Wednesday, December 6, 2023

New University of California Press Critical Race Theory Series

I am excited to announce that the University of California Press has a new Critical Race Theory book series.  Here is the website.

Series Co-Editors
Raquel Aldana & Kevin R. Johnson, Aoki Center for Race and Nation Studies, UC Davis School of Law

Series Advisory Board
Mario Barnes, Professor of Law, UC Irvine
Rose Cuison Villazor, Interim Dean and Professor of Law and Chancellor's Social Justice Scholar, Rutgers
Angela Harris, Distinguished Professor of Law Emerita, UC Davis
Beth Rose Middleton, Professor and Designated Emphasis Chair, UC Davis (Native American Studies)
Solangel Maldonado, Eleanor Bontecou Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Faculty Research and Development, Seton Hall
Angela Onwuachi-Willig, Ryan Roth Gallo and Ernest J. Gallo Dean and Professor of Law, Boston University
Mary Romero, Professor of Justice Studies and Social Inquiry Emerita, Arizona State (Justice Studies and Social Inquiry)
Wadie Said, Professor of Law and Dean’s Faculty Fellow, University of Colorado

Contact the series editors if you have book ideas. 


December 6, 2023 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

"Ending Asylum as We Know It"? Aid to Ukraine and Israel at Risk


Congress reportedly has moved to the right on immigration.  The latest kerfuffle in the U.S. Capitol could have dramatic changes on asylum law.  A congressional stalemate -- with immigration enforcement at the center -- has been on the horizon for weeks.  NBC News reports on the collapse of Senate immigration negotiations is threatening to derail proposed U.S. aid to Israel and Ukraine.  Republicans have vowed to filibuster the aid package unless Democrats agree to tighten U.S. asylum and parole laws. Negotiations on a deal have faltered amid deep disagreements.

According to NBC News, a Democratic aide said their negotiators have offered proposals to expedite and streamline processing of asylum claims and put on the table changes to the "credible fear" standard for the screening of asylum claims. The aide added that Republicans are demanding "extreme policies" that would "end asylum as we know it" and create "expansive powers to shut down the border."

Stay tuned!


December 6, 2023 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Anti-Carceral Theory and Immigration: A View from Two Law School Clinics by Sabrina Balgamwalla & Lauren Bartlett

Sabrina Balgamwalla

Lauren Bartlett

Anti-Carceral Theory and Immigration: A View from Two Law School Clinics by Sabrina Balgamwalla & Lauren Bartlett, Wayne State University Law School Research Paper No. 2023-67


This article explores clinical teaching philosophies related to anti-carceral theory and provides examples of how to support student learning in clinics serving immigrant clients. Anti-carceral theory in this context is used to refer to an approach that resists criminalization and incarceration within law, drawing on abolitionism, intersectional and anti-carceral feminism, and decolonization.The anti-carceral lens provides framing and language to name the dynamics of social exclusion and discrimination inherent in immigration law. It also allows us to unpack immigration regulation as a series of choices made within the larger context of law enforcement and its systems of surveillance, policing, and confinement. This article is meant to encourage clinical faculty to integrate anti-carceral theory into teaching as a means for students to critically explore the law and their roles as advocates.


December 6, 2023 in Current Affairs, Law Review Articles & Essays | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Elizabeth Frankel Fellowship at the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights

Here is link to this year’s posting for the Elizabeth Frankel Fellowship at the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights.  This is a paid, 10-week summer fellowship for law students who will have completed their first year of law school by the beginning of summer. This year, the three fellows will work in the Houston, Texas office and will have the opportunity to travel to the Young Center’s offices in both Harlingen, Texas and New York City.  Preferred qualifications include lived experience that lends insight into advocating for immigrant children and bilingual language capacity. Additional consideration will be given to law students who come from backgrounds and circumstances that might otherwise prevent them from engaging in pro bono work over the summer.


December 5, 2023 in Current Affairs, Immigration Law Clinics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Citizenship and Racial Subordination  by Shalini Bhargava Ray

Shalini  Ray

Citizenship and Racial Subordination  by Shalini Bhargava Ray, 3 American Journal of Law and Equality 319 (2023)


Citizenship is a powerful concept in public discourse, often regarded as a tool for promoting inclusion and racial equality. But citizenship has important limitations as a vehicle for achieving egalitarian aspirations. As scholars have noted, citizenship has an exclusionary logic, and gradations of citizenship are inevitable. Contrary to the conventional wisdom, it has often served as only a weak antidote to disadvantage based on race. Moreover, citizenship has not always brought greater rights or well-being for those who possess it. At times, its imposition has operated as an oppressive force. This essay, reflecting on one professor’s experience of teaching a law school seminar on citizenship, argues that the study of leading citizenship cases and associated scholarly commentary casts doubt on common assumptions about citizenship and its relationship to racial equality. Examining the history of American citizenship for free Black people, indigenous people, residents of United Stat es territories, and Asian Americans exposes the ambiguity of a legal status typically associated with unalloyed social, political, and economic goods. Accordingly, this essay advocates for providing law students with opportunities to study citizenship law and theory.


December 5, 2023 in Current Affairs, Law Review Articles & Essays | Permalink | Comments (0)

Government Accountability Project Sends Letter to Congress Detailing Whistleblower Disclosures on Inadequate Medical Care in CBP Facilities

Last week the Government Accountability Project wrote to Congress detailing the disclosures of their client, Troy Hendrickson, regarding performance failures by a medical contractor in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) detention and holding facilities.

The complaint has been covered in several media outlets. An article in the Washington Post highlights the whistleblower of the CBP veteran who was reassigned "after raising concerns about the track record of medical contractor Loyal Source Government Services." Among other issues, the concerns raised by Mr. Hendrickson included staffing deficiencies and employees that lacked proper training and licenses. As Forbes has also reported, an eight year old died earlier this year in CBP custody.

The ACLU has also written letters to DHS and Congress on this issue. A copy of those letters are available here and here.

As the ACLU explains in the letters:

Advocates and government oversight agencies have long raised repeated concerns regarding the mistreatment of people in CBP custody. People detained by CBP, including children, have died and sustained serious injury due to medical neglect and failed internal oversight.



December 5, 2023 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

At the Movies: How the Gringo Stole Christmas (2023)


Need an upbeat holiday movie?  George Lopez stars in the just-released How the Gringo Stole Christmas.  Here is the IMDb summary:  "Bennie's daughter is on her way home for the holidays. However she surprises him by arriving with her brand new boyfriend - an uninvited GRINGO."  You can fill in the blanks.  But a summary from MovieWeb offers some details:

"How the Gringo Stole Christmas is a wholesome holiday flick about an older, grumpy, stuck-in-his-ways father who's forced to change after the arrival of his daughter's non-Hispanic boyfriend. Starring George Lopez, the film is packed with enough sarcastic lines of comedic dialogue to keep you chuckling throughout. With its endearing characters and relationships, along with the film's pleasant (albeit unoriginal) story, How the Gringo Stole Christmas is a charming holiday film that celebrates Hispanic culture and families. Is it predictable? Sure, but the film's focus and cultural specificity, George Lopez's wise-cracking humor, and the alluring interactions between characters make for an entertaining enough Christmas film."


December 5, 2023 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

UK Tightens Legal Immigration Rules


Photo during 2016 Brexit referendum campaign in United Kingdom.  Photo by Don Roth

As we have seen, concerns with the numbers of immigrants and immigration are not limited to the United States.

Reuters reports that Britain yesterday announced plans to reduce the number of legal migrants, raising the minimum salary they must earn for a skilled employment visa by a third.  "High levels of legal migration have dominated Britain's political landscape for more than a decade and were a key factor in the 2016 vote to leave the European Union. [Prime Minister Rishi] Sunak has promised to gain more control [over immigration] . . . ."

Other measures include stopping foreign health workers bringing in family members on their visas, increasing a charge s that migrants pay to access the health service by 66%, and raising the minimum income to secure for family visas.

The Associated Press reports that Home Secretary James Cleverly declared that the “robust action” to reduce legal immigration, "which hit a record level of almost 750,000 people in 2022." 

Critics say that the immigration restrictions would worsen the shortage of health and social care workers.


December 5, 2023 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 4, 2023

Brookings on Immigration and Diversity

Demographer William Frey for Brookings look at Census data and the projected impacts of immigration on the nation's population diversity.  The bottom line is that increasing diversity is here to stay with or without immigration



December 4, 2023 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, December 3, 2023

First Woman Supreme Court Justice, Author of Major Immigration Decision, Dies

The first woman on the U.S. Supreme Court, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor died earlier this week.  Justice O'Connor wrote the decision in Landon v. Plasencia, a major immigration decision that had some dramatic impacts on removal procedures.  The case addressed the Due Process rights of a lawful permanent resident returning to the United States after a weekend trip to Mexico.  I wrote a chapter about the case for the book Immigration Stories by David A. Martin and Peter H. Schuck (2005).

In an opinion written by Justice O'Connor, the Court in Landon v. Plasencia held that the question whether Maria Plasencia, a lawful permanent resident who was accused of being inadmissible because she was seeking to smuggle noncitizens into the country upon her return from a weekend trip to Mexico, was entitled to a hearing that is consistent with due process.   Previously, relying on the plenary power doctrine, courts had denied any rights to persons -- even returning lawful permanent residents -- seeking to enter the country.  Prompted by Landon v. Plasencia, Congress in 1996 amended the immigration statute to provide that returning lawful permanent residents seeking to enter the country are generally not subject to the same procedures and inadmissibility grounds as first-time entrants.  A beneficial dialogue between the Supreme Court in Landon v. Plasencia and Congress thus secured greater rights for lawful permanent residents.


December 3, 2023 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Fix the Border Crisis by Making Legal Immigration Easier

While many politicians are clamoring for more border enforcement, J.D. Tuccille for Reason offers a very different approach because, in his view, "the federal government makes the problem worse by putting legal immigration out of reach for most so that a desperate run for the border is virtually the only way to enter the country."  "Easier pathways for legal immigration might be the most effective way to fix the border crisis."


December 3, 2023 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 1, 2023

Kate Jastram Named Sergio Vieira de Mello Chair

Kate Jastram

Kate Jastram, Director of Policy and Advocacy at the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies has been named the first Sergio Vieira de Mello Chair in the United States. In this role, Jastram will lead efforts at the University of California College of the Law, San Francisco (UC Law SF) to conduct research and promote understanding of how best to protect people displaced across borders by the adverse effects of climate change.


December 1, 2023 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Gavin Newsom and Ron DeSantis brawl over crime, immigration, schools and everything else


Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and California Governor Gavin Newsom sparred (and here) in a debate of sorts last night.  Among other topics, crime, immigration, and comparative out-migration from Florida and California were topics of discussion. California and Florida have headed in very different directions when it comes to immigration and migrants.



December 1, 2023 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Republicans demand border changes in exchange for foreign aid

U.S. Capitol Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

A dispute in Congress over immigration has become central to the consideration of a U.S. aid package to Ukraine and Israel.  The Associated Press reports on the latest.  "Congress is scrambling in a few short weeks for a deal that would greatly restrict the asylum and humanitarian parole process used by thousands to temporarily stay in the U.S. while their claims are being processed in the backlogged system. . . . Pushed to the negotiating table by Republicans, the Biden administration is considering the long-shot effort as the price to be paid for the president’s $106 billion year-end request for Ukraine, Israel and national security needs."


November 30, 2023 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

The Harsh "Pop Up" Immigrant Detention Camps in Southern California


I have previously blogged about "pop up" detention camps near the border with Mexico in Southern California.    Controversy over the detention continues.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Jacumba Hot Springs, about halfway between San Diego and Calexico, has become a makeshift detention site for a growing number of migrants seeking asylum. The population in the open-air desert camp has roughly doubled over the last few months.

U.S. Border Patrol agents monitor the camp but they don’t officially run it. Agents provide the migrants wristbands with their arrival date and order them to stay until they can be transferred to an official processing facility.

Melissa Gomez wrote about the unofficial camps in a story Times published this week. The story described the harsh conditions that migrants face when they arrive at one of the three camps.  Many refugees arrived from countries including Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras and Peru. A growing number of people are Chinese migrants.

A senior Customs and Border Protection official who spoke with Gomez on background said agents are providing migrants essential provisions, including water, but it’s been the bare minimum. The official said the agency is not equipped to handle the surge in migrants crossing the border in San Diego County.

Local volunteers from immigrant rights groups have stepped in to help feed, clothe and provide tents.


November 29, 2023 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

New study finds that 1.2 million in Latin America displaced by disasters

A new report from Mexico'sUniversity of the Americas Pueblasays that climate disasters displaced more than 1 million people from the Caribbean and Latin America in 2021 alone, reports Russell Contreras of Axios. The report suggests that the World Bank might be low in its estimate that climate change could displace more than 216 million people worldwide by 2050, including 17 million from Latin American countries. Environment-related migration is on the docket at COP28(2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference or Conference), which starts tomorrow, as the International Organization for Migration notes


November 29, 2023 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Justices Set to Rule in Favor of Judicial Review of Hardship Determination in Cancellation of Removal Cases

As Ingrid Eagly blogged yesterday, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in a cancellation of removal case yesterday.  Kimberly Strawbridge Robinson for Bloomberg thinks that the noncitizen will win on the judicial review issue:

"Immigrants seeking another shot to prove their deportations would cause unusual hardship for their family appear likely to prevail at the US Supreme Court.

At issue in the case heard Tuesday is whether federal courts can review an immigration judge’s decision that an individual isn’t eligible for a “hardship exception” from deportation.

. . . .

The case involves Situ Wilkinson, a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago who overstayed his tourist visa and has been living in the US without authorization since approximately 2003. He claimed his young son, a US citizen, would experience `exceptional and extremely unusual hardship' if he’s deported.

An immigration judge disagreed that deportation would cause unusual hardship . . .

The US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit said it lacked jurisdiction to hear the case because cancellation of removal based on hardship is left to the discretion of the attorney general, and isn’t a question of law.

Other federal appellate courts have determined that they do have jurisdiction to review hardship decisions.

The justices appeared likely to side with Wilkinson, finding it hard to distinguish his case from a divided 2020 ruling in which the court broadened the scope of judicial review over deportation decisions."

The C-SPAN audio to oral argument in Wilkinson v. Garland is here.  I listened to the argument and thought that the attorney for the Solicitor General's office did not respiond particularly well to the questions from the justices, which included conservatives as well as liberals.

UPDATE (11/30):



This week, SCOTUSblog introduced a new feature: Videos in which lawyers arguing before the Supreme Court discuss their cases and their argument preparation. The series kicks off with an interview with Jaime Santos of Goodwin Proctor, who argued the case of the noncitizen in Wilkinson v. Garland.



November 29, 2023 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Practice Advisory: Common Tools of Statutory Construction for Criminal Removal Grounds

The American  Immigration Council and the Federal Immigration Litigation Clinic of the James H. Binger Center for New Americans, University of Minnesota Law School have released a new practice advisory, Common Tools of Statutory Construction for Criminal Removal Grounds. The advisory synthesizes and describes some of the common tools of statutory construction to assist practitioners in advocating for narrow definitions of criminal removal grounds before the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) and the U.S. courts of appeals.


November 29, 2023 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 28, 2023


*updated 5:00PM Central*

It's Giving Tuesday, time to assuage the guilt of yesterday's Cyber Monday sprees with some charitable contributions.

There are a LOT of wonderful immigration-related 501(3)(c) organizations that you might consider donating to today. Here are just a few that we've noted in years' past:

Have even more ideas? Post them in the comments. Or shoot me an e-mail and I'll update this list.


November 28, 2023 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Today the U.S. Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument in Wilkinson v. Garland

Today the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral argument in a key immigration law case, Wilkinson v. Garland, Attorney General, No. 22-666, addressing eligibility for cancellation of removal, one of the most important forms of relief from removal.

As we have previously posted on the blog, in Wilkinson v. Garland the Court will review a decision of the Third Circuit regarding when an immigration judge's decision on "exceptional and extremely unusual hardship" may be reviewed on appeal.

Specifically, the question presented is: 

Whether an agency determination that a given set of established facts does not rise to the statutory standard of “exceptional and extremely unusual hardship” is a mixed question of law and fact reviewable under 8 U.S.C. § 1252(a)(2)(D), or whether this determination is a discretionary judgment call unreviewable under Section 1252(a)(2)(B)(i).

The briefs filed in the case are available here.

For those interested in listening to the live oral argument audio, the Court will convene at 10 a.m. and the Wilkinson case is second on the calendar.


November 28, 2023 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)