Tuesday, January 25, 2022
Immigration Article of the Day: Birth of a nation: Race, regulation, and the rise of the modern state by Jennifer M. Chacón
In Birth of a nation: Race, regulation, and the rise of the modern state, 33 Cultural Dynamics 257 (2021), immprof Jennifer Chacón (Berkeley) comments on Radhika Mongia's book Indian Migration and Empire: A Colonial Genealogy of the Modern State (Duke University Press, 2018 and Permanent Black Press, 2019). Chacón begins her comments:
In Indian Migration and Empire: A Colonial Genealogy of the Modern State, Mongia (2018) pushes against what she calls “a methodological statism,” which she defines as “a position that naturalizes the state.” (p. 5) She persuasively reveals how methodological statism is not limited to traditional imperial accounts of state formation, but also influences critical accounts. To denaturalize the state, and in so doing, to generate a more accurate assessment of the origins and significance of contemporary migration regulation, Mongia focuses on the practices, techniques and institutions of the colonial regulation of Indian migration from 1834 to 1917. She approaches her analysis of migration management not through the examination of regulations within a particular state; such an approach merely accepts the presumed “stateness” of certain entities and practices, which are actually in historical flux and in question. She therefore approaches migration regulation from outside of the state, focusing historically on the global technologies of migration control. The resulting account illustrates that the tools and justifications for migration control are not diffused from center to periphery, but are instead the product of a relational, though assuredly hierarchical, coproduction (p. 147).
Monday, January 24, 2022
From the Bookshelves: Taking Down Backpage: Fighting the World’s Largest Sex Trafficker by Maggie Krell
Here is the publisher's description of the book:
"Insider details from the takedown of Backpage, the world’s largest sex trafficker, by the prosecutor who led the charge
For almost a decade, Backpage.com was the world’s largest sex trafficking operation. Seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day, in 800 cities throughout the world, Backpage ran thousands of listings advertising the sale of vulnerable young people for sex. Reaping a cut off every transaction, the owners of the website raked in millions of dollars. But many of the people in the advertisements were children, as young as 12, and forced into the commercial sex trade through fear, violence and coercion.
In Taking Down Backpage, veteran California prosecutor Maggy Krell tells the story of how she and her team battled against this sex trafficking monolith. Beginning with her early career as a young DA, she shares the evolution of the anti-human trafficking movement. Through a fascinating combination of memoir and legal insight, Krell reveals how she and her team started with the prosecution of street pimps and ultimately ended with the takedown of the largest purveyor of human trafficking in the world. She shares powerful stories of interviews with survivors, sting operations, court cases, and the personal struggles that were necessary to bring Backpage executives to justice. Finally, Krell examines the state of sex trafficking after Backpage and the crucial work that still remains.
Taking Down Backpage is a gripping story of tragedy, overcoming adversity, and the pursuit of justice that gives insight into the fight against sex trafficking in the digital age."
Sunday, January 23, 2022
Moving Forward, 50 Southwestern L. Rev. 208 (2021), is immprof Jennifer Chacón's contribution to the Southwestern Law Review's symposium about Beth Caldwell's 2019 book Deported Americans: Life after Deportation to Mexico.
Here's Jennifer's introduction:
We live in a world of permeable borders. Money, goods, information, and the global elite move across borders almost effortlessly. Corporate entities straddle borders, and governmental policies have transnational effect.
But not everyone moves easily across borders. In the United States, federal laws permit the expulsion and the permanent exclusion of long-term residents. This includes people who never had, or at the time of expulsion lack, authorization to be in the country. It also includes individuals who are lawfully present but whose past conduct renders them deportable. Unlike many legal systems around the world that accord significant weight to equitable considerations, such as a noncitizen's family and community ties when weighing the question of deportability, the U.S. legal system often gives little weight, and sometimes completely precludes, such considerations in removal proceedings. And once individuals are removed from the country, practical and legal barriers to return are often insurmountable, even in the cases of individuals with strong ties to the United States.
The result is a diasporic community in exile: people around the world- but disproportionately in Mexico and Central America-who think about themselves as "American" but have no legal right to return to their affective home. Once expelled, these individuals are placed outside of the frame of this country's perennial discussion of "comprehensive immigration reform." No reform plan on the table in recent years has made room for the globally- exiled victims of an unforgiving system of immigration laws. The impact of the immigration law on the lives of these deportees-and on their families, workplaces, and communities they leave behind-is generally lost to U.S. residents in a fog of motivated forgetting.
The people of the United States of America have always been peculiarly adept at constructing national myths that fail to grapple with, or even account for, past harm. From their erasure of the dispossession and genocide of indigenous people, to their string of broken treaties with native nations, to their failure to make reparations for centuries of slavery, to their seldom discussed, ongoing colonial occupation of various island territories, U.S.atrocities and anti-democratic efforts have been shrouded in a majoritarian silence. Periodic waves of xenophobic expulsion efforts-from the massacre of Chinese immigrants during the Chinese Exclusion era, to the mass deportations of Mexicans residing in the United States in the 1930s and again in the 1950s, to the great expulsion of the last three decades--also weigh lightly on the nation's collective memory.
Beth Caldwell has declined to participate in this exercise of motivated forgetting. In her book, Deported Americans, she bears witness to the stories of the exiled. She recounts what they have lost in the expulsion process: the lives they left behind, and the emotional and material suffering they endured. She tells us how they coped, or failed to cope. She recounts stories of addiction and decline, as well as stories of remarkable resilience and creativity. She explains how long-term U.S. residence permanently marks and disadvantages people, but also how some have turned their experiences as long-time U.S. residents into strengths as they navigate the foreign cultural and economic terrain of their countries of nationality.
Those who care enough about the truth to read Caldwell's book cannot help but be moved by it. Unsurprisingly, her book has provoked a diverse collection of thoughtful responses from some of the best-known scholars working in the immigration field. Their responses are captured in the pages that follow, and I have broadly grouped them here under the rubrics of history, storytelling, and law reform.
Wednesday, January 19, 2022
Alan Hyde Reviews The Border Within: The Economics of Immigration in an Age of Fear by Tara Watson and Kalee Thompson
Immprof Alan Hyde (Rutgers) offers the following review of The Border Within: The Economics of Immigration in an Age of Fear, a new book by Tara Watson and Kalee Thompson:
This collaboration between an economist and a journalist results in two good books, rather basted together. One is the up-to-date summary, of the economic literature on immigration to the US, for which many of us have been waiting, at least until David Card or Giovanni Peri writes that book. Finally we have something to give your colleague who opines that immigrants take jobs from native workers because George Borjas said so. Watson is complete, up-to-date, and fair-minded. Even if you follow this literature, you will learn something. She stays very close to the sources. She does not stand back and observe the restrictionist bias in immigration economics, how there is always funding for the twentieth redundant study of immigrant crime or labor substitution, while if one wants data on immigrant contributions, like founding businesses, unpaid labor, or urban revitalization, one must rely on estimates from Stuart Anderson (not cited) or other authors.
Armed with the economic and sociology studies, the reader will be prepared to discuss such policy issues as allocation of visas, though these authors choose to explore only interior enforcement. The writing is for academics comfortable with phrasing like “association in the expected direction.”
That’s a shame, because, literally intercut with the economic and policy summaries, are the gripping narratives of six Americans, in the country without authorization, and their families. This builds suspense as we watch each heading toward their inevitable confrontation with ICE. This alteration between journalism and academic writing is a brilliant concept that I certainly wish I had thought of. All are employed or students. None has significant criminal activity. Each is economically productive. And each will interact with ICE. Some will be deported. Some will benefit from DACA or priorities memos. The results are arbitrary. All are in perpetual limbo. Their uncertain and uncorrectable status limits their economic contribution and imposes significant stress, brilliantly portrayed.
The authors make only general policy suggestions. They maintain that internal immigration enforcement is necessary and: “The upshot is the need to build a humane and effective enforcement strategy.” This reader instead concluded that interior enforcement contributes nothing to the US and is enormously costly, disrupting productive American lives and costing taxpayers in order to achieve nothing.
Monday, January 10, 2022
I love a good novel. An immigration novel? I'm definitely in.
Check out No Land to Light On a new novel by Yara Zgheib. Here's the publisher's pitch:
Hadi and Sama are a young Syrian couple flying high on a whirlwind love, dreaming up a life in the country that brought them together. She had come to Boston years before chasing dreams of a bigger life; he’d landed there as a sponsored refugee from a bloody civil war. Now, they are giddily awaiting the birth of their son, a boy whose native language would be freedom and belonging.
When Sama is five months pregnant, Hadi’s father dies suddenly in Jordan, the night before his visa appointment at the embassy. Hadi flies back for the funeral, promising his wife that he’ll only be gone for a few days. On the day his flight is due to arrive in Boston, Sama is waiting for him at the airport, eager to bring him back home. But as the minutes and then hours pass, she continues to wait, unaware that Hadi has been stopped at the border and detained for questioning, trapped in a timeless, nightmarish limbo.
Worlds apart, suspended between hope and disillusion as hours become days become weeks, Sama and Hadi yearn for a way back to each other, and to the life they’d dreamed up together. But does that life exist anymore, or was it only an illusion?
Achingly intimate yet poignantly universal, No Land to Light On is the story of a family caught up in forces beyond their control, fighting for the freedom and home they found in one another.
WaPo's review is positive, concluding that that book "will stir lively debate among readers."
Sunday, January 9, 2022
From the Bookshelves: Journeys from There to Here: Stories of Immigrant Trials, Triumphs, and Contributions by Susan J. Cohen and Steven T. Taylor
Journeys from There to Here: Stories of Immigrant Trials, Triumphs, and Contributions is a new book by immigration attorney Susan J. Cohen and Steven T. Taylor. Here's the publisher's pitch:
In this eye-opening collection of immigrant trials, triumphs, and contributions, leading immigration lawyer Susan Cohen invites you to walk with her clients as they share their incredible journeys coming to America while overcoming unimaginable dangers and often heartbreaking obstacles abroad. Cohen masterfully uplifts marginalized voices, laying bare the remarkable realities of staggering hardships and inspiring resilience.
Sprinkled with amusing anecdotes, tense junctures, and heartwarming segments, you will sit front and center at the courtroom learning about US immigration policies and systems—which often become an immigrant’s greatest hurdle—while also discovering the ways unscrupulous American citizens take advantage of those not born in the States. As you ride the ups and downs and follow the zig-zagging twists and turns of their travails, you will discover the many ways immigrants from all over the world give back to their local communities and enrich the fabric of the nation. Finding yourself enmeshed in their stories, you will gain insight, grow in empathy, and come to understand what it truly takes to become an American citizen.
As the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle describes it: "Each chapter recounts the case of one individual or family and highlights some of the shortcomings and obstacles in the United States immigration policy while showing possibilities for reform."
Cohen is donating the proceeds from her book to political asylum associations.
Friday, January 7, 2022
From the Bookshelves: White Borders: The History of Race and Immigration in the United States from Chinese Exclusion to the Border Wall, by Reece Jones
This new book by Reece Jones argues that the US immigration laws have always been motivated by racial exclusion the desire to save the idea of a white America. Reece Jones is Professor and Chair of the Department of Geography, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Here's more on the book from the publisher's web page:
Racist anti-immigration policies, from the border wall to the Muslim ban, have left many Americans wondering: How did we get here? In a sweeping account, Reece Jones reveals that although the US is often mythologized as a nation of immigrants, it has a long history of immigration restrictions that are rooted in the racist fear of the “great replacement” of whites with non-white immigrants. After the arrival of the first slave ship in 1619, the colonies that became the United States were based on the dual foundation of open immigration for whites from Northern Europe and racial exclusion of slaves from Africa, Native Americans, and, eventually, immigrants from other parts of the world.
Connecting past to present, Jones uncovers the link between the Chinese Exclusion laws of the 1880s, the “Keep America American” nativism of the 1920s, and the “Build the Wall” chants initiated by former president Trump in 2016. Along the way, we meet a bizarre cast of characters, such as John Tanton, Cordelia Scaife May, and Stephen Miller, who moved fringe ideas about “white genocide” and “race suicide” into mainstream political discourse. Through gripping stories and in-depth analysis, Jones explores the connections between anti-immigration hate groups and the Republican Party, exposing the lasting impacts of white supremacist ideas on United States law.
Tuesday, January 4, 2022
“A knockout of a book.” —Viet Thanh Nguyen, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sympathizer and The Committed
“Fiona and Jane is the book I did not know I was waiting to be written. . . . Read this remarkable work of fiction and feel the world open up around you.” —Angela Flournoy, author of National Book Award finalist The Turner House
“Unsentimental, subtly subversive, and always surprising. . . . I love this book.” —Cathy Park Hong, author of Pulitzer Prize finalist Minor Feelings
A witty, warm, and irreverent book that traces the lives of two young Taiwanese American women as they navigate friendship, sexuality, identity, and heartbreak over two decades.
Best friends since second grade, Fiona Lin and Jane Shen explore the lonely freeways and seedy bars of Los Angeles together through their teenage years, surviving unfulfilling romantic encounters, and carrying with them the scars of their families' tumultuous pasts. Fiona was always destined to leave, her effortless beauty burnished by fierce ambition—qualities that Jane admired and feared in equal measure. When Fiona moves to New York and cares for a sick friend through a breakup with an opportunistic boyfriend, Jane remains in California and grieves her estranged father's sudden death, in the process alienating an overzealous girlfriend. Strained by distance and unintended betrayals, the women float in and out of each other's lives, their friendship both a beacon of home and a reminder of all they've lost.
In stories told in alternating voices, Jean Chen Ho's debut collection peels back the layers of female friendship—the intensity, resentment, and boundless love—to probe the beating hearts of young women coming to terms with themselves, and each other, in light of the insecurities and shame that holds them back.
Spanning countries and selves, Fiona and Jane is an intimate portrait of a friendship, a deep dive into the universal perplexities of being young and alive, and a bracingly honest account of two Asian women who dare to stake a claim on joy in a changing, contemporary America."
Monday, January 3, 2022
Immigration Article of the Day: Constantine’s Legacy: Preserving Empire While Undermining International Law by Craig Mousin
Constantine’s Legacy: Preserving Empire While Undermining International Law is immprof Craig Mousin's contribution to the book Christianity and International Law: An Introduction (Slotte, P., & Haskell, J. eds, Cambridge U Press 2021). Here's the abstract:
As refugees seek safety, they find nations erecting walls of steel interlaced with legal strategies that undermine the international protections forged from the tragedy of the Holocaust….This chapter explores the interlocking struggle between Christian hospitality toward the outsider and Christian refusal to offer that hospitality in support of national security. Christian beliefs that encourage submission to governing authorities and prioritize the nation undermine international law to the detriment of not only refugees, but also citizens and the world community. The chapter first explores Christianity’s transition from persecution to establishment after Emperor Constantine’s conversion to Christianity. Some of the seeds planted in such a transition contributed to later religious wars and eventually flourished in the nations-states that developed after 1648. Next, the chapter argues that many of the executive orders and federal policies established after 2016 have undermined the commitment to refugee protection established by international law. It then explores the scriptural and theological positions that have influenced the post-2016 federal policy. Specifically, the chapter examines the policies of deterring applicants for asylum, expanding immigration detention, permitting untrammeled Immigration Customs Enforcement and Border Patrol enforcement, and undermining the rule of law. Although the First Amendment to the Constitution precludes Scripture from determining law, citizens debating the merits of refugee and immigration policy may rely on Scripture to inspire policy choices. The chapter presents an alternative interpretation of Scripture to fulfill the goal of protecting asylum seekers and those requesting assistance when approaching a nation’s borders while simultaneously reinvigorating the protections promised by international law.
Saturday, January 1, 2022
The best way to celebrate the first day of 2022 is with a look back at the wonderful things that immigration law professors published in 2021.
Here are some of the book chapters that immprofs published:
- Deborah Anker, Regional Refugee Regimes: North America in The Oxford Handbook of International Refugee Law (Cathryn Costello, Michelle Foster, and Jane McAdam, eds.)
- Jon Bauer, Overview and Historical Background of U.S. Asylum Law, in Asylum Medicine: A Clinician's Guide (Katherine C. McKenzie, ed.)
- Jennifer Chacón, Prosecutors and the Immigration Enforcement System, in Oxford Handbook on Prosecutors and Prosecution (R. Gold, R. Wright & K. Levine, eds., Oxford University Press, 2021)
- Jennifer Chacón, Criminalization of Immigration in Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice (Henry Pontell, et al., eds., Oxford University Press, 2021)
- Rose Cuison-Villazor, True Faith, Allegiance, and Citizenship, in Christianity and the Law of Migration (Silas W. Allard, Kristin E. Heyer, Raj Nadella eds., Routledge 2021)
- Valeria Gomez (with S. Megan Berthold), Best Practices for Writing Affidavits and Preparing for Testimony, in Asylum Medicine: A Clinician's Guide (Katherine C. McKenzie, ed.)
- Bill Ong Hing, In Defense of Chain Migration, in Christianity and the Law of Migration (Silas W. Allard, Kristin E. Heyer, Raj Nadella eds., Routledge 2021)
- aniel Kanstroom, Exclusion, Admission, and Deportation: Categorical Evolution and Normative Challenges, in Christianity and the Law of Migration (Silas W. Allard, Kristin E. Heyer, Raj Nadella eds., Routledge 2021)
- Craig Mousin, Constantine’s Legacy: Preserving Empire While Undermining International Law, in Christianity and International Law: An Introduction (Law and Christianity) (Slotte, P., & Haskell, J., eds., Cambridge University Press, 2021).
- Michele R. Pistone, The State of the Law on Refugees, Asylees, and Stateless Persons, in Christianity and the Law of Migration (Silas W. Allard, Kristin E. Heyer, Raj Nadella eds., Routledge 2021)
- Enid Trucios-Haynes, The Institutionalization of Inequality: Lower-Skilled and Undocumented Workers in Immigration Law, in Christianity and the Law of Migration (Silas W. Allard, Kristin E. Heyer, Raj Nadella eds., Routledge 2021)
And here are some of the books authored by immprofs in 2021:
- Sahar F. Aziz, The Racial Muslim: When Racism Quashes Religious Freedom
- Angela Banks, Civic Education in the Age of Mass Migration
- Robert Franklin Barsky, Clamouring for Legal Protection--What the Great Books Teach Us About People Fleeing from Persecution
- Jennifer Chacón, Bill Hing, Kevin Johnson, Immigration Law and Social Justice (2d edition)
- César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández, Crimmigration Law (2d edition)
- Amanda Frost, You Are Not American: Citizenship Stripping from Dred Scott to the Dreamers
- Jaya Ramji-Nogales and Iris Goldner Lang, Migration in the Time of COVID-19: Comparative Law and Policy Responses
- Andrew I. Schoenholtz, Jaya Ramji-Nogales, and Philip G. Schrag, The End of Asylum (Georgetown U Press)
Sunday, December 26, 2021
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."
Friday, December 24, 2021
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."
Sunday, December 19, 2021
This is Refugee, a 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.
Friday, December 17, 2021
Beyond Imagination?: The January 6 Insurrection
Mark C. Alexander, General Editor
Michèle AlexandreErwin S. Chemerinsky Danielle M. Conway Anthony W. Crowell Garry W. Jenkins Kevin R. Johnson Jennifer L. Mnookin
Kimberly MutchersonAndrew M. Perlman Carla D. Pratt Theodore W. Ruger Daniel P. Tokaji Robert K. Vischer
Beyond Imagination?: The January 6 Insurrection brings together 14 deans of American law schools to examine the January 6 events and how we got there, from a legal perspective, in hopes of moving the nation forward towards healing and a recommitment to the rule of law and the Constitution. Review Now – Complimentary Digital CopyFaculty considering adoption may request a complimentary print review copy. Faculty who wish to purchase can save 20% with discount code BEYOND20 at checkout on westacademic.com.
About the Coursebook: The United States is a nation of laws, and its Constitution and the rule of law have allowed it to confront and successfully navigate many threats to democracy throughout the nation’s complex history, including a Civil War. All of these threats challenged the nation in various ways, but never has there been a challenge to the truth of our elections like what happened on January 6, 2021.(Read more)9781636598741The Insurrection represents a turning point in America’s history. In addition to the unprecedented assault on the U.S. Capitol, members of the government sought to undermine an election and supported an attack on the government. Exposing the issues that led us to January 6, Beyond Imagination? brings together 14 deans of American law schools to examine the day’s events and how we got there, from a legal perspective, in hopes of moving the nation forward towards healing and a recommitment to the rule of law and the Constitution.
CONTACT YOUR ACCOUNT MANAGER
The United States is a nation of laws, and its Constitution and the rule of law have allowed it to confront and successfully navigate many threats to democracy throughout the nation’s complex history, including a Civil War. All of these threats challenged the nation in various ways, but never has there been a challenge to the truth of our elections like what happened on January 6, 2021.
The Insurrection represents a turning point in America’s history. In addition to the unprecedented assault on the U.S. Capitol, members of the government sought to undermine an election and supported an attack on the government.
Exposing the issues that led us to January 6, Beyond Imagination? brings together 14 deans of American law schools to examine the day’s events and how we got there, from a legal perspective, in hopes of moving the nation forward towards healing and a recommitment to the rule of law and the Constitution.
Thursday, December 16, 2021
From The Bookshelves: The Rule of Law in the United States: An Unfinished Project of Black Liberation by Paul Gowder
The Rule of Law in the United States: An Unfinished Project of Black Liberation is a just-released, open-access book authored by Paul Gowder (Northwestern).
Check out Chapter 6. The Gavel and the Fist: The Problem of Sovereignty and Borders. Here's a sample:
The origins of our immigration law lie in the Chinese Exclusion Act era, which wrote open racism into federal law; its plenary power doctrine is shared with the covertly colonial relationship between the federal government and Native American Nations, and the openly colonial Insular Cases – both covering groups who have been represented as quasi-foreigners with subordinate legal rights. In many respects its formal characteristics are a reprise (albeit at a lower key) of many of the ways in which slavery and Jim Crow warped the American legal system. Immigration, like slavery, has been characterised by the rhetorical and legal creation of categories of legal non-subjects or outlaws who are excluded from the ordinary protections of due process and subject to the whims of both specially empowered public officials as well as private persons. And much as in the time of slavery, immigration law today creates perennial conflicts over federalism, as states struggle to be more or less protective of migrants than the federal government would permit. Slavery even raised the legal issue most characteristic of immigration law, deportation itself, as some contended that free Black Americans were noncitizens who could be forcibly removed from US territory or from specific states, or at least encouraged to leave. In recent years the notion of ‘self-deportation’ has been popular on the political right in the form of the open desire to make conditions so unpleasant for immigrants that they leave of their own ‘free will’. But this is a longstanding US policy that was also applied to Black Americans and to Native Americans.
Much like the Fugitive Slave Act, in immigration too the existence of legal caste has compromised the procedural protections available to those whom the law targets as well as those adjacent; the immigration enforcement regime thereby poses a threat to the protections of law for citizens and others outside the immediate immigration context. The organisations tasked with immigration enforcement, like all bureaucracies, have a tendency to grow and to propagate the distinctive logic of their operation – in the case of the immigration agencies, a lack of internal legal culture and habit of ignoring individual rights. The willingness of political leaders, courts, and ordinary citizens to ignore the lawless behaviour of the immigration enforcement agencies has a corrupting effect on their collective capacity to check the lawless behaviour of other public officials. And the boundary between the categories of ‘citizen’ and ‘non-citizen’ is sufficiently porous, both conceptually and in practice, that citizens cannot safely assume that the misconduct of these officials will not be directed against them. Such is the argument of this chapter.
Monday, December 13, 2021
From the Bookshelves: Bad Mexicans: Race, Empire, and Revolution in the Borderlands by Kelly Lytle Hernandez
The story of the rebel journalist, exiled in America, who sparked the Mexican Revolution.
Few Americans today know the significance of Ricardo Flores Magón (1874–1922) and the magonistas, a group of agitators who challenged Mexican dictator Porfirio Díaz in the early twentieth century. But distinguished historian Kelly Lytle Hernández argues their cross-border insurgency, launched from U.S. soil, was a landmark revolt against the U.S. empire and the suffocating power Anglo-Americans held over Mexican lives.
Through protest and armed rebellion, the magonistas ignited the 1910 Mexican Revolution, which upended North America. Their story reads like a thriller, with the rebels evading an international manhunt amid a swirl of love affairs, betrayals, and dramatic battlefield raids. Pursued by the nascent FBI, the rebels wrote in secret code and organized thousands of workers to their cause. Lytle Hernandez documents how the magonista uprising, and the failed Anglo-American campaign to stop them, proved foundational to the history of race, immigration, and violence in the United States.
Friday, December 10, 2021
Last month, Kevin tipped y'all off to this new book from J.C. Salyer: Court of Injustice: Law Without Recognition in U.S. Immigration (Stanford University Press, 2020).
Today, let me point you to the recently published review of that same book by Anita Maddali (NIU). Anita writes:
[A] seasoned immigration attorney himself, and an anthropologist, Salyer frames his book, Court of Injustice: Law Without Recognition in U.S. Immigration, around the Supreme Court’s decision in Trump v. Hawaii, by highlighting the plenary power doctrine, which gives Congress and the President nearly unfettered discretion in the realm of immigration. While many hoped that the Supreme Court would find President Trump’s travel ban unconstitutional, Salyer explains that the “state of exception” within which immigration law operates and is justified “by portraying immigrants as racialized others threatening to society,” is one that immigration attorneys, but not necessarily the public, know all too well (p. 4)....
Salyer begins with a chapter entitled Migrants, Criminal Aliens and Folk Devils, in which he outlines the historical parallels between the harsh treatment of children within the juvenile and criminal justice systems with the increasingly punitive treatment of immigrants. In moments of “moral panic,” he explains, groups of people are identified as irredeemable, and extreme laws are enacted to quell social and cultural anxieties around perceived declines in the moral functioning of society (p. 36-38). In the context of immigration, lawmakers have constructed a binary relationship between aliens and citizens, with aliens representing dangerous others who pose a threat to society. Salyer demonstrates how, historically, the loss of discretion in criminal law mirrors the loss of discretion within immigration law, where immigration judges are, in many cases, unable to consider personal and social factors to offer relief from deportation....
Salyer’s significant contribution begins when he merges his legal expertise with his anthropological ethnography work. Through his fieldwork, he explores the role of immigration lawyers and judges in New York City. He comes to understand their role from interviews with lawyers, and from an anonymous survey of immigration judges who shared their perspectives. From these interviews and the survey results, we learn of the frustrations that both judges and lawyers face within a system that is rigid and unforgiving, placing people into legal categories, rather than allowing judges to consider the equities of individual cases. At the same time, we are offered a glimpse into the motivations of attorneys who continue to persist within such an unforgiving system. They regularly use their legal acumen, creativity and grit to advocate on behalf of their clients, and in doing so, have found some immigration judges who would assist them in this work....
This book impressively combines legal and anthropological expertise, contrasting the nuance of law and practice with the on-the-ground experiences of individuals working within the system. There is much to deconstruct in the realm of immigration law, but by interrogating the every day experiences of lawyers, we are able to catch a glimpse of effective forms of resistance, such as the program in New York City, absent legislative reform. By understanding the intricacies of the practice of immigration law, Salyer offers his readers insight into both the challenges and complexities of practicing within this system, and the possibilities for liberatory change.
Wednesday, December 8, 2021
The author blogs about the book, and why she wrote it, here.
Here is an absract from Amazon.com:
"From creating beautiful music like Yo-Yo Ma to flying to outer space like Franklin Chang-Díaz; from standing up to injustice like Fred Korematsu to becoming the first Asian American, Black and female vice president of the United States like Kamala Harris, this book illuminates the power of Asian Americans all over the country, in all sorts of fields.
Each spread is illustrated by a different renowned Asian American or Asian artist. Alongside the poetic main text, Yes We Will includes one-line biographies of the person or historical moment featured on the page, with extended biographies at the end. Readers of different ages and needs can use the book in different ways, from classroom discussions to bedtime readalouds and more.
Yes We Will answers the question, can we accomplish whatever we dream? With love, courage, determination, and lots of imagination, we can—and we will!"
I. M. Pei
Philip Vera Cruz
Hat tip to immigration scholar Carrie Rosenbaum.
Friday, December 3, 2021
Oh, man. I'm a sucker for a good graphic novel. A graphic memoir? So cool. Check this one out: I Was Their American Dream by Malaka Gharib. Here's the publisher's pitch:
I Was Their American Dream is at once a coming-of-age story and a reminder of the thousands of immigrants who come to America in search for a better life for themselves and their children. The daughter of parents with unfulfilled dreams themselves, Malaka navigated her childhood chasing her parents' ideals, learning to code-switch between her family's Filipino and Egyptian customs, adapting to white culture to fit in, crushing on skater boys, and trying to understand the tension between holding onto cultural values and trying to be an all-American kid.
Malaka Gharib's triumphant graphic memoir brings to life her teenage antics and illuminates earnest questions about identity and culture, while providing thoughtful insight into the lives of modern immigrants and the generation of millennial children they raised. Malaka's story is a heartfelt tribute to the American immigrants who have invested their future in the promise of the American dream.
On Amazon, the "Look Inside" feature will give you a glimpse at some of the novel's fabulous images and compelling story line.
Wednesday, December 1, 2021
For more than a decade Arizona has been among the most prominent—if not the most prominent—site of the contested politics of immigration. To reflect on Arizona’s place in the development of immigration law and policy, Cesar Garcia Hernandez, Ohio State (formerly Denver Sturm Law School), will speak with Jude Joffe-Block and Terry Greene Sterling about their new book Driving While Brown: Sheriff Joe Arpaio Versus the Latino Resistance. NPR recently included the book in its list of best books of 2021. The event takes place on Tuesday, December 7, at 12:00 pm Eastern during an hour-long event called Chronicling Arizona’s Immigration Politics and is part of the Charlas on Migration series. It is free, open to the public, and accessible online, but registration is required.
MHC (h/t CGH)