Thursday, January 12, 2023

Immigration Article of the Day: Transformative Immigration Lawyering by Jayesh Rathod

Transformative Immigration Lawyering by Jayesh Rathod, 132 Yale Law Journal Forum (2022)


Movement actors have long sought expansive reforms in U.S. immigration law, but two deep-seated tendencies are obstructing those efforts: incrementalism and path dependence. This Essay recommends that law clinics counter these forces by setting ambitious goals for structural change and by equipping students with knowledge and skills needed for transformative lawyering.


January 12, 2023 in Current Affairs, Law Review Articles & Essays | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Immigration Article of the Day: Ten Years of Democratizing Data: Privileging Facts, Refuting Misconceptions and Examining Missed Opportunities (CMS)

Ten Years of Democratizing Data: Privileging Facts, Refuting Misconceptions and Examining Missed Opportunities is a new report from the Center for Migration Studies authored by Donald Kerwin and Robert Warren. Here's the abstract:

The Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS) initiated its “Democratizing Data” project in 2013 to make detailed demographic information widely available on the US undocumented, eligible to naturalize, and other non-citizen populations. The paper begins by outlining top-line findings and themes from the more than 30 CMS studies under this project. It then examines and refutes four persistent misconceptions that have inhibited public understanding and needed policy change: (1) migrants never leave the United States; (2) most undocumented migrants arrive by illegally crossing the US-Mexico border; (3) each Border Patrol apprehension translates into a new undocumented resident; and (4) immigrants are less skilled than US-born workers. The paper then offers new analyses in support of select policy recommendations drawn from a decade of democratizing data. It concludes with a short reflection and a case study on the failure of data, evidence-based policy ideas, and national ideals to translate into necessary reform.


January 11, 2023 in Data and Research, Law Review Articles & Essays | Permalink | Comments (0)

Courts in Name Only: Repairing America’s Immigration Adjudication System By the Harvard Law Review


The esteemed Harvard Law Review does not publish much immigration scholarship.  A student note on the immigration court system may be of interest to blog readers.  The system long has been criticized and, last year, a bill was introduced in Congress that would have brought reform.

Courts in Name Only: Repairing America’s Immigration Adjudication SystemBy the Harvard Law ReviewNoncitizens in the United States face innumerable obstacles, many of which have now become well known. But even the supposedly neutral court system in which noncitizens’ cases are adjudicated currently functions as an executive tool for removal. This Note argues that the current structure of the immigration adjudication system — and the resulting executive control over it — subjects Immigration Judges to a variety of conditions that, taken together, bias the entire system towards removal. It then surveys existing proposals for structural reform and proposes numerous possible intermediate reforms.


January 11, 2023 in Current Affairs, Law Review Articles & Essays | Permalink | Comments (0)

Jewish Family Service (JFS) in San Diego Seeks Staff Attorney

Here is a job posting for Jewish Family Service (JFS) in San Diego that may be of interest to blog readers.  "JFS is looking for a compassionate, mission-driven individual to join the Immigration Legal Services Department on a new Afghan Legal Services program as an Immigration Staff Attorney."  Click here for details.


January 11, 2023 in Current Affairs, Jobs and Fellowships | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

NIJC Schreiber Fellowships - Fall 2023-2025

NIJC is proud to continue its Schreiber Legal Fellowship Program through the generosity of John and Kathy Schreiber. Two selected fellows will provide legal representation to immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers for two years. NIJC provides legal representation to thousands of detained and non-detained immigrants each year and draws on its legal services to advance systemic reform. Through the Schreiber Fellowships, NIJC seeks to invest in the next generation of diverse legal advocates. To that end, NIJC will consider applications from graduating law students or recent graduates who demonstrate a strong commitment to pursuing a long-term career in the immigrant rights movement. NIJC strongly encourages applications from people with lived experiences in immigrant communities, members of marginalized communities, and individuals from communities that are underrepresented in the legal profession. Individuals with a strong interest in immigration issues but with limited prior experience will be considered.

Both fellowships will begin immediately following Labor Day in September 2023, and will run through the end of August 2025. Applications for the fellowship are due on or before February 28, 2023. Applicants are encouraged to submit their applications in advance of the deadline. Each fellows’ geographic location will be at one of NIJC’s offices in Chicago, Indiana, San Diego, or Washington, D.C. Applicants should state their geographic preference in their application materials. NIJC continues to work using a hybrid model and expects to do so in the coming years. At the end of the fellowship, fellows will be eligible to seek permanent employment with NIJC and will receive strong consideration for any open position at NIJC.


Graduates of any ABA accredited law school are eligible to apply. The fellowship is open to current 3Ls and attorneys who have graduated within the last three years. Applicants must be a member of any bar or must sit for the bar examination prior to the start of the fellowship. Although fluency in a second language is not required, applicants who are able to speak another language should be sure to address that skill in their application materials.

Pay And Other Benefits

The salary will be based on the number of years of relevant experience since law school graduation, according to the pay scale that governs this position. As a program of Heartland Alliance, NIJC offers excellent benefits.

Application Information

Applications will be accepted until February 28, 2023. Please use this link to apply:

January 10, 2023 in Jobs and Fellowships | Permalink | Comments (0)

Undocumented Population at 10.2 Million in 2020


The undocumented population in the United States has declined gradually since the population peaked at about 12 million in 2008. The population grew steadily from 1990 to 2008 and then declined to 10.2 million in 2020. The population stopped growing after 2008 because the number leaving the population exceeded the number arriving. In other words, the population reached zero growth, and it has remained slightly below zero growth since 2008.

The Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS) has released two new reports, Undercount of Undocumented Residents in the 2020 American Community Survey and Estimates and Trends in the Undocumented Population from 2010 to 2020, by US State and Country of Origin by Robert Warren, and Ten Years of Democratizing Data: Privileging Facts, Refuting Misconceptions and Examining Missed Opportunities by Donald Kerwin and Robert Warren.


January 10, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Important Changes to the Title 42 Exemption Process

From Taylor Levy:


The government of the United States recently announced a NEW process of requesting exemptions from Title 42. A Title 42 exemption is what allows a non-citizen without proper admission documents to go to the Port of Entry at a set date and time to seek admission as an asylum-seeker and/or under humanitarian parole. You can learn more about Title 42 here:  

After January 12, 2023, there is no reason for noncitizens to pay ANYONE for assistance in requesting a Title 42 exemption: CBPOne is free, the process is free, and there is no need to pay an intermediary for assistance (though a smart phone with internet service is required). 

The main purpose of this change is to “democratize” the process and give direct access to noncitizens for scheduling appointments for presentation at the Ports of Entry. Under the new process, no organizations or attorneys will be able to make requests; rather, non-citizens will be able to schedule their appointments directly, using an app called CBPOne. Here are very important links about CBPOne; please share them widely:

Access to CBPOne will begin on January 12, 2023. There will be a short transition period between the old (NGO & attorney access) system and the new system (democratized CBPOne access); this transition is expected to conclude on approximately January 18-24, 2023, depending on the specific Port of Entry. 

  • The app is downloadable now, but the new features go live on January 12, 2023;
  • The app is currently only available in English and Spanish, but appointments are open to all nationalities. Haitian Creole and Russian versions of the app are forthcoming.
  • Access to making an appointment will be “geofenced” to individuals who are physically located in the U.S.-Mexico border and in some “major population centers” in Central Mexico (likely Mexico City and Monterrey; maybe other cities as well);
  • We do not know yet what will be the exact questions on the app, but they are meant to be mostly basic demographic questions. This link provides a possible preview;
  • Appointments will be available in Matamoros, Piedras Negras, Reynosa, Nuevo Laredo, Ciudad Juarez, Nogales, and Tijuana.
  • There will be an undisclosed but limited number of available appointments, only scheduled about 14 days in advance. Each day at a set time, new appointment slots will be released. Imagine something similar to InfoPass. Yes, we are anticipating that this process will be frustrating;
  • Just like under the current system, noncitizens who present for a Title 42 exemption will generally be issued a Notice to Appear and a one-year 212(d)(5) parole (“DT”) and will be eligible for c(11) EADs.
  • People with significant criminal history and/or national security concerns may be detained, but this will be generally disfavored. Currently, we only see detentions in about 1-2% of cases, and any organization that has promised no detention risk in the past was not telling the truth.     

After January 12, 2023, there is no reason for noncitizens to pay ANYONE for assistance in requesting a Title 42 exemption: CBPOne is free, the process is free, and there is no need to pay an intermediary for assistance. 

Please beware that any organizations/attorneys/“helpers” who promise faster access to the exemption process after January 12, 2023 in exchange for money are potentially acting fraudulently. 

Please help share this information widely.

Taylor Levy, Esq. (she/her)

Taylor Levy Law

January 10, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 9, 2023

"Trump’s immigration policy was a fiasco. Why hasn’t Biden fixed it yet?"

Alice Driver

New Opinion piece by Alice Driver published on CNN today. Here are some highlights:

As a journalist reporting on the US-Mexico border, I saw firsthand how the Trump administration used family separation to punish undocumented families who crossed the border.  . .

Since March 2020, there have been nearly 2.5 million expulsions under Title 42 provisions, most of which have occurred during Biden’s presidency. The policy remains in place, despite Biden saying he wants to end it. . . . 

In a speech on January 5, the President said, . . . “Do not just show up at the border. Stay where you are and apply legally from there.” This goes against decades of established asylum policy that has extended the right to request asylum to all migrants at ports of entry along the US-Mexico border. Biden said the new process “is orderly, it’s safe and humane, and it works.”



January 9, 2023 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

"Enough with the political games. Migrants have a right to asylum"

Karen Musalo

Long a staunch defender of the rights -- and humanity -- of all, Karen Musalo has a powerful op/ed in the Los Angeles Times and responds to the Biden administration's recent migration measures.  It begins:

"President Biden’s seemingly chaotic policy toward asylum seekers at the U.S. border is no accident. It’s carefully crafted to minimize political fallout. The administration should keep it simple instead, by following the law and doing the right thing — admitting those who arrive at our borders seeking asylum.

Give voters a chance, Mr. President. The American people value decency. They don’t respect craven and calculated inconsistency."


January 9, 2023 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

President Biden Visits Border, Texas Governor Abbott Continues Publicity Stunts


Yesterday, President Biden visited the U.S./Mexico border in El Paso, Texas and promised more resources to address immigration   He was greeted by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who handed the President a letter on the airport tarmac in which began “Your visit to our southern border with Mexico today is $20 billion too little and two years too late.” “Moreover, your visit avoids the sites where mass illegal immigration occurs and sidesteps the thousands of angry Texas property owners who lives have been destroyed by your border policies,” the letter read.

Governor Abbott, who has made the news by transporting migrants from Texas to cities further North, claimed in the letter that downtown El Paso had been “sanitized of the migrant camps” that he said had overrun the city in an attempt by the administration to “shield” Biden from “the chaos that Texans experience on a daily basis.” “This chaos is the direct result of your failure to enforce the immigration laws that Congress enacted,” Abbott wrote.

The governor, who has consistently criticized the Biden administration for the migration crisis, accused the president in the letter for emboldening drug cartels.

Check out Governor Abbott's letter.

During the visit, according to Reuters

"Biden spoke with customs and border protection officers at the busy Bridge of Americas border crossing, toured a part of the border barrier with Mexico alongside border agents, and stopped at a migrant support center.

Biden’s visit was not expected to result in new policies, only to show he was taking the issue seriously and strengthen his relationship with border control agents."


January 9, 2023 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, January 8, 2023

Give Me Your Tired -- As Long as They Can Hear

Guest blogger: Nikoo Taghdiri, law student, University of San Francisco:

On 10400 Rancho Road in the city of Adelanto, California sits the Adelanto Detention Facility, a private-owned immigration detention center built around what used to be a prison, both owned and operated by the GEO Group. Adelanto Detention Facility has a colorful history of being accused of “medical neglect, poor treatment by guards, [and a] lack of response to complaints and other problems,” from detainees attempting to slip letters to Adelanto officials letting them know they’ve only been given ibuprofen in lieu of medical attention to others submitting to deportation to escape the facility’s ill-treatment.

Not only has the Adelanto Detention Facility consistently failed to identify and provide accommodations for their detainees with disabilities, but the accommodations they do manage to provide are often deficient or in disrepair. At times, attempts are not even made to aid those within their walls.

In Fischer, Gonzalez, & Diaz’s There is No Safety Here, we are introduced to Juan, a 22-year-old Deaf asylum seeker from Central America. In seeking asylum in the United States, Juan was sent to Adelanto while his case was pending. Despite Juan knowing Guatemalan Sign Language, the staff at Adelanto “did not provide him a sign language interpreter, including for medical appointments,” forcing him to rely on “point[ing] at the area of his body that was hurting” in hopes that he would be understood. Perhaps most jarring, though, is that Adelanto medical staff reported Juan was not able to sign at all, writing the following: “Detainee is deaf but does not sign in American or Spanish Sign Language. Per signing interpreters in the past, detainee is using ‘made up’ signs.”

When a cursory Google search indicates Geo Group Inc. is worth roughly 1.34 billion USD, it’s only natural to ask why none of those funds are being redirected to help individuals like Juan—to hire better (or any) sign language interpreters, to learn more than just American or Spanish Sign Language, and other accommodations that are vital for their disabled populations.

Perhaps the most frustrating question that comes from Juan’s circumstance is how his case is a perfect representation of how racism, disability, and citizenship status can intersect in the sphere of U.S. immigration today. Not only did Juan have to contend with a medical system that refused to accommodate him in a way that would provide him the most basic healthcare at best, but the Adelanto Detention Facility’s staff—staff that only works with immigrants—did not even consider whether Juan, a man from Central America, would know sign language outside of ASL or LSE (Lengua de Signos Española, or Spanish Sign Language). Juan’s treatment indicates a complete lack of understanding, true, but it also heavily demonstrates the lack of care that is exhibited in detention facilities when disabled noncitizens surface.  

Unfortunately, Juan’s circumstances are not unique—they are rather quite commonplace for hard-of-hearing or Deaf immigrants in detention centers. However, Juan’s circumstances have been publicized, and that is something that cannot be said for many disabled immigrants subject to the United States’s harrowing detention process. For every story that is shared, there are many more that are silenced, and merely sharing such stories does little for those experiencing the pain and suffering within them.

The question that we’re left with at the end of this piece is a tricky one. What comes next? To present stories like Juan’s with the expectation that we’ve achieved morality by merely exposing faults of the immigration system is hypocritical and, frankly, ridiculous. For actual change to occur, we need to act. However, thinking of ways to fix such deeply embedded issues also feels impossible—if this is how our system has operated this entire time, how can we hope to change it fast enough to prevent more suffering?

Ultimately, I believe we must use the resources at our disposal to enact change as much as we can. A vague, unsatisfying answer, sure, but one that I imagine I’ll be working on and developing for the rest of my career and, more importantly, my life. 



January 8, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Employment-based visas fee hike disadvantages Indian tech workers

A pre-registration fee for employment-based visas will increase from $10 to $200, to help defray operating costs of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (the government agency that processes these visas). The hardest hit migrants will be the employers of Indian tech workers, as explained in this story, who hold 300,000 or 74% of H-1B visas. In addition to the pre-registration, employers will face increased fees for the vissas themselves, with H-1B visas application fees increasing from $460 to $780 and L-1 visas will change from $460 to $1,385. 

Although an increase from $10 to $215 may appear dramatic at first glance, the $10 fee was established simply to cover a small portion of the costs of the program, as opposed to no fee at all,” USCIS said.


January 8, 2023 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Criticism of President Biden's Border Policies Continues, President Visits Border Today

Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Official White House Photo

As featured on this blog last week, the Biden administration has announced new immigration enforcement plans.  And the announcement continues to garner criticism.

Jonathan Blazer, the American Civil Liberties Union’s director of border strategies, had the following reaction:

“President Biden correctly recognized today that seeking asylum is a legal right and spoke sympathetically about people fleeing persecution. But the plan he announced further ties his administration to the poisonous anti-immigrant policies of the Trump era instead of restoring fair access to asylum protections.  


The American Immigration Lawyer's Association's response:  Biden Administration Expands Legal Pathways with Parole Strategy but Deeply Erodes U.S. Commitment to Asylum Protection

Later today, President Biden is visiting El Paso, Texas, which has been in the news as many migrants have entered the country from Mexico there.



January 8, 2023 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, January 7, 2023

Reconstructing Dark Dreams as Visions of Hope for Asylum Seekers

Guest blogger: Kirkman Ridd, law student, University of San Francisco:

The dream comes in fragments: invasive, stark emotions riveting a dark landscape of altered references; confusing in sense, deafening in silence, isolated transmissions across a wary mind.  Wake up!  Tell me what happened.  What happened?  What?

Asylum seekers who have experienced extreme trauma often recall that trauma in fragments, often out of sequence, often incomplete.  A person who has experienced severe trauma often exhibits symptoms reminiscent of PTSD: invasive thoughts, trouble concentrating, chronological confusion, emotional avoidance.  Such symptoms displayed to those empowered by the immigration system to pass judgment on the accuracy of memories or the credibility of inner fear often lead to skepticism and unjust results, thus adding to the dark dream, deepening the nightmare.  But perhaps we can look at this phenomenon a different way: a nightmare is search of redemption, a bad dream in search of hope.

Constructing a narrative from fragmented emotional memory is not unlike recalling a dream after waking: dreams are almost entirely sub-logical—pieces of emotions strung together as a collage of images and sounds—and dreams are not time-based experiences.  Dreams are a basket of emotions unrelated to waking space-time logic, and stored as memory fragments that are often recalled out of sequence (even within the dream’s own fluid chronological terms).  That’s why when we “wake up” we nearly always can’t recall the dream in its entirety (at least at first).  We recall pieces of our dreams, and typically out of sequence.  How many times have you tried to explain to someone a dream you had, and you say, “Wait, before that thing I just told you happened, this other thing happened… or maybe it happened later… but anyway…” 

We often tell the stories of our dreams in fragments that make sense only to us.  This is what inspired Joseph Conrad to write in his novella Heart of Darkness (as the character Kurtz), “We live as we dream, alone.”  For someone suffering a nightmare, that dark sentiment has some pull.  But I would argue that Conrad’s novella is a dark dream reconstructed, and even Conrad would acknowledge that the act of writing down the dream universalizes it, because we all dream in the same ether as we all live on the same earth, and a remembered dream written and read is a tether to all of humanity. 

If we put our dream to paper, and organize the pieces as best we can into a timeline, we might be able to relate our dream to someone and have them feel it as we did, understand it as we did, and believe it as we did.  Traumatic experiences impress us as dreams do, and we must unravel the labyrinth of emotions and place them in a logical and visceral sequence of events in order to translate that experience to others.  How many times have you heard someone say, “When the accident happened it was like a dream… it was like everything happened in slow motion…”  That person is remembering a traumatic event in a dreamlike fashion.  We’ve all been there.  We can all understand it.  So, in the case of an asylum proceeding, perhaps we can encourage the asylum seeker—the dreamer—to write their dream on a timeline in advance of the hearing, emotions intact, chronology satisfied, and impress the judge to believe it.  In that belief lies hope.

The emotional act of writing down a dream can be therapeutic.  Memories can be brought forth in sacred solitude and poured onto paper as my great writing mentor Lew Hunter said, “Without the world looking over your shoulder.”  In this solitude, truth prevails when intent is pure, and the fragments of memories can be reorganized at will until the dreamer is satisfied that the translation is accurate.  Afterwards, the writing itself can help the dreamer maintain a critical distance and look back on the documented experiences with a degree of detachment, having expelled a high degree of emotion onto the page.  Language is irrelevant in the endeavor. The lasting impact of Conrad’s reconstructed dream is all the more impressive when one considers that Conrad’s famous novella was written in English when his native language was Polish.  Words on the page invite the reader’s imagination, and a thoughtful narrative in any language invites immersion.  Dreams are universal, and universally powerful. 

Henry David Thoreau wrote, “Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.”  Did he mean that a conscious knowledge that one is dreaming as one is dreaming is our deepest exposure to truth?  Or did he mean that if we experience a dreamlike quality in our waking life—fully marveling in a transcendent blue sky or a Mozart symphony—then this is our deepest exposure to truth?  I believe it is both.  And so, for the asylum seeker writing down the dream, the last scene is the truth of survival and a vision of hope, experienced in the moment of writing as a dream awake, and bringing with it the full weight of the dreamer’s truest life. 

I believe that a dark dream can be reconstructed from its fragments to arrive at a deeper truth that illuminates all of us and keeps us from succumbing to Kurtz’s perilous prophecy.  We do not live alone.  We do not dream alone.  And we are not, even in suffering, what Viktor Frankl called “a plaything of circumstance.”  We transcend, we shine, we unify.  We live as we dream, together.  And all it takes to tether us and awaken us to the universal emotions that bind us all and lead us to a redemption of past horrors is to reconstruct our dark dreams as visions of hope. 

Do we believe in dreams?  I believe we all do.  Do we believe in hope?   


January 7, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Updating Registry Provision To Help Intercountry Adoptees

Editor's note:; Under INA Section 249 (Registry) the immigration law enables certain individuals who have been present in the United States since January 1, 1972, the ability to apply for a lawful permanent residence, even if they are currently in the United States unlawfully.

Guest blogger: Tessa Puetzer, law student, University of San Francisco:

While researching to learn more about the Immigration Registry, I came across an article discussing how adjusting the Immigration Registry could help intercountry adoptees adopted by US citizen parents attain citizenship. That’s when I learned something shocking—for a certain subset of intercountry adoptees (who are now adults), they were not granted automatic citizenship and are still struggling to attain citizenship today.

This USA Today article outlines a few stories of the people who fall under this category. First, I’ll summarize a bit of history. Before the passage of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, intercountry adoptees adopted by US citizens parents were not granted automatic citizenship after completing the formal adoption process. They had to be naturalized. This created issues for some intercountry adoptees, such as lost paperwork preventing completion of naturalization, misinformed legal professionals and adoption agencies telling parents their children would automatically become citizens upon completing the adoption process, and adoptive parents failing to complete the naturalization process for their adopted children. The result? There are currently around 15,000-18,000 adult intercountry adoptees who do not have their deserved citizenship.

Congress had originally recognized this issue and passed the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 that stipulated that intercountry adoptees that were fully adopted by February 27, 2001 and had not yet turned 18 would be granted automatic citizenship moving forward. Originally, the bill had included language that included adults as well, but the issue was supposed to be addressed in the next congressional session. Then, 9/11 happened, and the window for providing citizenship to “foreigners” shut tight.

What is heartbreaking to read in these stories in the USA Today article is the shock many intercountry adoptees experienced when learning they were not, as they had believed, American citizens. Some of their parents had even falsely believed their adopted children were US citizens, figuring that citizenship would automatically be granted. Many found out they were not citizens when they went to apply for passports, jobs, or universities. Others found out after they were arrested.

ICE does not track the number of intercountry adoptees who have been deported, but the USA Today article told the story of Anissa Druesedow, who was adopted at 13 by US Army sergeant and his wife. She never had any reason to believe she was not a US citizen, as she had a driver’s license and social security number. Even in 1993, when she plead guilty to multiple charges related to property crime, her lack of citizenship was not brought up. Then, when she plead guilty to third-degree felony grand larceny in 2004, ICE issued a detainer and took her into custody. She was then informed she was not a citizen and deported from the country. Her appeal to the BIA failed as well because her adoptive parents had failed to get her naturalized before her 18th birthday. In March 2006, she was deported to Jamaica where she hadn’t been since she was 6 years old (having moved to Panama at 6 and lived there until 13).

It's unacceptable for there not to be a readily available avenue for these adults, raised by Americans as Americans, to receive the automatic citizenship that should have been granted to them years ago. I was intrigued seeing that one solution, posited by Adoptee Rights Law Center, would be for Congress to update the Immigration Registry.  The registry provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act provides a way for people continuously residing in the US without legal status to apply for admission as a legal permanent resident. It has been updated several times in the last 100 years and was last updated in 1986. Previously, the registry date had been updated generally every 20 years. It has now been almost 50 years, and the current Registry date is January 1, 1972.

Updating the Registry would not only help intercountry adoptees without legal status, it would help a large number of people who know America has their home to attain legal status. Although it does not seem politically feasible at the moment to pass such legislation considering the hateful rhetoric surrounding immigrants, we can only hope that legislators will soon be willing to consider making this long overdue change.


January 7, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Groundhog Day: anti-Chinese sentiment and COVID-19

When I heard that China would resume issuing passports during a surge in COVID cases, I braced myself for the inevitable unwelcome. Sure enough, the US and other countries imposed more stringent entry requirements on travelers from China. Even if legitimately motivated by public health, the policy choice and public response reflect a long history of anti-Chinese sentiment that has revived with the onset of the pandemic almost exactly 3 years ago.

The National Immigration Administration of China said it will start taking applications this weekend (beginning January 8) for passports for Chinese people to go abroad. Prior to the pandemic, China was the largest sender of visitors to neighboring Asian countries and a significant source of travelers to Europe and the US. Those countries are now imposing barriers to visitors from China after a multi-year pause in travel due to China's self-imposed travel restrictions. For example, Japan, South Korea, and India responded by requiring passengers show negative COVID tests for travelers from the country.

U.S. officials did the same. According to a State Department travel advisory, passengers flying to the US must show proof of a negative test taken 48-hours before boarding a plane. The requirement will apply both to passengers flying directly to the US from Chinaincluding Hong Kongas well to passengers flying through gateway cities such as Toronto and Vancouver. At least one cruise line has imposed a similar testing requirement.

To be sure, the US testing requirement is focused on the locus of travel rather than race and nationality. And there is a real health risk that comes from the abrupt reversal of China's zero COVID protocols and their simultaneous unwillingness to reveal reliable data about rising rates of infection. As the State Department says, the testing requirement is a "public health policy" motivated "by the surge in COVID-19 cases in [China] and the risk of the emergence of a new viral variant given the lack of adequate and transparent epidemiological and viral genomic sequence data being reported from [China]." 

But the signals sent by the travel restriction may fan the flames of anti-Chinese sentiment. A USA Today story interviews a Stop AAPIT Hate co-founder who says, “What we’ve seen is that it’s not only policies alone that spur incidents, but the language that elected officials and public figures use.” Stop AAPI Hate, a San Francisco-based consortium of several groups formed in response to rising anti-Asian sentiment during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it reports 11,000 incidents of anti-Asian hate since the inception of the pandemic in early 2020. Its co-founder says,

There are many sources of information that drive animosity, but combined, it has the effect of legitimizing the scapegoating of Chinese Americans and other Asian Americans.

That concern extends to displaced discrimination onto persons mistaken for being Chinese. Frank Wu, president of Queens College CUNY (disclosure: he was formerly dean of UC Hastings, before I joined the faculty), noted that the pandemic’s accompanying rise in anti-Asian sentiment not only targeted Asian Americans but even others thought to be. In April 2021, for instance, a 70-year-old Mexican American woman was reportedly brutalized aboard a metro bus in Los Angeles by an attacker who mistook her as Asian. “Many of the people attacked were not of Chinese descent,” Wu said. “But they were blamed for the virus. What the hate crimes showed is that haters do not draw distinctions.”

Moreover, public health experts and European countries have called into question the effectiveness of testing for a virulent virus and declined to impose a requirement on travel from China. An op-ed from Asian American writer Frankie Huang in the New York Times opines, 

Why does the administration drag its feet on XBB.1.5 but treat the “China variant” as a dangerous, volatile plague that must be kept from invading America? This echoes the travel ban in early 2020 on passengers from China, a racist policy decision that focused on the spread of the coronavirus from China while ignoring European travelers who brought it to New York. By treating only Covid from China as a real danger and domestic cases as presumably milder, the U.S. government effectively endorses the centuries-old tropes of Asians as the “diseased other” and the notion that the coronavirus is, in fact, the “China virus.”

We have learned that the coronavirus knows no nationalities. Treating it as a uniquely Chinese problem pathologizes Asian people and also fails to protect the American public, whose understanding of how the virus spreads and harms depends on consistent and scientifically rigorous messaging from the government that has been lacking at critical moments. This type of racialization masked in racially-neutral terms easily evades legal sanction and is endemic in US policies that promote "colorblind nationalism," a term that I use to describe the broader phenomenon in a forthcoming article with Cardozo Law Review.


January 7, 2023 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 6, 2023

Undercount of Undocumented Residents

From CMS:

The Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS) has released two new reports, Undercount of Undocumented Residents in the 2020 American Community Survey and Estimates and Trends in the Undocumented Population from 2010 to 2020, by US State and Country of Origin by Robert Warren, and Ten Years of Democratizing Data: Privileging Facts, Refuting Misconceptions and Examining Missed Opportunities by Donald Kerwin and Robert Warren.

On Tuesday, January 10, 2023 from 1:00 - 2:00 pm ET, CMS will host a webinar and discussion of these reports. The authors, Donald Kerwin and Robert Warren, will discuss CMS’ Democratizing Data project and share key findings and policy recommendations from their reports. The webinar will also include remarks and policy analysis from CMS Interim Director, Kevin Appleby. CMS Publications and Events Manager, Melissa Katsoris, will moderate the discussion.


January 6, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

New DHS Immigration Enforcement Measures

Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Official White House Photo

The Department of Homeland Security has announced some changes in immigration enforcement policy.  Here are the Remarks by President Biden on Border Security and Enforcement.  The White House Fact Sheet is here.  The DHS media release is here.

Commentary collected on Immigration Courtside is here.  Bill Hing previously posted about Amnesty International USA's response.



January 6, 2023 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 5, 2023

Immigration @ AALS: Awards Ceremony


Immigration @ AALS continued today with the AALS Awards Ceremony.

Kevin Johnson (Davis) was honored with the inaugural Michael A. Olivas Award for Outstanding Leadership in Diversity and Mentoring in the Legal Academy. Anthony Verona (Seattle) introduced the award and Kevin. As Verona noted, the committee received "many, many" nominations for this award. The committee, however, was unanimous in choosing to honor Kevin with this award, whom he described as "an extraordinary mentor, a trusted advisor, a courageous champion, a bold leader, a fierce advocate for diversity... brilliant scholar, gifted teacher, devoted friend." Kevin received a well-deserved standing ovation from the room. Kevin's acceptance speech focused on the wonderful mentoring he received from Michael Olivas.


In addition to Kevin, Michelle Pistone (Villanova) got a shout out for her work with the Section on Technology, Law, and Legal Education -- a co-winner of the Section of the Year award.

AND... I found myself perusing the awards ceremony pamphlet list of 2022 Teachers of the Year. I spotted many an immprof in that cohort! Give a round of applause for:

Congratulations to all!


January 5, 2023 in Conferences and Call for Papers, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration @ AALS: Leveraging Service Opportunities to Maximize Student Learning in Immigration Law



Immigration @ AALS continued this morning with Leveraging Service Opportunities to Maximize Student Learning in Immigration Law. David Thronson (MSU) moderated a terrific panel featuring:

  • Violeta Chapin (CU Boulder) spoke about her absolutely AMAZING work with law students to shepherd CU Boulder staff with Temporary Protected Status through the employment-based visa process. She and her students have obtained green cards for FIVE staff members (custodians, dining) and continue to work on more. (I'm sitting here in the audience, a non-clinician, wondering about reaching out to OU about this same issue. I'm so inspired!)
  • Lenni Benson (New York Law School), folks will know her will not be shocked by this, talked about the MANY different opportunities that she's created for students -- with a natural emphasis on her biggie: Safe Passage. She offered herself as a resource on forming a nonprofit, fundraising, and the like. *NOTE: She will make time for you! And help brainstorm a million ways to make your work even more effective.*
  • Kif Augustine-Adams (BYU) spoke about taking students to Dilley to engage in direct representation of detained mothers and children during school breaks. It was fascinating to hear about what worked with the program but also what led it to end in 2019: a conclusion that at that time there was no longer a "likelihood of making positive change" where going to Dilley was more of "propping up a system that was no longer a system or law."
  • Richard Boswell (UC Law SF) talked about a variety of programs at UC Law SF (formerly Hastings). The school has a unique relationship with the Ecole Superieure de Droit de Jeremie (ESCDROJ), allowing students and faculty to travel to Haiti every academic year during Spring break since 1999. The school also offers a "Spring Break Immigration Practicum" where students  engage in a "learning internship over spring break, in which students will receive pro bono credit and be placed at a non-profit organization helping indigent migrants secure their rights in the immigration process. Leading up to and during that pro bono work, students will receive instruction in basic legal skills needed to carry out their assignments, including counseling, cross-cultural competency, document drafting, fact development/analysis, interviewing, legal analysis, legal research, oral communication and the exercise of proper professional and ethical responsibility."

Can I go back to school? I want to enroll in every one of these opportunities.


January 5, 2023 in Conferences and Call for Papers | Permalink | Comments (0)