Monday, September 16, 2019
From the Bookshelves: Separated: Family and Community in the Aftermath of an Immigration Raid by William D. Lopez
On a Thursday in November of 2013, Guadalupe Morales waited anxiously with her sister-in-law and their four small children. Every Latino man who drove away from their shared apartment above a small auto repair shop that day had failed to return―arrested, one by one, by ICE agents and local police. As the two women discussed what to do next, a SWAT team clad in body armor and carrying assault rifles stormed the room. As Guadalupe remembers it, "The soldiers came in the house. They knocked down doors. They threw gas. They had guns. We were two women with small children... The kids terrified, the kids screaming."
In Separated, William D. Lopez examines the lasting damage done by this daylong act of collaborative immigration enforcement in Washtenaw County, Michigan. Exploring the chaos of enforcement through the lens of community health, Lopez discusses deportation's rippling negative effects on families, communities, and individuals. Focusing on those left behind, Lopez reveals their efforts to cope with trauma, avoid homelessness, handle worsening health, and keep their families together as they attempt to deal with a deportation machine that is militarized, traumatic, implicitly racist, and profoundly violent.
Lopez uses this single home raid to show what immigration law enforcement looks like from the perspective of the people who actually experience it. Drawing on in-depth interviews with twenty-four individuals whose lives were changed that day in 2013, as well as field notes, records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, and his own experience as an activist, Lopez combines rigorous research with narrative storytelling. Putting faces and names to the numbers behind deportation statistics, Separated urges readers to move beyond sound bites and consider the human experience of mixed-status communities in the small everyday towns that dot the interior of the United States.
Border Courts Swamped With New Asylum Cases: Thousands of cases have been filed since President Trump started forcing asylum seekers to wait in Mexico.
In a Marshall Project piece ("Border Courts Swamped With New Asylum Cases: Thousands of cases have been filed since President Trump started forcing asylum seekers to wait in Mexico."), Andrew R. Calderón reports that , early this year, the Trump administration began forcing thousands of migrants seeking asylum to return to Mexico, to wait for removal hearings in immigration court. According to new government figures, the policy is flooding the courts. The numbers from the Executive Office for Immigration Review, the agency within the Department of Justice that runs the immigration court system, show that so far this year, nearly 17,000 new asylum cases for migrants waiting in Mexico have been assigned to border courts through the end of August. And the numbers have been growing. More than 6,000 were filed in August alone.
In More Than A Wall: Corporate Profiteering and the Militarization of US Borders, Todd Miller examines the role of the world’s largest arms (as well as a number of other security and IT) firms in shaping and profiting from the militarization of US borders. Through their campaign contributions, lobbying, constant engagement with government officials, and the revolving door between industry and government, these border security corporations and their government allies have formed powerful border–industrial complex that is a major impediment to a humane response to migration.
US President Donald Trump’s obsession with ‘building a wall’ on the US- Mexico border has both distorted and obscured public debate on border control. This is not just because there is already a physical wall – 650 miles of it – but because Trump’s theatrics and the Democrats’ opposition to his plans have given the impression that the Trump administration is forging a new direction on border control. A closer look at border policy over the last decades, however, shows that Trump is ratcheting up – and ultimately consolidating – a long-standing US approach to border control.
This report looks at the history of US border control and the strong political consensus – both Republican and Democrat – in support of border militarization that long pre-dates the Trump administration. It shows how this political consensus has been forged to a significant degree by the world’s largest arms (as well as a number of other security and IT) corporations that have made massive profits from the exponential growth of government budgets for border control. Through their campaign contributions, lobbying, constant engagement with government officials, and the revolving door between industry and government, these security corporations and their government allies have formed a powerful border–industrial complex. The evidence shows that it is these corporations – and their role in border infrastructure and policies – that have led to a predominantly militarized response to migration and thereby become the single biggest impediment to a humane response to migration.
Miller is also author of the books Border Patrol Nation and Storming the Wall: Climate Change, Migration, and Homeland Security.
Immigration Article of the Day: Reflections on Elitism After the Closing of a Clinic: Justice, Pedagogy and Scholarship by Jennifer Lee Koh
Reflections on Elitism After the Closing of a Clinic: Justice, Pedagogy and Scholarship by Jennifer Lee Koh , 26 Clinical Law Review 263 (2019)
In this Essay, I reflect upon my experience directing the Immigration Clinic at Western State College of Law for nearly a decade, including my decision to close the Clinic after financial crisis put the law school’s ability to continue operating in serious jeopardy in the Spring of 2019. The Essay focuses on the themes of pedagogy and the viability of non-elite law schools, teaching and doing social justice in the clinical context, and the integration of theory, doctrine and practice in legal scholarship. By memorializing a portion of the Clinic’s work, the Essay seeks to give voice to stories that might otherwise go unheard during a time of institutional crisis. In doing so, I hope to disrupt the easy narratives that may otherwise dominate our understanding of Western State’s record and offer a perspective on the value of clinical legal education and clinic scholarship at non-elite law schools.
Professor Koh previously blogged on the ImmigrationProf blog.
Over the past year, Mexico has become the site of migrant caravans. The United States has witnessed the arrival of thousands leaving their home countries in search of a better life
Discovery en Español analyzes the origins of this phenomenon in CARAVANAS, the new documentary premiering September 22 at 9pm E/P in the United States.
Following the actual route of thousands of people who emigrate from Central America and walk through Mexico to reach the United States, the one-hour special portrays the humanitarian work of Rubén Figueroa, a member of the Mesoamerican Migrant Movement; Gabriela "Gaba" Cortés, Ángeles de la Frontera's Cultural Activities Coordinator; and Estela Jiménez, an activist and migrants' supporter. They have all witnessed the caravan drama up close both in Mexico and the United States and have helped migrants fleeing violence and misery in a desperate search for a better life.
Voice of America reports that an inspiring group of Native American women from tribes in Oklahoma have launched a nonprofit organization they're calling the "Auntie Project: Native Women of Service." Their goal is to help indigenous kids in need, beginning with child migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.
The idea came to them in June, after hearing that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) would move 1,400 unaccompanied migrant children to Fort Still, a U.S. Army post near Lawton, Oklahoma.
As discussed on AV CLUB, John Oliver on Last Week Tonight explains how our legal immigration system works, and how it often doesn’t. Oliver discusses in a light but accurate manner on "waiting in line" when no line exists for many would-be immigrants, the per country ceilings, family immigration and "chain migration," employment visas, diversity visa lottery, and much more.
For Oliver, immigration is a personal issue, "having spent years going through the arduous, labyrinthine, and, under Trump, arbitrarily changing immigration system himself." Oliver came to the United States on a O1 visa “persons with extraordinary ability."
Lawrence Hurley for Reuters reports on an interview with Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. Justice Gorsuch extolled the value of immigration and said his wife’s experience as a naturalized U.S. citizen from Britain has helped give him a greater appreciation of the American system of government. Attending naturalization ceremonies where new citizens are sworn in as citizens, Gorsuch said, is one of his favorite experiences. “They are moments for me of renewal and commitment,” Gorsuch said in an interview with Reuters, adding that “judges often love doing them for just that reason.” “I do worry when I read that something like 60 percent of the public would fail that naturalization exam,” Gorsuch added.
Gorsuch said his wife, who he met while studying at the University of Oxford, had helped engender in him an enhanced respect for the Constitution. “Part of my appreciation for our Constitution, our remarkable system of government, undoubtedly comes from seeing it through my wife’s eyes,” Gorsuch said. “We take some of our rights perhaps too lightly.”
Interestingly, Justice Gorsuch joined the four liberal justices in Sessions v. Dimaya, which invalidated a criminal removal provision on vagueness grounds.
Justice Gorsuch is engaging in media interviews to promote his new book, “A Republic, If You Can Keep It,” a selection of his writings including court opinions and speeches.
Sunday, September 15, 2019
European immigrants arriving at Ellis Island, 1915
The podcast History Unplugged has an episode on immigration processing on Ellis Island. It offers some interesting immigration background, including some background on immigration history (such as the Chinese exclusion laws) as well as the basics on the process for immigrant admissions on Ellis Island. Here is a description of the episode:
"More than 12 million immigrants entered the United States through Ellis Island during its years of operation from 1892 to 1954. Those that came typically spoke no English and fled religious persecution, famine, or epidemics in their homeland.
But what was it like to actually get processed through Ellis island? In some senses it was more tolerable than we expect. Interpreters were on hand to accommodate you in almost any language. Few were turned away for medical reasons. Processing typically only took a few hours And contrary to folk legend, inspectors did not force anyone to change their name to something Anglicized.
Nevertheless, some faced challenges entering America. Two percent were held up for physical or mental illness; some were detained for weeks or months in Ellis Island's medical ward. If a child were not admitted, parents faced the unbearable choice of returning with them across the ocean or sending them back alone to live with extended family.
But for the vast majority of immigrants, they walked through the doors of Ellis Island to begin their new lives in America. Today, over 100 million are descended from immigrants who passed through this immigration checkpoint. Learn about its legacy on immigration and political life in this episode."
Immigration commentary continues to make its way into pop culture in the era of Donald Trump. In the final season of Orange is the New Black, one of the plot lines focused on the harshness of provate immigrant detention. Now, Dade Hayes for Deadline reports an a reboot of the television family drama Party of Five (1994-2000) that also focuses on immigration policy.
The reboot of the Fox drama Party of Five revolves around the approach of the Trump administration to immigration.
“It’s a better story than the original,” executive producer and writer Amy Lippman, who also created the original show, said after a sneak preview of the pilot episode Saturday at the Tribeca TV Festival. After periodically exploring a revival of the show over the years, she recalled, “Three years ago, we began to read stories about immigrant families that were going to be separated. It seemed as if the story that we told about kids living on their own in the wake of their parents’ sudden absence was a story that was playing out in newspapers everywhere. … It’s very timely and there’s an urgency to it.”
Instead of the car crash that took the lives of the parents in the original show, leaving their five children to cope and survive, the Freeform version has the undocumented parents deported to Mexico.
The reboot will air on January 6, 2020/
Saturday, September 14, 2019
Do you ever think to yourself, "Hey, self, what we really need is MORE immigration-related e-mails?" You're all, "I get those AILA updates but I WANT MORE."
If so, this post is for you.
CLINIC (the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.) has a daily e-mail featuring "breaking news on immigration law, policy, and enforcement" as well as "media coverage regarding CLINIC network affiliates and news of interest to people of faith." You can sign up at this link.
All kidding aside, this looks like a great, free resource for folks looking to stay up-to-date on current immigration goings on.
Here is a short and easy device that can quickly offer stduents insights into the anti-Chinese venom that led to the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, a staple of every immigration law course. This episode of the podcast The Hidden History of Los Angeles looks at a long-forgotten episode of anti-Chinese violence in Pasadena, now a quiet part of the Los Angeles area that few would think had a violent anti-immigrant, anti-Chinese history. Los Angeles had its share of anti-Chinese violence, including what is known as the Chinese Massacre of 1871.
Matt Hormann for the Pasadena Weekly ("Night of Terror") describes a violent Friday night in November 1885:
Immigration came up briefly during the Democratic presidential debate last week. Debate moderator and journalist Jorge Ramos grilled former Vice President Joe Biden on President Obama's immigration record with record numbers of deportations and bluntly asked him "Why should Latinos trust you?" Kit Johnson critically blogged about Biden's response to the questions on immigration. and how, despite Biden's denial, the Obama administration in fact "locked people up in cages."
In short, Biden defended the Obama immigration record, highlighting the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy. Asked to respond, Julian Castro questioned Biden about his role in the mass removals.
"Four beneficiaries of [DACA], the program giving legal protections for young unauthorized immigrants, interrupted Joe Biden’s closing remarks during the Democratic debate Thursday night with chants of `We are DACA recipients! Our lives are at risk!'
Wearing T-shirts that read, `Defend DACA,' `Abolish ICE,' and `Citizenship for All,' the protesters from the National Korean American Service and Education Consortium . . . had been invited to the debate. They were hoping that the candidates would discuss solutions for DACA recipients, who may lose their legal status if the US Supreme Court decides the program is unlawful in a case before the justices this fall. The protesters jumped on stage and chanted for about a minute before ultimately being escorted away." (bold added).
Friday, September 13, 2019
Did anyone watch the Democratic debate last night? Not gonna lie, it was pretty boring. Especially the first 11 hours when the candidates talked endlessly about their plans for healthcare despite the fact that, spoiler alert, a president cannot enact any health care plan on their own.
Eventually they got to the good stuff: immigration.
Moderator Jorge Ramos asked Joe Biden this pretty pointed question: "Why should Latinos trust you?"
Biden's answer: "We didn't lock people up in cages. We didn't separate families. We didn't do all of those things[.]"
Not so fast, Mr. Vice President. I spent a week in Artesia, NM in the winter of 2014. I was there to help women and children--locked in cages and separated from any adult males traveling with them--try to secure the right to leave detention on bond.
I can say from personal experience that you did lock people up in cages. In fact, you locked kids in cages. You separated families.
I saw it. I was there. I remember.
Earlier this week, the Milton L. Schwartz/David F. Levi Inn of Court held its first meeting of the academic year at UC Davis School of Law. Because the meeting was on the anniversary of September 11, 2001, Judge Emily Vasquez asked me to offer some remarks on the impact of September 11 on the law. Here are my remarks:
September 11, 2001. The words alone bring forth many images and emotions. The morning saw one of those rare events where people look back and think about where they were when they heard the news. It is hard to ever forget the television footage of the jet crashing into the World Trade Center. Closer to home, I will never forget the Sikh owners of the local 7/11 store who plastered American flags on the store windows, basically trying to convince people that they were not Muslim. This simple act told volumes about the tension in the air.
For a long while, some said that “9/11 changed everything.” That, I think, is an exaggeration. However, the events did have significant reverberations. Airplane travel became very different — forever. Armed National Guard members immediately were at California airports. Waiting in long lines for screening at airports became common. "Interacting" with TSA officers became a normal part of the airport experience.
The days that followed saw a blur of government responses. I think it fair to say that some people today have regrets about various missteps in the name of security. Some examples might include
1. The treatment of Arabs and Muslims – many now think that “special registration” of Arab and Muslim men was unnecessary. Similarly, the mass dragnet and detention of young Arab and Muslim men is not generally looked on as one of the nation’s best moments.
2. The use of Guantánamo and torture have been roundly condemned.
3. The USA PATRIOT Act and its intrusion on privacy and individual rights has drawn criticism.
On the positive side of the ledger, the nation saw the inspirational rebuilding of the World Trade Center area, with a memorial and museum. The response reflects the resilience of the people of the United States. Who doesn’t like a good comeback story? In the film world, aren’t we on something like Rocky 13?
All that said, September 11 and security concerns remain with us and influence law and policy. But the courts – and this is the upbeat portion of my remarks – have stepped up. Consider the travel bans put into place by President Trump, which applied to noncitizens from a group of countries with predominantly Muslim populations. There actually were three bans, with the first one put into place in January 2018. The bans were rooted in the same fears that influenced the responses to September 11. Some claimed that they were anti-Muslim.
In the first version, it was not clear whether the ban applied to lawful permanent residents or only to temporary visitors to the United States. Nothing less than chaos resulted at airports from coast to coast. I am proud that UC Davis School of Law had students, alumni, and faculty head to airports to help noncitizens seeking admission into the United States. We even had a law professor who happened to be in New York City and went out to John F. Kennedy International Airport to help people in need. I can’t help but think that some of the willingness of people to help persons affected by the travel ban comes from remembering the injustice of some of the U.S. government’s responses to September 11.
The courts played a critically important role in narrowing the three bans, invalidating the first two. We might debate whether the final one was lawful. However, few would say that the final ban’s lawfulness is not a much closer question than the first one. Through judicial review, the courts in effect narrowed the ban.
In Trump v. Hawaii, the Supreme Court upheld the travel ban after engaging in judicial review of its lawfulness. Even though the Court only engaged in rational basis review, that itselkf is more than once was teh case. In the not-too-distant past, the courts have not even engaged in any review of immigration and national security decisions of the President and Congress. In addition, the Court finally overruled Korematsu v. United States, the case upholding the internment of persons of Japanese ancestry, citizens and noncitizens alike – a national blemish if there ever was one.
This leads me to a more general lesson as we work through challenging times. Time and again in recent years, the nation has seen courts enforcing the rule of law in these and other areas:
- The rights of “enemy combatants”
- Sanctuary litigation
- Immigrant detention
- Enforcement of the Flores settlement and protecting the rights of migrant children
- Asylum policies
- The litigation over the decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy. This issue is currently before the Supreme Court.
The courts enforcing the rule of law include a conservative Supreme Court. Consider Sessions v. Dimaya (2018) in which a 5-4 Court held that a removal provision of the immigration laws was unconstitutional, an extraordinarily rare occurrence. In another case that surprised many Supreme Court watchers, a 5-4 Court in 2019 found that the Trump administration had not adequately explained its addition of a U.S. citizenship question on Census 2020. In my view, Chief Justice Roberts, who wrote for the majority, joined the more liberal justices to save the Court’s legitimacy as an institution separate from the political process.
Ultimately, my firm sense is that we have learned much from September 11. And I remain inspired by the role of the courts in enforcing the rule of law on national security matters. We all should be proud of that. Thank you.
Thursday, September 12, 2019
The Colorado Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights released its report, Citizenship Delayed: Civil Rights and Voting Rights Implications of the Backlog in Citizenship and Naturalization Applications. The Committee examined the civil rights implications of the backlog in citizenship and naturalization applications in U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The report is available on the USCCR website.
The report found that increased wait times are contributing to a backlog of more than 700,000 naturalization applications and wait times of 10-18 months. This is a doubling from 2016 to 2019 and a violation of statutory requirements that applications be processed within 6 months. This delay impacts applicants’ civil rights, including an applicants' ability to fully participate in the 2020 election in many parts of the country.
Key recommendations from the Committee include:
• USCIS officers should review the operational efficiency of naturalization
adjudications and ensure that adjudication processing times are consistent with
the statutory and regulatory guidelines of six months.
• Congress should hold hearings and increase USCIS accountability to statutory
mission and timelines.
• Congress should appropriate funding to USCIS to eliminate the backlog.
• States, local governments, and non-profits should participate in supporting
Committee Chair Alvina Earnhart said: “During our study, it became evident that the processing time for citizenship applications has surged considerably. Despite past efforts to resolve the backlog, more needs to be done. This report provides insights for potential solutions, and we hope that it will spur Congress to act to eliminate the backlog. Special thanks to Committee member Ming H. Chen for her leadership and dedication to the
Citizenship Delayed, based on expert input and extensive research and analysis, offers actionable recommendations to Congress; federal, state, and local agencies; and advocacy groups. The Committee held a public briefing on the subject in February 2019 at the University of Colorado Law School, hearing from government officials, academics, legal experts, and members of the public. View video and the transcript of the briefing.
SCOTUSBlog is running a symposium on the DACA case that will soon be argued. Here is Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia's contribution.
Her powerful conclusion:
"Prosecutorial discretion is essential in any law-enforcement context and immigration is no exception. Because resources are limited, the government has to make decisions about whom to target for enforcement and whom to leave alone. Prosecutorial discretion has long been informed by compassion. Even before DACA, thousands of immigrants living in the United States were granted deferred action or another kind of prosecutorial discretion because of factors such as tender or advanced age, long-term residence or serving as a caregiver to a family member with serious medical needs. Regardless of how the Supreme Court rules in this case as a matter of law, the choice by the Trump administration to end DACA represents an extraordinary use of discretion that is morally troubling and out of sync with history and our humanity."
In the West African nation of Togo, applying for the U.S. Diversity Visa Lottery is a national obsession, with hundreds of thousands of Togolese entering each year. From the street frenzy of the lottery sign-up period and the scramble to raise money for the embassy interview to the gamesmanship of those adding spouses and dependents to their dossiers, the application process is complicated, expensive, and unpredictable. In The Fixer Charles Piot follows Kodjo Nicolas Batema, a Togolese visa broker—known as a “fixer”—as he shepherds his clients through the application and interview process. Relaying the experiences of the fixer, his clients, and embassy officials, Piot captures the ever-evolving cat-and-mouse game between the embassy and the hopeful Togolese as well as the disappointments and successes of lottery winners in the United States. These detailed and compelling stories uniquely illustrate the desire and savviness of migrants as they work to find what they hope will be a better life.
Hat tip to Alan Hyde!
Immigration Article of the Day: Of Immigration, Public Charges, Disability Discrimination, and, of All Things, Hobby Lobby by Mark C. Weber
This Essay seeks to demonstrate that federal disability discrimination law conflicts with and thus supervenes the Trump Administration’s new regulations changing the standards for excluding immigrants from the United States on the basis of their likelihood of becoming a public charge. The Essay draws the comparison to Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, Inc., a 2014 case in which the Supreme Court invalidated a federal regulation on the ground that it conflicted not with its enabling legislation but with an unrelated federal statute, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
The Trump administration announced in July that it would adopt a rule to block asylum seekers from being granted relief if they passed through a third country without applying for asylum there before arriving in the United States. Legal challenges -- and injunctions -- followed. Earlier this week, Judge Jon Tigar re-issued a nationwide injunction in the case in response to a Ninth Circuit limitation of the injunction to the geographic jurisdiction of the Ninth Circuit.
Amy Howe on SCOTUSBlog reports on the latest news in the Supreme Court in the challenge to the Trump asylum rule:
"The Trump administration won a major (if, at least for now, only temporary) victory on immigration [yesterday] at the Supreme Court. The justices gave the government the go-ahead to enforce a new rule that would bar most immigrants from applying for asylum if they pass through another country – such as Mexico – without seeking asylum there before arriving in the United States. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit had blocked the government from implementing the new rule in Arizona and California, but now the government can enforce it nationwide while it appeals a decision by a federal judge in California to the 9th Circuit and, if necessary, the Supreme Court. Tonight’s order drew a dissent from Justice Sonia Sotomayor (joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg)." (emphasis added).
Justice Sotomayor dissented:
"[T]he Supreme Court gave the government the go-ahead to enforce the rule nationwide while its appeal winds its way through the 9th Circuit and, if necessary, the Supreme Court. In her five-page dissent, Sotomayor suggested that the new rule may be `in significant tension' with federal laws governing immigration. She added that it was `especially concerning' that the new rule `topples decades of settled asylum practices and affects some of the most vulnerable people in the Western Hemisphere—without affording the public a chance to weigh in.'
Sotomayor criticized the Supreme Court’s decision to intervene at this stage of the process. `Granting a stay pending appeal should be an ‘extraordinary’ act,` she stressed, but `it appears the Government has treated this exceptional mechanism as a new normal' – and, she lamented, the justices have acquiesced." (emphasis added).