Monday, September 20, 2021

Immigration Article of the Day: Unequal Access: Wealth as Barrier and Accelerator to Citizenship by Ayelet Stachar


Unequal Access: Wealth as Barrier and Accelerator to Citizenship by Ayelet Stachar, Citizenship Studies 25 (2021), 543-563


Combining insights from the history of ideas with contemporary legal analysis, this article both highlights and problematizes what we may call sorting strategies – restrictive closure and selective openness – which rely on “varieties of affluence” (income, wealth, equity, credit, and the like) in shaping possibilities for entry, settlement, and naturalization. By emphasizing the growing significance of income barriers and thresholds on the one hand, and fast-tracked investment-based entryways on the other, this article investigates the role of affluence as both accelerator and barrier to citizenship, contributing to the varied toolbox used by governments to advance goals that may at times appear contradictory; these tools both restrict and relax the requirements of access to membership at the same time. These new developments represent different facets of the same trend. Without explicitly stating as much, programs that turn wealth into a core criterion for admission conceptually reignite an older, exclusive, and exclusionary vision according to which individuals must hold property (in land, resources, or in relation to one’s “dependents,” including women, slaves, and children) in order to qualify as a citizen. While such a trajectory is no stranger to ancient models, it raises profound challenges to modernist accounts of political membership that place equality at their core.


September 20, 2021 in Current Affairs, Law Review Articles & Essays | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, September 19, 2021

President Biden in a Pickle With Haitian Migrants in Texas


A group of Haitian migrants on the U.S./Mexico border generated a Saturday response from the Department of Homeland Security:

"The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is immediately implementing a new, comprehensive strategy to address the increase in migrant encounters in the Del Rio sector of South Texas.  It has six key components.

First, within the next 24-48 hours, U.S. Customs and Border Protection will have surged 400 agents and officers to the Del Rio sector to improve control of the area.  If additional staff is needed, more will be sent. The Del Rio Port of Entry has temporarily closed, and traffic is being re-routed from Del Rio to Eagle Pass to more effectively manage resources and ensure uninterrupted flow of trade and travel.

Second, U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) is coordinating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Coast Guard to move individuals from Del Rio to other processing locations, including approximately 2,000 yesterday, in order to ensure that irregular migrants are swiftly taken into custody, processed, and removed from the United States consistent with our laws and policy. 

Third, DHS will secure additional transportation to accelerate the pace and increase the capacity of removal flights to Haiti and other destinations in the hemisphere within the next 72 hours.

Fourth, the Administration is working with source and transit countries in the region to accept individuals who previously resided in those countries. 

Fifth, DHS is undertaking urgent humanitarian actions with other relevant federal, state, and local partners to reduce crowding and improve conditions for migrants on U.S. soil.  DHS has already taken a number of steps to ensure the safety and security of individuals as they await processing, including having Border Patrol emergency medical technicians on hand and providing water, towels, and portable toilets.

Finally, the White House has directed appropriate U.S. agencies to work with the Haitian and other regional governments to provide assistance and support to returnees. 

The majority of migrants continue to be expelled under CDC’s Title 42 authority.  Those who cannot be expelled under Title 42 and do not have a legal basis to remain will be placed in expedited removal proceedings.  DHS is conducting regular expulsion and removal flights to Haiti, Mexico, Ecuador, and Northern Triangle countries.

Beyond the six steps outlined above, the Biden Administration has reiterated that our borders are not open, and people should not make the dangerous journey.  Individuals and families are subject to border restrictions, including expulsion.  Irregular migration poses a significant threat to the health and welfare of border communities and to the lives of migrants themselves, and should not be attempted." (bold added).

Juan A. Lozano, Eric Gay, and Elliot Spagat for the Associated Press report that the "Haitian migrants . . . . said they will not be deterred by U.S. plans to speedily send them back, as thousands of people remained encamped on the Texas border Saturday after crossing from Mexico. . . . Scores of people waded back and forth across the Rio Grande on Saturday afternoon, re-entering Mexico to purchase water, food and diapers in Ciudad Acuña before returning to the Texas encampment under and near a bridge in the border city of Del Rio."

Rafael Bernal for the Hill writes that "[t]he growing group of Haitians massing under a bridge in Texas . . . is worsening President Biden’s political headache over immigration."  Texas Republicans have blamed the president for the rise in Haitian migration.

The Hill reported that an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) plane carrying 86 Haitians landed earlier this week in Haiti, which this summer saw its president assassinated and suffered a devastating earthquake.  Eight further ICE flights scheduled to go to Haiti next week, according to a report by NBC News.

On September 17, Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.) led 56 House Democrats in a letter demanding the administration suspend all expulsion and deportation flights to Haiti.

“The Biden Administration cannot claim it is doing everything it can to support the Haitian community while continuing to unjustly deport Haitians as the island weathers its worst political, public health and economic crises yet,” said Pressley.

Bernal writes that "[t]he twin lines of attack from liberals upset about the deportations and Republicans calling for tougher measures have seemingly put Biden between a rock and a hard place at a time when regional migration flows have become unpredictable."




September 19, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Special Education No Man's Land by Adrian Alvarez


Special Education No Man's Land by Adrian Alvarez, St. John's Law Review (Forthcoming)


Unaccompanied minors with disabilities are being harmed because the federal regime that cares for them fails to consider how their disabilities may affect their needs while in custody. Although there are several ways in which disabled children are harmed by this regime, this Article focuses on the government’s failures in providing appropriate educational services to unaccompanied minors with disabilities while in Office of Refugee Resettlement-funded shelters (“ORR shelters”). Specifically, ORR does not require its shelters to provide unaccompanied minors with disabilities special education and related services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”). Additionally, states provide no educational services to children in ORR shelters, including services under the IDEA. Since at least 2003, the U.S. Department of Education (“ED”) has issued letters explaining that neither state nor local school districts are required to extend the IDEA’s substantive and procedural protections to children with disabilities in federal prisons. This practice would appear to cover children in ORR custody. If this is a correct interpretation of the statute, then there is an entire class of children with disabilities in federal custody who are living in a special education no man’s land. Although this Article focuses on unaccompanied children in ORR custody, the ED’s statutory interpretation affects children with disabilities in the custody of other federal agencies, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”), the Federal Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”), and the U.S. Marshals Service.

Although it is clear that the IDEA protects non-citizens once they enroll in public schools, this Article seeks to answer whether unaccompanied minors in ORR shelters are entitled to the IDEA’s substantive and procedural rights while in government custody. It argues that while the plain language of the statute would require states—but not federal agencies—to provide their residents with the IDEA’s protections while in federal custody, it is at best unclear as to whether unaccompanied minors are state residents for the IDEA’s purposes while in ORR shelters. However, because unaccompanied minors with disabilities will have better outcomes if they are provided IDEA-related services once they arrive in this country, Congress should amend the IDEA to explicitly extend its protections to unaccompanied minors in ORR shelters.


September 19, 2021 in Current Affairs, Law Review Articles & Essays | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Immigration Processing Now Takes 6 Times Longer Following Trump Policies


Official White House Photo

Is anyone surprised? Newsweek ("Immigration Processing Now Takes 6 Times Longer Following Trump Policies") reports that, despite the fact that numbers of applications remained constant for the past five years, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services processing times jumped six-fold between 2015 and 2020. The agency now faces a backlog of millions of petitions from people looking to temporarily stay or live in the country, receive humanitarian relief, obtain work authorization or become U.S. citizens.

According to the report,

"The Trump administration made a number of changes that complicated the immigration process. These findings were gathered by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) . . . as the number of pending applications grew by an estimated 85 percent during the five years in which the GAO conducted its study. . . . The GAO attributed the longer processing times to policy changes that resulted in longer forms, expanded interview requirements, insufficient staffing levels and a suspension of in-person services due to the pandemic in 2020.

Under the Trump administration's 2017 to 2021 rule, hundreds of small changes were made to USCIS forms. Examples include a 2019 rule that forced applicants to refile forms if they left a space blank, even if the item did not apply to them. A 2017 rule required people over the age of 75 to provide finger printing documents, despite not having had to do so since 1998. Along with these technical moves, the administration forced USCIS to raise fees for naturalization applications from $620 to $1,160 in 2020.

The effects of these changes and others were felt over the years. . . ."

Here is the GAO report.


September 18, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Fragile Immigration Legality Collapses in the Trump Era  by Jillian Blake

Fragile Immigration Legality Collapses in the Trump Era  by Jillian Blake, Southern California Interdisciplinary Law Journal, Vol. 30, No. 1, 2021


People often think of immigration legality in black and white terms—immigrants are “documented” or “undocumented”; they are present “legally” or “illegally.” There has long been, however, a significant gray area of quasi-legality in the U.S. immigration system. This gray area expanded for decades due to diverging policies of the executive and legislative branches, which each play a role in the formation of immigration policy. The presidency of Donald Trump and its anti-immigration agenda exposed the vulnerability of this class of quasi-status immigrants who were long lawfully present in the country, but for whom Congress had not established a pathway to secure permanent legal status. Those with quasi-statuses included those with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Temporary Protected Status (TPS), and others. Most of these immigrants had work permits, and many had U.S. citizen family members and had permanently settled in the United States. They were, nevertheless, subject to unpredictable enforcement and removal (deportation) by the Executive. This Article explains the rise of quasi-status immigration and how the Trump administration was able to exploit it. It also offers solutions for the Biden administration and Congress to help remedy the system.


September 18, 2021 in Current Affairs, Law Review Articles & Essays | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 17, 2021

Immigration Article of the Day: The Invisible Wall: Public Charge Policy Impacts on Immigrant Families  by Claire R. Thomas

The Invisible Wall: Public Charge Policy Impacts on Immigrant Families  by Claire R. Thomas, 65 N.Y.L. SCH. L. REV. 197 (2020-2021).


The purpose of this essay is to debunk the notion that the Trump administration followed historical precedent in creating a vastly more exclusionary public charge rule and to assert that the over four hundred changes made to immigration law since January 2017, whether currently in effect or not, separate immigrant families and prevent low- and middle-income people from immigrating to the United States. In Part II of this essay, I briefly explore the history of public charge as a basis for inadmissibility to the United States. Next, in Part III, I highlight a few of the over four hundred changes to U.S. immigration law that the Trump administration made, focusing on those that seek to criminalize, target, and exclude immigrant families. In Part IV, I address how — despite federal court orders stopping some of these changes, either temporarily or permanently — the “invisible wall” these changes created instills fear in immigrant communities and results in consequences such as disenrollment from healthcare insurance benefits and reluctance to engage in public social services. I assert that in formulating a significantly more exclusionary definition of public charge, the Trump administration sought to make it impossible for low and middle-income individuals to immigrate to the United States through the family visa process, thereby preventing ordinary people — much like my great-grandfather — from starting a new life in the United States. Finally, in Part V, as we move into the Biden administration, I posit that comprehensive immigration reform must rescind this exclusionary definition of public charge in order to welcome newcomers with dignity and create a fair and humane immigration system.


September 17, 2021 in Current Affairs, Law Review Articles & Essays | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Economic Benefits of Extending Permanent Legal Status to Unauthorized Immigrants, President Biden on Citizenship Day


A new memo from the White House Council of Economic Advisors entitledThe Economic Benefits of Extending Permanent Legal Status to Unauthorized Immigrants,” in which the White makes clear not only do they want a pathway to citizenship included in the reconciliation package, but they clearly show why it has direct budgetary impact and can and must be included in this package. You can read more in Axios.

The White House also released the President’s Citizenship Day remarks, a signal from the President that he is pushingfor inclusion of a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, TPS holders, farmworkers and other essential workers in the reconciliation package. 


September 17, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Report: ICE Abandoning Immigrants with Disabilities and Mental Illnesses

Attorneys reported that individuals who are declared mentally incompetent from cognitive disabilities or mental illnesses are being thrown out of immigration detention without notice to their attorneys, families or caregivers. Vera recently released a report (English/Spanish) describing the experiences immigrants with disabilities and mental illnesses faced in immigration detention. One of them was Luis, an immigrant detainee who had a serious mental illness and was released and put on a bus to California to an address where no one in his family had lived for about a year. 


September 17, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Law Student Does Good: Notre Dame Law student helps win asylum for Salvadoran mother and child


Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons (Notre Dame Law Seal)

Good news from the heartland!  young mother and child from El Salvador were granted asylum in the United States last week, thanks to the legal advocacy of Notre Dame Law School student Sophia Aguilar.

Aguilar, a third-year law student, worked with her client through the Law School’s National Immigrant Justice Center externship. Her client fled gender violence in El Salvador and came to the United States several years ago with her son, then a toddler.

Click the link above for details.


September 16, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigrants in the United States: A Demographic and Economic Profile for Immigration Reform


The American Immigration Council released the following today:

"WASHINGTON, Sept. 16, 2021—The U.S. House and Senate on Friday approved $100 billion that would—through a process known as budget reconciliation—create a new pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants living in the United States. While Congress debates the legislative text that will dictate who may qualify for this path to legal status, it remains crucial for the public to understand the broad range of contributions immigrants make to American communities.

The American Immigration Council has extensive data on the United States’ immigrant population and their contributions to America. The Immigrants in the United States fact sheet includes data on population size, occupation, and tax contributions, as well as data on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients.

The Council’s fact sheet, Immigrants in the United States, shows that 14% of the nation’s residents are foreign-born, over half of whom are naturalized citizens. Nearly 75% of all immigrants, who come from diverse backgrounds across the globe, report speaking English well or very well. Immigrants make up significant shares of the U.S. workforce in a range of industries, accounting for over a third of all farming, fishing, and forestry workers—as well as nearly 25% of those working in computer and math sciences. The highest number of immigrants work in the health care and social service industry, with over 4 million immigrants providing these services.

The fact sheet also reveals that immigrants in the United States made up 17% of the nation’s labor force in 2018 and contributed $308.6 billion in federal taxes and $150 billion in state and local taxes. As consumers, immigrants spent $1.2 trillion on the United States’ economy in 2018. Immigrant entrepreneurs in the United States accounted for 21% of all self-employed U.S. residents and generated $84.3 billion in business revenue in 2018. 

As of March 2020, the United States was home to 643,560 active DACA recipients, and 49% of DACA-eligible immigrants in the nation had applied for DACA. Recipients of DACA and those meeting the eligibility requirements for DACA paid an estimated $1.7 billion in combined state and local taxes in 2018.

Undocumented immigrants comprised 3% of the United States’ total population and 5% of the nation’s workforce in 2016. Undocumented immigrants in the United States paid an estimated $20.1 billion in federal taxes and $11.8 billion in combined state and local taxes in 2018.

An infographic on the contributions immigrants make to American communities is available here.

Drawing from U.S. Census data and other sources, the Council developed 50 state fact sheets that provide the latest demographic and economic contributions of immigrants in each U.S. state and can be accessed here

In addition, the American Immigration Council has extensive data on California’s immigrant population and their contributions to the state. The California state fact sheet includes data on population size, occupation, and tax contributions, as well as data on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients in the state.  The Council’s fact sheet, Immigrants in California, shows that immigrants account for over one quarter of California’s population and comprise a staggering 33% of the labor force. Approximately 74% of all workers in farming, fishing, and forestry are immigrants, as are 59% of building and grounds cleaning and maintenance employees.


September 16, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Fifth Circuit Stays Injunction on Biden's Immigration Enforcement Priorities



Dave Simpson for Law360 reports that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit backed the bulk of two Biden administration directives narrowing the scope of immigration enforcement operations, staying most of a preliminary injunction entered by the district court.

In a unanimous decision by U.S. Circuit Judge Gregg Costa, the panel found that the U.S. government had shown it would likely succeed in its appeal based.  As the court began the opinion,

"A district court issued a nationwide preliminary injunction preventing the United States from relying on  immigration enforcement priorities outlined in memos from the Department of Homeland Security and 
Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The United States seeks a stay of that injunction pending appeal. For the reasons discussed below, we grant a partial stay."

"We do not see a strong justification for concluding that the [Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996] detention statutes override the deep-rooted tradition of enforcement discretion when it comes to decisions that occur before detention, such as who should be subject to arrest, detainers, and removal proceedings," Judge Costa wrote.

 Order attached |


September 16, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Death on the Border -- US: Extreme Heat Should Prompt New Border Approach


Photo courtesy of Wikimedia

Extreme heat in the United States in the summer of 2021 underscores the urgency of adopting a climate-informed approach to policies affecting border communities, migrants, and asylum seekers, a group of 68 rights organizations said in a letter to the Biden administration. The groups include Human Rights Watch, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Southern Border Communities Coalition, the American Friends Service Committee, Amnesty International USA, and dozens of others.

“Considering the likelihood of increasingly extreme temperatures at the border, the Biden administration should move away from deterrence and ‘Do Not Come’ messaging, which ignores the realities for people fleeing for their lives and their right to seek safety,” said Clara Long, associate US director at Human Rights Watch. “Instead, the US strategy to address migration on a warming planet should be rooted in human rights and humanitarian protection.”

In late August, US Customs and Border Protection agents found a two-year-old boy alive next to the bodies of his mother and 10-year old sister in the desert west of Yuma, Arizona. The high temperature on that day was 119 degrees. The Yuma County medical examiner determined that their deaths were heat-related.

“Extreme heat is already a deadly threat to migrants and border communities," said Juanita Constible, senior advocate for climate and health at the Natural Resources Defense Council. 


September 15, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Pope Francis urges openness to migrants as he meets one of Europe's most anti-immigration leaders


CBS News reports that "Pope Francis carefully rebuked the anti-migrant politics of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on the first day of a papal visit to Central Europe. Speaking at an outdoor Mass in Budapest . . . , the pontiff called on Hungarians to `extend their arms to everyone,' in a veiled reference to the nationalist government's closed-door policy on immigration.

The Mass, held before tens of thousands of people in the capital's Hero's Square, came moments after an hour-long meeting between Francis and the prime minister. The two men are fierce opponents on the topic of immigration." (bold added)


September 14, 2021 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Possible State-by-State Impacts of the Proposed Pathway to Citizenship


Photo courtesy of Center for American Progress

As Congress and the Biden administration attempt to reform the immigration laws through the budget reconciliation process, one central aspect of the House Judiciary Committee’s proposed legislation would put Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients, and essential workers on a pathway to citizenship. The Center for American Progress and the University of California, Davis’ Global Migration Center previously estimated that doing so would bring big benefits to the U.S. economy and ordinary Americans.   Here is a table of state-by-state impacts of a path to legalization.

September 14, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 13, 2021

Poet Amanda Gorman Wears Immigration Message at Met Gala

Tonight is the Met Gala, an annual fundraiser for the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute in New York City. Every year, celebrities flock to the event dressed to the nines. This year's theme was “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion." Glamour magazine translates that for us pleebs: it's all about American fashion designers, including their responses to social and political issues.

Poet Amanda Gorman served as co-chair of the event. And her ensemble was definitely immigration themed: a royal blue Vera Wang gown covered in crystals meant to be a "reimagined Statute of Liberty." Gorman even carried a clutch designed to look like a book titled "Give Us Your Tired."

She looks stunning.


September 13, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

TRAC Immigration Immigration Court Struggling to Manage Its Expanding Dedicated Docket of Asylum-Seeking Families


The latest from TRAC Immigration:

"During the month of August, the Biden administration stepped up the assignment of asylum-seeking families arriving at the border to the Immigration Court's new "Dedicated Docket" program. As of August 31, 2021, Immigration Court records indicate that a total of 16,713 individuals comprising approximately 6,000 families are now assigned to this program.

But alongside the growing number of asylum-seekers assigned to the new Dedicated Docket, new questions emerge about whether these cases will be completed fairly and within the promised timeline, whether Immigration Judges will be able to manage large Dedicated Docket caseloads, and whether the Court is reliably tracking these cases as promised.

While EOIR has set up Dedicated Docket hearing locations in eleven cities, cases assigned thus far have been unusually concentrated in just a few cities. As of the end of August half of the 16,713 cases were assigned to New York City and Boston.

With the rapid influx of cases at a number of these Dedicated Docket hearing locations, half of the currently scheduled initial master hearings are not being held until after mid-November 2021, and fully one in ten are not currently scheduled until mid-February 2022. In addition, these hearings are largely to be held via video. Only eleven percent of all scheduled hearings are set as in-person hearings.

It also continues to be a relatively small number of judges who are assigned to hear these cases. Six judges now account for nearly two-thirds (63%) of the assigned Dedicated Docket cases. Each of these six judges has already been assigned over a thousand cases just during the first three months of this initiative. Judge Mario J. Sturla in Boston has thus far been assigned the most Dedicated Docket cases for any judge—3,178 cases.

Some basic arrangements are still not in place to ensure that cases assigned to the Dedicated Docket are clearly identified in the Court's database system which is relied on to manage the Court's workload. As of the end of August, fully 38 percent of cases assigned to the special hearing locations set up to exclusively handle Dedicated Dockets were not flagged as "DD" cases.

To read the full report, go here."


September 13, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Announcing the Global Strategic Litigation Council for Refugee Rights

Today, more than two dozen colleagues/organizations worldwide, announced the formation of the Global Strategic Litigation Council for Refugee Rights (GSLC). The announcement is here. The GSLC is being established to help close the large and troubling gap between the promises of rights protection for refugees and practices that deny refugees rights. 

The Council will craft a strategy for establishing a global jurisprudence on refugee rights through litigation in national and regional courts and through related advocacy. Working Groups have been established around two thematic areas: (1) Legal Status and Lawful Stay; and (2) Detention and Due Process. The Council is being led by a Steering Committee whose members are Asylum Access, the Cornell Law School Migration and Human Rights Program, HIAS, Kituo Cha Sheria, the Migration and Asylum Project, Refugiados Unidos, and the Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility at the New School. You can learn more about the Council from the Concept Note here:

Please consider joining the Council. You can do this by filling out the form at this link.


September 13, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Democrats make immigration case to Senate parliamentarian


As previously reported on this blog, Democrats continue to push for immigration reform.  Caroline Simon and Suzanne Monyak for Roll Call offer the latest details:

"Following years of failed negotiations, partisan battles and outside advocacy, Democrats aim to pass [an immigration bill with a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants] through a budgetary maneuver . . . . If the parliamentarian permits the provisions, it could be the best shot Democrats have at legalizing a broad population of immigrants . . . .

Meanwhile, the House Judiciary Committee is scheduled Monday to mark up its portion of the reconciliation bill text, including immigration provisions. Democrats have pointed to previous reconciliation bills that included immigration policies, including a 2005 bill that recaptured unused green cards, and argued that making millions of new people eligible for public services would have a significant impact on the nation’s budget — a key element for bills that pass muster under arcane Senate rules for reconciliation measures.

Republicans . . . level, have dismissed those arguments as far-fetched."


September 12, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 11, 2021

NYT Guest Essay: The Unnecessary Cruelty of America’s Immigration System

Otay Mesa Detention Center, Photo by BBC World Service
CC BY-NC 2.0

Today, the NYT published an opinion piece/guest essay by migration journalist Lauren Markham titled The Unnecessary Cruelty of America’s Immigration System.

The focus of Markham's essay is the United States' problematic reliance on immigration detention. As Markham writes, this country has "a policy of deterrence by detention: to make life so unpleasant that immigrants opt to go home on their own accord, or never come at all."

She posits that there are alternatives to detention (ATD), if only we're willing to look abroad for ideas. Spain, Belgium, and Sweeden offer migrants housing and social services in exchange for regular check-ins with immigration officials.

Even looking closer to home, Markham notes that various ATD approaches have been tried in the United States, and compliance rates with those programs have been high. Beyond compliance rates, and the human benefits of getting out of detention, ATDs are significantly cheaper than detention, she highlights. Bonus.

And yet, this nation continues to make the active decision to detain thousands on thousands year after year. And that, I think, takes us to where Markham's article starts: Detention is intentional. It's an intentional choice to place migrants behind bars. And it's an intentional choice for that behind-bars experience to be unbearably bad. The system, as Markham's own essay confirms, at least anecdotally, is effectively bad in that it genuinely deters people from coming to the United States and it entices people who might have valid claims for staying here to give up and leave as their only guaranteed route out of custody. As long as the United States wants to actively deter migration from Mexico and the Northern Triangle, I imagine Markham's pleas for a humanitarian and cost-effective ATDs will fall on deaf ears.


September 11, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

From the Bookshelves: Trumpism, Mexican America, and the Struggle for Latinx Citizenship Edited by Phillip B. Gonzales, Renato Rosaldo. & Mary Louise Pratt


Trumpism, Mexican America, and the Struggle for Latinx Citizenship Edited by Phillip B. Gonzales, Renato Rosaldo. & Mary Louise Pratt (University of New Mexico Press, 2021)

Here is the publisher's description of the book:

"For Latinx people living in the United States, Trumpism represented a new phase in the long-standing struggle to achieve a sense of belonging and full citizenship. Throughout their history in the United States, people of Mexican descent have been made to face the question of how they do or do not belong to the American social fabric and polity. Structural inequality, dispossession, and marginalized citizenship are a foundational story for Mexican Americans, one that entered a new phase under Trumpism. This volume situates this new phase in relation to what went before, and it asks what new political possibilities emerged from this dramatic chapter in our history. What role did anti-Mexicanism and attacks on Latinx people and their communities play in Trump’s political rise and presidential practices? Driven by the overwhelming political urgency of the moment, the contributors to this volume seek to frame Trumpism’s origins and political effects.

Published in Association with School for Advanced Research Press."


A Press Book Talk: Trumpism, Mexican America, and the Struggle for Latinx Citizenship

is cheduled for Wednesday, September 15.

Time: 2:00 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time

Hosted online: Register here

Join us for a conversation with the volume editors of SAR Press's recent publication Trumpism, Mexican America, and the Struggle for Latinx Citizenship: Phillip B. Gonzales, Renato Rosaldo, and Mary Louise Pratt.

Throughout their history in the United States, people of Mexican descent have been made to face the question of how they do or do not belong to the American social fabric and polity. Trumpism represented a new phase in their long struggle to achieve a sense of belonging and full citizenship. Driven by the overwhelming political urgency of the moment, Phillip Gonzales, Renato Rosaldo, and Mary Louise Pratt seek to frame Trumpism’s origins and political effects. In this book talk, they situate the latest phase of presidential politics in relation to what went before and ask what new political possibilities have emerged from this dramatic chapter in our history.

SAR Press director, Sarah Soliz, will guide the Q&A portion of the event. Explore her reflection on the importance of this publication and the book talk in her recent SAR blog post. Read the post.

Register for the book talk


September 11, 2021 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)