Thursday, June 25, 2020

Lingering Ghosts by Sam Ivin

Time waiting for asylum: 8 months
(c) Sam Ivin

Sam Ivin is a photographic artist. His series Lingering Ghosts (an exhibition and a photo book with a clever passport-style cover) should be of interest to immprofs. Here's the formal description:

What does it mean to be an asylum seeker in the UK? This was the starting point of Ivin’s research, which began at a drop-in centre in Cardiff, Wales and continued all over England. It seeks to raise questions about how the UK’s migration system treats those who arrive in our country seeking safety.

The result is a book made up of hand scratched portraits, where the eyes have been erased: once arrived in the UK, these people find themselves in a state of limbo, having to await news of their application for asylum for months or even years. They become Lingering Ghosts. These physically scratched portraits attempt to convey the the cruel loss of self, and the frustration that befalls them as they wait to learn their fate.

Ivin’s work offers a contemplative take, away from the glaring lights of the media. His modified portraits simply and powerfully give a view on an issue that is often underreported: the plight of those waiting for asylum.

Despite being represented without their eyes, these people do have an identity and we recognise them as fathers, mothers, sons and daughters – human beings, after all.

Ivin's powerful works feel especially important today given recent developments in U.S. asylum law.


June 25, 2020 in Photos | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Goal Click Refugees

Jordan-UNICEF-Maram-B5-comp © Goal Click/UNHCR/UNICEF

Goal Click Refugees is a worldwide storytelling project that documents the "experiences of refugees and asylum-seekers across the globe through the lens of football." Participants receive disposable cameras, which they use to chronicle their lives.

The series includes photos from such far flung locales as the US, UK, Jordan, Australia, and Kenya.

The subject of the photo to the right is Maram in the Zaatari camp of Jordan, who writes: "Because I am a girl, I can be the person that changes how the community perceives girls’ football and breaks the wall of shame.”

The project also introduced me to Rooklyn International Football Association, which serves "asylee, immigrant and refugee youth in NYC through soccer instruction." Love.

To see the entire series, follow the link above. Or, on twitter, check out #GoalClickRefugees.


June 24, 2020 in Photos | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Refugee of the Day: Adut Akech, Model, South Sudan


Model Adut Akech is a Vogue cover model.  She stars on the September 2019 Forces for Change Vogue cover with 14 other inspirational women. 

Akech was forced to flee her native South Sudan and lived in a refugee camp in Kenya before resettling in Australia. She got her modelling break at 16 when she was booked to walk exclusively for Saint Laurent: now, she has closed Chanel couture shows, fronted campaigns for Valentino, Fendi, Missoni, and Miu Miu, and starred on the covers of multiple international editions of Vogue.


February 12, 2020 in Current Affairs, Photos | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Photos of the year

CNN's spotlight on 2019 through photos includes a number of immigration-related images -- from migrants in the back of a refrigerated truck in Europe to the infamous photo of Oscar Alberto Martínez and daughter Angie Valeria dead on the banks of the Rio Grande.

This shot by Loren Elliott for Reuters of the overcrowding at McAllen is also dramatic:



January 1, 2020 in Photos | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Top 10 Immigration Stories of the Decade




Many "best of the  decade" lists (see, e.g., TV shows; novels; movies) are appearing in newspapers and the blogosphere.  Here is a quick stab at the top ten immigration stories from 2010-2019.  My focus was on the stories on topics and issues that have had long term impacts on U.S. immigration law and policy. 

If readers think that I missed something, please post a comment.



1.  Topping our annual list of immigration news stories for consecutive years, President Donald J. Trump made immigration a signature issue of his successful 2016 presidential campaign and, as Presiden5t, took a series of bold (including many unprecedented) immigration measures, from the Muslim ban to the Return to Mexico policy. Trump unquestionably is the modern U.S. president who has pursued the most aggressive immigration enforcement measures.



2.  DACA:  In 2012, President Obama announced his innovative Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, which provided limited relief to hundreds of thousands of young immigrants brought to the United States as children.  Symbolizing the efforts to secure justice for immigrants, the DACA policy has been at the center of a resurgence of immigration activism.

In 2017, President Trump attempted to rescind DACA.  The Supreme Court is currently considering the lawfulness of the rescission.  Expect fireworks to follow whatever the ultimate outcome of the case, with a decision expected by the end of June 2020.



Photo courtesy of Foundation for Economic Education

3.  Deportation Records:  Before DACA, the Obama administration removed record numbers (here and here) -- in the neighborhood of 400,000 a year from 2009-2012 -- of noncitizens from the United States. The removal records led some critics to refer to President Obama as the "Deporter-in-Chief."  A demonstrated commitment to immigration enforcement was thought to be a way to convince Republicans in Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform. 

The end result:  mass removals and no immigration reform



Sign at a rally against Arizona's SB 1070 in Washington, D.C.

4.  Arizona v. United States (2012):  During President Obama's first term, several states passed laws designed to facilitate immigration enforcement and encorage "self-deportation" by undocumented immigrants.  In its most significant immigration decision in years, the Supreme Court in Arizona v. United States invalidated three of four provisions of one of those laws, Arizona’s S.B. 1070, on federal preemption grounds.  The Court made clear that the U.S. government had exclusive authority to admit and remove noncitizens and that the states could not interfere with those functions.  Federal courts also invalidated significant portions of the immigration enforcement laws of Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina


Screen-Shot-2017-01-23-at-12.38.59-PM-e1485193490856Photo courtesy of Popular

5.  The Rise of Sanctuary Cities:  In response to the Trump administration aggressive immigration enforcement measures, a number of cities declared themselves to be "sanctuaries" for immigrants.  Sanctuary cities drew the ire of the Trump administration, which sought to strip these jurisdictions of federal funding

In an amazing turnaround from the days of the anti-immigrant milestone Proposition 187 in the 1990s, the California legislature declared itself to be a sanctuary state and refused to assist in federal immigration enforcement except as required by federal law.



John Moore/Getty Images/World Press Photo

6.  Family Separation Policy:  To deter Central Americans, including many women and children fleeing rampant gang and other violence, from coming to the United States, the Trump administration adopted a policy of separating parents and children in immigrant detention.  The family separation policy provoked mass protests and bipartisan resistance.  Pictures like the one above galvanized the nation in oppposition to the policy. 

Ultimately, President Trump ended family separation.  But his administration was slow to reunite families.  The family separation policy is often criticized by the 2020 Democratic candidates for President.



Photo courtesy of Don Roth

7. BREXIT:  The United Kingdom Exits the European Union

Brexit has had reverberations the world over.  With immigration and immigrants a major -- if not the primary -- concern,  voters in the United Kingdom in 2016 voted to leave the European Union.  Free migration within the EU had been one of the hallmarks of the regional arrangement.  The Brexit campaign was hotly contested but the aye votes carried the day

As it turned out, exiting the EU was easier said than done.  The British government continues to try to work out the details of leaving the EU.



The first caravan of Central American migrants reached the town of Matías Romero in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico on November 1, 2018.  The Mexican Secretary of Foreign Affairs estimated that 4,000 people spent the night there.  Credit:  IOM/Rafael Rodríguez

8.  Central American MigrationFleeing widespread and uncontrolled violence in their home countries, Central American asylum seekers continued to come to the United States over the decade.   President Obama responded with, among other things, family detention.  President Trump responded by deriding the "caravan", implementing a Return to Mexico policy, mass detention, narrowing asylum eligibility, family separation, and more.



United States Capitol, Washington, D.C., the meeting place of the U.S. Congress.  © Corbis

9.  The Failure of Comprehensive Immigration Reform:  The last truly comprehensive immigration reform proposal failed in Congress in 2013.  Immigration reform and the DREAM Act have been discussed in Congress for more than a decade.  A majority of Americans believe that there are major deficiencies in the U.S. immigration laws.  Still, the nation awaits Congress pass immigration reform.



Pew Research Center

10.  The Stability of the Undocumented Immigrant Population in the United States:  Despite increased removal efforts and immigration enforcement,  a relatively stable population of about 10-11 million undocumented immigrants have lived in the United States from 2010-19.  Although it has declined a bit and the composition has changed somewhat over time, the nation has had millions of undocumented residents for many years.


December 29, 2019 in Current Affairs, Photos | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 16, 2019

Top 10 Immigration Stories of 2019


2019 had many big immigration stories.  The big news at the ImmigrationProf blog was the addition of a new superstar blogger.  Welcome Professor Ming Hsu Chen to the ImmigrationProf Blog!

If one is looking simply at changes to U.S. immigration law and policy, the biggest immigration news story of 2019 (like 2017 and 2018) unquestionably was President Donald Trump.  He probably has been the biggest immigration news story since his inauguration in January 2017.  For better or worse, no modern U.S. President has made immigration the priority that Trump has day in and day out.  President Trump is a virtually endless source of immigration comments, insults, tweets, and policy initiatives.   Law professors are indebted to the President for providing fodder for law review articles for many years to come. 

In addition to President Trump, here are my Top 10 Immigration News Stories from 2019, followed with some awards. 


Suporme court 

1.  Immigration in the Supreme Court

A wide array of immigration cases continue to make their way to the Supreme Court.  The biggest immigration case of the 2019 Term will decide the future of President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy.  In November, the Court heard oral arguments in three consolidated DACA cases in which the lower courts enjoined the Trump administration’s attempted rescission of DACA.  See the Argument Recap in DACA Cases.   A ruling in the case is expected at the end of the Term in June.  I predict a 5-4 vote.  Expect fireworks whatever the outcome.  Stay tuned!

The high Court has before it a full array of immigration issues, including the availability of damages for cross-border shootings, judicial review of a variety of immigration decisions, federal versus state power over immigration, the legality of expedited removal, and more.  For an overview of the Supreme Court's 2019 Term immigration docket, see Immigration in the Supreme Court, 2019 Term: DACA, Judicial Review, Federalism, Etc.


In a blockbuster decision at the end of the last Term in June, the Supreme Court by a 5-4 vote held that the Department of Commerce had provided unconvincing reasoning for adding a question on U.S. citizenship to the 2020 Census.  The Trump administration had made the addition of a citizenship question a high priority.   Joining the liberal justices, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority.  For an explanation of why he sided with the liberals, see Department of Commerce v. New York: Why the Supreme Court asked for an explanation of the 2020 census citizenship question.  Many Court watchers were surprised by the outcome of the Census case.  To add to the surprises, the Trump administration announced a few weeks after the decision that it was throwing in the towel on the citizenship question; consequently, the 2020 Census will not have a citizenship question.



President Donald Trump, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, and Vice President Michael Pence.  Photo courtesy of Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images



Chad Wolf


2.  Turnover in DHS Leadership

2019 saw a game of musical chairs in the office of the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.  In April, Kirstjen Nielsen, rumored to be on the outs with President Trump, stepped down.  See Former Department of Homeland Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen Explains Resignation.  Next, the Acting DHS Secretary, Kevin McAleenan, resigned.  See Breaking News: Acting DHS Secretary McAleenan Resigns. He was replaced by another Acting Secretary, Chad Wolf, who at least for now remains in the position.



3.  William Barr Replaces Jeff Sessions as Attorney General

Who is the smiling man in the picture above?  He is the current Attorney General of the United States,  Judging from the picture, the current administration makes him happy.

In February, William Barr was sworn in as Attorney General.  He replaced Jeff Sessions, who had made enforcement of the U.S. immigration laws a high priority.  President Trump had reportedly lost confidence in Sessions.  Barr previously served as Attorney General under President George W. Bush.

The Attorney General, of course, heads the Department of Justice, which houses the Executive Office of Immigration Review (the home of the immigration courts and Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA)). 

Like Attorney General Sessions, Barr has intervened in cases before the BIA to narrow relief for removal.  See, e.g., L-E-A-, 27 I. & N. Dec. 581 (AG July 29, 2019) (narrowing "membership in a particular social group" for purposes of asylum).  Put simply, do not expect any slowing down of immigration enforcement under Attorney General Barr.  



Judge Dolly Gee

4.  Flores Settlement

The Flores settlement, agreed to by the U.S. government under President Clinton in 1997, governs the detention of migrant children and generally bars minors from lengthy and indefinite immigrant detention. The settlement made the news regularly in 2019. A short and sweet summary of the Flores settlement can be found at The Conversation: A Short Explanation of the Flores Settlement and Its Possible Demise. 


Throughout 2019, President Trump continued his effort to abrogate the Flores settlement. He has sought to detain migrant children, and all other migrants, indefinitely while their cases move forward in the immigration courts.  Judge Dolly Gee, who is monitoring the Flores settlement, rejected the latest effort to end the settlement.  See Federal Court Rejects Trump Administration's Effort to End Flores Settlement; Ninth Circuit Rejects Trump Administration's Latest Challenge to Flores Settlement, Holds that Soap, Toothbrushes, and Toothpaste Cannot Be Denied Migrants.


The bottom line:  The Flores settlement remains in place and no doubt will be in the news in 2020 as the Trump administration continues to utilize detention in its immigration enforcement efforts. 


5.  Public Charge and Other Trump Immigration Policy Initiatives

The Trump administration continued to press forward with new immigration enforcement efforts.  There are literally too many to list all of the Trump immigration initiatives.  But here are a few.

The Trump administration proposed a new, stricter approach to the public charge exclusion under the immigration laws.  The proposed rule has been criticized for making it too tough on immigrants of low- and moderate-incomes to come, or stay in, the United States.  The Ninth Circuit -- and later the Fourth Circuit -- stayed a nationwide injunction barring implementation of the proposed rule.  See Ninth Circuit Stays Injunction of Trump Public Charge Rule; The Nationwide Injunction in the Public Charge Case; Breaking news: public charge rule enjoined.

The Trump administration's  Remain  in Mexico policy, a novel approach that makes asylum-seekers wait in Mexico for their claims to be decided, remains in place and is controversial as ever.  

This year, the administration entered into agreements with El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras in an attempt to  better manage the flow of asylum seekers to the United States and deny relief to migrants who failed to seek asylum in countries on their way to the United States.  See DHS FACT SHEET: DHS AGREEMENTS WITH GUATEMALA, HONDURAS, AND EL SALVADOR.



Photo courtesy of Clarion Ledger

Departing from the practice during the Obama administration, the Trump administration has used immigration raids as an immigration enforcement tool.  During the summer, the President threatened to direct Immigration & Customes Enforcement to conduct mass immigration raids in cities across the country.  The threat struck fear in communities from coast to coast.  In August, the Trump administration on the first day of school conducted immigration raids at food processing plants in Mississippi.  Many children came home from school unable to find their parents.  See ICE Raids in Mississippi, 680 Arrested.



In November, news reports made the rounds that senior White House aide Stephen Miller had promoted white supremacist, anti-immigrant articles in emails to Breitbart.  Miller has been said to be the architect of the Trump administration's immigration policies. 

In April, there were rumors that President Trump was considering the possibility of completely closing the US/Mexico border.  Business interests raised concerns.  Such a measure would dramatically affect trade as well as migration between the two neighboring nations.  In the end, the President never followed through on the threat to close the border.  See Trump backs off threat to close the U.S.-Mexico border.

The state of California continues to resist the Trump administration's immigration enforcement efforts.  In April, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rejected most of the administration's challenges to California's sanctuary laws, which sought to distance the state from federal immigration enforcement.  President Trump and others in his administration continue to rail against the public safety risks caused by sanctuary cities.  See Ninth Circuit Rejects Bulk of Trump Administration's Challenge to California "Sanctuary" Laws.



6.  Immigration Court Backlog Hits One Million

In September 2019, the backlog of cases in the U.S. immigration courts' surpassed one million.  The enormous backlog affects every noncitizen with a hearing in the immigration courts, their attorneys, and the immigration judges.  The Trump administration's aggressive enforcement efforts contributed to the rapid growth of the backlog.   Noncitizens seeking relief from removal can expect long -- years in some insttances -- waits for a hearing. 



7.  President Trump Lowers Refugee Admissions

It has been said that  the world is experiencing a global refugee crisis.  Still, President Trump again decreased the number of refugee admissions.  See Presidential Determination on Refugee Admissions for Fiscal Year 2020; Trump administration sets lowest cap on refugee admissions in four decades. Again.  On November 1, President Trump released the Presidential Determination on Refugee Admissions for Fiscal Year 2020.  It provides for "[t]he admission of up to 18,000 refugees to the United States during Fiscal Year 2020 . . . ."  (emphasis added).  Criticism followed the announcement.  In 2016, President Obama had capped refugee admissions at 85,000.



Marie Yovanovitch


Fiona Hill

8.  Immigrants and Impeachment

As the nation well knows, Congress has been considering the impeachment of President Trump.   Over the last few months, Democrats and Republicans have regularly and literally been screaming at each other about impeachment.  In stark contrast, several key immigrant witnesses in the impeachment hearings kept their heads for the good of the nation.


In hearings on the impeachment  in November, immigrants played a vital role Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch is the child of immigrants who fled the Soviet Union and later the Nazi occupation of Europe. Born in Canada, she grew up in Connecticut and became a naturalized U.S. citizen.  Born in Ukraine when it was part of the USSR, Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman and his family fled to the United States. He joined the U.S. Army, earning numerous commendations including a Purple Heart for wounds suffered in combat in Iraq. Vindman is the Director for European Affairs on the National Security Council (NSC).  Fiona Hill, who until recently served in a senior position on the NSC, opened her testimony by describing herself as “American by choice.” Born in a hardscrabble coal mining town in Northern England, Hill came to the United States, attended Harvard, and became a citizen.  All of the immigrant witnesses left enduring competent impressions and important testimony.




9.  The Retirement of Professor Michael Olivas

One of the leading immigration scholars of his generation, Michael Olivas of the University of Houston Law Center, has retired from law teaching.   Here is a Guest Post: Celebrating Michael Olivas's Retirement

At the January 2019 annual meeting, the Association of American Law Schools honored Olivas with a lifetime achievement award.  See Immigration Law Values Program, Michael Olivas Honored

In 2010, Olivas was the ImmigrationProf blog's Outstanding Immigration Professor of the Year.   A mentor to countless law professors, myself included, Olivas is an esteemed immigration scholar (as well as a renouwned scholar in higher education, civil rights, and other areas) . For a review of his body of work, see Law Professor and Accidental Historian:  The Scholarship of Michael A. Olivas (Ediberto Roman ed., 2017).

Be on the lookout next June for Olivas' latest book on the DREAM Act and DACA.




Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Times

10.  25th Anniversary of Proposition 187

Contrary to popular belief, California, which produced two Republic Presidents in the twentieth centiry (Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan), was not always a sanctuary state and liberal haven.  Far from it.  In 1994, California voters passed the anti-immigrant milestone known as Proposition 187, which would have barred undocumented children from the public schools and stripped undocumented immigrants of virtually all non-emergency public benefits.  A federal court enjoined most of the initiative from going into effect.  Nonetheless, Proposition 187 prodded Congress in 1996 to pass two major pieces of tough immigration reform and and to eliminate immigrant eligibility for major public benefits program in welfare reform.

Times have changed and, in response to the Trump administration's immigration initiatives, California has declared itself to be a sanctuary state.  By spurring naturalization and increasing Latinx voter turnout, Proposition 187 contributed to the political transformation of the state and the ascendancy to dominance of the Democratic Party.  For analysis of Proposition 187 and its legacy, see

UC Davis Law Review Symposium: The 25th Anniversary of Proposition 187: Challenges and Opportunities for Immigrant Integration and Political Identity in California  Be on the lookout for the symposium issue from this conference, which will be available in spring 2020.

DACA, Proposition 187, and the legacy of the Trump immigration enforcement revolution

25 Years After The Passage of California's Proposition 187: The Beginning of the Political Transformation of California


Honorable Mention

There are many other big immigration stories in 2019.  Here are a few worthy of note:

El paso

1.  An Immigrant "Invasion": Words Used by Members of Congress as well as the President and the El Paso Shooter (August):  A sniper, who in an online rant had railed about the "Hispanic invasion," targeted -- and killed -- Latinx people at a shopping center in El Paso. 



2.  News from the US/Mexico Border: JURY ACQUITS NO MORE DEATHS VOLUNTEER OF FELONY HARBORING CHARGES (November):  The Trump administration loses a criminal prosecution of a humanitarian worker seeking to save migrant lives.  One can only wonder whether there were better types of cases for the U.S. government to prosecute.




3.  Death on the Border: NPR report: When Migrants Die, Many Bodies Remain Unidentified:  This is not really a news story.  In fact, deaths have been a fact of life for decades along the US/Mexico border.  I include it here lest we forget that migrantse regularly are dying while trying to make it to the United States.  This is a tragic impact of the nation's immigration enforcement policies that seems to not have penetrated the nation's consciousness.



4. Inaugural Issue of AILA Law Journal (Apr. 28):  The new American Immigration Lawyers Association Journal focuses on cutting edge immigration law issues.



 5.  Fox Apologizes for Graphic: "Trump Cuts U.S. Aid to 3 Mexican Countries" (Apr. 4):  No this is not a late April Fool's Day joke.  You can't make this stuff up.  The show "Fox & Friends" reported news of President Trump's plans to reduce millions of dollars in aid to three Central American countries for not doing enough to stem the stream of migrants to the United States.  As one commentator talked about the president “going full-court press on Mexico” and the co-host spoke of “cutting payments, aid payments, to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras,” a caption read "Trump Cuts U.S. Aid to 3 Mexican countries.”  This, of course, is a sad reflection on the state of education in the United States.


Immigration Article of the Year


The Interior Structure of Immigration Enforcement by Eisha Jain, 167 University of Pennsylvania Law Review 1463 (2019).  This article is a deep dive into immigration enforcement, going well beyond removals. It calls for restructuring immigration enforcement to consider the full impact of enforcement in light of the impacts of the immigrants present in the United States.



K-Sue Park

Honorable Mention: Self-Deportation Nation by K-Sue Park, 132 Harvard Law Review 1878 (2019).  Besides writing an incredible article, Professor Park should be praised for convincing the editors of the venerable Harvard Law Review to publish an immigration article.  The article analyzes the long history of self deportation policies in the United States.



Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia

Honorable Mention: Immigration Litigation in the Time of Trump by Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia.  How did Shoba keep up with all the challenges to Trump’s immigration policies?


Book of the Year


Ghosts of Gold Mountain: On the Chinese Immigrants Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad by Gordon H. Chang (2019).  A groundbreaking history of the Chinese workers who built the Transcontinental Railroad, helping to forge modern America only to disappear into the shadows of history. I loved reading this book while vacationing in the Sierras, not far from where the Chinese workers once toiled on the railroad.  




Honorable Mention: America for Americans: A History of Xenophobia in the United States by Erika Lee (2019).  The time is perfect for reading a book on the history of xenophobia in the United States.  Will a supplement and pocket part be necessary?



Honorable MentionMigrating to Prison: America’s Obsession with Locking Up Immigrants by César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández (2019).  After the events of the last few years, the entire nation should be considering the morality and policy-sense of mass immigrant detention.  Cesar Garcia's book offers critical analysis on "America's Obsession" with immigrant detention.







Immigrant Sportsman of the Year

José de Jesús Rodríguez Martínez, a professional golfer, currently plays on the PGA Tour.  He grew up in poverty in Irapuato, Mexico. At age 12, he dropped out of school and began caddying full-time at Club de Golf Santa Margarita. At age 15, Rodríguez crossed the Rio Grande and entered the United States. He worked in the United States for a decade, mostly as part of the maintenance crew at a country club in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Rodriguez then became a pro golfer.  See ‘The most unbelievable story in golf’: A treacherous border crossing was just the beginning of José de Jesús Rodríguez’s journey to the PGA Tour.  The Golf Channel is working on a documentary about Jose Rodriguez.


Photo of the Year

I could not resist ending the year without recognizing this photograph:



The photo was posted on March 3, 2019 in the post A Sign of the Times: Arkansas church sign -- ‘heaven has strict immigration laws, hell has open borders'.  

In April, the photo that showed the world the cruelty of the Trump administration's family separation policy, was honored with the World Photo of the Year Award.  See "Crying Girl on the Border" Wins World Photo of the Year Award.  This photo helped fuel the public outcry against family separation and led to the policy's demise.



John Moore/Getty Images/World Press Photo


Film Landmark




2019 marked the 35th anniversary of the classic refugee film El Norte.  The film tells the powerful story of a young Guatemalan brother and ister who fled the war-torn nation and journeyed to the United States.  It is a true classic.  Sadly, El Norte remains topical today as Central Americans continue to come to the United States seeking asylum from violence in their homelands.






December 16, 2019 in Current Affairs, Film & Television, Law Review Articles & Essays, Photos, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

El Sueño Americano | The American Dream: Photographs by Tom Kiefer


Tom Kiefer’s “Diary,” 2018. The note starts, “Blanca I want you to know that I have loved you since I met you” and ends with “I will be yours forever.” (Tom Kiefer/Redux Pictures)

Tom Kiefer, a former janitor at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility in southern Arizona, collected and photographed belongings seized from migrants between 2003 and 2014, Makeda Easter writes in the Los Angeles Times. More than 100 of his photographs are now on display at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. Yet one of the show’s biggest tragedies, according to Skirball curator Laura Mart, is that “we have no way of knowing really who these people are, who carried these things, what happened to them, and what they’re doing now.”  

Here is more about the exhibition "El Sueño Americano | The American Dream: Photographs by Tom Kiefer."



December 3, 2019 in Current Affairs, Photos | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

The Awe Inspiring Sculptures of Bruno Catalano

Check out this stunning sculpture by Bruno Catalano. It is called Fragments, and it is part of a larger, 10 sculpture project called The Travelers or, more accurately, Les Voyageurs.


Catalano himself is something of a voyager. He was born in Morocco to a Sicilian family. At ten, he and his family moved to France. At twenty, he became a sailor.

This series explores "themes of travel, migration and journeying," as Daily Art magazine puts it. For Catalano, he wanted to explore the idea that "all his travels left him feeling that a part of [him] was gone and will never come back."


September 24, 2019 in Photos | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 8, 2019

HONY Nails The Uncertainty of Tech Workers on Temporary Visas


Once again, HONY impresses with an interview hitting on key issues regarding U.S. immigration law. Flag this one for use in your class about nonimmigrant visas. Great classroom conversation fodder!

I came from India in 2011 to get my Masters, and ended up working for a major tech company in San Francisco. It was a lucrative job, but there was always a looming cloud of uncertainty. Half of the people in my department were international workers-- mostly Indian and Chinese. All of us were on visas, so our future in America depended upon keeping our employment. I don’t think the managers intended to push us harder. But the international workers were more afraid, so we took more abuse. It just became part of the culture. We were given extra work, and the only way to keep up was to kill yourself every day. I just couldn’t do it. Eventually I burned out and moved to Vancouver. Canada was very welcoming. My wife and I have residency already. I’ve started my own business. I have all the clients I need. But most importantly I have a home. And I’m not talking about a brick structure. I mean a place that I’m allowed to be. Because once I had that, all my other problems seemed smaller. I could start thinking long term. Because no matter what happens, at least I know I’ll be here.


July 8, 2019 in Photos, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Border Changes

I am currently in San Diego, California, with law students from around the country, teaching Hofstra's Immigration Law and Border Enforcement course. Over the next week, you may hear from some of these students as they report back on our experiences at the border.

Yesterday morning, we toured the U.S.-Mexico border with Border Patrol. I was absolutely shocked to see the difference on the border in just one year.

The primary fencing that had been in place since the Clinton administration has been largely dismantled. Here is what the fencing used to look like. It was made from landing mats dating to the Vietnam War.


Now, for several miles in San Diego, the primary fence looks like this: 


At the same time, the secondary fence that has been in place since 2006 has also changed. Stretches of the fencing continue to look as they have for years.


But in many areas the secondary fencing now looks like this:


The concrete base extends four feet into the ground. And each of those steel bollards is filled with concrete. Here is what the different fencing looks like side-by-side:


Down at the beach where the fencing ends has also dramatically changed. For years, it looked like this:


Now this entire stretch is covered in coils and coils of concertina wire.


I am a news junkie. I knew things were changing at the border. Yet I was surprised to see such a rapid and dramatic transformation of the physical landscape.


May 21, 2019 in Current Affairs, Photos | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, April 14, 2019

"Crying Girl on the Border" Wins World Photo of the Year Award


John Moore’s photograph, “Crying Girl on the Border,” is powerful. The Getty Images photographer was awarded the prestigious World Press Photo of the Year award for the image, the Associated Press reports.

As AP reports) the award-winning photograph showed a Honduran toddler crying as a U.S. Border Patrol officer pats down the child’s mother in Texas.  Getty Images photographer John Moore’s winning image shows 2-year-old Yanela Sanchez and her mother, Sandra Sanchez, after they were taken into custody in June 2018.  In my estimation, the photo heled build public outrage that culminated in the Trump administration ending its policy of separating migrant parents and children.

Time magazine published the photo on a cover of an issue.


April 14, 2019 in Current Affairs, Photos | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Fred Ramos, Photographer

Fred Ramos is a photographer working out of El Salvador. As the NYT reports, Ramos has spent the last five years photographing "the longstanding political, social and environmental crises that are driving migration in the region." Here is one of the photos from his website:


You can see many more photos at the NYT link and on Ramos' website.


March 21, 2019 in Photos | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Border Wall One of Time Magazine's 2018 Top 100 Photos


A group of Central American migrants near the El Chaparral crossing in Tijuana climb the fence between Mexico and the U.S. on Nov. 25, a day of turmoil at the border. Pedro Pardo—AFP/Getty Images

One of Time Magazine's 2018 Top 100 Photos


December 12, 2018 in Current Affairs, Photos | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 8, 2018

Refugees and Migrants Tell Their Own Stories Through Photographs


Roberta Chalini is a member of Mujeres en Movimiento, a self-organized group that explores the use of dance, art, ancestral remedies and civic engagement to empower Latina immigrant women in Corona, Queens. 2018.CreditSol Aramendi/Project Luz

Sara Aridi in the New York Times has a feature on "Refugees and Migrants Tell Their Own Stories Through Photographs."  The article reports on  “Another Way Home,” the 25th annual “Moving Walls” exhibition series by the Open Society Documentary Photography Project.  in the series, migration takes center stage not only because of our times, but because it has been a constant theme throughout the series’ history.


October 8, 2018 in Current Affairs, Photos | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Architectural Photography Award Shortlist Includes Border Crossing Facility

The Architectural Photography Awards shortlist for 2018 includes, under the category "Exterior Images," the below photo by Shao Feng. It's an overhead shot of the Hong-Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Border Crossing Facility.


Award finalists will be chosen in late November.


October 3, 2018 in Photos | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

HONY: Falun Gong Asylee

Photo by HONY

As I've mentioned before, I like using the documentary Well Founded Fear when teaching asylum. I give my students clips from the film and ask them to gauge the veracity of the applicants.

One of the clips that I use involves an asylum officer describing an individual coming to him with a "textbook Falun Gong" case who turns out to be a Catholic priest (with a genuine as opposed to fraudulent asylum claim). Given the emphasis in the movie about the falsity of Falun Gong cases, I've often wondered about legitimate cases.

Imagine, therefore, my surprise to see this interview by HONY:

“My grandmother was the first in our family to discover it. One day she joined a meditation in the park. She was taking so many medications at the time, but she threw them all away and never took another trip to the hospital. That was before the crackdown. At one time were one hundred million followers of Falun Gong in China. It’s a peaceful religion. But the following grew too big. Our teacher seemed like a threat to the government. They said crazy things on state media. They called it a cult. They said we’re terrorists and that we kill our parents. They began to arrest us. They even harvested our organs. I know it sounds crazy, but you can Google it. We tried to resist. We practiced inside our home. We secretly handed out fliers to push back against the propaganda. But they caught me on camera. Everywhere there are cameras. They followed me to my home. They shoved me in their car. For eight months I was in detention. The first thing they did was take a sample of my blood. For hours every day they put us in a room and forced us to watch television about how to be a good citizen. If anyone looked away, the whole group was punished. Eventually my family bribed the court with huge money and they let me go. But for three years I had to write a letter every month saying that I am a guilty person. When my probation ended, I left the country.”

This could be an excellent addition to your discussion of Well Founded Fear or be used as an asylum real-o-thetical on its own.


September 11, 2018 in Current Affairs, Photos, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 31, 2018

David Bacon “The Border, The Work & The Fight”, an exhibit of photographs


David Bacon “The Border, The Work & The Fight” is an exhibit of photographs that show the humanity in our social constructs. It now is at the Union Hall Gallery in Sacramento.  They elucidate the complexities of the border as an area with a vibrant social history and powerful social symbolism, especially the wall that has been built in fits and starts, underlining the separation of our two countries.

Check out David Bacon's work here.


August 31, 2018 in Current Affairs, Photos | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Tommy Trenchard's Photographs of Daily Refugee Life

Tommy Trenchard, a Capetown-based freelance photographer and journalist, has taken a series of photographs designed to capture the day-to-day life of South Sudanese refugees in Uganda. Check out the BBC's highlights, which include this snapshot of a toy car made from waste plastic.



August 16, 2018 in Photos | Permalink | Comments (0)

Photo exhibit explores the inner lives of migrant domestic workers


Anne Quito on Quartz discusses We Are Like Air, Xyza Cruz Bacani’s exhibition at the Open Source Gallery in Brooklyn.  As the article explains,

"The exhibit’s title, “We Are Like Air,” alludes to these invisible, but essential agents—waiters, housekeepers, drivers, fast food agents, street sweepers, security guards—who ensure the smooth operation of our convenient lives without being seen. Their personal stories, like their presence, are engineered to recede, and it takes someone like Bacani to shock us into seeing them with open eyes and hearts. Frame by frame, Bacani explores not just longing or strife but also love, folly, and levity."

View more on Instagram.



August 16, 2018 in Current Affairs, Photos | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Churches Tackle Immigration

As Kevin noted earlier today, Christ Church Cathedral in Indianapolis has put a cage around statutes of put Mary, Joseph and Jesus in protest over our nation's immigration policies. It isn't the only church to take a stand on the issue.

The United Methodist Board of Church and Society has this sign outside of its D.C. headquarters:


Here is a statement from the Family of God Lutheran Church in East Grand Forks, MN:


In January, St. Paul’s United Church of Christ in Dallastown, PA offered this thought:


Statements like these are particularly powerful in the face of efforts by the Trump administration to use the bible to justify its policies.


July 3, 2018 in Current Affairs, Photos, Religion | Permalink | Comments (0)