Friday, November 20, 2020

The 4 potential candidates to lead Biden’s Department of Homeland Security, briefly explained


As President-elect Biden forges ahead with transition planning for his administration, Nicole Narea at Vox breaks down the top candidates rumored to be under consideration to head up the Department of Homeland Security.

The list includes Alejandro Mayorkas, former deputy secretary at DHS under President Obama, who is "best known as the architect of [DACA];" California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (who Fox News worries also is being considered for Attorney General); Rep. Val Demings (D-Florida); and Lisa Monaco, former Homeland Security adviser for President Obama.

Whatever the choice, the new AG will be very different from Jeff Sessions and Bill Barr.


November 20, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Ali Noorani: What The Biden Administration Can Do To Reform America's Immigration Policies



Ali Noorani, President & CEO of the National Immigration Forum joins Cheddar for a short discussion of what immigration reform could look like under a Biden presidency.  His top three, which he said have bipartisan support, are:

1.  Extending DACA, which President Trump sought to rescind.

2.  Extending Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Salvadorans, Haitians, and other groups that President Trump has attempted to end TPS for.

3.  Increase the refugee resettlement cap from 15,000 to 125,000.

Noorani also thought that a major challenge will be to make the border more flexible while ensuring effective border enforcement.


November 20, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Immigration Law at the AALS Annual Meeting


A message from Jennifer M. Chacón (o/b/o myself and the rest of the AALS Immigration Law Section Executive Committee: Jill Family, Kit Johnson, Carolina Nuñez and Fatma Marouf)

We just wanted to remind you that registration for the AALS conference is up and running!  Here’s the link.

Our panel this year – Outsourced Borders and Invisible Walls – will feature presentations by Stephen Lee (UCI), Lori Nessel (Seton Hall), Stella Burch Elias (Iowa), Paul Gowder (Northwestern), Ming Hsu Chen (Colorado) and Heide Castañeda (Anthropology, University of South Florida).  That panel will take place on January 7 from 1:15-2:30 (Eastern).  We plan to hold our section business meeting immediately after the panel session.  We’ll send more details on that later.

Our works-in-progress session will take place on January 6 from 4:15pm- 5:30pm (Eastern) featuring papers by Tania Valdez (The Case for Abolishing the Fugitive (Alien) Disentitlement Doctrine) and Beth Zilberman (Unenforced Split Enforcement in Immigration Agencies). This session will proceed in two parts. We will first consider Professor Valdez’s paper. She will provide a brief, 5 minute, introduction to her work, highlighting areas for feedback. I (Jennifer) will serve as lead reader on this paper and will offer comments for 10 minutes. Then we’ll have 20 minutes of roundtable discussion by attendees. At the half way mark of our session, we’ll pick up Professor Zilberman’s paper. She will provide a 5 minute introduction, Jill Family (lead reader) will offer comments for 10 minutes, and we’ll have another 20 minutes of roundtable discussion. The two papers will be circulated in advance of the conference to all attendees. Please RSVP at this link so we can be sure to share the paper with you in advance.

We are also co-sponsoring a panel hosted by the Section on Disability Law (January 8 from 11:00-12:15) on “Disability and Intersectionality: Celebrating 30 Years of Intersectionality and the ADA.”  And we are co-sponsoring a panel with the Section on Education Law (January 8 from 1:15-2:30) on the future of Plyer v. Doe on its 40th anniversary, featuring  Rachel Moran, Hiroshi Motomura, and Michael Olivas.

Details about all of the panels and events can be found in the online program.  We look forward to seeing you there!


November 19, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)


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The four big ideas:

1.    Restore the customer-service ethos and recognition of our heritage as a nation of immigrants in the USCIS mission statement. 

2.    Take USCIS out of investigations and limit its role to adjudicating requests for immigration benefits.

3.    Authorize virtual or in-person attorney representation at U.S consular posts abroad and ports of entry, and allow legal representation of other parties with legitimate interests in USCIS benefits adjudications. 

4.    Establish a single administrative tribunal that decides all immigration-related legal issues across all federal agencies. 

Click the link above for details.


November 19, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

DHS Inspector General report: "Because of these IT deficiencies, we could not confirm the total number of families DHS separated during the Zero Tolerance period."


The down defunct family separation policy has created much human damage.  And more than 500 families still have not been reunited.   A report from the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General Joseph Cuffari has found that "outdated IT systems not properly integrated between departments" hampered the agency’s efforts to track migrant families detained and separated at the border, David Uberti reports for The Wall Street Journal. "Because of these IT deficiencies, we could not confirm the total number of families DHS separated during the Zero Tolerance period," Cuffari wrote. "Without the ability to track and share data on family separations and reunifications, CBP adopted various ad hoc methods to work around system limitations, but these methods led to widespread errors." Such methods, he noted, cost "roughly 28,000 man-hours from Border Patrol agents and $1.2 million in overtime pay."


November 19, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Inside the Lives of Immigrant Teens Working Dangerous Night Shifts in Suburban Factories


Melissa Sanchez for ProPublica Illinois (co-published with Mother Jones and El País) tells a sobering story of immigrant teens working dangerous jobs at night to pay off debts to smugglers and attending school in the day.  "Here in the Chicago suburb of Bensenville, and in places like it throughout the country, Guatemalan teenagers like Garcia spend their days in class learning English and algebra and chemistry. At night, while their classmates sleep, they work to pay debts to smugglers and sponsors, to contribute to rent and bills, to buy groceries and sneakers, and to send money home to the parents and siblings they left behind. They are among the tens of thousands of young people who have come to this country over the past few years, some as unaccompanied minors, others alongside a parent, amid a spike in the number of Central American migrants seeking asylum in the U.S."


November 19, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Trump administration tries to push last-minute immigration limits

CNN reports that the Trump administration is attempting to push last-minute policies that would limit immigration to the United States, according to multiple sources. For instance, the Department of Homeland Security is trying to ramp up agreements to send asylum seekers to Central American countries, plans that have largely been under the radar during the coronavirus pandemic, according to three sources familiar with the discussions, as well as rules regarding student visas and work permits.

The push is in line with a years-long effort to usher forward a slew of policy changes that have overhauled the US immigration system.

President Biden is expected to reverse many of the Trump administration immigration policies.


November 19, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Migrants Evicted from Canary Island Port

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The BBC reports that hundreds of migrants, mostly Moroccan, have been evicted from a dock at the Arguineguín port in Gran Canaria. Officials removed these migrants without a resettlement plan, leaving many to just wander in search of food and shelter.

If you check out the map on the right, you can see the geographic appeal of the Canary Islands. At their nearest point, the islands are just 62 miles from Morocco. Also, the islands are a part of Spain. Migrants hope to parlay their landing at this port to a future in the EU.




November 18, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

End of a Reign of Terror for Immigrants, Election Promises Relief

NPR reports that, for years, immigrants in the Atlanta suburbs lived in fear that a routine traffic stop would lead to deportation. Thousands of immigrants unlawfully in the country  have been deported for minor offenses, advocates say, because of close ties between county jails and immigration authorities.  But now, there are some new sheriffs in town.

"I'm the sheriff of Gwinnett County for everybody, regardless of your race, regardless of your gender, regardless of your immigration status," said Keybo Taylor, the sheriff-elect in Gwinnett County, outside Atlanta.

The 2020 election is expected to usher in a major shift in immigration enforcement. On the federal level, the Biden administration plans to rein in Immigration and Customs Enforcement, starting with a temporary moratorium on deportations.

On the local level, a number of sheriffs known for their hardline immigration stances retired or lost their reelection bids. In Georgia, the blue wave that delivered the state to Biden also helped to elect several county sheriffs who have pledged to limit how they cooperate with ICE.


November 18, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

President-Elect Biden's Agenda for International Students

Could President-Elect Biden reverse the downward trend of international students studying in US higher education institutions?

Earlier this week ImmigrationProf Blog shared the results from the Institute of International Education (IIE) annual report, which showed a decline in the total international students studying in US higher education institutions (16%) and new enrollment for international students in US higher education institutions (43%). An article in the Chronicle of Higher Education reports on the rampant relief felt by international students and their campus advisers that Biden promises to reverse the immigration policies that have negatively impacted them. For example, Biden has promised within first first 100 days to overturn the executive order, known as the Muslim travel ban, that was first issued in January 2017 and then revised three times before being upheld in the Supreme Court.  He has also indicated a desire to restore global cooperation that is the core of the STEM pipeline that motivates talented international students to come train in U.S. colleges and universities and stay for high-skilled work on a temporary or permanent basis. In all likelihood, his administration would retract other proposed policies that would have made it harder for students to study remotely at US institutions during the pandemic or limit the time span during which they must complete their degrees or return to their home countries.

Other efforts to overhaul portions of the immigration system that adversely affect international students will be harder without bipartisan support to pass legislation in Congress.


November 18, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

District Court Halts Immigration Arrests at Federal Courthouse

Here is the order.


November 18, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

IIE Report on Fall 2020 Shows Decline in International Students Coming to US

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A recent report from the Institute of International Education (IIE) reveals a decline in the number of international students studying at U.S. institutions.

Here are some the report's key findings:

  • Total international students at higher education institutions in the United States and studying online outside the United States decreased by 16 percent in Fall 2020.
  • New international student enrollment in the United States and online outside the United States has decreased by 43 percent in Fall 2020. Many international students studying at U.S. institutions took advantage of opportunities to begin their studies remotely. According to Open Doors, new student enrollment accounted for 25 percent of the international student population in 2019/20.

It isn't all doom and gloom. This data point is important:

  • 90 percent of institutions report international student deferrals in Fall 2020. Responding institutions indicate that nearly 40,000 students have deferred enrollment to a future term.

If prospective students are merely deferring instead of choosing to study in another country, it suggests that numbers may pick up again post pandemic. And, certainly, a Biden administration will give international students more comfort about the stability of pursuing education stateside.


November 17, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Will Joe Biden Champion Comprehensive Immigration Reform?


For twenty years, there has been talk of comprehensive immigration reform. As they say, talk is cheap.  Waiting until his second term to make reform a priority after deporting millions of immigrants, President Obama was unable to convince Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform.  Will President Biden be able to achieve what previous presidents could not?

Jordain Carney on the Hill reports that "President-elect Joe Biden's victory is reviving the hunt for one of Washington's biggest white whales: immigration reform."  He reviews the possibilities for a bipartisan deal on immigration reform.  It sounds like an uphill battle with Republican immigration hawks in the Senate.


November 17, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Officials Have Been Told Not To Communicate With Joe Biden's Transition Team


The election is over.  But it is not.  President Trump's refusal to concede the election and the administration's refusal to engage in a smooth transition of power, has been in the news.  The lack of transition may have an impact on immigration.

Hamed Aleaziz for BuzzFeed News reports that an official at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) told employees not to communicate with President-elect Joe Biden's transition team until a Trump appointee “deems the results ‘clear’” and recognizes the winner, according to an internal email obtained by BuzzFeed News.  The message was sent to a group of policy staffers at USCIS nearly a week after Biden was declared the winner of the presidential election.

As Aleaziz recounts, "USCIS has undergone a stark transformation under the Trump administration. The agency has shifted its focus from ways to more efficiently screen and provide immigration benefits to enacting policies to restrict immigrants at the border and elsewhere from gaining access to the US."

“It’s disturbing and disheartening that the agency is not permitting staff to aid the Biden transition team to ensure a smooth transfer,” said one USCIS employee who spoke on condition of anonymity. “These delays could hamper the new administration’s ability to hit the ground running on important issues facing the agency and our country.”

Ur Jaddou, a former lead USCIS official, is heading the Biden transition team responsible for reviewing the Department of Homeland Security.


November 17, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Operationalizing Language Access Rights for Limited English Proficient Taxpayers by Jennifer J. Lee

Operationalizing Language Access Rights for Limited English Proficient Taxpayers by Jennifer J. Lee,  Temple Law Review, Vol. 91, No. 775, 2019


Taxpayers with limited English proficiency (LEP) face inherent barriers to exercising important rights under the tax laws. This Essay, prepared for the Temple Law Review's Symposium, Taxpayer Rights in the United States: All the Angles, explains the legal obligations that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has for making the tax system accessible to LEP taxpayers. While the IRS has developed comprehensive written policies for language access, it still faces challenges in operationalizing these rights for LEP taxpayers.


November 17, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 16, 2020

At the Movies: The Long Ride


The Long Ride Trailer from Valerie Lapin Ganley on Vimeo.

The Long Ride is a timely award-winning documentary about the historic 2003 Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride that sparked the birth of the new Civil Rights Movement for immigrant workers. Inspired by the Civil Rights Movement Freedom Riders who risked their lives fighting to end segregation, nearly 1,000 immigrants and allies traveled by bus across America to focus attention on the plight of immigrants and call for reform of the broken immigration system. The film follows their journey and the on-going fight for immigrant rights to this day.

Some Riders risked arrest and deportation by merely participating in the Ride.  Nevertheless, they bravely spoke publicly about their immigration experiences and the difficulties they face in their adopted homeland.  The Riders confronted the immigration system head-on while demonstrating at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement office, and were met by angry, anti-immigrant counter-protestors.  They faced their inner most fears when they learned the fate of their fellow Riders traveling from Los Angeles who were detained by Border Patrol officers.

The Freedom Riders delivered their message to Washington law makers, and were joined by 1961 Freedom Rider and Civil Rights icon Congressman John Lewis who told them,  "You’re so inspiring to see all of you riding across America.  We will not be at peace until immigrant workers are treated like all other human beings.  You have a right to be treated with dignity."  


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

International Education Week: November 16-20, 2020

International Education Week (IEW) is a joint initiative organized by the U.S. Departments of State and Education and serves as “an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide… [and promotes] programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences.”  

The theme for IEW 2020 is “engage, resilient, and global.” As a global community, we are experiencing unprecedented challenges due to the COVID-19 health pandemic. However, the State Department remains engaged with our global community, resilient and committed to working with U.S. and international institutions globally. Despite the challenges, the State Department will continue its efforts to promote international exchanges – safely and securely – to enhance our national security and promote economic growth.

In Colorado, universities like CU Boulder organize programming to showcase and celebrate the extensive international connections here on campus, spearheaded by the Offices of Education Abroad and International Student & Scholar Services. Colorado Govenor, Jared Polis, issued a State of Colorado proclamation declaring November 16 to 20, 2020 as International Education Week to celebrate the benefits of international eduation and exchange. 

In connection with International Education Week, the 2020 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange (2020 Open Doors) will be released this week.


November 16, 2020 in Current Affairs, Jobs and Fellowships | Permalink | Comments (0)

MPI Events: Evolution on US Homeland Security in 21st Century


1:30 P.M. ET (New York, D.C.) / 12:30 P.M. CT (Chicago) /

11:30 A.M. MT (Denver) / 10:30 A.M. PT (Los Angeles)


Alan Cohn, former Assistant Secretary for Strategy, Planning, Analysis, and Risk, Office of Policy, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS); Partner, Steptoe

Juliette N. Kayyem, Senior Belfer Lecturer in International Security and Faculty Chair of the Homeland Security, and Security and Global Health Projects, Harvard's Kennedy School; former Assistant Secretary, Intergovernmental Affairs, DHS; Editor, Beyond 9/11: Homeland Security for the Twenty-First Century

Chappell Lawson, Associate Professor, Political Science, and Director, International Science and Technology Initiatives program and the International Policy Lab, MIT; former Executive Director and Senior Advisor to the Commissioner, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP); Editor, Beyond 9/11: Homeland Security for the Twenty-First Century


Christian Marrone, former Chief of Staff, DHS; Vice President for Civil and Regulatory Affairs, Lockheed Martin


Doris Meissner, Senior Fellow and Director of U.S. Immigration Policy Program, MPI; and former Commissioner, U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS)





Created in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the largest reorganization of the federal government since World War II, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was designed to coordinate and execute a comprehensive national strategy to safeguard the country against terrorism. DHS was also tasked with carrying out all functions of the 22 federal agencies and entities that were entirely or partially folded into the new department, ensuring that those not directly related to protection of the homeland were not diminished nor neglected. With a portfolio covering everything from cybersecurity and protection of the nation’s maritime waters to facilitation of trade and emergency management, DHS is arguably the largest federal agency with the most disparate policy goals. 

What does it mean to “secure the homeland” in the 21st century? What lessons can be drawn from the U.S. government efforts to do so? And how do DHS work and operations on migration and border security figure into the equation? 

With the department well into its second decade and on the precipice of a new presidential term with some of its component agencies pulled into the polarization around immigration and border security, join the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) for a discussion with the editors and authors of Beyond 9/11: Homeland Security for the Twenty-First Century. These leading security experts will assess the department’s evolution and how it organizes its operations and work on migration and border management. They will offer crucial strategic lessons and detailed recommendations on how to improve the U.S. homeland security enterprise.

November 16, 2020 in Conferences and Call for Papers, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

‘Dreamer’ protections to be reinstated by Joe Biden on day one: Incoming Chief of Staff Ron Klain


Meet the Press provided some good news for supporters of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, initiated by President Obama and threatened with rescission by the Trump administration.  The Supreme Court, in an opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts, blocked the rescission.

President-elect Joe Biden will reinstate legal protections for “Dreamers” on “day one,” incoming Chief of Staff Ron Klain said Sunday.  Biden campaigned on restoring the protections, and Klain said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that executive action will be ready for Biden to sign when he is inaugurated and will address “Dreamer” status.

“We’re going to rejoin Paris, we’re going to protect the Dreamers on day one, we’re going to take other action on health care on day one that the president-elect’s talked about during the campaign. So, we’ve got a busy, busy day one on ready scenario here.”

In light of Joe Biden's campaign promise, Klain's statement is not a surprise.  Still, when it comes to immigration, any sign that positive action will be in fact pursued by an administration is good news.


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

Immigration Article of the Day: Pleading the Fifth in Immigration Court: A Regulatory Proposal by Tania N. Valdez


Pleading the Fifth in Immigration Court: A Regulatory Proposal by Tania N. Valdez, 98 WASH. U. L. REV. (2021 Forthcoming)


Protections of noncitizens’ rights in immigration removal proceedings have remained minimal even as immigration enforcement has exponentially increased. Put differently, outside of immigration court, we treat noncitizens as if they are criminals, while inside it we fail to provide noncitizens the procedural safeguards normally afforded to those accused of crimes. An overlooked, but commonplace, problem in immigration court is the treatment of the constitutional right against self-incrimination. Two routine scenarios occur where noncitizens are asked to sacrifice their right against self-incrimination in immigration court. One involves testimony regarding conduct related to immigration status that may lead to prosecution for federal immigration violations, such as illegal entry, illegal reentry, or alien smuggling. The other involves testimony regarding any other potentially criminal activity, including when the noncitizen currently has pending charges in criminal court yet is expected to testify about the underlying facts during immigration court proceedings. In both of these circumstances, the immigration system puts noncitizens in the untenable position where they must either elect to waive the constitutional right not to self-incriminate and testify regardless of possible criminal consequences, or exercise their right to silence and risk the judge drawing an adverse inference that results in deportation.

The skewed incorporation of criminal norms into the immigration arena—a supposedly “civil” system—without a simultaneous expansion of procedures designed to protect and enforce noncitizens’ rights leads to disastrous results. Moreover, the lack of procedural fairness in removal proceedings exaggerates the imbalance of power between the federal government, with its immense resources, and the individuals it seeks to deport. Considering the so-called plenary powers granted to the executive and legislative branches of government, and attendant limited oversight by Article III courts, the courts are not likely to be the most efficient or far-reaching solution. Thus, this Article posits that, rather than utilizing the traditional judicial avenue for vindicating constitutional rights, federal agency regulatory rule-making is the best way forward. The Article then offers proposed regulatory language that is intended to provide a meaningful procedural vehicle through which noncitizens’ right against self-incrimination may be enforced. The proposed regulations provide that immigration judges must advise noncitizens of their right to remain silent, prohibit judges from drawing an adverse inference where noncitizens have pending criminal charges, clarify the procedures that must be followed in order to compel speech, and limit the government’s use of evidence obtained as a result of statutory or regulatory violations.


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