Thursday, July 16, 2020

The Day That ICE Came: How Worksite Raids Are Once Again Harming Children and Families



A new report from the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) examines the aftermath of worksite ICE raids in Ohio, Texas, and Mississippi under the Trump administration with disturbing findings: “The impact of raids on families, communities, and children — many of whom are U.S. citizens — was the complete devastation of family economic security and mental and physical wellbeing.”

Here is an excerpt from the executive summary:

"Recent efforts to ramp up immigration enforcement in the interior of the United States, and drastic changes in policies—such as prioritizing parents of U.S. citizen children for deportation—have separated many American families. The reemergence of worksite raids is an example of the Trump Administration’s enforcement-heavy approach that harms not only workers, but also families and communities. The nationwide reach of these raids, their unpredictable nature, and the excessive force with which they have been carried out has raised concerns, once again, about the high human cost of such operations."


July 16, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Nolan Rappaport: Foreign students still in danger of losing visas, despite settlement



In response to a lawsuit and mass resistance, the Trump administration rescinded its policy that would have required international students to return home if their universities were providing exclusively online instruction.   Universities breathed a sigh of relief.  However, Nolan Rappaport on the Hill ("Foreign students still in danger of losing visas, despite settlement") warns that the Trump administration may come back through proper procedures to restrict student visas.  Only time will tell what the administration will do.


July 16, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

A Rockier Road to U.S. Citizenship? MPI Survey on Changing Naturalization Procedures

Becoming a citizen benefits immigrants and U.S. communities in a variety of ways, including by promoting integration and enabling immigrants to vote and run for public office. This report presents the Migration Policy Institute’s analysis of a 2019 national survey conducted by the Immigrant Legal Resource Center of 110 naturalization assistance providers. The study aims to understand how U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) naturalization procedures have changed during the Trump administration.

USCIS continues to approve the vast majority of citizenship applications, but the time it takes to process an application has grown considerably due to changing adjudication policies described by service providers in this survey:

  • About one-quarter of survey respondents reported their clients missed interviews when USCIS sent notices to incorrect addresses, sent them too late, or sent them to the attorney but not the applicant.
  • Interviews had doubled in length, from 20–30 minutes to 45–60 minutes, according to one-quarter of respondents.
  • More than one-third reported USCIS more often issued requests for evidence to support applications, especially for documents related to tax compliance and income, continuous residency and physical presence, marriage and child support, and criminal history.
  • USCIS officers asked detailed questions not directly related to citizenship eligibility, and administered the English and civics tests differently, often more strictly, according to 10 percent of respondents.

These changes were underway before a trio of new 2020 developments that threaten to further increase the application backlog and make it more difficult for eligible immigrants to access citizenship: a COVID-19-related suspension of USCIS operations for three months, the likely furlough of two-thirds of the agency’s staff due to a major budget shortfall, and a planned increase in the cost of filing a citizenship application alongside new restrictions on eligibility for fee waivers for low-income applicants.

The ImmigrationProf blog covered a 2019 USCCR report on the citizenship backlog here; a 2020 statement of concern about the impact of COVID-19 events on the backlog is forthcoming and will be posted here.


July 16, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

INSIGHT: Reversal on Trump’s Student Visa Curbs Exposes Flawed Policy Efforts


Ediberto-roman Carrie-rosenbaum

For commentary on the Trump administration's aborted attempts to restrict student visas in the pandemic, see Ediberto Roman and Carrie Rosenbaum's commentary ("INSIGHT: Reversal on Trump’s Student Visa Curbs Exposes Flawed Policy Efforts").  The punch line:

"President Trump has long railed against `liberal' academic institutions and the attempted ban coincided with his Covid-19 agenda. In the end, the settlement avoided further waste of taxpayer dollars and perhaps undermined what some also saw as a re-election strategy and a means of penalizing universities for deciding not to recommence in-person classes this fall by robbing them of critical tuition and fees. Yet again, the way this administration sought to implement its goals was fatally flawed."


July 16, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Sign of the Times? Ivanka Trump defends Goya post that watchdogs call unethical





The Associated Press reports that President Trump's daughter and senior advisor, Ivanka, defended tweeting a photo of herself holding up a can of Goya beans to support a Hispanic-owned business, arguing that she has the right to publicly express her support.

Government watchdogs countered that the President's daughter violated ethics rules that bar government officials from using their public office to endorse specific products or groups.

"These groups contend Ivanka Trump’s action also highlights broader concerns about how the president and those around him often blur the line between politics and governing. The White House would be responsible for disciplining Ivanka Trump for any ethics violation but chose not to in a similar case involving White House counselor Kellyanne Conway in 2017."

Goya has been under fire since its CEO praised President Trump in a visit to the White House.


July 16, 2020 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Trump Attacks Biden on Immigration



The 2020 campaign will be heating up.  Associated Press FACT CHECK found that "President Donald Trump is assailing Joe Biden for immigration proposals that Biden actually isn't proposing. Trump's account of what his Democratic presidential rival says he'd do with people in the country illegally is false in almost every detail."  (bold added).

Expect more of the same as the election nears.


July 16, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Trump Administration Reportedly Considers Travel Ban on Communist Party Members from China


The latest immigration rumor is a doozy.  The Trump administration is reportedly considering imposing travel restrictions on Chinese Communist party members!

A draft presidential proclamation would revoke visas for members of the Chinese Communist party as well as their families, according to the New York Times, citing four people familiar with the proposed travel ban. 

According to the Times, the ban would be similar to the 2017 travel ban on Muslim-majority countries in giving the president the ability to prevent from entering the country foreign nationals deemed “detrimental to the interests” of the United States.

Tensions between the countries have escalated in recent weeks over a controversial national security law in Hong Kong as well as Chinese telecom company Huawei, seen as a security threat to the United States.

What an amazing time to be an immigration professor!  Every day brings us something new to think about.


July 16, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Guest Post: Undoing Asylum by Raquel Aldana


Since taking office, the Trump administration has taken numerous steps toward dismantling U.S. asylum and refugee legal protections that had taken more than half a century to build. The United States joined the international refugee regime in 1968 when it acceded to the 1967 Protocol,[1] thereby taking on the UN Refugee Convention's[2] obligations as well. Then, after years of study and advocacy, in a watershed historical moment, the United States adopted the Refugee Act of 1980 and solidified into law our moral obligations not to turn our back on the most vulnerable migrants who must flee persecution at home.[3] For decades that followed, through sustained litigation in the courts and through the adoption of regulations that largely attempted to track these legal advancements in the courts, the Refugee Act was interpreted in response to significant new patterns and/or our deeper understanding of persecution, including gender violence or unfettered violence waged by non-state actors with impunity.

Until recently, Trump efforts to dismantle asylum protections, largely in response to Central Americans arriving at the U.S. border, have been through informal agency policies and practices and through questionable bilateral agreements with weaker nations.[4] Already, even prior to COVID-19, these efforts had been extremely successful in barring nearly all who arrived at the U.S. Southern border seeking protection.[5] But the costs, in addition to the terrible human toll, have included costly litigation that has delayed implementation and yielded both victories and losses to Trump’s plans.[6] An important loss to President Trump came in July 2020 when Federal District Court Judge U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Kelly of Washington, D.C., a Trump appointee, struck down an agency policy aimed at blocking Central American migration by requiring asylum seekers from Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and elsewhere first to apply for asylum in countries they pass through on the way to the United States, particularly Mexico or Guatemala.[7] Importantly, Judge Kelly held that the administration “unlawfully promulgated” the rule, failing to show it was in the public interest to stealthily implement the change and bypass the Administrative Procedure Act.

By July 2020, COVID-19 had solidified the near total shut down of the U.S. Southern border to asylum seekers.[8] Now, President Trump seeks to seal the border permanently to asylum seekers and also potentially to those already in the U.S. adjudicating their claims by making permanent many of the informal policies and practices through regulation. On June 15, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security and the Executive Office for Immigration Review proposed a regulation titled Procedures for Asylum and Withholding of Removal; Credible Fear and Reasonable Fear Interview.[9] If successfully adopted, this highly complex and hyper technical 43- page rule, will give the Trump administration the ammunition it needs to potentially shield off much of the successful litigation strategy that has allowed advocates to stall the demise of asylum. Unfortunately, the administration provided only to days for public comments, a date that expired July 15, 2020. Thankfully, many amazing lawyers, organization and other advocates mobilized and collaborated generously to weigh in against the proposed rule, knowing that doing so could be critical to the rule’s defeat, whether now or later if the rule passes and is challenge in the courts. We share one of thousands of public comments in opposition to the rule here. Download Public Comment on Asylum Rule Aldana et al  We provide no less than fourteen reasons for why the agencies must reject this but two broad principles guided our compass:

  1. “We view the proposed rule as defying the rule of law by seeking to undo not only Congressional intent when it enacted the Refugee Act of 1980, but also carefully developed interpretation of the law through judicial precedent and rule-making… this rule…seeks to undo in merely three years…decades-long efforts that tried, through legislation and the coordination of the three branches of government, to honor our moral and legal obligations not to turn our backs once more to the most vulnerable immigrants who desperately seek our protection from persecution.”
  2. “This is not who we are as a nation or who we want to be. We are better than this.”  

Let’s hope the agencies hear us.


[1]  UN General Assembly, Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, 31 January 1967, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 606, p. 267.

[2]  UN General Assembly, Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, 28 July 1951, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 189, 137.

[3]  Maurice A. Roberts, The U.S. and Refugees: The Refugee Act of 1980,  A Journal of Opinion 12, no. 1/2 (1982).

[4]  See generally Muzaffar Chishti & Jessica Bolter, Interlocking Set of Trump Administration Policies at the U.S. at the U.S.-Mexico Border Bars Virtually All from Asylum, Migration Policy Institute, Feb. 27, 2020. 

[5]  Id.

[6]  See, e.g., Muzaffar Chishti & Jessica Bolter, Supreme Court Asylum Ruling Latest Sign Judiciary is Not the Break on the Trump Administration that Immigration-Rights Activists Sought, Migration Policy Institute, Sept. 25, 2019.

[7]  Spencer S. Hsu, Federal Judge Strikes Down Trump Asylum Rule Targeting Central Americans, Wash. Post, July 1, 2020.

[8]  Id. (reporting that from March to May only two asylum seekers were allowed to enter the United States).

[9]  The full text of the proposed rule is available here.



UPDATE (July 16):  Click here  (care of LindsayHarris) for more comments on the proposed asylum regulations.


July 15, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

More Thoughts On The Future Of International Students

Kevin asked an important question earlier today: will international students still come to the United States?

Back in 2018, I looked at the question of whether international students would come to the U.S. following the election of President Trump. Here are a few key snippets:

A March 2016 survey of 40,000 prospective international students in 118 countries revealed that 60% said they would be less likely to study in the United States if Trump were elected.

After Trump’s election, concerns about his effect on international student enrollment grew. Prospective international students and their parents indicated “second thoughts” about pursuing education stateside. To at least some, the United States was suddenly “risky” with “too many uncertainties.” One survey of international students found about a third had a decreased interest in studying in the United States “due to the current political climate.” Interestingly, a February 2017 survey of overseas “education agents,” individuals who advise international students about where to apply, indicated that the travel ban “permanently damaged” how 11% of recruiters saw the United States, and that it had “temporarily dampened” the opinion of another 44% of recruiters. That survey is particularly significant because recruiters have “a lot of sway… They can convince people to go to a country or not.” More than half of the recruiters reported that students had concerns about the travel ban.


Nearly half of U.S. institutions saw drops in applications received from international students in 2017. Those reduced applications then turned into reduced admissions, with 46% of graduate deans reporting “substantial downward changes in admission yields for international students,” which is to say a reduction in the number of admitted students who choose to enroll. Some of the declines were “modest to moderate” while others were “more substantial.” In Fall 2017, U.S. universities and colleges experienced a “flattening” in the overall number of enrolled international students as well as an average decrease of 7% in the number of newly enrolled international students.

These statistics reflect the fears of potential students and their families BEFORE the Trump Administration took any action directly against international students. How much more extreme (and justified) will the reaction be against pursuing studies stateside now? Faced with a choice, wouldn't a rational student with options consider pursuing schooling in Canada or another more immigrant-friendly nation?

The government's most recent efforts against international students lasted just 8 days. I fear the effects will be felt nationwide much longer.


July 15, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

The Fourth Largest Group of Immigrants in the United States: Filipino Immigrants in the United States in 2018

July 15, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Presidential Executive Actions Halting High Skilled Immigration Hurt the U.S. Economy


A new paper from the Global Migration Center argues that the Trump administration's restrictions on H1-B visas, and high skilled noncitizens generally, will adversely affect the U.S. economy.


July 15, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Sudanese Refugee: One Meat Plant, One Thousand Infections:...



The Daily podcast is revisiting episodes with people it met in the early weeks of the coronavirus pandemic to hear what has happened to them since the original conversations were aired.

Readers should check out this episode about a Sudanese refugee who works in a meatpacking plant.

One of the largest coronavirus outbreaks in the United States was inside the Smithfield pork factory in Sioux Falls, S.D. Today, we revisit our conversation with a worker at the plant, a refugee who survived civil war and malaria only to find her life and livelihood threatened anew — and ask her how she has been doing since. Guests: Caitlin Dickerson, who covers immigration for The New York Times, and Achut Deng, a Sudanese refugee who works for Smithfield. For more information on today’s episode, visit here.




July 15, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Trump Strict Student Visa Restrictions Abandononed: Will International Students Still Come to the United States?

Index Index

Kit Johnson posted yesterday about the Trump administration's abrupt change in course in the face of a lawsuit:  "The Harvard/MIT lawsuit challenging ICE's July 6, 2020 Policy Directive and its July 7, 2020 FAQ ended today with a complete victory on the part of the universities. The government agreed to "rescind" both the policy directive and the FAQ."  

CNN  reports that  "One person familiar with the matter told CNN the White House has felt the blowback to the proposal and that some inside the West Wing believe it was poorly conceived and executed."  Colleges and universities across the nation supported Harvard and MIT's effort to seek to force rescission of the policy

Although the policy change will benefit international students already in the United States, new international students will continue to encounter formidable barriers to entering the United States.  Colm Quinn for Foreign Policy analyzes the challenges to the enrollment of international students, before and after the latest rescinded Trump policy guidance.

Unfortunately, the mere publicity surrounding the Trump administration's efforts to restrict foreign students coming to the United States may well reduce the number of international students this year and next.  Like it or not, the United States currently is not seen as a nation friendly to foreign students.



July 15, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Gov't Agrees to Rescind Policies Re: International Students & Online Ed during COVID

The Harvard/MIT lawsuit challenging ICE's July 6, 2020 Policy Directive and its July 7, 2020 FAQ ended today with a complete victory on the part of the universities. The government agreed to "rescind" both the policy directive and the FAQ. 

That was 8 days of crazy for sure.


July 14, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Center for American Progress: The Trump Administration Must Immediately Resume Processing New DACA Applications



On June 18, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Trump administration's attempt to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy was unlawful.  The injunction entered by the lower courts allowed the continuation of DACA renewals.

President Trump has promised to respond to the Court's decision, although the precise nature of the response is uncertain.

Nicole Prchal Svajlenka, Tom Jawetz, and Philip E. Wolgin for the Center of American Progress make an argument for a response that President Trump is not likely to be considereing:

"Today, 25 days after the decision [in the DACA case], the Supreme Court will certify its judgement in the case, and—under the law—the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will have an unambiguous obligation to fully reinstate DACA. As a result, not only must the agency continue processing renewal applications by those who currently hold DACA, but it must also reopen the application process to more than 300,000 new applicants who are eligible under the terms of the program, including 55,500 of the youngest DACA-eligible individuals who have aged into eligibility over the past three years and will now be able to apply for the first time." (bold added).

The obligation may be right under the law but do not hold your breath for the Trump administration to begin accepting new DACA applications.


July 14, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Private Detention CEOs Tell Congress They Had No Clue Guards Pepper-Sprayed Hundreds of Immigration Detainees



Noah Lanard for Mother Jones reports that private prison executives claimed at a House Subcommittee on Border Security yesterday to be unaware of recent instances of guards pepper-spraying immigrant detainees at the facilities they run. Lanard states that "[i]t was a shocking claim: Detainees have been pepper-sprayed on more than a dozen occasions since late March, and Immigration and Custom Enforcement’s own press office has confirmed many of the incidents the CEOs say they know nothing about."

The hearing focused on the conditions in private immigration detention centers during the coronavirus pandemic. One question from Rep. Donald Payne (D-N.J.) to four executives cut to the chase:  “So no one is aware of any time that rubber bullets, or pepper spray, or tear gas has been used by officers at your facilities against detainees since the COVID-19 pandemic?” he asked. “Are you all categorically denying it?”


July 14, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Ninth Circuit and Second Circuit Conflict on Sanctuary Jurisdiction Funding


Courthouse News reports that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit yesterday found the law clearly forbids the U.S. Department of Justice from denying grant funds to state and local "sanctuary" jurisdictions.  However, the panel also found that district court overstepped its authority in issuing a nationwide injunction.  The Trump administration has vigorously opposed nationwide injunctions in lawsuits challenging its policies.

“The district court abused its discretion by issuing a nationwide injunction without determining whether plaintiffs needed relief of this scope to fully recover,” U.S. Circuit Judge Richard Clifton, a George W. Bush appointee, wrote for the panel.  William Fletcher, a Clinton appointee, and Eric Miller, a Trump appointee, joined Clifton on the panel.

The panel noted that in some cases where a plaintiff does not operate in a limited geographic area, a nationwide injunction may be appropriate. That was the case when the Ninth Circuit upheld a nationwide block of a Trump administration policy that made immigrants ineligible for asylum unless they crossed the southern border at official ports of entry. In that case, because the plaintiffs were immigrant advocacy groups that operate outside of California and the Ninth Circuit’s boundaries, a nationwide injunction was deemed appropriate.

In contrast to the Ninth Circuit's ruling, the Second Circuit on the same day denied a rehearing in a case finding for the Trump administration on the sanctuary funding issue.


July 14, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Wave of States Challenge Trump New International Student Visa Requirements


The Trump administration's new international student visa rules for higher education has been subject to a wave of harsh criticismHere is a recent example.  Irina Manta on The Volokh Conspiracy offers thoughts on the deluge of lawsuits challenging the new international student requirements:

"After lawsuits by Harvard/MIT and then California about the recent changes to the student visa rules, seventeen more states have filed their own lawsuit (in district court in Massachusetts, where the Harvard/MIT suit was already filed). Like the preceding lawsuits, the plaintiffs allege that the federal government violated the Administrative Procedure Act by engaging in arbitrary and capricious decision-making and failing to provide for notice and comment. Because the claims largely track those of the previous lawsuits, I will note here only a few excerpts that captured my attention.

This lawsuit nicely captured the absurdity of the requirements imposed on universities through the sudden and belated change . . . :" (bold added).


July 14, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 13, 2020

TRAC Immigration: More Immigration Judges Leaving the Bench


Is the Trump administration chasing away immigration judges?  Critics have claimed that the administration has taken steps undermining the independence of the immigration judges, including steps to decertify the immigration judges' collective bargaining representative.

TRAC Immigration has found that the latest judge-by-judge data from the Immigration Courts indicate that more judges are resigning and retiring. Turnover is the highest since records began in FY 1997 over two decades ago.  These results are based on detailed records obtained by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) from the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) which administers the immigration courts.

During FY 2019 a record number of 35 judges left the bench. This is up from the previous record set in FY 2017 when 20 judges left the bench, and 27 judges left in FY 2018. See Figure 1.


July 13, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Yale JREG Online Symposium on Racism in Administrative Law

Today marks the beginning of the online symposium on #racisminadlaw at Yale JREG's Notice and Comment.  Rutgers University professor Kathryn Kovacs introduces the essays and the impetus for the convening. 

My essay, Colorblind Nationalism, argues that the rhetoric of nationalism masks racism in immigration policy. It will be the first of several to post this week. The full list of contributors appears below, with tri-weekly updates in July and August. (I will highlight submissions relating to immigration law as they appear).

Contributors include:


July 13, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)