Tuesday, January 19, 2021

TODAY: UC Davis Webinar — Immigration Policy: Ideas for the Biden Administration

Webinar Tuesday, Jan. 19 — Immigration Policy: Ideas for the Biden Administration

When: Noon to 1:30 p.m. PST

What: This panel is co-organized by the Global Migration Center, UC Davis; the Berkeley Interdisciplinary Migration Initiative, UC Berkeley; and the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies, UC San Diego.


  • Dianne Solis (immigration journalist at the Dallas Morning News)
  • Kevin Johnson (UC Davis School of Law dean), and the directors of each of three immigration research centers: Irene Bloemraad, David Fitzgerald and Giovanni Peri (UC Davis)

Moderator: Brad Jones, Department of Political Science UC Davis

More information here

Register in advance for this webinar

Reporters and audience members will be able to write in questions during the webinar.

UPDATE (1/21):  A recording of the event can be found here.


January 19, 2021 in Conferences and Call for Papers, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Socialism and Empire: Labor Mobility, Racial Capitalism, and the Political Theory of Migration by Ines Valdez


Socialism and Empire: Labor Mobility, Racial Capitalism, and the Political Theory of Migration by Ines Valdez


This essay brings together political theories of empire and racial capitalism to clarify the entanglements between socialist and imperial discourse at the turn of the twentieth century. I show that white labor activists and intellectuals in the United States and the British settler colonies borrowed from imperial scripts to mark non-white workers as a threat. This discourse was thus both imperial and popular, because it absorbed the white working class into settler projects and enlisted its support in defense of imperial logics of labor control. While white workers’ demands of enfranchisement were part of a transnational imagination that was both imperial and narrowly emancipatory, this discourse reemerged as one of popular sovereignty and found channels and paths to institutionalization through national states. These institutional formations arose out of the encounter between capitalists interested in facilitating mobility of racialized laboring subjects around the globe, elite projects invested in sheltering settler spaces, and white workers concerned with protecting their own labor from competition by excluding exploitable non-white workers. White labor’s embrace of racial prejudice and the exclusion of workers of color created segregated labor spaces that fit neatly with both capitalist goals of labor control and the protection of the settler status of emerging polities. Bringing to the forefront the imperial genealogy of popular sovereignty and immigration control disrupts liberal political theory frameworks that condemn restrictions as well as those that find migration restrictions permissible. The analysis also illuminates contemporary immigration politics.


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

Monday, January 18, 2021

Achieving America’s Immigration Promise: ABA Recommendations to Advance Justice, Fairness and Efficiency

On January 20, 2021, a new Sheriff will be in town.  President Biden will take the reins.  People are asking what the new President will mean for immigration.  The American Bar Association released a report with recommendations (Achieving America’s Immigration Promise: ABA Recommendations to Advance Justice, Fairness and Efficiency).  The report lays out the ABA’s top policy recommendations in the immigration system for the new administration.  It is divided into five sections, all priority areas for ABA policy and advocacy efforts:

I. Reform the administrative adjudication process;

II. Ensure access to counsel:

III. Minimize reliance on immigration detention;

IV. Restore humanitarian protections; and V. Preserve the rights of unaccompanied immigrant children.

The ABA recommends that the incoming administration give immediate attention to our recommendations in five key areas of immigration policy that will  have long-term impacts on the immigration system as a whole:

I. Reform the administrative adjudication process;

II. Ensure access to counsel;

III. Minimize reliance on immigration detention;

IV. Restore humanitarian protections; and

V. Preserve the rights of unaccompanied immigrant children.


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

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!



Photo courtesy of UC Davis School of Law


Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!

Ming Chen has blogged about Dr. King's legacy for a diverse America in the 31st century.  As Jennifer Chacon has written, Dr. King has much to teach us about immigration, which is one of the civil rights issues of this century.

I feel honored that the UC Davis School of Law building is named after Dr. King.  The name, and what Dr. King stood for, is important to our community.  Each year, in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., the law school holds an MLK Day of Service and Celebration on the MLK holiday. The Black Law Students Association , Law Students Association, and a MLK Day Working Group on this great day-long event for students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

The 2021 MLK Day of Service and Celebration includes the following:

Day of Service:  Participants in MLK Day 2021 will have four options to provide service to the Davis community, or their local communities where they are housed during the COVID-19 pandemic. These options include: 

  1. Blood Drive at King Hall Parking Lot: Volunteers will select at time and donate much needed blood to Vitalant Blood Source, a partner of UC Davis. 
  2. Government Benefits Webinar and Clinic via Zoom:  Trained volunteers will provide informational webinars on CalFresh and housing evictions, and help community members determine eligibility for benefits.
  3. Essentials Donation Drop-off:  UC Davis Law is accepting donations to be dropped off at King Hall on Monday, January 18th.  Donations will be provided to Saint John's Program for Real Change in Sacramento, California. 
  4. Day of Service in Your Community:  If you are unable to attend the service options above, we invite you to donate your time on January 18 to a cause near you!  Please let us know how you will be serving the community by clicking here.  Feel free to send pictures or just tell us how it went for you!


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

Sunday, January 17, 2021

The Legacy of MLK for Immigrants and a Diverse America

KQED Perspectives has a series of 2-minute personal testimonies about Dr Martin Luther King's legacy for diversity.  The stories are as varied as the backgrounds of the speakers and very touching. 

Li Miao Lovett, a Chinese immigrant who arrived after the 1965 Hart Cellar Act, recounts the significance of the civil rights movement for her family's immigrant heritage. Though immigration historians like Jack Chin have revealed a more complex history, she says simply, “we wouldn’t even be in the country if not for the Civil Rights movement.”

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I celebrate the Civil Rights movement that helped foster the historic opening of immigration laws then. President Johnson spoke of lifting the “bars of discrimination” against immigrants. Vice President Hubert Humphrey was more explicit, urging us to “bring our immigration law into line with the spirit of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.” The following year, the Hart-Celler Act opened the doors to people coming from China, India, Brazil, Pakistan, all over --- lifting the ethnic bans and quotas in place for over 40 years.

Lovett concludes: "[W]e don’t need more walls. Today is a reminder that those of us who came to this country, or built our lives on the sweat of immigrants, should count the leaders of the Civil Rights movement among our kin."

The other stories are worth a listen as well.


January 17, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: The Tortured Woman: Defying the Gendered Conventions of the Convention Against Torture by Linda Kelly

Check out Linda Kelly's article The Tortured Woman: Defying the Gendered Conventions of the Convention Against Torture in American University Washington College of Law's Human Rights Brief (Vol. 24, Issue 2, Winter 2020). Here is her introduction:

In the last few years, asylum advocacy for women has made some great strides — and has had some significant setbacks. Terrific attention has been paid to the ongoing, twenty-year struggle of domestic violence survivors to win asylum. The hard-won victory of female genital mutilation (FGM) claims for asylees has also been widely celebrated. However, little attention is paid to women’s claims pursuant to the Convention against Torture (CAT).

There are both practical and legal reasons for the difference in interest between asylum and CAT claims. As a practical matter, asylum has more benefits. Asylum puts the recipient on the road to residency and allows her to petition for family members. By contrast, CAT relief is a strictly limited benefit for the recipient, who can be subject to detention for the duration of status. As a legal matter, asylum is also easier to win. Asylum’s “reasonable fear of persecution” is much lower than CAT’s “would be tortured” analysis.

The fights, wins, and losses of female asylees deserve all the support they get — and more. Nevertheless, CAT remains an important tool for women. There are many women who are not eligible for asylum due to prior criminal or immigration records. Ongoing challenges to what qualifies as a valid particular social group for gender violence asylum claims and possible new, severe restrictions on all asylum claims further contribute to the need to fully appreciate and litigate CAT claims.

CAT requires that a claimant prove she “will more likely than not be tortured with the consent or acquiescence of a public official if removed to her native country.” This standard breaks down in four significant criteria for the success of a CAT claim: torture, government action or acquiescence, relocation, and future harm. This Article systematically evaluates the CAT standards from a gendered perspective. When they are put in context with the overarching historical struggle of women to fight gender violence, Professor Catherine MacKinnon’s blunt question arises: “Are Women Human?”

While gender challenges persist, existing CAT regulations can be tools to defy them. Uncovering CAT’s gender conventions, this Article proposes a new perspective on CAT standards of torture, state acquiescence, and relocation. Such proposals rely on key, positive 2020 U.S. Circuit Court CAT decisions while remaining rooted in feminist norms.

Part I of this Article introduces the basic definition of torture. Addressing the “what” and “why,” it considers what acts of domestic violence, rape, and sexual assault qualify as torture and whether why they occur is being fully considered. Part II follows by critiquing whether “who” perpetrates such acts of torture can fit the standard of government actor or acquiescence. Part III then moves to relocation, proposing that the standard can readily encompass safety issues unique to gender violence. Finally, Part IV brings the variables together to properly calculate the risk a torture victim will face upon return and asks how gender violence changes the calculus.


January 17, 2021 in Law Review Articles & Essays | Permalink | Comments (0)

CFP: Cross-Border Families under Covid-19

Call for Papers: Cross-Border Families under Covid-19

June 22-23, 2021
Zoom Workshop

Cross-border families (also known as transnational and globordered families) are a growing and diverse phenomenon. People around the globe create bi-national spousal relations, are assisted by cross-border reproduction services, or by a migrant care worker who provides care for a dependent family member. Likewise, families become cross-bordered when one of the parents relocates, with or without the child, or when a parent abducts the child. In addition, increasing rates of forced or voluntary migration create more and more cross-border families, with different characteristics and needs. While some kinds of cross-border families have attracted the attention of legal scholarship, other kinds are still neglected, and much is yet to be studied and discussed regarding the challenges embedded in the attempt to secure the right to family life in the age of globalization.

The global Covid-19 crisis provides more, and alarming, evidence of the socio-legal vulnerabilities of cross-border families. For example, bi-national couples are separated for long periods of time; intended parents are unable to collect their baby from the country of the surrogate; and families assisted by a migrant care worker, the workers, and their left behind families, are entangled in new complex relations of power and dependency. Likewise, the right to heath is at risk when a family member is denied treatment because of partial citizenship status, and questions such as the enforcement of child support across borders are even harder to address than in more peaceful times.

Crises, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, are often a methodological opportunity for socio-legal research. In many cases, a major social crisis shakes habitualization, and opens up taken for granted social scripts to individual and collective reflection. Likewise, such a crisis involves risk regulation and, in the current case, also plague governanceinvolving intense emergency regulative changes made by different nation-states that might both reveal and challenge deeply shared norms regarding familial rights and national interests. Hence, our current era lends itself more readily than stable, routinized periods to the investigation of current regulation, and the imagining of options for new regulation regarding cross-border families.

In June 22-23, 2021, we plan an international socio-legal workshop that will explore the impact of the Covid-19 crisis and its regulation on cross-border families. We hope to explore the ways Covid-19 restrictions affect cross-border families, and the role of the law, in different countries, in shaping this impact and in challenging it.

The questions during the workshop might include, but are not limited to:

  1. 1)  How does the Covid-19 crisis affect cross-border families?

  2. 2)  How do legal Covid-19 restrictions affect cross-border families?

  3. 3)  Did national jurisdictions adapted their substantial and procedural laws to meet the

    challenges faced by cross-border families during the pandemic?

  4. 4)  What can be learned from comparing different jurisdictions in their response to cross-

    border families’ needs during the pandemic?

  5. 5)  What can be learned about the interrelations between globalization, borders, families, and

    the law, from this crisis?

  6. 6)  What are the lessons to be learned from the pandemic on how can national, regional and

    international law be developed to better protect the rights of cross-border families, and those involved in their creation and everyday familial doing, in times of crisis and in more stable times?

Confirmed Keynote Speaker: Prof. Yuko Nishitani, Kyoto University Law School

The workshop will be conducted via Zoom, and is sponsored by the Minerva Center for Human Rights at Tel Aviv University. It will be open to the public, and hopefully, will set the foundations for further multinational research and collaboration.

We will give serious consideration to all high-quality relevant research, from any discipline. Work in progress is welcome, as long as the presentation holds new findings or insights and not only declaration of intent. Faculty members as well as independent researchers and advanced research students are welcome to submit.

The screening process for the workshop will include two phases:

Phase I Abstract:

Abstracts should include:
- An overview of the main question and arguments of your contribution (up to 500 words)
- Key words
- Contact details [author(s), affiliation (including institute and department), and e-mail address]
- Short bio of author/s (up to 250 words, each)
Abstracts must be in English and be submitted to this email address:
eynatm@media- authority.com
Deadline for submission: February 28th, 2021.

Phase II Summary:
Those whose abstract will be accepted, will be notified by March 31th, and will be asked to submit a 3-pages summary of their paper by April 30th. Accepted papers will be presented at the workshop. Presenters are expected to take part in all the workshop's sessions.


January 17, 2021 in Conferences and Call for Papers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Biden's Plan for Immigration Action

Apparently the immigration ideas that incoming VP Kamala Harris outlined for Univision on Tuesday are going to be the foundation of a bill that incoming president Joe Biden will send to Congress on his first day in office, the AP reports.

Biden is seeking to create a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented individuals living in the United States.

Specifically, there would be an eight-year path to citizenship with a faster track for DACA and TPS holders.

Color me surprised. I was interested in Harris' comments on Tuesday but I certainly didn't expect legislation to be proposed day one.


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

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris drop playlist for the inauguration



CNN reports that the Biden/Harris "inaugural committee teamed with DJ D-Nice and Raedio -- actress, writer, producer Issa Rae's record label -- to curate the collection of songs. The result is an eclectic mix of artists, from Led Zeppelin and The Doobie Brothers to Kendrick Lamar, Sza and Major Lazer. The Biden-Harris campaign's celebratory theme song, `Higher Love' by Kygo and Whitney Houston, is also in the mix."

You can listen to the the playlist on Spotify.  One of the songs on the playlist is a Bruce Springsteen tune:



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

Saturday, January 16, 2021

University of Houston Asylum Law Conference

January 29, 2021 University of Houston Joseph A. Vail Asylum Law Workshop

Immigration Law in the Time of COVID

9-1pm, keynote featuring Ira Kurzban at 12pm 

2021-0129Schedule.pdf (uh.edu)

Webinar Registration - Zoom

For questions about the workshop contact:
Geoffrey Hoffman, Immigration Clinic Director
at ghoffman@central.uh.edu or 713-743-2094

January 16, 2021 in Conferences and Call for Papers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Inspector General Report on the Family Separation Policy

The Trump administration's family separation policy will long be remembered for Trump administration's immigration excesses.  Elizabeth Dye on Above the Law reports the latest on the policy:

"[T]he Justice Department’s Inspector General released a scathing report on the family separation policy officially in place between April 6 and June 7, 2018. Prior to that, U.S. Attorneys had endeavored not to arrest adults crossing the border with minors, and there was no preparation for an abrupt policy shift that would necessitate taking thousands of children into government custody.

`DOJ leadership, and the [Office of Attorney General (OAG)] in particular, did not effectively coordinate with the Southwest border USAOs, the USMS, HHS, or the federal courts prior to DHS implementing the new practice of referring family unit adults for criminal prosecution as part of the zero tolerance policy. We further found that the OAG’s expectations for how the family separation process would work significantly underestimated its complexities and demonstrated a deficient understanding of the legal requirements related to the care and custody of separated children. We concluded that the Department’s single-minded focus on increasing immigration prosecutions came at the expense of careful and appropriate consideration of the impact of family unit prosecutions and child separations.'"



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

In ICE Detention: Walter Cruz-Zavala


WALTER from Shabnam Piryaei on Vimeo.

Check out this immigration video on the story of Walter Cruz-Zavala, which is described as follows by RogueMark Studios:

"We teamed up . . . with immigration defense attorney Raha Jorjani to share the story of her client, Walter Cruz-Zavala. Raha has been fighting for Walter’s release from ICE for the past 3.5 years. They’ve won his case twice, but Walter still remains detained. This story demonstrates the gross injustice and inhumanity of the American legal system, but Walter keeps fighting for redemption."



January 16, 2021 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

GUEST POST: President focuses on a straw man, Antifa, while racist extremist Trump Supporters Storm the Capitol by Carrie Rosenbaum


Carrie Rosenbaum, Visiting Scholar at the Berkeley Center for the Study of Law and Society

President focuses on a straw man, Antifa, while racist extremist Trump Supporters Storm the Capitol by Carrie Rosenbaum

"The worldview of White domestic terrorists: If you are White, then you are always an innocent patriot even when you are trying to destroy democracy. If you are Black, then you are always a guilty anarchist even when you are trying to save democracy.”

Ibram X. Kendi, January 10, 2021.

On January 5, 2021, one day before a white supremacist action or coup attempt to stop the Electoral College’s certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, the President used immigration policy to manufacture a foreign threat to our nation’s safety. Trump issued a new immigration memo, the “Presidential Memoranda on Inadmissibility of Persons Affiliated with Antifa Based on Organized Criminal Activity,”proclaiming “Antifa” as a threat to our nation’s safety. The day after the Memo, on January 6, 2021, white nationalists, and specifically, people displaying tattoos, flags and symbols of the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, Gestapo, and those violently advocating the return to slavery, attempted a violent Confederate coup. These two events illustrate Trump’s white nationalist immigration policy, and his anti-democratic and authoritarian tactics.

The Immigration Law Terrorism Bar and Antifa

The latest target in the Trump regime’s effort to restrict immigration (along racist and ideological lines) is a completely manufactured one, alleged antifascists who his regime labels “criminal” and “terrorists” pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act. After 9/11 Congress created “terrorism grounds of inadmissibility. Section 212(a)(3) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(3), deems people “inadmissible aliens” if they have engaged in or are likely to engage in “terrorist activity.“ Trump now seeks to label “Antifa” as terrorists.

Who is a terrorist? “Terrorist activity” can be interpreted broadly to include things like disseminating flyers (certainly activity more benign than what the country witnessed at the Capitol on January 6, 2021.) Similarly, “material support” to terrorist organizations could be something as small as giving a nominal amount of money, like a toll to pass through a certain territory while fleeing, or providing medical treatment, even against one’s will.

The DOJ, DOS and DHS can designate a group as a terrorist organization. The process is opaque generally not subject to review. Even if a group is not already designated, immigration officials can bar someone as a terrorist if they are part of a group of two or more individuals “organized or not” alleged to have engaged in terrorist activities. It also applies to conduct that is illegal in the country where it took place, or if it would be illegal here.

A “terrorist” under US immigration law cannot come to the United States, even if they are otherwise eligible to do so. This includes people qualified for a tourist visa, H-1B, fiancée of a US citizen, spouse or child of a US citizen, or other visa category.

Some designated terrorist organizations like “al-Shabaab” are appropriately on that list because they use violence against civilians and innocent people in attempting to achieve their political aims. As a former Asylum Officer, I have heard stories of terror inflicted on people by al-Shabaab. At the same time, I have also seen U.S. immigration authorities claim my clients were terrorists because they were part of a mandatory state-based socialist organization and merely paid dues. In part because of the way in which it has been applied, the terrorism bar has at times operated like an earlier iteration of a Muslim ban. (This raises another issue in immigration law to explore another day – ideological and political biases.)

“Antifa” Barred as Terrorists

 The Trump regime’s latest effort to keep people out is another manufactured threat that exposes the internal contradictions of the Trump propaganda machine. Which group is more like Al Qaeda or al-Shabaab? American white nationalists, or those who oppose fascism in the United States?

Even in the face of the events of January 6, Trump supporters at all levels have demonized Trump’s Antifa, instead of those who pose a threat to democracy. The immigration Memo, misstates facts, a hallmark of this regime, claiming,

“… the movement known as Antifa is directly or indirectly responsible for some of the recent lawlessness in our communities, and has exploited tragedies to advance a radical, leftist, anarchist, and often violent agenda… Antifa has long used otherwise permissible demonstrations to engage in lawless, criminal behavior to further its radical agenda.”

The description of “Antifa” in the White House Memo better matches the white nationalists including groups like the Proud Boys, who have engaged in violent anti-democratic acts like what we witnessed on January 6. Others within this umbrella of contemporary white supremacist groups have incited and used violence against peaceful Black Lives Matter supporters, and even attempted to kidnap Michigan’s state governor. Even the Department of Homeland Security has identified white supremacy as the greatest terrorism threat to the United States’ democracy. Donald Trump made false claims of a stolen presidential election and encouraged white nationalists to use violence against people and institutions of the U.S. government. It’s no surprise that he is still trying to manufacture an enemy of the state that isn’t himself.

The designation of Antifa as a terrorist organization is propaganda. “Antifa” is not an organization, but is a philosophy uniting those who oppose fascism and racism. Antifa does not advocate or use violence, and in fact supports democracy. Antifa is, by definition, anti-fascist. The United States fought to oppose fascism and mass racist, ableist, and homophobic murder in the name of white supremacy in World War II. (There were uglier truths about the role of the United States in turning away Jews fleeing Nazi Germany and African American soldiers returning to discrimination and Jim Crow laws here.) The Trump regime’s contradictory characterizing Antifa (and immigrants) as a threat, while lauding white supremacists as heroes underscores the regime’s white nationalist immigration policy and ideological motives.

The white nationalists and Nazi supporters who attempted a violent coup, by force and with violence, on the Capitol on January 6, would fall within the definition of terrorists and criminals if the same rules applied to them that apply to immigrants. In violently attempting to stop the certification of the Electoral College vote, they engaged in conduct that judged through the lens of the terrorism bar, would apply to them. In other words, if they were immigrants applying for membership in a democratic society with immigration laws like ours, they would be barred.

Through this January 5 Memo, the Trump regime reinforces his white supremacist, quasi-authoritarian governance-style, and anti-democratic immigration policy. Trump’s rhetoric and policy have evinced a preference for a “white” state. Stephen Miller, whose support for white supremacy is known to the public, has been behind much of the regime’s immigration policy. The Trump administration has ordered caging and separating families fleeing violence at the US-Mexico border, closing the border to people from Muslim majority countries, attempting to end Temporary Protected Status to people from countries like Haiti, El Salvador and Sudan, and changing requirements to limit immigration from countries like China and Mexico, and so much more. The justifications for such policies, when there are any, are allegedly national security. Particularly from the vantage point at which we all sit today in the aftermath of a white supremacist coup attempt, it’s as mind-boggling as it sounds. Immigrants and Antifa are scapegoats and strawmen.

By proclaiming Antifa as criminals and terrorists, the Trump regime’s anti-democratic, racist, anti-immigrant agenda converges and rewards white nationalists. The people who were allowed to storm the Capitol included government officials, law enforcement, and former military, but they could theoretically be prosecuted for felony-murder. They are a threat, not Antifa, or the Mexican and Central American immigrants seeking humanitarian relief at our southern border. Our next administration should steer the country towards immigration policies that stop demonizing immigrants and fostering racism, and allocate resources towards protecting the homeland from the threat within.

Carrie Rosenbaum is a Visiting Scholar at the Berkeley Center for the Study of Law and Society


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

Federal Court Halts Trump Rule That Would Have Blocked Access To Asylum Process



Senior Judge Reggie B. Walton | District of Columbia | United States District Court (uscourts.gov) Photo courtesy of U.S.D.C. website

This National Immigrant Justice Center in a press release summarized an important federal court ruling that halts the Trump administration's latest restrictions on asylum:

"A federal court judge has temporarily blocked a Trump rule that would create insurmountable obstacles for people applying for asylum in the United States. The rule was scheduled to take effect [on] January 15, 2021.

Senior Judge Reggie B. Walton of the District Court for the District of Columbia granted a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction halting the implementation of the Trump administration’s final rules regarding procedures for individuals who apply asylum and withholding of removal. The lawsuit was filed by four legal service organizations against the Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), the agency which oversees the U.S. immigration court system. Plaintiffs in the case are the National Immigrant Justice Center in Chicago, Immigrant Defenders Law Center in Los Angeles, Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project in Arizona, and Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center in El Paso, Texas. Jones Day is providing pro bono counsel in the case, NIJC v. EOIR, which was filed on January 8."

Read the rest of the release for more details.


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

Friday, January 15, 2021

Immigration Initiative at Harvard Speaker Series

HUGSE poster

January 15, 2021 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

Book Talk Series: Reimaging the Latinx Experience in America

The Reimagining the Latinx Experience in America book talk series is part of The Future of Latinos in the United States: Law, Opportunity, and Mobility initiative. This series will push attendees to think about the realities––past and present––of Latinx people in the U.S. and how the future may look different, including better access to justice, resources, and opportunities. UCI Law is thrilled to spotlight these scholars and to provide an opportunity to learn from them and host a dialogue on their important work!

The series takes place on select Thursdays (12-1pm Pacific) between January - April 2021. 

Michael Olivas will present his new book Perchance to Dream on January 28, 2021.

Edward Telles will present Durable Ethnicity: Mexican Americans and the Ethnic Core on February 11, 2021.

Rocio Rosales will present Street Vending, Illegality, and Ethnic Community in Los Angeles on February 25, 2021.

Gilberto Q. Conhas will present The Compana/O/X Dream on March 25, 2021.

Ian Haney Lopez will present Merge: Fusing Race and Class, Winning Elections, and Saving America on April 8, 2021.

UCI Latinx


January 15, 2021 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

Associated Press: Years of white supremacy threats culminated in Capitol riots


Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The racial overtones to the Capitol insurrection cannot be missed.  A Trump supporter, with many others, carried a Confederate flag down the halls of the Capitol.

Christine Fernando and  Noreen Nasir for the Associated Press ("Years of white supremacy threats culminated in Capitol riots; Insurrectionists included highly trained ex-military and cops") report that

"Amid the American flags and Trump 2020 posters at the U.S. Capitol during last week’s insurrection were far more sinister symbols: A man walking the halls of Congress carrying a Confederate flag. Banners proclaiming white supremacy and anti-government extremism. A makeshift noose and gallows ominously erected outside.

In many ways this hate-filled display was the culmination of many others over the past few years, including the deadly 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that gathered extremist factions from across the country under a single banner.


Extremist groups, including the pro-Trump, far-right, anti-government Oath Keepers and the Three Percenters, a loose anti-government network that’s part of the militia movement, were among those descending on the halls of power on Jan. 6.

The hateful imagery included an anti-Semitic “Camp Auschwitz” sweatshirt created years ago by white supremacists . . . ."


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

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Kamala Harris Talks Immigration with Univision

On Tuesday, incoming-VP Kamala Harris spoke with Univision about the new administration's stance on immigration. You can watch the video in full, it's just over 3 minutes long. Only the first two deal with immigration.

Here are some takeaways: she and Biden have an immigration plan that is their "first order of business." It will, according to Harris: 

  • create a "pathway for people to earn citizenship" that would take 8 years
  • expand protections for DREAMers and DACA recipients
  • offer a "smarter and more humane way" of approaching immigration
  • "put more [immigration] judges"  on the border
  • "make sure the process runs more smoothly"
  • "get rid of the backlog"
  • allow people who have "temporary protection status, in particular DREAMERs and TPS holders to automatically get Green Cards"


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

International Students in the United States: 2020

International Students in the United States

International students have experienced tough times in the last few years.  And this last year was especially tough.

According to the Migration Policy Institute report, for the first time in a decade, there were fewer international students in the United States during the 2019-20 school year than the year before. This decline has been aggravated further by the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to an additional 16 percent decrease in international students at the start of the fall 2020 academic semester.

The introduction reads as follows:

"The United States has long been the top receiving country for international students, who historically have been drawn by the high quality of U.S. higher education, its value on the international labor market, and access to job opportunities in the United States after graduation. About 1.1 million international students were enrolled in U.S. institutions in school year (SY) 2019-20. This marked a decrease of almost 20,000 international students from the year before, following a decade of consistent growth. Among the key factors for this decline were the rising cost of U.S. higher education, high numbers of student visa delays and denials, a difficult political environment for immigrants under the Trump administration, and expanded opportunities to study in other countries."


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

Lessons from The President and Immigration Law for a new administration

UPDATED 1/14/21 (earlier post 12/30/21 and here and here)

Earlier this year, ImmigrationProf Blog highlighted The President and Immigration Law (2020) by Adam Cox and Cristina Rodriguez. Since then the book has garnered widespread attention among academics and policymakers that may influence the incoming administration. 

A Balkinization symposum examines the landscape of immigration federalism, the separation of powers, and administrative procedure for the assertion of executive power in immigration law. It does this in several essays by Pratheepan Gulasekaram (Santa Clara Law), Aziz Huq (University of Chicago), Peter Markowitz (Cardozo Law), Daphna Renan (Harvard Law), Shalev Roisman (University of Arizona), Bijal Shah (Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law), Peter Shane (Ohio State Moritz College of Law), and Robert Tsai (B.U.). 

An online symposium on Just Security extends the lens of analysis to the generation of national immigration policy, with essays from former government officials and immigration practitioners such as Lucas Guttentag (ACLU Immigrants Rights Project, previously US Citizenship and Immigration Service), Alan Bersin (Covington & Burling), Tom Jawetz (Center for American Progress), Josiah Heyman (Center for Interamerican and Border Studies), Margo Schlanger (University of Michigan, formerly US Department of Homeland Security), Nicholas Espiritu (University of California Los Angeles). UPDATE 1/3/2021: The list of symposium contributors has been updated.

A Migration Policy Institute webinar and podcast featuring the authors in conversation with Elena Goldstein, Deputy Bureau Chief, Civil Rights Bureau, New York State Office of the Attorney General, and Sarah Pierce, Policy Analyst, Migration Policy Institute examines the Trump administration’s substantial use of executive power to change the country’s course on immigration, and how the president’s role in immigration policy is a inevitability that should be carefully considered and reimagined in any blueprint for immigration reform or strategy for activism on immigration.

A sneak peak of my book review, “Lessons from History on the Future of Presidential Policymaking in Immigration Law,” appears below (edited for length and clarity). The full-length review will appear in The New Rambler in 2021. UPDATE 1/14/21: The full book review is now posted.

Review of The President and Immigration Law (by Adam Cox and Cristina Rodriguez)

The President and Immigration Law offers a historically-grounded, doctrinally-precise description of issues that began at the Founding and have continued during the Obama administration and the Trump administration. Of late, these issues have been overtaken by partisan politics. Scholarly and political opinions abound without establishing a sound foundation. But it is on the foundation of history and legal analysis that Cox & Rodriguez offer their normative assessment of executive policymaking through the exercise of enforcement discretion. The translation of deep scholarly analysis into smart on-the-ground analysis of policy implementation – how to get things done - is where the authors will make a real practical difference. They are able to interpret the lessons from history for the future of presidential policy.

As someone who writes at the intersection of immigration and administrative law, I especially appreciate the authors’ effort to go beyond the contestation of the President versus Congress to delve deeper into the relationship of the president and bureaucracy. The immigration bureaucracy is the arms and legs beneath the executive head. The details of how the bureaucracy implements policy is where the authors’ normative ideals will gain the most traction. Comparing different styles of immigration enforcement under multiple administrations will be useful to the Biden administration. The initial tasks in Biden’s promise to “build back better” are clear. Executive authority can be used to reverse the priorities in immigration enforcement right away. Yet doing this effectively involves nuanced assessments of the administrative apparatus of immigration law.  On the one hand, reversing many Trump policies will be quick and easy with the continued use of executive authority to regain control of the immigration bureaucracy. But on the other hand, institutionalizing these changes in a centralized mechanism of enforcement will require navigating the nuances of administrative procedure.

Going further to transform immigration policy will require Congress’ cooperation. The full extent of what is possible in a Biden administration depends on political conditions. Those political conditions will determine whether Comprehensive Immigration Reform is possible after nearly a decade of failed attempts. It is not up to Biden alone to define what is politically possible. But the parameters of what is theoretically possible is clear from Cox & Rodriguez’s book.


January 14, 2021 in Books, Conferences and Call for Papers, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)