Thursday, November 15, 2018
America’s “broken” immigration system has become a cliché of national politics – made only worse by decades of political gridlock. Written with the benefit of almost a quarter-century in the field, Safe Haven in America: Battles to Open the Golden Door attempts to present the human face of this problem, covering cases that are as fascinating as they are controversial.
With the publication of Safe Haven in America: Battles to Open the Golden Door, Michael Wildes doesn’t travel over well-worn legal and political terrain. He presents case histories that read more like espionage thrillers, populated with KGB agents, nuclear whistle-blowers, and even accused terrorists fighting for their lives as well as legal standing in the U.S. But he also tells human stories – tales of children kidnapped to foreign countries in bitter divorce battles; families all but destroyed by the attack on the World Trade Center; a hero’s shabby treatment after standing up to terror; and a young DACA recipient becoming the target of a hate attack.
From managing media expectations with bombshell political revelations to the day-to-day demands of running a practice with office in four states, Wildes presents a look behind the scenes of one of America’s perennial political flash-points, along with startling disclosures from some of his most riveting cases.
Monday, November 12, 2018
The Golden State by Lydia Kiesling (Sept. 2018)
In Lydia Kiesling’s razor-sharp debut novel, The Golden State, we accompany Daphne, a young mother on the edge of a breakdown, as she flees her sensible but strained life in San Francisco for the high desert of Altavista with her toddler, Honey. Bucking under the weight of being a single parent―her Turkish husband is unable to return to the United States because of a “processing error”―Daphne takes refuge in a mobile home left to her by her grandparents in hopes that the quiet will bring clarity.
But clarity proves elusive. Over the next ten days Daphne is anxious, she behaves a little erratically, she drinks too much. She wanders the town looking for anyone and anything to punctuate the long hours alone with the baby. Among others, she meets Cindy, a neighbor who is active in a secessionist movement, and befriends the elderly Alice, who has traveled to Altavista as she approaches the end of her life. When her relationships with these women culminate in a dangerous standoff, Daphne must reconcile her inner narrative with the reality of a deeply divided world.
Keenly observed, bristling with humor, and set against the beauty of a little-known part of California, The Golden State is about class and cultural breakdowns, and desperate attempts to bridge old and new worlds. But more than anything, it is about motherhood: its voracious worry, frequent tedium, and enthralling, wondrous love.
For a review of The Golden State, click here.
Thursday, November 8, 2018
Latino Peoples in the New America: Racialization and Resistance by José A. Cobas, Joe R. Feagin, Daniel J. Delgado, Maria Chávez, editors
Latino Peoples in the New America: Racialization and Resistance by José A. Cobas, Joe R. Feagin, Daniel J. Delgado, Maria Chávez, editors, Routledge, released in December 2018
"Latinos" are the largest group among Americans of color. At 59 million, they constitute nearly a fifth of the US population. Their number has alarmed many in government, other mainstream institutions, and the nativist right who fear the white-majority US they have known is disappearing. During the 2016 US election and after, Donald Trump has played on these fears, embracing xenophobic messages vilifying many Latin American immigrants as rapists, drug smugglers, or "gang bangers." Many share such nativist desires to build enhanced border walls and create immigration restrictions to keep Latinos of various backgrounds out. Many whites’ racist framing has also cast native-born Latinos, their language, and culture in an unfavorable light.
Trump and his followers’ attacks provide a peek at the complex phenomenon of the racialization of US Latinos. This volume explores an array of racialization’s manifestations, including white mob violence, profiling by law enforcement, political disenfranchisement, whitewashed reinterpretations of Latino history and culture, and depictions of "good Latinos" as racially subservient. But subservience has never marked the Latino community, and this book includes pointed discussions of Latino resistance to racism. Additionally, the book’s scope goes beyond the United States, revealing how Latinos are racialized in yet other societies.
Wednesday, November 7, 2018
From the Bookshelves: Lucy E. Salyer, Under the Starry Flag: How a Band of Irish Americans Joined the Fenian Revolt and Sparked a Crisis over Citizenship
Under the Starry Flag: How a Band of Irish Americans Joined the Fenian Revolt and Sparked a Crisis over Citizenship by Lucy E. Salyer
The riveting story of forty Irish Americans who set off to fight for Irish independence, only to be arrested by Queen Victoria’s authorities and accused of treason: a tale of idealism and justice with profound implications for future conceptions of citizenship and immigration.
In 1867 forty Irish American freedom fighters, outfitted with guns and ammunition, sailed to Ireland to join the effort to end British rule. Yet they never got a chance to fight. British authorities arrested them for treason as soon as they landed, sparking an international conflict that dragged the United States and Britain to the brink of war. Under the Starry Flag recounts this gripping legal saga, a prelude to today’s immigration battles.
The Fenians, as the freedom fighters were called, claimed American citizenship. British authorities disagreed, insisting that naturalized Irish Americans remained British subjects. Following in the wake of the Civil War, the Fenian crisis dramatized anew the idea of citizenship as an inalienable right, as natural as freedom of speech and religion. The captivating trial of these men illustrated the stakes of extending those rights to arrivals from far-flung lands. The case of the Fenians, Lucy E. Salyer shows, led to landmark treaties and laws acknowledging the right of exit. The U.S. Congress passed the Expatriation Act of 1868, which guarantees the right to renounce one’s citizenship, in the same month it granted citizenship to former American slaves.
The small ruckus created by these impassioned Irish Americans provoked a human rights revolution that is not, even now, fully realized. Placing Reconstruction-era debates over citizenship within a global context, Under the Starry Flag raises important questions about citizenship and immigration.
Sunday, November 4, 2018
Friday, October 26, 2018
From the Bookshelves: Amy Bhatt, High-Tech Housewives: Indian IT Workers, Gendered Labor, and Transmigration
Tech companies such as Google, Amazon, and Microsoft promote the free flow of data worldwide, while relying on foreign temporary IT workers to build, deliver, and support their products. However, even as IT companies use technology and commerce to transcend national barriers, their transnational employees face significant migration and visa constraints. In this revealing ethnography, Amy Bhatt shines a spotlight on Indian IT migrants and their struggles to navigate career paths, citizenship, and belonging as they move between South Asia and the United States.
Through in-depth interviews, Bhatt explores the complex factors that shape IT transmigration and settlement, looking at Indian cultural norms, kinship obligations, friendship networks, gendered and racialized discrimination in the workplace, and inflexible and unstable visa regimes that create worker vulnerability. In particular, Bhatt highlights women's experiences as workers and dependent spouses who move as part of temporary worker programs. Many of the women interviewed were professional peers to their husbands in India but found themselves "housewives" stateside, unable to secure employment because of visa restrictions. Through her focus on the unpaid and feminized placemaking and caregiving labor these women provide, Bhatt shows how women's labor within the household is vital to the functioning of the flexible and transnational system of IT itself.
Monday, October 22, 2018
Jewish immigrants arriving at Ellis Island from Europe in the early 1900s were met with heartache and hope. Starting new lives, many left families behind in Europe and as they attempted to resettle—lacking basic resources such as food, jobs, and living spaces needed to restart.
What emerged from the steady flow of Jewish immigrants to the Lower East Side is landsmanshaftn. The Landsman were people from the same town who settled on the Lower East Side and informally banded together to help new arriving immigrants find a job and other basic needs, essentially the same basic needs immigrants today are yearning for as they look to resettle.
Neil Perry Gordon's newly released Jewish Historical Fiction, A Cobbler's Tale [October 2018], is an immigration story about his great-grandfather who was the founder of the Landsman Society of Krzywcza, which helped people from his village establish new lives in America. In his new book, the stories of Jewish immigration to the Lower East Side are historically accurate; and their influence is still present today.
To research for the book, Gordon visited Ellis Island to gain an understanding of the Jewish immigration story. This included a private tour of the abandoned hospital facilities on the island, which offered insights to the immigration experience.
Thursday, October 18, 2018
This handbook provides guidance for anyone considering serving as an expert witness in an asylum case, as well as best practices for immigration attorneys working with expert witnesses in asylum cases.
Tuesday, October 16, 2018
President Barack Obama was dubbed “Deporter-in-Chief” by immigrant rights advocates for good reason. During his eight years in office, his administration formally removed more than three million noncitizens, compared to two million during George W. Bush’s tenure and about 900,000 under the Bill Clinton administration. At the time he left office, Obama was definitely the reigning Deportation Champion.
Enter Donald Trump. Given the immigration enforcement exploits of President Trump and his administration, Obama’s clutch on the title of “Deporter-in-Chief” is in serious jeopardy. In spite of court actions constraining Trump’s travel ban and Congress’s hesitance to fund the construction of a border wall or a deportation army, Trump’s enforcement henchmen have initiated a frightening deportation campaign with resources that were already in place. Interior enforcement is up, and his threat to local law enforcement officials to take away federal funds if they refuse to cooperate is working. Between his tweeting and the unleashing of mean-spirited Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, noncitizens in the country are scared as hell. Trump is easily on his way to yanking the deportation champ moniker away from Obama.
A central focus of this book is on an important segment of Obama’s removal priority at the border that helped him earn the Deporter-in-Chief title—the apprehension, detention, and removal prioritization of women and children fleeing violence in Central America. In my view, those efforts were reprehensible and cast a dark shadow on Obama’s legacy, even though he took some remarkably courageous steps on behalf of immigrants as well. He deserves credit for DACA, however, Obama’s policy on women and children fleeing Central America has visited great and unnecessary hardship and trauma on migrants victimized by violence.
I was moved to develop this project because the story needs to be told about what in my view is a tragic mistake in so-called immigration enforcement—a mistake that began at the hands of President Barak Obama. While much of the migrant rights community’s attention understandably has been focused nationally on the escalation of immigration enforcement under Donald Trump and internationally on the serious refugee crises like those involving Syrians and the Rohingya, our own humanitarian crisis in this hemisphere has been grossly mishandled starting long before President Trump took office.
While the project began as an effort to shed light on the dark side of Barack Obama’s immigration legacy, the evolution to a more comparative work given Donald Trump’s no-holds-barred harsh immigration enforcement strategies was necessary. His full court attack on immigrants—from Mexicans, to Muslims and those who would be regarded as “low priority” by Obama—has been constant. There is no denying that immigrants and their advocates are constantly on call under Trump.
Melting Pot or Civil War?: A Son of Immigrants Makes the Case Against Open Borders by Reihan Salam (2018)
Melting Pot or Civil War?: A Son of Immigrants Makes the Case Against Open Borders by Reihan Salam (2018)
For too long, liberals have suggested that only cruel, racist, or nativist bigots would want to restrict immigration. Anyone motivated by compassion and egalitarianism would choose open, or nearly-open, borders—or so the argument goes. Now, Reihan Salam, the son of Bangladeshi immigrants, turns this argument on its head. In this deeply researched but also deeply personal book, Salam shows why uncontrolled immigration is bad for everyone, including people like his family. Our current system has intensified the isolation of our native poor, and risks ghettoizing the children of poor immigrants. It ignores the challenges posed by the declining demand for less-skilled labor, even as it exacerbates ethnic inequality and deepens our political divides. If we continue on our current course, in which immigration policy serves wealthy insiders who profit from cheap labor, and cosmopolitan extremists attack the legitimacy of borders, the rise of a new ethnic underclass is inevitable. Even more so than now, class politics will be ethnic politics, and national unity will be impossible. Salam offers a solution, if we have the courage to break with the past and craft an immigration policy that serves our long-term national interests. Rejecting both militant multiculturalism and white identity politics, he argues that limiting total immigration and favoring skilled immigrants will combat rising inequality, balance diversity with assimilation, and foster a new nationalism that puts the interests of all Americans—native-born and foreign-born—first.
For an interview with the author about the book, click here.
Wednesday, October 3, 2018
A moving and timely collection of testimonials from people impacted by hate before and after the 2016 presidential election
“Why am I in this country now? Should I move elsewhere? Do I want to raise my kids in this country, where hate is so visible and rampant? I’ve been in this fight for decades, but even I struggle. Deep down, though, I know we need to stay the course and continue the fight.” —Marwan Kreidie, after a pig’s head was thrown at the Al-Aqsa Islamic Society Mosque in Philadelphia
In American Hate: Survivors Speak Out, Arjun Singh Sethi, a community activist and civil rights lawyer, chronicles the stories of individuals affected by hate. In a series of powerful, unfiltered testimonials, survivors tell their stories in their own words and describe how the bigoted rhetoric and policies of the Trump administration have intensified bullying, discrimination, and even violence toward them and their communities.
We hear from the family of Khalid Jabara, who was murdered in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in August 2016 by a man who had previously harassed and threatened them because they were Arab American. Sethi brings us the story of Jeanette Vizguerra, an undocumented mother of four who took sanctuary in a Denver church in February 2017 because she feared deportation under Trump’s cruel immigration enforcement regime. Sethi interviews Taylor Dumpson, a young black woman who was elected student body president at American University only to find nooses hanging across campus on her first day in office. We hear from many more people impacted by the Trump administration, including Native, black, Arab, Latinx, South Asian, Southeast Asian, Muslim, Jewish, Sikh, undocumented, refugee, transgender, queer, and people with disabilities.
A necessary book for these times, American Hate explores this tragic moment in U.S. history by empowering survivors whose voices white supremacists and right-wing populist movements have tried to silence. It also provides ideas and practices for resistance that all of us can take to combat hate both now and in the future.
Saturday, September 29, 2018
A NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW EDITORS' CHOICE
The deeply reported story of one indelible family transplanted from rural China to New York City, forging a life between two worlds
In 2014, in a snow-covered house in Flushing, Queens, a village revolutionary from Southern China considered his options. Zhuang Liehong was the son of a fisherman, the former owner of a small tea shop, and the spark that had sent his village into an uproar—pitting residents against a corrupt local government. Under the alias Patriot Number One, he had stoked a series of pro-democracy protests, hoping to change his home for the better. Instead, sensing an impending crackdown, Zhuang and his wife, Little Yan, left their infant son with relatives and traveled to America. With few contacts and only a shaky grasp of English, they had to start from scratch.
In Patriot Number One, Hilgers follows this dauntless family through a world hidden in plain sight: a byzantine network of employment agencies and language schools, of underground asylum brokers and illegal dormitories that Flushing’s Chinese community relies on for survival. As the irrepressibly opinionated Zhuang and the more pragmatic Little Yan pursue legal status and struggle to reunite with their son, we also meet others piecing together a new life in Flushing. Tang, a democracy activist who was caught up in the Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989, is still dedicated to his cause after more than a decade in exile. Karen, a college graduate whose mother imagined a bold American life for her, works part-time in a nail salon as she attends vocational school, and refuses to look backward.
With a novelist’s eye for character and detail, Hilgers captures the joys and indignities of building a life in a new country—and the stubborn allure of the American dream.
Friday, September 21, 2018
Melting Pot or Civil War?: A Son of Immigrants Makes the Case Against Open Borders is a forthcoming book (Sept. 25 release date) by National Review executive editor Reihan Salam.
The Wall Street Journal has an excerpt from the book and it's quite the read.
Salam is a member of the second-generation, the child of immigrants from Bangladesh. Salam confronts the "ways that rapid demographic change has affected America’s political psyche."
Here is the first eye-popping paragraph: "we need to recognize that the immigration debate isn’t really about immigrants. In truth, it’s about the children of immigrants."
Salam notes that if the U.S. implemented a guest worker program for single individuals with high skill levels, something akin to programs in Singapore or Qatar, immigration wouldn't be a hot button issue. "But that’s not how America works," Salam writes. "If we welcome you in as part of the flock, we also welcome your offspring."
So, if the immigration debate is about the children of immigrants, and fears that those children will outnumber the children of "natives," what should be done? Salam argues that "The key to averting a civil war over immigration is for the U.S. to do everything in its power to make sure that the children of natives and the children of immigrants alike are incorporated into a common national identity and, just as importantly, that they’re in a position to lead healthy and productive lives as adults. We need, in short, to make America a middle-class melting pot."
How does he propose doing this? He has three steps. First, "the key policy priority has to be integration, as opposed to opening our borders. This would mean, in the first place, an amnesty for the long-settled unauthorized immigrant population."
Second, "This amnesty must be contingent, however, on the adoption of a more selective, skills-based immigration system. The U.S. needs to give priority to the earning potential of applicants over their family ties, thus breaking with our current approach. Doing so will help to ensure that new arrivals are in a position to thrive in a changing U.S. labor market and that they can provide for their children without relying on programs meant to help the poorest of the American poor, not those who have chosen to make their homes here."
"Finally, and most important, we must invest the time and money it will take to ensure that all of America’s youth can grow up to lead decent lives. If that means higher taxes on the high-income professionals who have profited so mightily from immigrant labor, so be it."
Wednesday, September 19, 2018
Jose describes the book as about:
...homelessness, not in a traditional sense, but in the unsettled, unmoored psychological state that undocumented immigrants like myself find ourselves in. This book is about lying and being forced to lie to get by; about passing as an American and as a contributing citizen; about families, keeping them together, and having to make new ones when you can’t. This book is about constantly hiding from the government and, in the process, hiding from ourselves. This book is about what it means to not have a home.
Time has an excerpt from the book and is is riveting. It describes the moment when Jose appeared on Fox News alongside a woman whose son was killed by an undocumented individual.
The woman, Laura Wilkerson, told Jose "It's up to you to get in line and become an American citizen." Jose responded "there is no line for be to get in the back of." But Wilkerson didn't listen, she repeated that Jose needed to get in line. At which point Jose writes: "I wanted to scream, over and over again: THERE IS NO LINE! THERE IS NO LINE! THERE IS NO LINE!"
Jose will be doing a book tour. Here is a list of the dates and locations.
Sunday, September 16, 2018
Send Them Back by Irwin P. Stotzky (2018)
Send Them Back tells part of the story of a remarkable attempt, which spanned four decades, to bring the rule of law to refugees from the troubled nation of Haiti. It discusses several of the cases that civil rights lawyers, working directly with Haitians and other activists, filed and litigated for Haitian refugees, and the legal, social, and political aspects of such litigation. The litigation fostered structural legal changes, policies meant to cure the inequities in the treatment of refugees, and a determined political opposition to unfair and illegal immigration decisions.
Saturday, September 15, 2018
From the Bookshelves: Refugee Law and Policy: A Comparative and International Approach by Karen Musalo, Jennifer Moore, Richard A. Boswell, Annie Daher (fifth edition 2018)
Refugee Law and Policy: A Comparative and International Approach by Karen Musalo, Jennifer Moore, Richard A. Boswell, Annie Daher (fifth edition 2018).
The fifth edition of Refugee Law and Policy, which reviews legal developments through early 2018, provides a thoughtful scholarly analysis of refugee law and related protections such as those available under the Convention against Torture. The book is rooted in an international law perspective and enhanced by a comparative approach. Starting with ancient precursors to asylum, the casebook portrays refugee law as dynamic across time and cultural contexts.
Although Refugee Law and Policy is directed toward students of US law, it draws on the legislation, jurisprudence and guidelines of other Refugee Convention and Protocol signatories, including Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. The casebook is up to date on developments to harmonize refugee policy within the European Union, and includes discussion of relevant EU directives. Refugee Law and Policy also compares current trends in refugee law to parallel trends in human rights and humanitarian and international criminal law. In its treatment of both US and global trends, Refugee Law and Policy examines some of the most controversial contemporary issues in refugee law. This edition incorporates discussion of reforms and developments stemming from 9/11 and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Syrian refugee crisis, and the increase or “surge” in refugees entering the US as a result of rising violence in the northern triangle countries (El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala) of Central America over the last decade. It expands its focus on the denial of access to the territory of the country of asylum through use of interdiction, as well as expedited removal and similar “accelerated” procedures. It also discusses punitive measures intended to deter asylum seekers, such as the increased use of detention.
Refugee Law and Policy also carefully examines developments in the substantive interpretation of asylum claims. This edition includes substantial materials on the cutting-edge area of social group claims and their relevance to claims for protection based on gender-based persecution and LGBT status, as well as in the context of claims based on fear of gangs. It includes an extensive discussion of the “social distinction” and “particularity” requirements, which have had a significant impact on the scope of protection. Since the casebook addresses both substance and procedure, with a focus on practice as well as theory, it is an excellent text not only for students, but for practitioners and those in government agencies as well.
Friday, September 14, 2018
From the Bookshelves: Immigration and Nationality Law: Cases and Materials by Richard A. Boswell (5th edition 2018)
Teacher's Manual available
The fifth edition of Immigration and Nationality Law provides both a practical and theoretical framework for understanding the issues and procedural rules which constitute current US immigration law. The book covers all aspects of what is commonly regarded as immigration and nationality law, covering immigrant rights, citizenship, expatriation, inadmissibility, deportability, removal, waivers, relief from removal, asylum and refugees, nonimmigrant visas, and acquisition and loss of permanent residency. All of this is approached from both a substantive and procedural context, using problems and flow charts to help the student or new practitioner to more easily grasp this complicated subject matter. The fifth edition has been significantly revised and incorporates case law and developments through December 2017 including the Travel Ban, DACA, and sanctuary city litigation. Since the book addresses both substance and procedure, with a focus on practice as well as theory, it is an excellent text not only for students, but for practitioners and those in government agencies. Immigration and Nationality Law also includes a dynamic Teacher’s Manual which summarizes the cases providing additional questions and problems that can be used by the instructor. View the Table of Contents and more! Request an examination copy!
Monday, September 3, 2018
Monica Edinger for the New York Times reports on the increase in picture books on the migration and refugee experience. "Whether they are nostalgic reveries of those who came long ago to this nation of immigrants, or the brutal nightmares of worldwide millions fleeing war, violence and persecution today, memories of migration matter. Telling these stories seems more important than ever — even, and some might say especially, to children. A wave of picture books has arrived to help with this difficult task."
Friday, August 31, 2018
From the Bookshelves: In a Day’s Work: The Fight to End Sexual Violence Against America’s Most Vulnerable Workers by Bernice Yeung
An acclaimed journalist investigates sexual assault against the invisible workers who are an essential part of the #metoo and #timesup movements
Apple orchards in bucolic Washington State. Office parks in Southern California under cover of night. The home of an elderly man in Miami. These are some of the workplaces where female workers have suffered brutal sexual assault and shocking harassment at the hands of their employers, often with little or no official recourse. In this harrowing yet often inspiring tale, investigative journalist Bernice Yeung exposes the epidemic of sexual violence levied against women farmworkers, domestic workers, and janitorial workers and charts their quest for justice in the workplace.
Yeung takes readers on a journey across the country, introducing us to women who came to America to escape grinding poverty only to encounter sexual violence in the United States. In a Day’s Work exposes the underbelly of economies filled with employers who take advantage of immigrant women’s need to earn a basic living. When these women find the courage to speak up, Yeung reveals, they are too often met by apathetic bosses and underresourced government agencies. But In a Day’s Work also tells a story of resistance, introducing a group of courageous allies who challenge dangerous and discriminatory workplace conditions alongside aggrieved workers—and win. Moving and inspiring, this book will change our understanding of the lives of immigrant women.
Thursday, August 30, 2018
From the Bookshelves: Homelands: Four Friends, Two Countries and the Fate of the Great Mexican-American Migration by Alfredo Corchando
From prizewinning journalist and immigration expert Alfredo Corchado comes the sweeping story of the great Mexican migration from the late 1980s to today.
When Alfredo Corchado moved to Philadelphia in 1987, he felt as if he was the only Mexican in the city. But in a restaurant called Tequilas, he connected with two other Mexican men and one Mexican American, all feeling similarly isolated. Over the next three decades, the four friends continued to meet, coming together over their shared Mexican roots and their love of tequila. One was a radical activist, another a restaurant/tequila entrepreneur, the third a lawyer/politician. Alfredo himself was a young reporter for the Wall Street Journal.
Homelands merges the political and the personal, telling the story of the last great Mexican migration through the eyes of four friends at a time when the Mexican population in the United States swelled from 700,000 people during the 1970s to more than 35 million people today. It is the narrative of the United States in a painful economic and political transition.
As we move into a divisive, nativist new era of immigration politics, Homelands is a must-read to understand the past and future of the immigrant story in the United States, and the role of Mexicans in shaping America's history. A deeply moving book full of colorful characters searching for home, it is essential reading.