Friday, September 13, 2019

Biden's Disingenuous Remarks on Immigration

photo: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images via Hollywood Reporter

Did anyone watch the Democratic debate last night? Not gonna lie, it was pretty boring. Especially the first 11 hours when the candidates talked endlessly about their plans for healthcare despite the fact that, spoiler alert, a president cannot enact any health care plan on their own.

Eventually they got to the good stuff: immigration. 

Moderator Jorge Ramos asked Joe Biden this pretty pointed question: "Why should Latinos trust you?"

Biden's answer: "We didn't lock people up in cages. We didn't separate families. We didn't do all of those things[.]"

Not so fast, Mr. Vice President. I spent a week in Artesia, NM in the winter of 2014. I was there to help women and children--locked in cages and separated from any adult males traveling with them--try to secure the right to leave detention on bond.

I can say from personal experience that you did lock people up in cages. In fact, you locked kids in cages. You separated families.

I saw it. I was there. I remember.


September 13, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Some Thoughts on September 11, 2001 and the Role of the Courts in Enforcing the Rule of Law

SchwartzImage LeviImage

Earlier this week, the Milton L. Schwartz/David F. Levi Inn of Court held its first meeting of the academic year at UC Davis School of Law.  Because the meeting was on the anniversary of September 11, 2001, Judge Emily Vasquez asked me to offer some remarks on the impact of September 11 on the law.  Here are my remarks:


September 11, 2001. The words alone bring forth many images and emotions. The morning saw one of those rare events where people look back and think about where they were when they heard the news. It is hard to ever forget the television footage of the jet crashing into the World Trade Center. Closer to home, I will never forget the Sikh owners of the local 7/11 store who plastered American flags on the store windows, basically trying to convince people that they were not Muslim. This simple act told volumes about the tension in the air.

For a long while, some said that “9/11 changed everything.” That, I think, is an exaggeration. However, the events did have significant reverberations. Airplane travel became very different — forever. Armed National Guard members immediately were at California airports. Waiting in long lines for screening at airports became common. "Interacting" with TSA officers became a normal part of the airport experience.

The days that followed saw a blur of government responses. I think it fair to say that some people today have regrets about various missteps in the name of security. Some examples might include

1.    The treatment of Arabs and Muslims – many now think that “special registration” of Arab and Muslim men was unnecessary. Similarly, the mass dragnet and detention of young Arab and Muslim men is not generally looked on as one of the nation’s best moments.

2.    The use of Guantánamo and torture have been roundly condemned.

3.    The USA PATRIOT Act and its intrusion on privacy and individual rights has drawn criticism.

On the positive side of the ledger, the nation saw the inspirational rebuilding of the World Trade Center area, with a memorial and museum. The response reflects the resilience of the people of the United States. Who doesn’t like a good comeback story? In the film world, aren’t we on something like Rocky 13?

All that said, September 11 and security concerns remain with us and influence law and policy. But the courts – and this is the upbeat portion of my remarks – have stepped up. Consider the travel bans put into place by President Trump, which applied to noncitizens from a group of countries with predominantly Muslim populations. There actually were three bans, with the first one put into place in January 2018. The bans were rooted in the same fears that influenced the responses to September 11. Some claimed that they were anti-Muslim.

In the first version, it was not clear whether the ban applied to lawful permanent residents or only to temporary visitors to the United States. Nothing less than chaos resulted at airports from coast to coast. I am proud that UC Davis School of Law had students, alumni, and faculty head to airports to help noncitizens seeking admission into the United States. We even had a law professor who happened to be in New York City and went out to John F. Kennedy International Airport to help people in need. I can’t help but think that some of the willingness of people to help persons affected by the travel ban comes from remembering the injustice of some of the U.S. government’s responses to September 11.

The courts played a critically important role in narrowing the three bans, invalidating the first two. We might debate whether the final one was lawful. However, few would say that the final ban’s lawfulness is not a much closer question than the first one. Through judicial review, the courts in effect narrowed the ban.

In Trump v. Hawaii, the Supreme Court upheld the travel ban after engaging in judicial review of its lawfulness. Even though the Court only engaged in rational basis review, that itselkf is more than once was teh case.  In the not-too-distant past, the courts have not even engaged in any review of immigration and national security decisions of the President and Congress. In addition, the Court finally overruled Korematsu v. United States, the case upholding the internment of persons of Japanese ancestry, citizens and noncitizens alike – a national blemish if there ever was one.

This leads me to a more general lesson as we work through challenging times. Time and again in recent years, the nation has seen courts enforcing the rule of law in these and other areas:

  • The rights of “enemy combatants”
  • Sanctuary litigation
  • Immigrant detention
  • Enforcement of the Flores settlement and protecting the rights of migrant children
  • Asylum policies
  • The litigation over the decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy. This issue is currently before the Supreme Court.

The courts enforcing the rule of law include a conservative Supreme Court. Consider Sessions v. Dimaya (2018) in which a 5-4 Court held that a removal provision of the immigration laws was unconstitutional, an extraordinarily rare occurrence. In another case that surprised many Supreme Court watchers, a 5-4 Court in 2019 found that the Trump administration had not adequately explained its addition of a U.S. citizenship question on Census 2020. In my view, Chief Justice Roberts, who wrote for the majority, joined the more liberal justices to save the Court’s legitimacy as an institution separate from the political process.

Ultimately, my firm sense is that we have learned much from September 11. And I remain inspired by the role of the courts in enforcing the rule of law on national security matters. We all should be proud of that. Thank you.


September 13, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Report to USCCR on Citizenship Delays, In Anticipation of Citizenship Day

USCCR natz report

The Colorado Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights released its report, Citizenship Delayed: Civil Rights and Voting Rights Implications of the Backlog in Citizenship and Naturalization Applications. The Committee examined the civil rights implications of the backlog in citizenship and naturalization applications in U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The report is available on the USCCR website.

The report found that increased wait times are contributing to a backlog of more than 700,000 naturalization applications and wait times of 10-18 months. This is a doubling from 2016 to 2019 and a violation of statutory requirements that applications be processed within 6 months. This delay impacts applicants’ civil rights, including an applicants' ability to fully participate in the 2020 election in many parts of the country. 

Key recommendations from the Committee include:
• USCIS officers should review the operational efficiency of naturalization
adjudications and ensure that adjudication processing times are consistent with
the statutory and regulatory guidelines of six months.
• Congress should hold hearings and increase USCIS accountability to statutory
mission and timelines.
• Congress should appropriate funding to USCIS to eliminate the backlog.
• States, local governments, and non-profits should participate in supporting

Committee Chair Alvina Earnhart said: “During our study, it became evident that the processing time for citizenship applications has surged considerably. Despite past efforts to resolve the backlog, more needs to be done. This report provides insights for potential solutions, and we hope that it will spur Congress to act to eliminate the backlog. Special thanks to Committee member Ming H. Chen for her leadership and dedication to the

Citizenship Delayed, based on expert input and extensive research and analysis, offers actionable recommendations to Congress; federal, state, and local agencies; and advocacy groups. The Committee held a public briefing on the subject in February 2019 at the University of Colorado Law School, hearing from government officials, academics, legal experts, and members of the public. View video and the transcript of the briefing.

UPDATED 9/17/2019: Colorado PoliticsColorado Public Radio, Daily Camera, Colorado Independent, Denver Post coverage of report.

September 12, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

SCOTUSBlog Symposium on the DACA Case

Suporme court

SCOTUSBlog is running a symposium on the DACA case that will soon be argued.  Here is Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia's contribution. 

Her powerful conclusion:

"Prosecutorial discretion is essential in any law-enforcement context and immigration is no exception. Because resources are limited, the government has to make decisions about whom to target for enforcement and whom to leave alone. Prosecutorial discretion has long been informed by compassion. Even before DACA, thousands of immigrants living in the United States were granted deferred action or another kind of prosecutorial discretion because of factors such as tender or advanced age, long-term residence or serving as a caregiver to a family member with serious medical needs. Regardless of how the Supreme Court rules in this case as a matter of law, the choice by the Trump administration to end DACA represents an extraordinary use of discretion that is morally troubling and out of sync with history and our humanity."


September 12, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Brookings Institution Releases New Report Detailing How States Can Take Immediate Steps to Regulate Immigration Detention Facilities


The Brookings Institution released a report this week that explores how state and local governments can take immediate steps to assert jurisdiction over detention facilities and craft more humane policies and processes that would improve America’s immigration system from the ground up.  

While local governments across the country have severed relationships with ICE detention facilities and state legislatures are passing bills opposing immigrant detention, the new Brookings report offers an alternative path for state and local governments with moral and ethical objections to current federal immigration enforcement policies.  

The lead author of the report, John Hudak said, “State governments play such a pivotal role overseeing and licensing the facilities that house the majority of ICE and HHS detainees, they can play a critical role in bringing sunlight to the immigration system—both by regulating state licensed facilities and giving voice to those housed within their walls.” 

The vast majority of adult immigration detainees—85%—are currently held in facilities that are not federal.  

The report outlines five specific steps state and local governments can take to start improving American immigration policy.

1.    Immediate investigations: In states where ICE detainees or unaccompanied minors detained by HHS are held in private or local facilities, state regulatory officials, social workers, lawyers, public health officials, and others can enter the facilities to enact a large-scale evaluation of the conditions in which people are held.

2.    Appoint a czar or coordinator to compile an interagency report: Governors can also appoint a “czar” or have a staff member designated as a policy coordinator overseeing the work of the agencies investigating both conditions in detention facilities and the health, welfare, and experience of those being detained.

3.    Disseminating information among stakeholders: Interested politicians, active and well-intentioned humanitarian organizations, and other nonprofits can only do so much. State governments are best positioned both to provide broader access for those interested groups, to coordinate efforts within and across states and then compile information and evidence in a systematic way.

4.    Statutory and regulatory review and strengthening: Attorneys general must order a review of each state agency’s statutory authority over immigrant detention, both of adults in ICE custody and of children in ORR shelters.

5.    Form an interstate working group: By coordinating among states via the National Governor’s Association, the National Association of Attorneys General, or other existing organizations that encourage the flow of information and expertise among states as peers, state officials can shift away from treating immigrant detention only as a problem in their backyard and begin to shift the norms of the system as a whole.

The complete report can be found here and was funded by the Seldin/Haring-Smith Foundation.  


September 12, 2019 in Conferences and Call for Papers | Permalink | Comments (0)

From the Bookshelves: The Fixer:  Visa Lottery Chronicles by Charles Piot with Kodjo Nicolas Batema


The Fixer:  Visa Lottery Chronicles by Charles Piot with Kodjo Nicolas Batema

In the West African nation of Togo, applying for the U.S. Diversity Visa Lottery is a national obsession, with hundreds of thousands of Togolese entering each year. From the street frenzy of the lottery sign-up period and the scramble to raise money for the embassy interview to the gamesmanship of those adding spouses and dependents to their dossiers, the application process is complicated, expensive, and unpredictable. In The Fixer Charles Piot follows Kodjo Nicolas Batema, a Togolese visa broker—known as a “fixer”—as he shepherds his clients through the application and interview process. Relaying the experiences of the fixer, his clients, and embassy officials, Piot captures the ever-evolving cat-and-mouse game between the embassy and the hopeful Togolese as well as the disappointments and successes of lottery winners in the United States. These detailed and compelling stories uniquely illustrate the desire and savviness of migrants as they work to find what they hope will be a better life.

Hat tip to Alan Hyde!


September 12, 2019 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Of Immigration, Public Charges, Disability Discrimination, and, of All Things, Hobby Lobby by Mark C. Weber


Of Immigration, Public Charges, Disability Discrimination, and, of All Things, Hobby Lobby by Mark C. Weber


This Essay seeks to demonstrate that federal disability discrimination law conflicts with and thus supervenes the Trump Administration’s new regulations changing the standards for excluding immigrants from the United States on the basis of their likelihood of becoming a public charge. The Essay draws the comparison to Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, Inc., a 2014 case in which the Supreme Court invalidated a federal regulation on the ground that it conflicted not with its enabling legislation but with an unrelated federal statute, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.


September 12, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Supreme Court Grants Stay of Injunction Allowing Trump Asylum Rule to Go into Effect -- Nationwide


The Trump administration announced in July that it would adopt a rule to block asylum seekers from being granted relief if they passed through a third country without applying for asylum there before arriving in the United States. Legal challenges -- and injunctions -- followed. Earlier this week, Judge Jon Tigar re-issued a nationwide injunction in the case in response to a Ninth Circuit limitation of the injunction to the geographic jurisdiction of the Ninth Circuit.  

Amy Howe on SCOTUSBlog reports on the latest news in the Supreme Court in the challenge to the Trump asylum rule:

"The Trump administration won a major (if, at least for now, only temporary) victory on immigration [yesterday] at the Supreme Court. The justices gave the government the go-ahead to enforce a new rule that would bar most immigrants from applying for asylum if they pass through another country – such as Mexico – without seeking asylum there before arriving in the United States. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit had blocked the government from implementing the new rule in Arizona and California, but now the government can enforce it nationwide while it appeals a decision by a federal judge in California to the 9th Circuit and, if necessary, the Supreme Court. Tonight’s order drew a dissent from Justice Sonia Sotomayor (joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg)." (emphasis added).

Justice Sotomayor dissented:

"[T]he Supreme Court gave the government the go-ahead to enforce the rule nationwide while its appeal winds its way through the 9th Circuit and, if necessary, the Supreme Court. In her five-page dissent, Sotomayor suggested that the new rule may be `in significant tension' with federal laws governing immigration. She added that it was `especially concerning' that the new rule `topples decades of settled asylum practices and affects some of the most vulnerable people in the Western Hemisphere—without affording the public a chance to weigh in.'

Sotomayor criticized the Supreme Court’s decision to intervene at this stage of the process. `Granting a stay pending appeal should be an ‘extraordinary’ act,` she stressed, but `it appears the Government has treated this exceptional mechanism as a new normal' – and, she lamented, the justices have acquiesced." (emphasis added).

Here is the order and dissent.

UPDATE (Sept. 12, 9 AS.M. PST):  Here is Peter Margulies' take on the stay.


September 12, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Your Playlist: Brandy Clark

I've been searching for the right song to pair with diversity visas for a long time. I can't say I'm done with that search, but here's the song I landed on for this year -- Brandy Clark's Pray to Jesus.

It's a pretty song and the chorus is nicely on point:

So we pray to Jesus and we play the lotto
Cause there ain't but two ways
We can change tomorrow
And there ain't no genie
And there ain't no bottle
So we pray to Jesus and we play the lotto


September 11, 2019 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Judges Swear In New Citizens at Pro Ballparks


With citizenship certificates in hand, new Americans wave flags in Oklahoma City.

Two of America's most memory-laden traditions, the welcoming of new citizens and baseball—have come together this year to create a sense of community and diversity at stadiums across the country. In a distinctive celebration of Constitution Day (September 17)  and Citizenship Day (September 17), federal judges are naturalizing hundreds of citizens at a dozen major and minor league ballparks. Read More


September 11, 2019 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (1)

Cutting Refugee Admissions Will Undermine Military

Robert Natter (a retired Admiral from the Navy) and Mark Hertling (retired Lieutenant General from the Army) co-wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post this weekend making the case that the Trump administration's efforts to drastically reduce the number of refugee admissions admitted through the U.S. Refugee Admission Program undermines the military, in both practical/instrumental and ideological ways. They join a group of 27 retired generals and admirals in writing to President Trump expressing grave concerns about the direction of this vital program.

Their op-ed explains:

"[For] many of us, welcoming refugees is not just a matter of smart policy and a reflection of our national values; it is also personal. Many of us know these refugees: They worked for and with us in our fight against terrorists and insurgents. The tangible and significant improvements we were able to make in the lives of millions as well as efforts to protect our own soldiers, sailors and Marines would not have been possible without the dedicated efforts of thousands of Iraqi and Afghan interpreters, logisticians, engineers and others. Many of those individuals were targeted because of their assistance to us."


September 11, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Solicitor General Adds Latest Asylum Injunction to Supreme Court Stay Request


Chris Mills Rodrigo for the Hill reports that the Trump administration asked the Supreme Court late yesterday to stay an injunction preventing it from enforcing a rule that would limit migrants’ ability to apply for asylum after District Court Judge Jon Tigar reimposed a nationwide ban on the rule.  (I predicted it as quoted in this Law360 article (registration required).  Judge Tigar had issued a similar injunction in June, soon after the rule was announced,  The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit narrowed the injunction to cover only the geographic jurisdiction covered by the Ninth Circuit and remanded the case to Judge Tigar. U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar on Monday reinstated a nationwide ban on the asylum rule, which would make most asylum-seekers who pass through another country before reaching the U.S. ineligible for asylum.

The Trump administration had previously asked the Supreme Court to stay the injunction.  In the latest stay request, solicitor general Noel Francisco said that the new nationwide order "underscores the need for this Court to grant the government’s pending application for a stay of that injunction, which remains ripe for resolution."  "The district court’s injunction greatly impairs the government’s and the public’s interest in maintaining the integrity of the border, in preserving a well-functioning asylum system, and in conducting sensitive diplomatic negotiations," he said.


September 11, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Untold Story of an Undocumented Immigrant Family Torn Apart by 9/11


Luis Alfonso Chimbo at the Windows on the World restaurant in New York, circa 2000.
Courtesy of the Chimbo family
As we know, September 11, 2001 was a watershed in the United States.  It led to many changes in immigration law and enforcement.  Rather than focus on that, Tom Roston for Time tells a story of the American Dream of an undocumented immigrant, Luis Alfonso Chimbo, who died in the World Trade Center on September 11, and his widpow, Ana Soria.  

Roston writes:

"In 2001, Windows [on the World] was the highest-grossing restaurant in the country. It had become a must-see destination for out-of-town guests, a go-to special occasion spot for New Yorkers and a lifeline to hundreds and hundreds of working immigrants, some of whom, like Chimbo, were undocumented.

The Windows on the World staff of 400-plus workers included immigrants from more than two dozen countries. On 9/11, Chimbo was one of the seventy-three Windows employees who died, along with six men working on a renovation job for the restaurant, and ninety-one guests."

Roston is the author of The Most Spectacular Restaurant in the World: The Twin Towers, Windows on the World, and the Rebirth of New York.




September 11, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Announcing The 2020-2022 Fellowship at Georgetown's Center for Applied Legal Studies (CALS)


The Center for Applied Legal Studies (CALS) at Georgetown Law announces that it is now accepting applications for its annual fellowship program in clinical legal education. CALS will offer one lawyer a two‑year teaching fellowship (July 2020‑June 2022), providing a unique opportunity to learn how to teach law in a clinical setting.  

At CALS, our two fellows and faculty members work as colleagues, sharing responsibility for designing and teaching classes, supervising law students in their representation of clients, selecting and grading students, administering the clinic, and all other matters. In addition, the fellow will undertake independent legal scholarship, conducting the research and writing to produce a law review article of publishable quality.

This fellowship is particularly suitable for lawyers with some degree of practice experience who now want to embark upon careers in law teaching. Most of our previous fellows are now teaching law or have done so for substantial portions of their careers.

Since 1995, CALS has specialized in immigration law, specifically in asylum practice, and our docket focuses on presenting asylum claims in immigration court. Applicants with experience in U.S. immigration law will therefore, be given preference. The fellow must be a member of a bar at the start of the fellowship period.

The fellow will receive full tuition and fees in the LL.M. program at Georgetown University, and a stipend of 57,000 in the first year and 60,000 in the second year. On successful completion of the requirements, the Fellow will be granted the degree of Master of Laws (Advocacy) with distinction.

Former holders of this fellowship include Mary Brittingham (1995-97), Andrea Goodman (1996-98), Michele Pistone (1997-99), Rebecca Story (1998-2000), Virgil Wiebe (1999-2001), Anna Marie Gallagher (2000-02), Regina Germain (2001-2003), Dina Francesca Haynes (2002-2004), Diane Uchimiya (2003-2005), Jaya Ramji-Nogales (2004-2006), Denise Gilman (2005-2007), Susan Benesch (2006-2008), Kate Aschenbrenner (2007-2009), Anjum Gupta (2008-2010), Alice Clapman (2009-2011) Geoffrey Heeren (2010-2012), Heidi Altman (2011-2013), Laila Hlass (2012-2014), Lindsay Harris (2013-2015), Jean C. Han, Rebecca Feldmann, Pooja Dadhania, and Karen Baker.  The current fellows are Faiza Sayed and Deena Sharuk. The faculty members directing CALS are Andrew Schoenholtz and Philip Schrag.

To apply, send a resume, an official or unofficial law school transcript, a writing sample, and a detailed statement of interest (approximately 5 pages). The materials must arrive by December 2, 2019. The statement should address: a) why you are interested in this fellowship; b) what you can contribute to the Clinic; c) your experience with asylum and other immigration cases; d) your professional or career goals for the next five or ten years; e) your reactions to the Clinic's goals and teaching methods as described on its website; and f) anything else that you consider pertinent. Address your application to Directors, Center for Applied Legal Studies, Georgetown Law, 600 New Jersey Avenue, NW, Suite 332, Washington, D.C. 20001, or electronically to

Georgetown University is an equal opportunity affirmative action employer. We are committed to diversity in the workplace. If you have any questions, call CALS at (202) 662-9565 or email to



September 10, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

From the Bookshelves: Who Let the Mexicans Play in the Rose Bowl: Navigating the Racial Landscape of America by Hank Olguin

Rose bowl

This truly is a fun book about  racial identity.

A Memoir With a Fresh Perspective

"… a spell-binding account…an insightful, often humorous look at the twists and turns of being of Mexican ancestry in the modern United States…required reading for anyone interested in an analysis of Latino identity…" —Kevin R. Johnson, Dean, UC Davis School of Law—Author of How Did You Get to Be Mexican?—A White/Brown Man’s Search for Racial Identity

Award-winning, former advertising executive and creative director, Hank Olguin, not only talks about the thrill of playing in the 1959 Rose Bowl for the California Golden Bears, he also provides a unique account of growing up and growing old as a Mexican American. 

In a journey spanning more than eighty years, Olguin describes the road to becoming a successful college athlete and an advocate for changing the negative images of Mexicans and other Latinos and Latinas.

This genuine American story will appeal to all Hispanics and Latinx, who are tired of being stereotyped, demeaned, or ignored by the entertainment and news media and to non-Hispanics who want to learn more about cultural diversity, race relations, and multiculturalism issues.  Here’s the link.


September 10, 2019 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

At the Movies: El Norte -- A 35th Anniversary Event




Celebrate the 35th anniversary of this Oscar® nominated* classic from director Gregory Nava (Selena) with an exquisite restoration by the Academy Film Archive, supported in part by the Getty Foundation.  Check the website for details.

This film is a true classic and remains all-too-topical as the nation experiences teh latest asylum "crisis." And it can be a teaching tool for the immigration law professors out there!

After their family is killed in a government massacre, brother and sister Enrique and Rosa flee Guatemala and embark on a perilous journey to "El Norte": the United States. This timeless, visually epic story of Enrique and Rosa’s courageous struggle to make a better life in the U.S. as undocumented immigrants resonates today with remarkable force and remains an unforgettable portrait of the power of the human spirit.

This incredible experience will allow audiences to view the film’s Academy restoration with a new introduction by Nava and a featurette with stars Zaide Silvia Gutiérrez and David Villalpando, who portrayed the migrant siblings

*1984, Writing (Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen), Gregory Nava and Anna Thomas. Oscar® is the registered trademark and service mark of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.



September 10, 2019 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Stacy Caplow and Maryellen Fullerton, Migrant "Protection" Protocol: A Report from the Front Lines 

Caplow Stacy Fullerton Maryellen

Stacy Caplow and Maryellen Fullerton on The Insightful Immigration Blog offer this "Migrant `Protection' Protocol: A Report from the Front Lines."  It offers a sobering picture of teh U.S. goiernment at work and is well worth reading.  Here is a short piece of background:

"As Brooklyn Law School experts in asylum law, we responded to a call for volunteers to assist asylum seekers bottled up in Tijuana.  The legal situation is bleak.  We and other lawyers spent long weekend hours working at Al Otro Lado, an indefatigable nonprofit trying to help the asylum seekers just across the border in Mexico.  We worked with asylum-seeking families from Honduras, Guatemala, Cuba, Venezuela and elsewhere, all caught in a process that is incomprehensible to them (and to us).  Mexico has allowed them to remain during the pendency of their asylum claims in the United States, but they are not authorized to work.  In Tijuana, a stone’s throw from the United States border, they live in shelters, depend on handouts for food; their children – and there are many among the group we assisted – are not enrolled in school.  They exist in limbo, and their circumstances are untenable.

The Migrant Protection Protocols, the Orwellian name that the Trump Administration has applied to its program keeping migrants away from protection, is known colloquially as the   `Remain in Mexico' policy.  Having now spent time on both sides of the border, we can report what we saw with our own eyes."

Click the link above to read further.


September 10, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

"3 Mexican Countries": When All Latin American Migrants Become Mexicans by David Hernández


David Hernandez for Radical History writes about the racial underpinnings of the Trump administration's immigration enforcement policies.  He concludes his piece as follows:

"So when Trump stirs his followers to repeat his new campaign chestnut, “send her back,” it doesn’t matter where, because any Mexican country will do, and all of Latin America is Mexico. Whereas Latinas/os/xes are the frequent target of President Trump, so are Black Americans, Muslims, the news media, and political opponents. The racist mass-killings in Pittsburgh in October 2018, Gilroy, CA in July 2019, and a week later in El Paso in August 2019 were responses to presidential calls to arms rooted in anti-Latina/o/x sentiments, but easily expandable to other racial groups. That’s because sweeping, undifferentiated racial categories—which have a long, presence in immigration history, including spatial categories like `3 Mexican countries'—are the abusive tools of marketers, media hucksters, politicians, and mass shooters."


September 10, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Trump on the Bahamas

As Kevin pointed out earlier today, storm-ravaged Bahamians seeking entry to U.S. may face immigration hurdles. We saw this in action on Sunday when 119 individuals were ordered to disembark from a ferry bringing evacuees from the Bahamas to the United States because they did not have a visa--even though these individuals had Bahamian passports and clean police records.

Here's a nice, short clip of President Trump explaining his concerns about evacuating individuals from the storm-ravaged Bahamas:

From 0:10-0:33 President Trump talks about how, here in the United States, "We're recovering from the hurricane also."

If you just want his comments about the dangers of these storm evacuees, check out 0:33 to 1:06:

We have to be very careful. Everybody needs totally proper documentation because the, look, the, Bahamas, had some tremendous problems with people going to the Bahamas that weren't supposed to be there. I don't want to allow people who weren't supposed to be in the Bahamas to come into the United States, including some very bad people and some very bad gang members and some very, very bad drug dealers. So we are going to be very, very strong on that.

The reminder of the clip includes his discussion of what aid the US is willing to give the Bahamas.


September 10, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Trump bets on immigration fears to keep North Carolina House seat



Here we go again.  

David Knowles reports that,  on the eve of a special election in a state crucial to his reelection, President Trump traveled to Fayetteville, North Carolina yesterday and delivered a speech that portrayed undocumented immigrants as a threat to America -- and the Democrats supporting that threat.  In that speech President Trump played on similar themes that he ran for President on. 

“To protect your family, you must defeat open borders. And you have a Democrat named Dan McCready and he wants open borders,” Trump told his audience. “He wants sanctuary cities and he’s not going to protect your Second Amendment.” Politifact has determined that these allegations are "mostly false."

McCready, a former Marine and Iraq War veteran, is running for the seat for a second time in a special election, after narrowly losing to Republican Mark Harris in 2016, in an election so tainted by misconduct that Harris’s victory was declared invalid, and he has been replaced as the GOP nominee by Dan Bishop.

McCready's campaign website does not mention "open borders" or "sanctuary cities."  It simply states the following positions on immigration:

"Immigration is one of the best examples of where Washington is broken. For decades, Republicans and Democrats have failed to work together to fix our broken immigration system. We need a comprehensive immigration reform that secures our border, respects our laws, and protects our American values. To secure our border, we should reinforce physical barriers with the technology Dan used in the Marines, like infrared cameras and drones.

But we must uphold our values. When politicians try to break our government’s promise to Dreamers who were brought here as children or separate young children from their parents at the border, that’s un-American. Dan will fight to restore the DREAM Act and end family separations at the border. Abolishing agencies that serve vital functions like ICE will not fix our immigration system; instead Congress needs to fix our immigration laws and fund, improve, and support agencies to operate in a way that upholds human rights while completing their missions." (emphasis added).

McCready supports a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, undocumented immigrants who came to this country as children. He does not support “open borders,” but opposes a bill in the state legislature that would compel North Carolina sheriffs to comply with orders to ICE agents to detain immigrants.

“One of the biggest issues in this election is, in fact, sanctuary cities. McCready supports sanctuary city policies that force prisons and jails to release criminal aliens directly into your neighborhoods,” Trump said. Trump’s message in North Carolina was reminiscent of the case he made during the 2018 midterm elections, when Democrats trounced Republicans to retake control of the U.S. House of Representatives.


September 10, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)