Monday, June 27, 2016

Immigration Federalism and US v. Texas

19 Ethiopian migrants suffocated to death earlier this month along Zambia's border with Congo


Voice of America reports that the International Organization for Migration has found that 19 Ethiopian migrants suffocated to death earlier this month along Zambia's border with Congo inside a container truck, where survivors inside banged on the sides until border officials opened it.

The International Organization for Migration reports the deaths occurred as the victims were being transported by a suspected trafficking syndicate in Chembe district in Luapula Province of Zambia.  It says they were crammed into the truck, which was carrying bags of beans and groundnuts.


June 27, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

When the Dust Finally Settles: Migration Policy After Brexit


The political and economic fallout from the Brexit vote was felt almost instantaneously, as Prime Minister David Cameron announced his resignation and stock markets around the world plunged within hours of the results. The ramifications for migration policy and future immigration levels will take far longer to ascertain, however.

In a timely commentary, Migration Policy Institute UK Senior Fellow Will Somerville examines the likely near- and longer-term items on the policy agenda, including the rights of EU nationals already resident in the United Kingdom, negotiation of new border-control arrangements, and decisions over future admissions.

Several trends are plausible, Somerville writes, including spikes in migration of EU nationals seeking to reunify with family or otherwise secure their status ahead of rule changes, as well as increased irregular immigration. And while future migration levels are impossible to predict amid such policy and economic uncertainty, he estimates that the United Kingdom would continue to receive 500,000 or more immigrants annually from the European Union and beyond, with annual net migration around 200,000. That would be twice the level of the controversial net migration pledge that the Cameron-led Coalition government and Conservative successor failed to meet—fueling public anxiety about government’s ability to manage migration. In a recent MPI report, Somerville and co-author Sunder Katwala examined British public attitudes towards immigration, and the role that migration played in the call for a referendum and recent politics within and beyond the Conservative Party

Examining the challenges ahead as the United Kingdom charts a new course, Somerville concludes in his commentary: “The new Prime Minister would be advised to underpromise and overdeliver on migration or risk further backlash.”


June 27, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Trump cites immigration anger as driving factor in 'Brexit' vote – and beyond


Food for thought.  Many news reports are covering Donald Trump's efforts to cast Britain’s decision to leave the European Union as a revolt against unfettered immigration into the West.  The Brexit vote emboldened both the billionaire’s anti-establishment bid for president and other break-away efforts across Europe. From the Netherlands to France, political parties opposed to high immigration levels are demanding their own referendums on EU.

Click here for more nuanced analysis of the impact of immigration on the Brexit vote.


June 25, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: A Whole Other Story: Applying Narrative Mediation to the Immigration Beat by Carol Pauli



Immigration Article of the Day: A Whole Other Story: Applying Narrative Mediation to the Immigration Beat by Carol Pauli, Texas A&M University School of Law March 15, 2016 Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution, Forthcoming

ABSTRACT:  If Donald Trump, kicking off his campaign for the White House, was saying “what everyone is thinking,” about illegal immigration, it must be that his message mirrored a narrative that already existed in the minds of his audience. That fearful story of criminals invading the U.S. borders has long been a dominant theme in the mainstream news immigration story. Like all news stories, this one focuses attention on some facts at the expense of others. Like many news stories, it draws its power from earlier, well-known tales — some as old as the Flood. This article recommends that the news media reconsider the storytelling role of journalism in light of a relatively new approach to conflict resolution: narrative mediation.

Narrative mediation, simply stated, sees conflict as a kind of story. Narrative mediators approach a conflict by calling its story into question and then by looking for facts that fall outside of its plot. They use these “unstoried facts” to explore the alternative stories that such facts suggest. Then narrative mediators try to help the disputing parties write a larger, more complex, and more useful story together. This article argues that journalists — without sacrificing their professional ethics — can adapt certain processes of narrative mediation to thicken the plots of news stories, producing more comprehensive, accurate, and helpful accounts of the conflicts they cover.

Although this article focuses on news coverage of immigration from Latin America, the approach of narrative mediation can be applied more broadly. Immigration conflicts are not confined to the U.S.-Mexican border or to the issues of legal status and documentation that arise there. Fearful story lines are also used in reporting conflicts over legal Muslim immigrants, including the most extensively documented of all recent arrivals, Syrian refugees. The same narratives sound again overseas. Beyond the immigration story, and across other reporting beats, narrative mediation offers tools to disrupt predictable news story lines that can result from political pressures and deadlines. These tools can free reporters to construct the stories of news in a thoughtful and deliberate way.


June 25, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

An Immigration Anthem? Inesperado Adiós - words and music by Alice Bag


(Female lead)
We didn’t get to say goodbye
They didn’t give you time
You were flying 
like a leaf in the wind
You left home just 
like any other day
I didn’t suspect 
I had already lost you


But this unexpected goodbye
It is a punishment for two
The one who is gone 
and the one who stays behind
And I feel like screaming
I am already tired of enduring
This injustice is killing us


(Male lead)
Under a window with steel bars
I see the stars and tell them my desire
“To return home to the ones I love,
to live without borders like birds in flight”

but this unexpected goodbye …In this place we called home
we were always just shadows in the rubble
with blood and sweat 
we gave what we had

it was right behind our shoulders

I feel like the sun is refusing to shine
and my world is freezing

For this unexpected goodbye …

June 25, 2016 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 24, 2016

Immigration Consequences of the UK Exit from the EU


The United Kingdom's exit from the European Union is going to have wide-ranging immigration consequences.

First, there is the immigration platform of the "Brexit" campaign itself: better control of who comes into the United Kingdom. The idea is to both limit the entry of workers from EU nations and to take control over the UK's acceptance and screening of refugees.

But there will be other consequences.

Some 1.3 million UK citizens currently reside and work throughout Europe. Those individuals will, going forward, need to either obtain some other form of temporary work status in their countries of residence or return to the UK. 

The exit will also affect the three million EU nationals currently working in the UK. They, too, will need new residency and work authorization.

And there is the Scottish issue. Scottish voters largely favor remaining the EU. The UK's exit from the EU may mean a new referendum on Scotland's secession from the UK. That, of course, will lead to a whole host of new immigration issues.

While the EU leadership has publicly asked the UK to effectuate its removal "as soon as possible," Prime Minister Cameron isn't going to step down until the fall, and it likely won't be until then that the UK will come up with an official plan about how to leave the EU.

You can be sure that this change will come with a host of messy immigration issues.


June 24, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Donald Trump's Running Mate?


There has been lots of speculation -- Sarah Palin, Chris ChristieHere is the scoop.


June 24, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Intersectionality at the Intersection of Profiteering & Immigration Detention by Mariela Olivares


Intersectionality at the Intersection of Profiteering & Immigration Detention by Mariela Olivares, Howard University School of Law June 13, 2016 Nebraska Law Review, Vol. 94:4, 2016

ABSTRACT:  This Article presents an original exploration of the connections between the corporatization of mass immigration detention, the societal and political pressures for stricter immigration law and policy, and the political and societal subordination of immigrants. In short, the social and political subordination of immigrants, who embody the marginalized identities of criminal, non-citizen and person of color, feed the profit-seeking carceral machine. To illuminate this practice, the Article uses as a case study the increased detention of mothers and children immigrants, who migrated to the United States in record numbers in 2014. This intersection between corporate profit models — immigration law and policy — and critical legal studies has not yet been fully explored in the scholarly literature.

Upon setting a foundation regarding the history and constitutional underpinnings of immigrant detention and presenting a snapshot of the current state of detention, the Article then focuses on the corporatization of incarceration and immigration detention. Further, the profiteering — immigration detention intersection is placed within the context of subordination theory. Finally, the Article concludes by providing paths to legislative, regulatory reform and to modes of advocacy to disrupt the entrenched intersectional foundation.


June 24, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Brexit Referendum Passes: UK to Exit EU



Photo courtesy of Don Roth



United Kingdom Independence Party ad

Steven Erlanger of the New York Times reports on big news from the United Kingdom.  British voters voted to leave the European Union, a historic decision.  Not long after the vote tally was completed, Prime Minister David Cameron, who led the campaign to remain in the bloc, announced that he planned to step down by October, saying the country deserved a leader committed to carrying out the will of the people.

The vote was welcomed with a plunge in the financial markets, with the value of the British pound and stock prices in Asia plummeting.

The margin of victory startled even proponents of a British exit. The “Leave” campaign won by 52 percent to 48 percent. More than 17.4 million people voted in the referendum to sever ties with the European Union, and about 16.1 million to remain in the bloc.

Immigration was at the center of the campaign:

"While leaders of the Leave campaign spoke earnestly about sovereignty and the supremacy of Parliament or in honeyed tones about “the bright sunlit uplands” of Britain’s future free of Brussels, it was anxiety about immigration — membership in the European Union means freedom of movement and labor throughout the bloc — that defined and probably swung the campaign.While leaders of the Leave campaign spoke earnestly about sovereignty and the supremacy of Parliament or in honeyed tones about “the bright sunlit uplands” of Britain’s future free of Brussels, it was anxiety about immigration — membership in the European Union means freedom of movement and labor throughout the bloc — that defined and probably swung the campaign.


The campaign run by one of the loudest proponents of leaving, the U.K. Independence Party, flirted with xenophobia, nativism and what some of its critics considered racism. But the official, more mainstream Leave campaign also invoked immigration as an issue, and its slogan, “Take control,” resonated with voters who feel that the government is failing to regulate the inflow of people from Europe and beyond."


June 24, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Reflections on United States v. Texas by Lizbeth Cuevas, Student Immigrant Rights Activist

The divided Supreme Court decision in United States v. Texas has dashed the hopes of those who would have been granted deferred action and given work authorization through DAPA and extended DACA.  The implementation of these programs was an important step for our nation, as it would have finally given productive members of our communities a voice  -- people who have been forced into silence and made to feel less than human time and time again. The decision the Supreme Court has made only reinforces the broken immigration system and anti-immigrant political climate. The United States is known as the land of opportunity, a place where freedom rules and equality prevails. The freedom, opportunity and equality on which our nation prides itself in does not expand to all members of our communities. DAPA and extended DACA would have been the first step for our nation to reconcile the deeply offensive immigrant rhetoric that has clouded Americans from seeing undocumented immigrants as equal members of society. The countless negative pre-conceived notions the immigrant community is tainted with dismantle their positive impact and contributions to our economy, schools and nation as a whole. These individuals are not given an equal share of opportunity and freedom. Yet, through perseverance and resilience, they continue to work tirelessly because they uphold the American values of working hard towards a better future. 

The numbers 5 million, 11 million, 12 million, are heard often when immigration is discussed. For many, these numbers have no significance. They are a dissociation from the face, the real person and the life that lives behind the shadows of these numbers. The teacher who fled war and famine to provide a better education for her children, the farmer who fled poverty to provide his family with means to eat and the doctor who was forced out of their home country from a corrupt regime. These are only a few examples of the individuals that came in search of better lives, they came in search of freedom and a peaceful, dignified way of life. These are the very same people who are labeled as criminals and are discounted for their contributions to our nation. They have come to love and respect the United States as their home, but in return they have received rejection and continued oppression. Through United States v. Texas, the Supreme Court had the opportunity to rule against discrimination and oppression. To give the people a ruling that was aligned with the values of our land which oppose discriminating and oppressing others; as well as the laws that serve to protect those in need and to uphold justice to all. Furthermore, the "decision" of United States v. Texas was also a decision of division versus unity. The division of families, of communities and the continued division of our nation on the appropriate way to approach immigration. The vote of the Supreme Court was a vote against unity and against the implementation of a program that had the potential to bring the faces behind the numbers out of the shadows. 

Giving parents of U.S citizens or lawful permanent residents work authorization and relief from deportation, is also giving them their entitled rights to be treated as human beings and be viewed equally in the face of the law. Due to the Supreme Court decision, their treatment as underclass citizens, their exploitation, and the oppression and hate they are constantly facing will continue. The ruling did not prioritize the humanitarian concerns that face our nation when members of our communities are exploited, abused and criminalized unjustly. These are the consequences of a broken immigration system which will continue to be endured by parents and children who are directly affected by this decision. The fear of separation and the stress of an uncertain future continue to fog the minds of our children and their parents. 

I stood outside the steps of the Supreme Court on April 18th while the oral arguments were taking place. I stood alongside a small portion of the millions that would be directly affected by the Supreme Court decision. The unity, hope and excitement that was felt on that hot day was the power of the people. The endless amount of support and encouragement that filled the steps of the Supreme Court is what will continue to unite people to fight for a just reform. The fight to keep families together, to give everyone a fair shot at the American dream and to give justice and equality to all continues.   

Lizbeth Cuevas is a 2016 graduate of UC Davis.



June 23, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Legal Complications Of Undocumented Immigration For Same-Sex Couples

What are the added legal complications of undocumented immigration for those seeking residency through same-sex marriage? Earlier today on Capital Public Radio The View From Here presents its final story in a three-part series exploring undocumented immigration in California.  Long-time Contributing Reporter Julia Mitric tells the tale of two young men who grew up Mexican, Catholic and gay in California. Their story sheds light on how culture, identity and immigration status are intertwined in complex and unexpected ways. To expand that conversation on Insight, Pamela Wu talks in-depth with immigration lawyer MaryWaltermire, a UC Davis School of Law graduate. She worked with Juan Morales and Chris Guillen, the married couple at the heart of the The View From Here's "Out Of The Shadows And Into Marriage."  

June 23, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

The US v. Texas Slip Op

Here is the Supreme Court's opinion in all its brevity.

Screen Shot 2016-06-23 at 12.14.44 PM


June 23, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

President Obama on US v. Texas

What the Supreme Court's "Decision" in United States v. Texas Means: Back to the Drawing Board on Comprehensive Immigration Reform

S ct

The U.S. Supreme Court today issued its long-awaited  ruling in United States v. Texas.  The Court affirmed the Fifth Circuit's decision by a 4-4 vote. opinion.  The result is that the preliminary injunction remains in place and that the expanded deferred action program is on indefinite hold.

As ImmigrationProf readers well know, the case involved review of a preliminary injunction entered by federal district Judge Andrew Hanen -- who Professor Steve Legomsky has characterized as "out of control" in this case -- and affirmed by a 2-1 U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.  The injunction put on hold the Obama administration's efforts to implement the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans program (DAPA), announced  in November 2014, as well as expansions to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), which was originally implemented in 2012.

In a post on SCOTUSBlog, I previously highlighted the pivotal Article III standing issue in United States v. Texas, namely whether Texas and the other states had standing under the U.S. Constitution to challenge the national immigration program.  My fear has been that, if allowed to stand, the Fifth Circuit’s finding that the states have standing based on an the injuries alleged in this case (the costs to Texas of issuing subsidized driver's license to deferred action recipients), to derail discretionary federal immigration enforcement decisions could open the door to the use of litigation in the federal courts for partisan political ends in many controversial areas of law enforcement, from income tax enforcement actions to marijuana prosecutions.   Amanda Frost for SCOTUSBlog summarized the contrasting approaches of commentators to the issue of standing in this case. 

The oral arguments in United States v. Texas focused on Article III standing and paid no attention to the "Take Care" claim of the state of Texas.  The  states contended that the President in DAPA had violated his constitutional obligation in Article II, sec. 3 that he "take care that the laws be faithfully executed."  At oral argument, there was no questions from the justices on the “Take Care” argument.  The Court previously had ordered the parties to brief the issue. Nor did any of the advocates raise the issue at the oral argument.

In important respects, United States v. Texas is simply the latest skirmish in the long debate over immigration reform.  Comprehensive immigration reform bills have been debated in Congress for more than a decade, with some versions offering a path to legalization for the 11 million to 12 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States and the various incarnations of the DREAM Act, which would provide relief to undocumented youth.

It was precisely because of the stalemate in Congress that President Barack Obama announced measured steps in an attempt to reduce some of the hardships faced by undocumented immigrants.  In November 2014, the President announced the “deferred action” program known as DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans) for undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. The program built on the previous Deferred Action Program for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which was announced in June 2012 and implemented later that summer.   The program recently celebrated its fourth birthday and has provided much-needed relief (although limited in scope) to undocumented immigrants.

“Deferred action” means that the U.S. government will not focus its immigration enforcement efforts on removing undocumented immigrants who are otherwise law-abiding. It is a kind of prosecutorial discretion routinely employed by government in the enforcement of the law and reflects the setting of priorities in law enforcement.  In this instance, the Obama administration through the new Priority Enforcement Program , which was announced by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson in November 2014 with the expanded deferred action programs,  has decide to devote its immigration enforcement resources on noncitizens convicted of crimes -- and thus to focus removal efforts on those noncitizens most likely to pose a threat to public safety.  

Deferred action is no path to legalization or citizenship and should not be mistaken as some kind of “amnesty.” It instead is a temporary reprieve from removal. One important aspect of the program has been to allow for the issuance of work authorization to deferred action recipients, which allows them to work lawfully in the United States.  Only Congress could create a durable path to legalization or citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Texas and 26 states do not agree with the administration’s policy choices. They sued in federal court to put the Obama immigration plan on hold. A District Court judge in south Texas barred its implementation. A divided panel of the Court of Appeals upheld that ruling.

In United States v. Texas, the Supreme Court had the opportunity to consider the lawfulness of the deferred action programs. The untimely death of Justice Antonin Scalia, and the Senate’s refusal to move on the confirmation of Merrick Garland, complicated matters and meant that only eight justices on the court.   A 4-4 split means that the lower court injunction prohibiting the implementation of Obama’s executive action.

The case raised an array of technical legal issues. The two central are whether the states have what is known as “standing” under Article III of the U.S. Constitution to sue in federal court and whether the Obama administration failed to comply with the procedural requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act in adopting the new program.

Behind the narrow legal issues, what truly is at the core of the dispute is the debate over immigration reform.  Congress still needs to address immigration reform. Deferred action does not offer permanent relief for the millions of undocumented immigrants like that which would be provided by many comprehensive immigration reform proposals. Indeed, a future president – a President Donald Trump, for example – might try to deport any deferred action recipients.  Immigration reform therefore is likely to continue to be a big issue in the 2016 presidential campaign.

As United States v. Texas makes clear, the nation desperately need meaningful reform of the immigration laws.  The current comprehensive immigration law, the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, was forged at the height of the Cold War and is nothing less than antiquated and ill-fitted to addressing the contemporary issues of global migration.  To the extent that there is any consensus on immigration, it is that we need to reform the current laws. 

In thinking about that reform, the nation should be realistic.  As most knowledgeable observers agree, the mass deportation of the millions of undocumented immigrants who are parts of our communities simply is not feasible. Consequently, some kind of path to legalization of undocumented immigrants is needed. Most informed observers further agree that reform of the legal immigration provisions of the laws is long overdue. Last but not least, many Americans believe that we need better enforcement measures.  I myself am not sure that the nation needs more enforcement at this time.

In the end, the nation needs to think about how we get to the end game of true, meaningful and lasting immigration reform that works.

SCOTUSBlog will be posting a symposium, including commentary by Professors Jack Chin and Shoba Wadhia, on the implications of the decision.  The ImmigrationProf blog will be posting responses as well.  Stay tuned.


June 23, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Breaking News: A Tie Vote in United States v. Texas

BREAKING NEWS: Supreme Court Decides Fisher

From the Bookshelves: Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic Hardcover by Sam Quinones


Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic by Sam Quinones                          

Named on Amazon's Best Books of the Year 2015--Michael Botticelli, U.S. Drug Czar (Politico) Favorite Book of the Year--Angus Deaton, Nobel Prize Economics (Bloomberg/WSJ) Best Books of 2015--Matt Bevin, Governor of Kentucky (WSJ) Books of the’s 10 Best Books of 2015--Entertainment Weekly’s 10 Best Books of 2015 --Buzzfeed’s 19 Best Nonfiction Books of 2015--The Daily Beast’s Best Big Idea Books of 2015--Seattle Times’ Best Books of 2015--Boston Globe’s Best Books of 2015--St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Best Books of 2015--The Guardian’s The Best Book We Read All Year--Audible’s Best Books of 2015--Texas Observer’s Five Books We Loved in 2015--Chicago Public Library’s Best Nonfiction Books of 2015

In 1929, in the blue-collar city of Portsmouth, Ohio, a company built a swimming pool the size of a football field; named Dreamland, it became the vital center of the community. Now, addiction has devastated Portsmouth, as it has hundreds of small rural towns and suburbs across America--addiction like no other the country has ever faced. How that happened is the riveting story of Dreamland.

With a great reporter’s narrative skill and the storytelling ability of a novelist, acclaimed journalist Sam Quinones weaves together two classic tales of capitalism run amok whose unintentional collision has been catastrophic. The unfettered prescribing of pain medications during the 1990s reached its peak in Purdue Pharma’s campaign to market OxyContin, its new, expensive--extremely addictive--miracle painkiller. Meanwhile, a massive influx of black tar heroin--cheap, potent, and originating from one small county on Mexico’s west coast, independent of any drug cartel--assaulted small town and mid-sized cities across the country, driven by a brilliant, almost unbeatable marketing and distribution system. Together these phenomena continue to lay waste to communities from Tennessee to Oregon, Indiana to New Mexico.

Introducing a memorable cast of characters--pharma pioneers, young Mexican entrepreneurs, narcotics investigators, survivors, and parents--Quinones shows how these tales fit together. Dreamland is a revelatory account of the corrosive threat facing America and its heartland.


June 23, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Will the Supreme Court Issue Its Decision in United States v. Texas today? Stay Tuned!

It is Baseball Season: Immigrant of the Day: Julio Urias (MLB PItcher), Mexico


Our Immigrant of the Day is a rookie with the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Last night, Julio Urias , the 19-year-old limited the Washington Nationals to two runs and six hits over five innings in the Dodgers’ 4-3 victory, Oliver Perez was watching from the visiting bullpen at Dodger Stadium.  Urias is from Culiacan, Sinaloa in Mexico.


Listen to legendary announcer Vin Scully calling some of Urias's Ks.


June 23, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)