biden v. Texas.
UPDATE (June 30, 2:30 P.M. PST):  Amy Howe analyzes the decision for SCOTUSBlog here.  She sees it as "hand[ing] the Biden administration a major victory, giving it the green light to end one of the Trump administration’s signature immigration programs."  Here is my take on Biden v. Texas.
UPDATE (July 2):  Jonathan Blitzer in the New Yorker offers a nice summary of the litigation and the "surprise" at the outcome of Biden v. Texas.

June 30, 2022 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Florida Supreme Court approves DeSantis’ statewide grand jury on immigration

Ron_DeSantis _Official_Portrait _113th_Congress

Official Governor's Photo

News from Florida:  When signing an immigration enforcement bill, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced a petition to impanel a grand jury focused on illegal immigration and human smuggling. The Florida Supreme Court has now granted that request.

Governor DeSantis described the statewide grand jury as being needed to “examine international human smuggling networks that bring illegal aliens across the southern border and ultimately to states like Florida.”

Stay tuned.


June 30, 2022 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

The Onion Tackles Child Detention

I'm just going to leave this right here.



June 29, 2022 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

California Attorney General's 2021 Hate Crime Report


Official Photo of Califor4nia Attorney General Rob Bonta

 California Attorney General Rob Bonta has released his office's 2021 Hate Crime in CaliforniaThe report provides information and resources to support ongoing efforts across the state to combat hate.  2021 saw a 32.6% increase in overall reported hate crimes for a total of 1,763 bias events—the highest reported level since 2001. The report also states that hate crimes involving religious bias increased by 21.1% in 2021.   The Executive Summary states that

"Reported hate crime events involving a racial bias overall increased 33.1 percent from 875 in 2020 to
1,165 in 2021. (Table 11)
• Anti-black or African American bias events rose from 456 in 2020 to 513 in 2021, an increase of 12.5
• Anti-Hispanic or Latino events rose from 152 in 2020 to 197 in 2021, an increase of 29.6 percent.
Anti-Asian bias events rose from 89 in 2020 to 247 in 2021, an increase of 177.5 percent." (bold added).


June 29, 2022 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Michigan J. Race & Law Special issue: War on Terror

Mich J Race

A series of articles in the Michigan Journal of Race and the Law address the myriad harmful impacts of the "War on Terror" and its aftermath on Muslims in the United States. Here is the full list of articles available for download:

Origin Stories: Critical Race Theory Encounters the War on Terror

Natsu Taylor Saito

State Sponsored Radicalization

Sahar F. Aziz

Material Support Prosecutions and their Inherent Selectivity

Wadie E. Said

American Informant

Ramzi Kassem

The Ban and its Enduring Bandwidth

Khaled Ali Beydoun

The World of Private Terrorism Litigation

Maryam Jamshidi

A Religious Double Standard: Post-9/11 Challenges to Muslims’ Religious Land Usage

Asma T. Uddin

9/11 Impacts on Muslims in Prison




June 29, 2022 in Law Review Articles & Essays | Permalink | Comments (0)

Statement by President Biden on the Tragic Loss of Life in San Antonio, Texas


Official White House Photo

President Biden made a statement about the tragic migrant deaths in San Antonio, which may be "the deadliest people smuggling tragedy in recent U.S. history."

"The tragic loss of life in San Antonio, Texas that took place yesterday is horrifying and heartbreaking.  Our prayers are with those who lost their lives, their loved ones, as well as those still fighting for their lives. As always, I am grateful for the swift work of all of the Federal, state, and local first responders.

While we are still learning all the facts about what happened and the Department of Homeland Security has the lead for the investigation, initial reports are that this tragedy was caused by smugglers or human traffickers who have no regard for the lives they endanger and exploit to make a profit.

This incident underscores the need to go after the multi-billion dollar criminal smuggling industry preying on migrants and leading to far too many innocent deaths. In Los Angeles two weeks ago, I announced that the United States has launched a first-of-its kind anti-smuggling campaign with our regional partners.  In the first three months, we have made over 2,400 arrests, and that work will only intensify in the months ahead.  

Exploiting vulnerable individuals for profit is shameful, as is political grandstanding around tragedy, and my Administration will continue to do everything possible to stop human smugglers and traffickers from taking advantage of people who are seeking to enter the United States between ports of entry." (bold added).

In condemning "political grandstanding around tragedy," President Biden may be responding to Texas Governor Greg Abbot's statements blaming President Biden for the deaths.



At the ground level, local authorities are struggling to identify the victims.  The task is complicated is that some might have been traveling with fraudulent identifications and documents.



June 29, 2022 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Pastor: The unborn are "morally uncomplicated," immigrants are not

In 2018, Pastor Dave Barnhart of the Saint Junia United Methodist Church in Birmingham, Alabama posted this message to Facebook:

“The unborn” are a convenient group of people to advocate for. They never make demands of you; they are morally uncomplicated, unlike the incarcerated, addicted, or the chronically poor; they don’t resent your condescension or complain that you are not politically correct; unlike widows, they don’t ask you to question patriarchy; unlike orphans, they don’t need money, education, or childcare; unlike aliens, they don’t bring all that racial, cultural, and religious baggage that you dislike; they allow you to feel good about yourself without any work at creating or maintaining relationships; and when they are born, you can forget about them, because they cease to be unborn. It’s almost as if, by being born, they have died to you. You can love the unborn and advocate for them without substantially challenging your own wealth, power, or privilege, without re-imagining social structures, apologizing, or making reparations to anyone. They are, in short, the perfect people to love if you want to claim you love Jesus but actually dislike people who breathe.

Prisoners? Immigrants? The sick? The poor? Widows? Orphans? All the groups that are specifically mentioned in the Bible? They all get thrown under the bus for the unborn.

In the wake of the Supreme Court's overruling of Roe v. Wade, Pastor Barnhart's sentiments are once again recirculating online. Appropriately so.

This framework of being "morally uncomplicated" is hardly foreign to the immprof community. I think, particularly, of the work of immprof Becky Sharpless (U. Miami) looking at how we characterize those convicted noncitizens who have spent significant periods of time incarcerated. That work naturally ties into the work of immprof Mike Wishnie (Yale) who coined the phrase "super undocumented."

I wonder if students might find Pastor Barhnart's characterization thought provoking as well.


June 28, 2022 in Current Affairs, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (1)

Children Apprehended in Growing Numbers at US-Mexico Border

A new report published by TRAC using never before seen data shows that since 2008, Border Patrol has been encountering growing numbers of children, including unaccompanied minors and children within families.

According to TRAC’s findings, there has been a seventeen-fold increase in unaccompanied minors apprehended while trying to cross the US-Mexico border and a striking five-fold rise in all children apprehended. Despite this recent growth of minors arriving at the border, the total number of total border apprehensions remains lower than in the 1990s.

Highlights from TRAC’s recent report include:

  • In FY 2011, Border Patrol apprehended 23,089 total children. In FY 2021, that number was 293,218.
  • The proportion of children from Mexico has declined since FY 2008, replaced by larger numbers of children from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. The proportion of all apprehensions who were children (including unaccompanied and in families) has increased from about 8 percent in FY 2008 to about 37 percent in FY 2019.
  • Children apprehended by the Border Patrol have become an increasing proportion of all apprehensions, even taking into account discounting the FY 2020-2021 period when Title 42 expulsions artificially changed the make-up of individuals relegated to those processed under Title 8.
  • The proportion of unaccompanied children alone rose from one percent of all Title 8 apprehensions in FY 2008 to 9 percent in FY 2019.
  • Recent numbers of border apprehensions remain lower than the early 1950s and the 1990s, especially when apprehensions relative to the country’s population are taken into account.
  • Beginning largely in FY 2019 there has been a sharp increase from other countries including Brazil, Ecuador and Nicaragua, with some growth from Venezuela, Cuba, Chile, and Haiti, as well as Romania and, for a time, India.

These findings were made possible as a result of a decade-long effort involving more than a hundred separate Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to Customs and Border Protection (CBP). TRAC analyzed over 6.5 million Border Patrol apprehensions for this report.


TRAC’s report on border apprehensions is available here: See the data for yourself at  TRAC’s newly updated and free Border Patrol web-query tool.

- Austin Kocher

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

California to become first state offering health care to all undocumented residents


The receipt of public benefits long has been controversial in the United States.  In 1994, for example, California voters after a volatile initiative campaign passed Proposition 187, which sought to strip undocumented immigrants of almost public benefits (including a education education).  More recently, the Trump administration's proposed public charge rule sought to exclude potential benefit recipients from entering the country.

The state of California has taken a big step toward including undocuemnted immigrants in teh public health social safety net:

"California will become the first state to remove immigration status as a barrier to health care, making all low-income undocumented residents eligible for state-subsidized insurance regardless of age. Gov. Gavin Newsom late Sunday announced a budget deal he struck with the Legislature included a new Medi-Cal expansion that would cover more undocumented adults. The program’s launch, starting no later than Jan. 1, 2024, is expected to provide full coverage for approximately 700,000 undocumented residents ages 26-49 and lead to the largest drop in the rate of uninsured Californians in a decade."

Click here for further details on the latest California budget.


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

Death on the Border Chapter 101: 46 Migrants Reported Dead in Truck/Trailer in San Antonio, Texas


It is only June and it already has been a hot summer.  Once again, migrants are dying along the U.S./Mexico border.  Yesterday was an especially tragic day.

As reported by the Associated Press,"[a]uthorities in Texas say that 46 people believed to be migrants were found dead in a tractor-trailer and 16 others were taken to hospitals [yesterday] in a remote part of San Antonio."  The article lists a few of the many cases of mass deaths of migrants in human smuggling efforts. Click here for more details.  Unfortunately, as often reported in posts on the ImmigrationProf blog, the death toll at the U.S./Mexico border has been mounting as U.S. border enforcement efforts have escalated in the last twenty-plus years.   See, for example, here, here, here, here, here.  

Accoding to CNN, 16 migrants survived: 
"Those who were found alive were hot to the touch and suffering from heat stroke and exhaustion . . . and were conscious when transported for care. There was no sign of water in the refrigerated tractor trailer and no visible working air conditioning unit . . . . 
High temperatures in the San Antonio area ranged from the high 90s to low 100s [yesterday] . . . ." (bold added).
Newsweek reports that "Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Beto O'Rourke, the former congressman hoping to unseat Abbott . . . , had sharply differing responses after 46 people were found dead in an abandoned tractor-trailer in San Antonio on Monday."


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

Monday, June 27, 2022

Monday Sillies: Getting Past French Immigration

A few years ago, I pointed you towards an Irish comedy group (Foil Arms and Hog) and their take on the questions noncitizens have to answer before being allowed into the United States. It never occurred to me that the group might similarly lampoon other nations' entry expectations. And, because everyone needs a laugh right now... I present you with Getting Past French Immigration.

Thanks, gentlemen. I needed the giggle.



June 27, 2022 in Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (1)

New OIG Report: Limited-Scope Inspection and Review of Video Teleconference Use for Immigration Hearings

OIGThe Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Justice issued a new report this month, Limited-Scope Inspection and Review of Video Teleconference Use for Immigration Hearings. The report, which is available here, evaluates the use of videoconferencing in EOIR's "tent courts" in Brownsville and Laredo, Texas. These "tent courts," which operated in an expanse of inter-connected tents and shipping containers, rely exclusively on televideo to adjudicate the cases of noncitizens seeking asylum in the MPP program, also commonly known as "Remain in Mexico."

The OIG makes a number of recommendations for improving video hearings, including improved training, guidance, interpretation, and technical capacity. Among other findings, the report concludes:

"[B]ased on our observations and discussions with hearing participants, we believe that it was potentially difficult at times for respondents at the IHF to follow the hearing process and clearly differentiate the distinct roles of certain participants—particularly the immigration judge as neutral adjudicator versus the DHS trial attorney litigating the removal—due in part to the positioning of the participants on the video monitor. We identified several areas with potential to improve the quality and efficiency of virtual immigration hearings. For example, the majority of immigration judges, attorneys, and interpreters we interviewed who expressed an opinion on the subject believed simultaneous interpretation to be preferable and more efficient than consecutive interpretation, though EOIR is currently limited in its ability to provide simultaneous interpretation for remote hearings. In addition, we identified areas where additional training or information technology resources may be necessary to adequately support EOIR’s expanding use of remote hearings. Further, we found that EOIR must continue efforts to improve its processing of the volume of paper documents that may be filed for immigration cases, particularly those involving MPP respondents. Lastly, we found that EOIR must ensure both that respondents have adequate access to information on their rights in the immigration process and that it is meeting requirements for transparency and public access for immigration hearings, including those conducted virtually.


June 27, 2022 in Data and Research | Permalink | Comments (0)

A New Conspiracy Theory: "Ghost flights" are the latest GOP effort to weaponize immigration ahead of midterms


Joel Rose for NPR report that "Republicans accuse the Biden administration of organizing secret flights, carrying migrants from the border to communities across the country, that critics have branded `ghost flights.'"  He concludes that this claim is not true:  

"When children and teenagers from Central America cross the border alone, the federal government is required by law to care for them until they're reunited with a sponsor, often a parent or relative, or placed in a network of special shelters around the U.S.

To do that, federal officials sometimes fly those children on charter planes from the border to other parts of the country. For years, this was widely seen as normal, even routine.

Until it wasn't."

As the midterm elections approach, Republican lawmakers across the country have sounded the alarm about "ghost flights" filled with migrant children.  Stories about "ghost flights" for months have been regular fare on Fox News and other conservative outletsFlorida Governor Ron DeSantis, who recently signed into law a tough Florida immigration enforcement law, said at a press conference last week that "It's just in the middle of the night. And then you'll wake up and someone will say, 'they brought a bunch of unaccompanied minors.'"

U.S. government federal officials insist that the flights in question happened exactly the same way during previous administrations, including under former President Trump.




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

Biden Immigration Enforcement Priorities Put on Hold

Miriam Jordan for the New York Times reports that, over the weekend, the Biden administration policy suspended a policy prioritizing the apprehension of undocumented immigrants who are considered a threat to public safety and national security.   Earlier this month, federal judge DrewTipton, an appointee of President Donald J. Trump, blocked from going into effect the Department of Homeland Security policy. Judge Tipton sided with Texas and Louisiana, which claimed that the policy prevents U.S. immigration authorities from enforcing the law.  “While the department strongly disagrees with the Southern District of Texas’ court decision to vacate the guidelines, D.H.S. will abide by the court’s order as it continues to appeal it,” the department said in a statement.

Jordan writes that District Judge Tipton wrote that "[t]he judge had stayed his ruling to allow the government to pursue an emergency appeal. But the stay expired on Friday, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit had not yet issued a ruling, leaving Judge Tipton’s order to take effect."


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

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Immigration judges in Louisiana denied 88% of the asylum cases between 2016 and 2021

As TRAC Immigration data shows, asylum grant rates vary widely among the nation's immigration courts.  This report details how

"immigration judges in Louisiana have denied asylum claims at a higher rate than almost any other courts in the nation over the past five years, according to federal data. . . . Between 2016 and 2021, the 15 immigration judges in New Orleans, Oakdale, and Jena denied 4,119 of the 4,632 claims they heard, marking an 88.36% denial rate statewide, according to an Acadiana Advocate analysis of data from Transactional Record Access Clearinghouse.

In comparison, an average of 67.6% of asylum cases were denied nationwide during the same period."

Louisiana has immigrant detention centers, including in Oakdale, Louisiana.



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

Increasing Numbers of Nicaraguan Migrants to the United States

Bernd Debusmann Jr. for the BBC tells about the increasing number of migrants fleeing Nicaragua:

"The stories shared by Nicaraguans at [a] shelter [at the U.S./Mexico border] have two common themes: a struggling economy and fear of the government of Daniel Ortega, the leader of Nicaragua's 1979 Sandinista revolution who earlier this year was sworn into a fourth consecutive term as President.

Affectionately known as Comandante Daniel to his supporters, Mr Ortega has long been accused of abandoning the revolution's ideals by turning into a dictator, harshly suppressing any opposition.

These crackdowns have become more pronounced since Mr Ortega was returned to office in November, in an election that saw opposition candidates arrested or exiled alongside prominent regime critics, journalists, business leaders, human rights advocates and students."

For the last year or so, there have been reports (and here), including the United Nations, of Nicaraguans leaving the country because of deteriorating political and economic conditions.  Removals of Nicaraguans from the United States as well.  Many Nicaraguans have been returned to Mexico under the Migrant Protection Protocols.




Since then, the clampdowns have continued and escalated, with the UN's human rights chief warning that new criminal legislations are being used to persecute perceived opponents of the Ortega government.

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

Saturday, June 25, 2022

She went from undocumented immigrant to Syracuse University's first Asian-American history professor


It is a good time for an upbeat story.   Professor Junko Takeda recently became the first Asian-American and woman of color to be promoted to full professor in the history department at Syracuse University.  A first generation college student, she once was undocumented.  Professor Takeda today is an established scholar in the field of early modern French history.

"Takeda was born to a Japanese mother and a Korean father in Japan. Her parents came to the United States with student visas in 1979 when she was three years old. They were both daycare providers and looked for a better life and more opportunities for their daughter. After their student visas expired and their employers declined to help them obtain H1 visas, they remained here, undocumented, under a looming specter of deportation."


June 25, 2022 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (4)

The Overruling of Roe v. Wade and Immigrants




For the last 24 hours -- and probably for the indefinite future, the Supreme Court's overruling of Roe v. Wade dominated the news cycle.  My new UC Davis colleague, Mary Ziegler, a legal historian, has been a "go to" commentator on the decision for news outlets across the country.   Immigrant women -- especially poor ones (and here) including many immigrant women of color -- in the United States, of course, will be affected by the Court's decision. 

It will take some time to see the full impacts of the Supreme Court's decision in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health.  Many questions will arise about the breadth of the decision.  Will, for example, the federal government continue to provide access to abortions for immigrant women in detention?  Access to an abortion by a detained immigrant teen was the subject of litigation a few years ago.  Justice Brett Kavanaugh as a court of appeals judge was involved in that case. 

Some women may feel it necessary to cross the border to Mexico for an abortion.  Can a state bar travel outside the state to access abortions?  


Stay tuned.


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