Megan Michelotti for The Independent Record (Helena, Montana) describes the app, which starts by asking the initial question: “Are you a citizen of the United States?”
Friday, November 25, 2022
Department of Defense, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Paul Eremenko was 13 when his family moved to the U.S. from the Ukraine. His dad, Alexandre Eremenko, came to teach university-level mathematics.
(Paul) Eremenko has had a fascinating career as an innovator. He worked for several years with DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), the coolest branch of the U.S. Department of Defense that is dedicated to developing technologies for use by the U.S. military. He also worked for Motorola, Google, Airbus Group (CTO -- Chief Technology Officer), and United Technologies (CTO).
What's most fascinating to me, however, and why I'm highlighting Eremenko today, is his founding of a new company in 2020: Universal Hydrogen. The company's goal is to create "a pragmatic, near-term approach to making hydrogen commercial flight a reality." Why hydrogen? The idea is to "decarbonize aviation and put the industry on a trajectory to meet Paris Agreement obligations."
Amanda Robert for the ABA Journal spotlight two Texas attorneys behind the Children’s Immigration Law Academy. According to the organization's website, the "[t]he aim [of the Center is] to support legal service providers by providing training and support for their staff, thereby improving staff capacity and sustainability. Additionally, the center . . . support[s] pro bono volunteers in their efforts to assist unaccompanied minors."
Thursday, November 24, 2022
A few years back, Michael Barron for Culture Trip offered interesting thoughts on the Thanksgiving holiday and immigration. The teaser: "Memoirs from Pilgrims William Bradford and Edward Winslow depict the Wampanoag tribe’s welcome of foreign settlers — which paved the way for the first Thanksgiving — and remind us that immigration is central to the celebration."
Wednesday, November 23, 2022
More than 50,000 people worldwide have lost their lives during their migratory journeys since International Organization for Migration (IOM)'s Missing Migrants Project began documenting deaths in 2014, according to a new IOM report published today. Despite the increasing loss of life, little action has been taken by governments in countries of origin, transit, and destination to address the ongoing global crisis of missing migrants.
Listen to a migrant story here.
Rafael Bernal for the Hill reports that a coalition of more than 400 organizations yesterday called on the Biden administration to renew a key immigration program to protect Haitians in the United States from removal. In a letter to President Biden, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the 422 groups led by Haitian Bridge Alliance asked the officials to extend and redesignate Haiti’s Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation. Extending TPS would give current beneficiaries more time in the program, and redesignation would grant TPS benefits to Haitians who entered the United States after July of 2021.
Here is the letter. The lead signatories on the letter are:
Melanie Nathan, Executive Director, African Human Rights Coalition
Erika Pinheiro, Executive Director, Al Otro Lado
Shalyn Fluharty is a UC Davis Law graduate.
We're calling on @POTUS, @SecMayorkas, & @SecBlinken to do the right thing for Haitians:— Americans for Immigrant Justice - AI Justice (@Am4ImmJustice) November 22, 2022
👉Halt all deportations to Haiti
👉Extend and redesignate TPS for Haiti
👉Release all Haitians currently in immigration detentionhttps://t.co/liBr5trRQV
Tuesday, November 22, 2022
National governments, multilateral organizations, private-sector interests and others have devoted significant attention in recent years to promoting the fair and ethical recruitment of migrant workers. Their efforts include finding ways to reduce or eliminate migrant-borne recruitment costs, which can result in increased vulnerability and reduced income for workers who finance these expenses through high-interest loans or debt bondage. The COVID-19 pandemic represented a major setback for this cause, however, by driving up some recruitment costs and other expenses for workers. Even as the public-health crisis recedes, these costs may long continue to shape workers’ future migration decisions and the conditions they accept.
A new policy brief from the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) explores how the pandemic has affected costs for migrant workers at every stage of their journey and reflects on what these developments mean for future efforts to promote fair and ethical recruitment.
The brief, Reassessing Recruitment Costs in a Changing World of Labor Migration, contends that the wide-ranging impacts of the pandemic suggest the need to revisit how these costs are defined and regulated. Focusing only on the costs associated with the recruitment and relocation process misses the full range of debts that individuals may incur when seeking to take up work abroad, particularly in turbulent times. As job offers vanished early in the pandemic, some migrant workers found themselves on the hook for upfront expenses yet with no means to pay down this debt. Those already working abroad had to contend with job losses, cuts to their hours or pay, or wage theft. And yet others had to pay for masks and other protective equipment, COVID-19 testing or quarantine during their period of employment or in preparation to return home.
My last op-ed
By Nolan Rappaport
The Republicans’ Commitment to America includes a plan for securing the border and combatting illegal immigration.
The Republicans claim that record illegal border crossings have led to more drugs, more crime, and a demoralized Border Patrol that is being prevented from carrying out its law enforcement mission. This has become both a national security and a humanitarian crisis.
Their plan calls for fully funding effective border enforcement strategies, infrastructure, and advanced technology to prevent illegal crossings and trafficking by cartels. It also calls for improving internal enforcement measures; ending catch-and-release loopholes; requiring proof of legal status to get a job; and eliminating welfare incentives.
It may be a good plan, but the Republicans will need cooperation from the Democrats to pass implementing legislation and it almost certainly would not be implemented by the current president.
I think, however, that the Democrats will provide the necessary support if the Republicans approach them the right way.
And the U.S. Constitution provides Congress and the courts with the ability to deal with presidents who substitute their own interior enforcement and admissibility policies for the interior enforcement and admissibility provisions Congress put in the Immigration and Nationality Act.
Border security and enforcement-only approach
Just as with the Democrats’ benefits-only bills, it will be extremely difficult for Republicans to get enough Democratic support to pass a bill that only has border security and internal enforcement provisions. It would be better to try the approach that made the last comprehensive immigration reform bill possible, the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986.
IRCA sponsors were able to obtain bipartisan support with what they referred to as a “three-legged stool” agreement. It provided border security and internal immigration enforcement measures for the Republicans and increased employment-based visas and a legalization program for the Democrats.
This approach might make it possible for Republicans to succeed in obtaining enough Democratic support to pass a bill with most of the border security and internal enforcement measures they want.
For example, a bill with these provisions would offer benefits that are highly desired by both parties.
- Leg one: Border security and interior enforcement measures;
- Leg two: Substantial increases in the number of visas available for family-based and employment-based immigration, with funding earmarked for hiring more people to process applications for these visas; and
- Leg three: A DREAM Act that would create a place in the Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) program for undocumented migrants who were brought here by their parents when they were young children.
I would be surprised if the Republicans couldn’t get enough votes from Democratic senators to overcome a filibuster with this three-legged stool — unless the Republicans go too far.
But if such a bill were to be enacted, would its provisions be executed by the current and future presidents? Recent history suggests that the current president would just continue to apply his own border security and interior enforcement policies.
This is not a new problem. The framers of the U.S. Constitution were troubled by it too, so they put provisions in the Constitution that make it possible for the other branches of the government to deal with it.
Separation of powers
The experience the framers had had with the British monarchy led them to believe that concentrating governmental powers in a single entity would subject the nation’s people to arbitrary and oppressive government action. Consequently, they sought to ensure that each of the three branches of the government would have separate powers, and they provided measures that each branch can use to resist such encroachments.
For instance, Article II, Section 4 provides that, “The President, Vice President and all Civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”
What does “high crimes and misdemeanors” mean? Former President Gerald Ford said, “An impeachable offense is whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers it to be at a given moment in history.” Many scholars disagree.
In any case, there is no appeal, so Congress has the final word on what that phrase means.
Article II. Section 3 provides that the President, “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”
Lastly, the framers included a mandatory oath of office for presidents in Article II. Section 1, which makes it clear that presidents are bound by the provisions in the Constitution. It reads as follows:
“Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:—'I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.’"
Former President Barack Obama summed these provisions up nicely when he said, “I’m not a king. I am the head of the executive branch of government. I’m required to follow the law.”
The Constitution gives Congress the power to remove a president from office through impeachment proceedings if he does not follow the law or violates any other constitutional obligation.
However, although the Republicans could impeach Biden in the House, they wouldn’t have the votes needed to convict him in the Senate ---- unless the situation gets so bad that public pressure forces ten Democratic senators to turn on him.
It also gives the courts the authority to reign in an errant president and the courts are less likely to be influenced by political considerations.
Congress could make it easier for the courts to assume that responsibility by paying particular attention to making their intentions clear with the language they use when they draft legislation to implement their immigration measures, especially with respect to whether provisions are mandatory or discretionary.
If Congress chooses to initiate impeachment proceedings, they might kill any chance they might otherwise have had to work with the Democrats.
And Biden won’t be the president forever.
Nolan Rappaport was detailed to the House Judiciary Committee as an Executive Branch Immigration Law Expert for three years. He subsequently served as an immigration counsel for the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims for four years. Prior to working on the Judiciary Committee, he wrote decisions for the Board of Immigration Appeals for 20 years. Follow him at: https://nolanhillop-eds.blogspot.com
Monday, November 21, 2022
Terrific reporting today by NPR's Juliana Kim on challenges to visitation in ICE prisons. Kim explains:
Individuals held in immigration detention were barred from visits with relatives and friends for more than two years during the pandemic — far longer than federal prisons. In May, ICE lifted the ban, but immigrant advocates and people in detention centers argue that social visits have not been fully nor consistently reinstated. . . .
As of Nov. 14, 52 out of 113 ICE sites were listed as yellow or red status, meaning their COVID response includes temporarily restricting in-person visits. . . .
Earlier this month, Freedom for Immigrants and 139 other immigrant advocacy organizations asked the Biden administration to intervene and urge ICE facilities to offer in-person visits regardless of a facility's COVID status. They also said video calls for people in ICE detention should be free of charge.
The full story is available here.
Shahid Haque informs Latinos in Montana about their rights. Border Crossing Law Firm of Montana must be prospering right about now. https://t.co/zoymSb6jKc— Ellie ♕ (@EllieAsksWhy) March 21, 2021
The app is available in both English and Spanish, with more languages possible in the future.
Haque is looking to expand the app, adding more features such as informational video instructions.
Saturday, November 19, 2022
The American Society of International Law's International Refugee Law Interest Group (IRLIG) has announced the ninth annual International Refugee Law Student Writing Competition.
Eligibility and Requirements
1. Papers may address any topic related to international law and refugees, stateless persons, internally-displaced persons (IDPs), and/or forced migrants.
2. Particular consideration will be given to papers authored by student authors who have
experienced forced displacement and to student authors in the global south..
3. Student authors must be enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate degree program at an accredited university at the time of submission.
4. Papers must be written solely by the candidate, in English, and may not have been submitted for publication elsewhere.
5. Citations should be in footnotes, rather than endnotes.
6. Submissions may range from 7,000 to 12,000 words, including footnotes.
7. Each candidate is limited to a single submission.
8. Candidates should only resubmit previously unsuccessful submissions following substantial revision.
Deadline and Method of Submission
The deadline for submissions is 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time, 15 January 2023.
Articles should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org as Microsoft Word attachments. Questions
should be directed to the same address.
It's hard to imagine a more provocative title than that of Dara Horn's new book People Love Dead Jews: Reports from a Haunted Present. Here's the publisher's pitch:
Renowned and beloved as a prizewinning novelist, Dara Horn has also been publishing penetrating essays since she was a teenager. Often asked by major publications to write on subjects related to Jewish culture―and increasingly in response to a recent wave of deadly antisemitic attacks―Horn was troubled to realize what all of these assignments had in common: she was being asked to write about dead Jews, never about living ones. In these essays, Horn reflects on subjects as far-flung as the international veneration of Anne Frank, the mythology that Jewish family names were changed at Ellis Island, the blockbuster traveling exhibition Auschwitz, the marketing of the Jewish history of Harbin, China, and the little-known life of the "righteous Gentile" Varian Fry. Throughout, she challenges us to confront the reasons why there might be so much fascination with Jewish deaths, and so little respect for Jewish lives unfolding in the present.
Horn draws upon her travels, her research, and also her own family life―trying to explain Shakespeare’s Shylock to a curious ten-year-old, her anger when swastikas are drawn on desks in her children’s school, the profound perspective offered by traditional religious practice and study―to assert the vitality, complexity, and depth of Jewish life against an antisemitism that, far from being disarmed by the mantra of "Never forget," is on the rise. As Horn explores the (not so) shocking attacks on the American Jewish community in recent years, she reveals the subtler dehumanization built into the public piety that surrounds the Jewish past―making the radical argument that the benign reverence we give to past horrors is itself a profound affront to human dignity.
This book seems particularly relevant for immprofs given our (necessary) focus on "dead jews." After all, the entire international refugee scheme was a response to the horrors wrought on Jewish people during WWII.
I think this book particularly calls to me because I recently found myself (in the wake of the Kanye mess) looking into the world population of Jews. Did you know it's estimated to be just 15.3 million? Of those, about 7 million live in Israel and 6 million live in the United States. That means only 2.3 million Jews live scattered around the rest of the world.
To put those figures in perspective, it is estimated that the African American population of the United States is 45.1 million, the Asian population of the U.S. is 20.2 million, and the gay adult population of the U.S. is 14.5 million.
Friday, November 18, 2022
If Dreams Came True? House Democrats choose DACA over other immigration priorities in lame-duck session
"House Democrats are preparing a legislative sprint to send immigration reforms to the Senate before they give up their majority . . . .
The lame-duck push is focusing on a bill to protect so-called Dreamers, beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The decision, announced by House Democratic leaders . . . , comes just a week after the midterm elections, when both parties were vying for a growing share of Hispanic voters."
According to the story, Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-Calif.), head of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, said the details are still being worked out. But the framework will be a piece of legislation — the Dream and Promise Act — that was passed by the House last year.
Migration Policy Institute: Despite Strong Upward Mobility Overall, One-Third of Immigrants in United States Are Low Income
Thursday, November 17, 2022
Texas Governor Greg Abbott is rattling him immigration sword again. A press release from Human Rights Watch offers a critical response:
"US: Reject Texas Border Militarization
Discriminatory, Dehumanizing Policies Harm Public Safety
(Washington, DC, November 17, 2022) – The United States government should immediately cease all operational and financial support to the Texas government’s Operation Lone Star, Human Rights Watch said today.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced on November 15, 2022, his intention to use the US and Texas constitutions to give himself authority to increase border militarization in response to recent migration. The announcement included disparaging and alarmist language about migrants and asylum seekers, echoing the terminology of white nationalists who have carried out mass shootings in Texas and elsewhere. The governor’s office, and many of the agencies, counties, and sheriffs involved, regularly receive federal funds through a variety of programs, many of which predate Operation Lonestar.
US Border Patrol officials on November 15, 2022, also requested that the Texas legislature change the code of criminal procedure to enforce Texas state laws beyond ports of entry, a move that could increase the federal government’s role in the abusive program. Under Operation Lone Star, thousands of immigrants have been arrested and prosecuted under enhanced charges for misdemeanor trespassing.
“Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas should make clear that the federal government will not fund or collaborate with extremist policies that harm public safety,” said Alison Parker, US managing director for Human Rights Watch. “The Biden administration’s failure to end federal support for Operation Lone Star sends an unfortunate signal to Abbott that he can expand these abusive policies with impunity.”
Texas’ Operation Lone Star is an abusive system of border policing that has been found unconstitutional by a Texas district court. The federal government, including the Department of Homeland Security, has been on notice since at least December 2021 that Operation Lone Star targets people based on race and national origin, disregards due process, and subjects them to abuses in detention.
Under Operation Lone Star, which began in March 2021, Abbott has spent billions of Texas taxpayer dollars subjecting Black and brown migrants and US citizens to racially discriminatory arrests, prosecutions on flimsy pretexts, and detention with substandard food and inadequate or nonexistent health care, people detained under the program said in a complaint filed with the US Justice Department. Defendants have been forced to wait weeks or months in pretrial detention before they have an opportunity to see a judge.
Under the expansion announced by Abbott, Texas will add to the more than 10,000 Texas National Guard soldiers and Texas Department of Public Safety officers already deployed to the border to arrest, jail, and refer people to federal immigration authorities for deportation. He also said he would deploy gunboats, build walls in multiple counties, and enter into agreements with “foreign powers.”
Abbott’s increased militarization also affects Texas border communities, Human Rights Watch said. At least 30 people have been killed in state police car chases associated with Operation Lone Star, and evidence indicates that the police are engaging in racial profiling of residents. Additionally, low-level traffic citations in counties participating in the program have increased significantly.
Abbott also said he would begin to bus asylum seekers to Philadelphia, adding to the more than 13,000 asylum seekers who have been bused, without full information, to New York City, Chicago, and Washington, DC in recent months. That policy has left some asylum seekers stranded with no housing, in some cases in cities to which they had not intended to go, and without the resources to reach other locations for their immigration court hearings.
Human Rights Watch and other groups committed to advancing immigrant rights, civil rights, and racial justice have repeatedly called on the Biden administration to end federal funding for the agencies and counties engaged in Operation Lone Star and for the Department of Homeland Security to stop collaborating with Texas state police and National Guard soldiers.
Texas’ escalating militarized approach at the border echoes a failed three-decade-old federal policy known as “prevention through deterrence,” which has not slowed migration but has strengthened illicit actors who profit from smuggling people through increasingly dangerous terrain. The Trump and Biden administrations have continued these deterrence policies, which have increased deaths of migrants in recent years and are exacerbated by Operation Lonestar. According to US government data reported by CBS news, a record more than 850 people died crossing the border in fiscal year 2022.
“Texas’ increasingly cruel approach harms public safety by putting people in harm’s way, spreads fear in Texas border communities, and helps line the pockets of organized crime and others involved in smuggling,” Parker said. “The Biden administration should immediately end the administration’s cooperation with and funding for Texas’ Operation Lonestar.”
NBC reports that Cuba will start accepting deportees returned to the country from the United States. Planeloads of deportees will start flying from the U.S. to Cuba "in the coming weeks."
Why is Cuba willing to now accept deportees when it hasn't since late 2020? The U.S. has promised to restart visa processing for legal migration from Cuba.
As Kevin noted last month, Cuban migration has been a factor in driving up apprehensions at the Southern border. Indeed, NBC notes that nearly 250,000 Cubans were apprehended in the last year -- over a five-fold increase from the year before.
What I find particularly interesting about this all is that Cuba is currently listed by the U.S. Department of State as a "state sponsor of terrorism, a designation made January 12, 2021.