Tuesday, April 13, 2021

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

Faculty_headshot_set_card_valdez_287x384The Immigration Article of the Day is Pleading the Fifth in Immigration Court: A Regulatory Proposal by Tania N. Valdez. The article is forthcoming in Volume 98 of the Washington University Law Review

Here is the Abstract:

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.



April 13, 2021 in Law Review Articles & Essays | Permalink | Comments (0)

Raquel Aldana: "Citizenism" and the Shackles of Borders



Last week, in the Racial Justice Speaker Series, UC Davis School of Law Professor Raquel Aldana, a human rights, immigration, civil rights, and criminal law expert, spoke on "'Citizenism' and the Shackles of Borders."  The series has brought (virtually) civil rights scholars, public defenders, political leaders, and others to teh UC Davis law school community to discuss systemic racial injustice in U.S. social life.

Professor Aldana laid out the case for the claim that the enforcement of borders has always been punitive and racialized. Yet, immigration law’s exceptionalism and bounded notions of social membership has left the noncitizens largely unprotected from the laws. This presentation argues that racial justice projects must embrace the dismantling of citizenism -- a view in which “ U.S. citizenship” is foundational to the distribution of rights – as central to the transformation of the United States into a more just nation.

Professor Aldana offered a focus on race and immigration that was an important way to end the Racial Justice Speaker Series 2020-21. 

Here are the notes to the Power Point presentation:   Download Citizenism and the Shackles of Borders

Here is the Power Point:   Download Citizenism


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

Restoring Asylum: The Challenges of “Building Back Better” at the Border


Border photo  courtesy of Kit Johnson

Melissa Crow in the Fletcher Forum on World Affairs chimes in on the so-called "crisis" along the U.S./Mexico border:

"The Biden administration has been widely criticized for the so-called “surge” of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border. But U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data show that the recent increase is consistent with predictable patterns of undocumented migration. More importantly, the criticism ignores the reality that asylum seekers have fled unspeakable danger in their home countries and disregards the U.S. government’s obligation – under both domestic and international law – to allow them to seek protection. 

The criticism also overlooks the fact that the Trump administration’s draconian policies have prevented asylum seekers from entering the U.S. over the past four years. To unwind these unlawful policies, the Biden administration must restore the opportunity to seek asylum at the southern border and overhaul the U.S. asylum system to provide meaningful access to protection."

Crow's conclusion:

"For decades, the U.S. government has faced challenges at the southern border, which are symptoms of more far-reaching problems with our immigration system and U.S. foreign policy towards Latin America. But the unrelenting assault on asylum over the past four years has left the Biden administration in an even more dire predicament. If this administration is serious about its efforts to “build back better” at the southern border, it must adopt a holistic solution that takes all these challenges into account, respects legal obligations, and puts human dignity first."


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

Monday, April 12, 2021

Biden immigration nominees: CBP and USCIS

CNN is reporting:

President Joe Biden plans to nominate Tucson, Arizona, police chief Chris Magnus to serve as commissioner of US Customs and Border Protection and Ur Jaddou to serve as director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services, according to four sources familiar with the selections.

Jaddou has been widely speculated as the incoming head of USCIS, which oversees the US legal immigration system. She was formerly chief counsel at the agency under President Barack Obama and led the Biden-Harris Department of Homeland Security transition review team.
Also Monday, the White House unveiled several additional Department of Homeland Security nominations, including Jon Meyer for general counsel, Rob Silvers for under secretary for Strategy, Policy, and Plans and John Tien as deputy secretary.
Note: This thread will be updated as nominations become official and hearings are scheduled.

April 12, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Job Announcement: U. of Oklahoma Chair in Civil Rights, Race & Justice


Seventy years ago, Dr. Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher became the first African American student admitted to the University of Oklahoma College of Law after a three-year legal battle that culminated in a unanimous United States Supreme Court decision. She forever changed OU. The University of Oklahoma College of Law proudly announces that applications and nominations are now being accepted for the ADA LOIS SIPUEL FISHER CHAIR IN CIVIL RIGHTS, RACE AND JUSTICE, which honors both the principles of equality and justice for which Dr. Sipuel Fisher stood along with those of her attributes that secured them.

Echoing the means through which Dr. Sipuel Fisher’s legal battle was funded, the Chair results from a year-long campaign inviting contributions of all sizes and sources. First launched in fall 2019, over 80 students, faculty and staff colleagues, alumni and friends joined Dr. Sipuel Fisher’s vision in the effort to raise funds sufficient for endowment, an effort completed in fall 2020 through a major gift by an alumnus and associated family foundation who believe in that which characterizes Dr. Sipuel Fisher’s life and work.

The Chair, which will be appointed in the College of Law at the rank of Associate or Full Professor commensurate with experience, is dedicated to a legal scholar who holds an established interest in and deep knowledge of civil rights law, election laws, race and the law, anti-discrimination law, equal rights and diversity in law, and critical race theory. At least half of the successful applicant’s annual teaching load must fall within these arenas, with teaching and research conducted primarily at the College of Law. Candidates must hold a J.D. or its equivalent from an accredited institution and a demonstrated record of academic or experiential accomplishment, along with the ability to teach, mentor and lead students in ways that blend theory with practice, encouraging the development of experiential opportunities through which civil rights can be safeguarded and enhanced. Moreover, candidates must demonstrate experience and the ability to work both within and beyond the academic realm with disenfranchised communities, parties of varying socio-economic backgrounds, and/or non- English speaking populations, and are expected to engage scholarship at high levels for substantial time. To further honor Dr. Sipuel Fisher, the successful candidate will preferably hold qualities similar to those that guided her struggle and her achievements: courage, integrity, tenacity, intellect, vision, and love. The ideal candidate will demonstrate creativity and innovation in teaching, research, and community engagement. The candidate will showcase various theories centered around race relations in Oklahoma and across the United States.

The appointment will begin between August 2021 and January 2022, with application review beginning immediately and remaining open until final selection is made and the position is filled. Applicants are encouraged to apply at their earliest convenience with a letter of interest, a resume, and the name, physical and e-mail address, and telephone number of no more than five references. Submission of materials as PDF attachments is strongly encouraged. Nominations are also solicited. For specific questions about the position and application process, please contact search committee chair Katheleen R. Guzman at kguzman@ou.edu.

All application materials should be submitted online via ByCommittee/Interfolio:


For more information about The University of Oklahoma College of Law, please visit https://www.law.ou.edu/. Learn more about the surrounding college campus and Oklahoma City metropolitan area by visiting http://www.ou.edu/flipbook or http://soonerway.ou.edu.

The University of Oklahoma, in compliance with all applicable federal and state laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, genetic information, gender identity, gender expression, age, religion, disability, political beliefs, or status as a veteran in any of its policies, practices, or procedures. This includes, but is not limited to admissions, employment, financial aid, housing, services in educational programs or activities, or health care services that the University operates or provides.


April 12, 2021 in Jobs and Fellowships | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Reagan's Cold War on Immigrants: Resistance and the Rise of a Detention Regime, 1981–1985 by Kristina Shull

image from history.uncc.eduThe Immigration Article of the Day is by Kristina Shull, Reagan's Cold War on Immigrants: Resistance and the Rise of a Detention Regime, 1981–1985, Journal of American Ethnic History, Vol. 40, No. 2, published in 2021.

Here is the Abstract: 

Through migrant and activist testimonies, media coverage, and government documents, this article explores the modes of resistance inside and outside of immigration detention that arose in response to new, more punitive detention policies enacted by the Reagan administration that specifically targeted Caribbean and Central American asylum-seekers in the early 1980s, and the modes of retaliation adopted by the administration in response. It argues migrant detention operates as a form of counter-insurgency, re-centering the geopolitics of asylum within the transnational scope of counter-insurgent warfare and its role in the rise of carceral trends more broadly. Reagan’s “Cold War on immigrants”—defined as a suite of new immigration enforcement measures that was adopted by the Reagan administration during its first term and buttressed the subsequent growth of the detention system—sparked mass resistance. Mounting public dissent against Reagan’s foreign and immigration policies, as evidenced by “inside-outside” and transnational activism, Jesse Jackson’s 1984 presidential campaign, and the Central America peace and Sanctuary movements, prompted the administration to wage a war against its opponents to maintain its immigration control and foreign policy aims. The contemporary US immigration detention system emerged, and continues, out of this dialectic of resistance and retaliation.



April 12, 2021 in Law Review Articles & Essays | Permalink | Comments (0)

Call For Papers--AALS 2022, New Voices in Immigration Law

“New Voices in Immigration Law”
Association of American Law Schools · Section on Immigration Law
Wednesday, January 5 – Sunday, January 9 (session timing TBD) · Virtual

Submission Deadline: August 15, 2021

The Section on Immigration Law of the Association of American Law Schools invites papers and works in progress for its “New Voices in Immigration Law” session at the 2022 AALS Annual Meeting which will take place virtually January 5-9, 2022. This session has not yet been scheduled. We will send updated information when we have it.

This session will be structured as a works-in-progress discussion, rather than as a panel. Selected papers will be discussed in turn, with time for author comments, thoughts from a lead reader, and group discussion.

Submissions may address any aspect of immigration and citizenship law. We also welcome papers that explore these topics from alternative disciplines or perspectives.

Please note that individuals presenting at the program are responsible for their own annual meeting registration fee, though AALS anticipates offering school memberships to the virtual conference again this year.

Submission Guidelines: The deadline for submissions is August 15, 2021. Feel free to submit an abstract, a précis, or a work-in-progress. Priority will be given to individuals who have never presented an immigration law paper at the AALS Annual Meeting, works not yet published or submitted for publication, and junior scholars.

Please email submissions in Microsoft Word format to profkitjohnson at gmail.com (Subject: AALS 2022: New Voices in Immigration Law). In your email, please indicate how you meet our selection priorities.

Inquiries: Please direct any questions or inquiries to Kit Johnson (profkitjohnson at gmail.com).


April 12, 2021 in Conferences and Call for Papers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Biden Budget Immigration Priorities Differ from Trump's


Official White House Photo

The Biden administration's budget proposal, which was announced late last week,  reflect a change in immigration priorities.  The White House unveiled a $1.5 trillion discretionary funding request for fiscal year 2022.

The proposal seeks:

1.  $52 billion for the Department of Homeland Security, roughly the same amount provided in 2021. About $1.2 billion would be reserved for "effective and modern" border security, including plans to revamp ports of entry, expand technology, curtail human and drug smuggling and improve the processing of migrants and asylum-seekers.

2.  $345 million for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in funding to expedite the adjudication of applications for asylum and U.S. citizenship; interview refugees; and modernize agency operations. The administration said the request will also provide funding for programs designed to serve as alternatives to detaining migrant families while their requests for asylum or other forms of relief are reviewed. 

4.  $4.1 billion for the Office of Refugee Resettlement, a branch of the Department Health and Human Services, to  resettle up to 125,000 refugees in fiscal year 2022. The State Department, which also plays a major role in refugee resettlement, would receive funds for this effort as well.

"The discretionary request proposes the resources necessary to fulfill the President's commitment to rebuild the Nation's badly damaged refugee admissions program and support up to 125,000 admissions in 2022," the Biden administration wrote in its request to Congress.

The request submitted to Congress does not include any funds for wall or barrier construction along the U.S.-Mexico border.  The plan calls for unused border wall construction funds allocated in 2021 to be cancelled.


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

Immigration and family separation policies at the US border inspire comic book ‘Home’

Liz Ohanesian for the Los Angeles Daily News reports on a new comic book series that features Latiina/os and explores immigration policy and border enforcement.

 When news of the separation of families at the U.S.-Mexico border came to light in 2018, the disclosure sent Julio Anta reeling.  Anta, a longtime comic book reader who is of Cuban and Colombian heritage, thought about how little representation there is for Latinx people in comic books.   Here is an brief summary of “Home,” a five-part series for Image Comics that begins its run on April 14:

"When a young boy is torn away from his mother while seeking asylum at the U.S. border, something begins to change in him, and it isn’t just the trauma, anxiety, and guilt you’d expect. He doesn’t know it yet, but it’s the onset of superhuman abilities that will change his life forever.

JULIO ANTA and ANNA WIESZCZYK debut with a deeply grounded and heartfelt five-issue series that explores the real-world implications of a migrant with extraordinary powers."


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

Sunday, April 11, 2021

VP Harris and Her Central American Immigration Assignment


Official White House Photo

The early days of the Biden administration have been marked by news stories about migrants coming to the U.S./Mexico border.  In March, President Biden announced that Vice President Kamala Harris would be taking a foreign policy role in working with Mexico and Central American nations on immigration.  As news reports emphasized at the time, "Harris will work on establishing a partnership with Mexico and the northern triangle of Honduras, Guatemala and El  Salvador." 

Lauren Egan and Mike Memoli for NBC News report that the White House has found itself having to clarify the shape of her role.  White House press secretary Jen Psaki has fielded questions about whether Harris' role includes addressing the current situation on the southern border; aides to the vice president have quickly shot down suggestions that Harris is focused on anything other than tackling the root causes of migration in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

The confusion clouding Harris' first significant policy assignment underscores the challenges Harris faces as she seeks to define her role inside the Biden White House. 


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

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Border Czar Roberta S. Jacobson to Leave Administration

The Biden administration's recently-appointed "border czar" Roberta S. Jacobson has announced her resignation. As reported by the New York Times, her decision to leave near the 100-day mark of the administration is consistent with the way the original short-term vision for the position. But it also comes at a time that the number of migrants arriving at the border is increasing. Vice President Kamala Harris will be playing a central role in border issues by leading the administration's efforts to address root causes of migration by investing in Central American economies.


April 10, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

President Biden seeks funding to probe white supremacist beliefs at immigration agencies


Official White House Photo

Ted Hesson and Mica Rosenberg for Reuters report that President Joe Biden has requested funding to investigate complaints of white supremacist beliefs at U.S. immigration enforcement agencies in his first budget request to Congress submitted yesterday.  Officials offered no explanation for what prompted his request.

The Biden administration is asking Congress to increase the funding level for workforce oversight offices within U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to $470 million, a 22% increase over the current level. The additional funding would ensure that workforce complaints - "including those related to white supremacy or ideological and non-ideological beliefs" - are investigated quickly, according to a summary of Biden's budget proposal.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Representatives at the border patrol and ICE unions did not immediately respond to requests for comment.


April 10, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 9, 2021

Humanizing Immigrants

Lee Isaac Chung is the director of the film Minari, which both Kevin and Ming have discussed on this blog previously. The film is about Korean-American immigrants who move to Arkansas to start a farm growing Korean fruits and vegetables.

Chung recently spoke to Trevor Noah on The Daily Show about his film-making:

In the above clip, Noah notes: "Films like this ... connect people to the humanity of others who they may not have ever met or even known as human beings."

Chung responds that his film, Minari, was "meant to be a story about human beings." This, he notes, is a task many communities, including the Asian-American community, must take on: "we have to humanize ourselves constantly, show, I mean, that we're really human beings." 

I was really struck by this exchange and thought it particularly relevant to our work as immprofs. That work is, I think, a big part of our jobs. We must humanize immigrants for our students. Sure, many who are drawn to immigration are immigrants themselves. But I've had numerous students who don't even know their family's immigrant origins; they've been in the U.S. for generations and have no idea where they came from. For this latter category of students, it's our job to humanize noncitizens in a real way. And thoughtful use of film clips can help us do that!


April 9, 2021 in Current Affairs, Film & Television, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

April 14: Exiled for Illness, The Drug War & Deportation

This coming Wednesday, April 14, at 11:00 CST, catch immprof César García Hernández and others chatting about the criminalization of drugs in the U.S. and its effect on deportation. It will be live streamed at http://fb.com/rhizomecenter.



April 9, 2021 in Conferences and Call for Papers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigrants in California

The share of immigrants in California has stabilized in recent decades at relatively high levels


The Public Policy Institute of California put together a short set of facts about Immigrants in California:

California has more immigrants than any other state.

Most immigrants in California are documented residents.

After decades of rapid growth, the number of immigrants has leveled off.

The majority of recent arrivals are from Asia.

Most of California’s immigrants are bilingual.

California’s immigrants have varying levels of education.

Californians have positive views of immigrants.


April 9, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Forty years later, Fernando Valenzuela still a Mexican American icon


It is baseball season and spring 2021 feels a bit more normal in a pandemic

Gustavo Arellano for the Los Angeles Times writes of Fernando Valenzuela, the Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher who stormed into the Major League Baseball world in 1981.  Born in Mexico, Valenzuela had a storybook year.

On Opening Day in 1981, Valenzuela pitched a 6-0 shut out against the Houston Astros.  He started the season 8–0 with five shutouts and an ERA of 0.50. Valenzuela's pitching motion—including a glance skyward at the apex of each wind-up—drew attention as well.  An instant star, Valenzuela drew large crowds every time he pitched. Some commentators called the craze  "Fernandomania."  Valenzuela became the first player to win the Rookie of the Year and Cy Young Awards in the same year. He also was the first rookie to lead the National League in strikeouts. The Dodgers won the World Series that year.

Arellano writes that, years later, legendary Dodger announcer Vin Scully described the frenzy of Fernandomania as a “religious experience.” 

The Los Angeles Times invited subscribers to the exclusive premiere of the first installment of “Fernandomania @ 40,” the Times’ documentary series that examines  Valenzuela’s impact on the Dodgers, Major League Baseball and the Latino community in Los Angeles.
Valenzuela is beginning his fourth season calling games on SportsNet LA in Spanish and his 16th season as a Dodger broadcaster.
In 2015, Valenzuela became a U.S. citizen. He is a previous ImmigrtaionProf Immigrant of the Day.

April 9, 2021 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Throwback Thursday: A Nation of Immigrants by John F. Kennedy


Today's Throwback Thursday is A Nation of Immigrants, a book by John F. Kennedy. As Kevin wrote in 2013:

The book was originally written by Kennedy in 1958, while he was still a senator, as part of the Anti-Defamation League's series entitled the One Nation Library. As President, Kennedy called on Congress to undertake a full reevaluation of the U.S. immigration laws and began to revise the book. In August 1963, excerpts of the 1958 pamphlet were published in the New York Times Magazine. President Kennedy was assassinated before completing the revision, but the book was post-humously published in 1964 with an introduction by Robert F. Kennedy. In 1965, Congress passed the Immigration Act of 1965, which abolished the discriminatory national origins system that Kennedy criticizes. In 2008, the book was reprinted by the Anti-Defamation League.

A Nation of Immigrants contains a short history of immigration in the United States beginning in colonial America, an analysis of the importance immigration has played in American history, and John F. Kennedy's proposals for the liberalization of immigration law. Kennedy had this to say about Mexican immigration:

"Today many of our newcomers are from Mexico & Puerto Rico. We sometimes forget that Puerto Ricans are US citizens by birth & therefore cannot be considered immigrants. Nonetheless, they often receive the same discriminatory treatment and opprobrium that were faced by other waves of newcomers. The same things are said today of Puerto Ricans and Mexicans that were once said of Irish, Italians, Germans and Jews: "They'll never adjust; they can't learn the language; they won't be absorbed."

Perhaps our brightest hope for the future lies in the lessons of the past. As each new wave of immigration has reached America it has been faced with problems, not only the problems that come with making new homes and new jobs, but, more important, the problems of getting along with people of different backgrounds and habits.

Somehow, the difficult adjustments are made and people get down to the tasks of earning a living, raising a family, living with their neighbors, and, in the process, building a nation." (page 31, original edition).


April 8, 2021 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Rethinking Prosecutorial Discretion in Immigration Enforcement  by Nicole Hallett


Rethinking Prosecutorial Discretion in Immigration Enforcement  by Nicole Hallett, Cardozo Law Review, Forthcoming


Prosecutorial discretion in immigration enforcement stands at a crossroads. It was the centerpiece of Obama’s immigration policy after comprehensive immigration reform failed. Under the Trump Administration, it was declared all but dead, replaced by an ethos of maximum enforcement. Biden has promised a return to the status quo ante, but the record of using prosecutorial discretion to accomplish humanitarian goals in immigration enforcement under Obama was, at best, mixed. Moreover, it is unclear whether Biden can depend on the availability of programs such as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”), Obama’s signature prosecutorial discretion program. Although the Supreme Court struck down the Trump Administration’s attempt to end DACA, it did so without deciding whether the program was lawful. Future legal challenges may leave the executive branch with even fewer options for reforming the immigration system without Congressional action. The Biden Administration will need to rethink how to use prosecutorial discretion to accomplish its immigration policy goals.

This Article argues that the experience of the Obama Administration revealed the clear shortcomings of using prosecutorial discretion in lieu of legislative reform to mitigate the harshest consequences of the current immigration system. Though it has, in some circumstances, led to positive individual outcomes, it has failed to provide the kind of systemic relief that was promised, both because of the limitations of prosecutorial discretion in general, and because of special characteristics of the immigration system that make it particularly ill-suited for the widespread use of discretion to accomplish humanitarian goals. Rather than simply reinstating Obama-era discretion policies, future administrations must implement reforms to the immigration system that would allow prosecutorial discretion to work better to advance the stated goal of these policies – injecting some humanity into an otherwise inhumane system.


April 8, 2021 in Current Affairs, Law Review Articles & Essays | Permalink | Comments (0)

COVID-19 and the State of Global Mobility in 2020


While the overall picture of cross-border human mobility in 2020 is of movement dramatically curtailed as a result of measures imposed by governments since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, a new report shows a varying reality over time and by region, with particularly harsh effects for refugees and other migrants who move out of necessity.

The report resulting from the collaboration by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) is a comprehensive analysis of the travel measures and border closures that governments around the world took during 2020 — which at their peak in December exceeded 111,000 in place at one time.

The report, COVID-19 and the State of Global Mobility in 2020, results from MPI analysis of IOM’s COVID-19 Mobility Impacts platform, which collects all of the actions taken by countries and subnational authorities to close international borders, restrict travel between particular locations, impose quarantines and health requirements for travellers and establish “travel bubbles” and other arrangements.

Cross-border mobility in 2020 can be divided into three phases, the report’s authors find:

  • January to May: Mobility lockdowns. In this first phase, countries introduced a raft of national lockdowns, other travel restrictions and health requirements to respond to the fast-evolving public health crisis. The scale of border closures was unprecedented, many occurring with limited coordination. By the end of March, governments had issued or extended 43,300 travel measures. Movements of all kinds were dramatically curtailed. For instance, the numbers of passengers on international flights in April and May were down by 92 per cent relative to the same months in 2019.
  • June to September: Phased reopening. This period brought the staggered reopening of some points of entry, especially of airports. Travel bans were increasingly replaced by health measures, including certificates of pre-departure COVID-19 tests, quarantine measures or health declarations. During this phase, different strategies across the world began to crystallize. This was obvious most clearly in the divergent approaches of island countries: as New Zealand and Australia pursued virus-elimination strategies and maintained border closures, others such as the Caribbean islands opened up to tourism.
  • October to December: Responses to new outbreaks and virus mutations. The remainder of the year was a mixed picture, as countries sought to replace travel restrictions with health requirements, while battling a second (and in some cases, third) wave of infections and grappling with the emergence of new variants of the virus. Some countries, including Chile, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates, opened even to tourists. Health certificates became the most common health-related travel measure.

Three shifts in cross-border mobility were particularly visible, and could persist in the years ahead:

  • Widening gulf between movers and non-movers. The pandemic has deeply curtailed the mobility prospects of some groups who move out of necessity, including refugees and migrant workers, while having little effect on business travellers and others with the resources and opportunity to cross borders for work, family or tourism. This gulf is especially likely to persist if travel begins to favour those who have been vaccinated or tested, or if reliance on digital health records makes a person’s ability to travel dependent on digital access and literacy.
  • Greater socioeconomic vulnerabilities. The pandemic has amplified the socioeconomic vulnerability of those who depend on mobility for survival. Job losses have hit migrant workers hard, especially since in many countries they often work in sectors particularly disrupted by pandemic response measures or with a higher infection risk.
  • Amplified relationships of dependence and exploitation. Restrictions on movement have increased the dependence of many migrants on intermediaries and facilitators, from employment agencies to smugglers. Even as fast-changing travel restrictions have increased the demand for smuggling services among people desperate to flee violence, natural disasters and economic deprivation, or to be able to return home, they have pushed smugglers to use more dangerous routes and raise their prices — exposing migrants and refugees to an increased risk of exploitation and trafficking.

The report examines the future of mobility as countries begin to emerge slowly from the pandemic, finding no easy or one-size-fits-all answers.

Read the report here.


April 8, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

To TikTok or Not to TikTok, That Is The Question


Check out this fascinating Mother Jones article. Apparently there are lots of immigration attorneys currently advertising on TikTok. Folks have a lot of feelings about this trend.

Here's the deal. There are many migrants present in the United States who, despite apparent equities like long-term presence in the U.S. and a clean criminal record, simply have no path to legalize their immigration status. Unfortunately, thems the breaks with our current system.

But there are immigration lawyers on TikTok whose message appears to be that they can find a way for everyone to stay in the U.S. and regularize their status.

Those who worry about such posts argue that, at best, these 15-60 second videos have the potential to mislead and promise more than they can deliver; at worst, they're a ploy simply to generate fees through initial consultations. Those who support the posts argue they're providing a service to migrants who might otherwise not seek an attorney's advice and this enables such individuals to be screened for potential eligibility.

Interested in thinking more this topic? Check out this University of Richmond Journal of Law and Technology blog post: Attorneys on Tik Tok: Is TikTok The New Way To Advertise To Gen Z?.


April 7, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)