Thursday, January 31, 2019

Detained Migrants Being Force Fed

Photo by... me!

Four migrant detainees at the El Paso Processing Center are being force fed, the BBC reports.

The migrants, men from India and Cuba, undertook a hunger strike in protest of conditions at the facility. They allege that guards verbally abuse the detainees.

After the men missed their 9th consecutive meal, ICE initiated "hunger-strike protocols" and secured a court-order to permit force feeding.

These men are being fed by tubes inserted through their noses, through which nutrients are pumped into their stomachs. This is non-consensual feeding.

I wondered if there might be a video explaining this force feeding process. There is. Here is Yasiin Bey, better known as Mos Def, voluntarily undergoing the procedure. He did this back in 2013 to bring attention to the force feeding of detainees in Guantanamo Bay who were on a hunger strike. Warning, this video is not for the squeamish.


January 31, 2019 in Current Affairs, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Call For Papers: Emerging Immprofs @ BYU June 7 & 8


The Works in Progress (WIP) committee for the 2019 Emerging Immigration Scholars’ Conference is now accepting proposals for works-in-progress or incubator ideas. In addition to incubator workshops focused on a research idea, participants are invited to submit proposals for workshops to discuss a litigation or advocacy project that could benefit from group input.

The 2019 Conference will take place June 7 and 8, 2019, at Brigham Young University in beautiful Provo, Utah. If you wish to be considered for a works-in-progress or incubator session, please submit your proposal to Further, this year we are again seeking discussants who will read and comment on the works-in-progress or incubator ideas.

If you want to propose a work-in-progress by email: Please put “ImmProf WIP [Lastname]” as the subject line Please submit an abstract of no more than one page, with a title.

If you want to propose an incubator (for a scholarly or litigation/advocacy project) by email: Please put “Incubator [Lastname]” as the subject line Please submit a description of no more than one paragraph, with a title.

If you would be willing to be a discussant: Please email us by March 29 if you wish/are willing to serve as a discussant with a list of your areas of expertise.

The deadline for submissions is Friday, March 29 at 5pm (PT). We anticipate notifying accepted WIP or incubator proposals by April 14. Final papers will be due on May 17, 2019. We look forward to receiving your submissions!

Please feel free to contact any member of the WIP committee, or conference planning committee, with questions or concerns. More information will be coming soon about the conference and how to register.


The WIP Committee:
Lauren Aronson (, Louisiana State University Law Center
Kate Evans (, University of Idaho School of Law

Other Members of the Planning Committee:
Sabrina Balgamwalla, Wayne State University Law School
Pooja Dadhania, California Western School of Law
Kit Johnson, University of Oklahoma College of Law
Carolina Núñez, Brigham Young University Law School
Shalini Ray, University of Alabama School of Law


January 29, 2019 in Law Review Articles & Essays, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Hear from Ms. A-B- Herself in this HRW Video

This short (4-minute) video is an absolute must for your class on asylum. It's incredibly rare to be able to hear directly from a litigant at the center of a leading case. And in this video from Human Rights Watch, you get that opportunity to hear directly from the woman at the heart of Matter of A-B-.


January 23, 2019 in Current Affairs, Film & Television, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

The BBC's 7 Charts on the Wall

Thank you, BBC, for offering us "all you need to know about [the] US border in seven charts." I will be using each and every one when I reach the topic of The Wall later this semester.

Here's an oldie, but goodie:


Those wacky Canucks.


January 22, 2019 in Current Affairs, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (2)

Friday, January 11, 2019

Archive of Immigration Visual Aids

Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia (Penn State) has collected a number of immigration cartoons, charts, images, and memes. Here is a link to this helpful archive.



January 11, 2019 in Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Google's ESTA Problem


I teach students about the Visa Waiver Program. I don't, however, go into the fact that individuals hoping to travel to the US on the VWP must complete an Electronic System for Travel Authorization application or ESTA. I may change that going forward, and here's why.

The official ESTA application process costs $14. But according to this report from the BBC, Google ads for ESTA services have led would-be travelers to pay $80 for the same service.

Because of the BBC's investigation, Google is trying to prevent price-inflated ESTA services from popping up as ads in response to the "most common search terms," but the sites "will still appear in the search results."

Interestingly, the same problem exists with programs in Australia and Canada, and Google is working to resolve similar inflated-price advertisements.

I can see this leading to interesting class discussion.


December 6, 2018 in Current Affairs, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 19, 2018

The Try Guys - Learning Immigration With Hiroshi

I just stumbled across this video from The Try Guys, a group of comedic youtubers. About a year ago, they filmed an episode with immprof extraordinaire Hiroshi Motomura. The episode does a great job of laying out the difficulties inherent in seeking citizenship in the United States through, you won't believe this, hypotheticals (all of which would be excellent for class).

Keep this episode in mind for intro-to-immigration material. Maybe you've got a course that requires getting up-to-speed on immigration in advance. This might be a good clip to assign - perhaps paired with Virgil Webe's immigration hotel.

Kudos to Hiroshi for reaching out the young folk where they spend 99.99% of their time - on Youtube!


November 19, 2018 in Film & Television, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 16, 2018

Your Playlist: Chris George

Chris George is the Executive Director of Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services (IRIS) in New Haven, Connecticut. As their website touts, IRIS is a "non-sectarian, independent nonprofit refugee resettlement agency that has welcomed more than 5,000 refugees to Connecticut since 1982."

Chris is clearly passionate about his work, letting folks know that he's "got the best job in the world."

One of the things that Chris loves most about resettlement work is the obligation that agencies like his have to provide newly arrived refugees a culturally appropriate hot meal.

That obligation comes from a cooperative agreement that the U.S. Department of State has with national resettlement agencies. As the State Department explains on their website, this agreement requires that:

... all refugees are met at the airport upon arrival in the United States by someone from the sponsoring resettlement affiliate and/or a family member or friend. They are taken to their apartment, which has basic furnishings, appliances, climate-appropriate clothing, and some of the food typical of the refugee’s culture

National resettlement agencies incorporate this obligation into their agreements with local resettlement organizations like IRIS.

As Chris told the New Haven Independent, it's "the best federal government requirement of all time ... a great way of welcoming people ... with a meal that they're used to as soon as they arrive."

Chris is so passionate about this requirement, that he wrote a song about it. You can find it at 7:10-8:42 in the clip below:

Here are the lyrics:

In Praise of the Culturally Appropriate Hot Meal

Find an apartment. Make sure it’s furnished.
By federal law, to seal the deal,
within two hours of their arrival,
serve them a culturally appropriate hot meal.

You’ve got Republicans and you’ve got Democrats.
And their bickering is so unreal.
If only more things could be bipartisan,
like the culturally appropriate hot meal.

I’m not talking hamburgers. Hold the lasagna!
It’s not the time for ham or veal.
If you’re a refugee, we’re going to welcome you
with a culturally appropriate hot meal.

Arroz con pollo for the Cubans.
Halal, if you’re from Iraq.
The Congolese, they like variety.
Just make it culturally appropriate, and hot!

This song is guaranteed to make you smile. It will be a wonderful addition to your class on refugee resettlement!


November 16, 2018 in Music, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Law Professors: Don't Do this on Halloween

Wall Wall 2

Pictures originally posted on school's Facebook page.  

CNN reports on something that again proves that truth is stranger than fiction, leaving this blogger to ask "what were you thinking?" 

Incorporating Donald Trump's border wall into a Halloween costume by an elementary school teacher?  It can't be.

Well it happened at an elementary school in Middleton, Idaho.
Here is how the CNN report describes the events:
"Pictures, which were posted on the Middleton School District Facebook page but have since been deleted, showed the group dressed up as a wall with the phrase `Make America Great Again' on it. Another group in a second picture was dressed up with sombreros, carrying maracas and wearing fake black mustaches, which some parents called racist.
The pictures have now been replaced with an apology video from district Superintendent Josh Middleton, who called the costumes `clearly insensitive and inappropriate.'" (bold added).
You can't make this stuff up.

November 3, 2018 in Current Affairs, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 2, 2018

Immigrant of the Day: Mo Amer

Mohammad "Mo" Amer is a naturalized U.S. citizen. Born in Kuwait to Palestinian parents, Amer sought asylum in the U.S. during the first Gulf War. He was granted asylum, though it took many years to become a U.S. citizen.

His comedy includes bits about on his life as an English-speaking refugee in the U.S. and the hurdles he faced making his way to overseas gigs on an refugee travel document.

Here he is on Colbert last year:

And here's a preview for his Netflix show "the Vagabond."

Lots of great material for class, and just the humor break you need this week.


November 2, 2018 in Current Affairs, Film & Television, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, October 28, 2018

U.S. Trans Activist Seeks Asylum in Sweeden

Photo via

Danni Askini is a trans activist from the United States. She currently lives in Sweeden and is seeking asylum there, The Local reports.

Askini states that it is "too dangerous" to work as a trans activist in the United States. She has received death threats for speaking up on behalf of the trans community.

Her case presents an exceptional in-class real-o-thetical.

Have your students assume Sweedish asylum law is the same as U.S. law. Should she get asylum? On what grounds? Does she have a claim for political asylum? What about asylum based on membership in a particular social group? Which is a better avenue and why? What evidence could she point to for fear of persecution? What about the President's efforts to ban transgender individuals from the military? The CDC's ban on the word transgender? The administration's latest move to "narrowly defin[e] gender as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth"?



October 28, 2018 in Current Affairs, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

What It's Like To Be An Immigration Lawyer In The Trump Era


Laura Murray-Tjan, former Boston College immprof and now director of the Federal Immigration Appeals Project, has written a piece for Cognoscenti titled What It's Like To Be An Immigration Lawyer In The Trump Era.

This article would make great reading for students in an immigration clinic or students in a podium immigration class.

Laura talks about the realities of practicing immigration law today "with the Trump administration throwing ninja stars in all directions" leaving lawyers guessing about what will come next. Because of these rapid changes, she notes that her advice has a shorter shelf life. At the same time, in order to actually get her clients' work done, she cannot "fall victim to the onslaught of news" about potential changes in immigration. When changes come to pass, sometimes the only solution is to sue over those new laws. Last but not least, as hard as it is, "we must manage our emotions."


October 24, 2018 in Current Affairs, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Real Housewives of New Jersey Shed Light on Deportation

Joe and Teresa Giudice, photo via CNN

Let's be real. Nothing appeals to students more than reality TV. I asked my 1Ls at the beginning of the year about their hobbies, a solid 50% said theirs was reality T.V., "but don't tell anyone."

Let's harness that guilty pleasure for learning.

Yesterday, IJ Ellington ordered Joe Giudice, the husband of Real Wives of New Jersey star Teresa Giudice, to be deported when he is released from prison next year.

What's he in prison for? Bankruptcy fraud and failure to pay 200K in taxes.

Joe Giudice came to the U.S. as an infant. He's an LPR who never became a USC and is now facing the consequences of his criminal conviction.

At the moment, it appears Teresa and her four daughters will not relocate to Italy after the deportation.

Now this is a story bound to get students talking.


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

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Immprofs at SALT on Teaching Empathy (Without Students Realizing It)

Mariela Olivares (Howard), moi, Kristina Campbell (UDC)

I'm reporting from Penn State Law in University Park, PA, this year's home for the Society of American Law Teachers (SALT) conference.

Yesterday, I had the privilege of speaking on a panel with Mariela Olivares (Howard) and Kristina Campbell (UDC) about "Bringing Humanity into the Classroom: Using Experiential Techniques in Doctrinal Courses to Prepare the Well-Rounded Lawyer in an Era of Social Change."

Our launching point for conversation was a comment from Deborah Merritt (Ohio State) during the opening panel of the day: "Should we and can we teaching students empathy?" Questions that Debbie responded to with a resounding yes. We agree. But students don't need to know that's what we are doing!

I spoke in praise of field trips - taking students out of the classroom to get a different perspective on the  material. I spoke about touring county jail with Criminal Law students (and hopefully Crimmigration students this Spring!), the port of entry with Immigration students, and sites along the U.S.-Mexico border in San Diego with students on the one-week Hofstra summer program (coming again this May!).

Mariela spoke about creating opportunities for students to engage in outside-the-classroom activity - creating time for students to go on solo forays to immigration court. She shared the sorts of questions that she asks students to contemplate, including: How many people had lawyers? Did it seem to matter? What was the quality of the lawyers? How you do you think the experience was for pro se individuals? What did "due process" look like? What would you wish to change and why? What aspects struck you positively and why? She also spoke about her numerous in-class exercises prompting students to think about litigation objectives and the students' own assumptions about controversial material.

Kristina spoke about Service Learning at UDC and how to bring the experience of working in family detention facilities into the classroom for those unable to participate in such an intense off-site program. She gives students facts, an NTA, and questions for credible/reasonable fear interviews. The exercise gives students a flavor of what it's like to help at a family detention facility.

I'm thoroughly inspired to try new things in my classes next year!


October 6, 2018 in Current Affairs, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Making The Case for Asylum: Duterte Edition

Rodrigo Duterte photo by The Republic of Korea

I spoke with someone a while back who was worried about President Trump's determination to deport all noncitizens with criminal convictions. A relative of this person had a drug conviction -- an old one, but a conviction nonetheless. And the person I was speaking with was worried about their family member being deported because that would mean returning to the Philippines which, since 2016, has been engaged in a war on drugs that Human Rights Watch believes has resulted "in the killing of more than 12,000 drug suspects."

At the time, I thought about the prospects of this relative applying for asylum, withholding of removal, or CAT. And I thought about how one might go about gathering evidence to support such a case.

In late September, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte himself provided significant evidence in support of these claims. As the NYT rerports, Duterte spoke to members of his government and challenged his military to overthrow him if not satisfied with his leadership. Then, and here's the kicker, Duterte said "I told the military, what is my fault? Did I steal even one peso? ... My only sin is the extrajudicial killings."

I don't know about you, but I spend some time exploring in class the idea of how to prove what the government did or did not intend to do vis-a-vis persecution. Proof like that sure doesn't get easier than a presidential statement. Something to keep in mind when you come to this material.


October 4, 2018 in Current Affairs, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Index of American Cities by Welcomeness to Migrants


New American Economy is a self-described "a bipartisan research and advocacy organization fighting for smart federal, state, and local immigration policies that help grow our economy and create jobs for all Americans."

The group recently released a Cities Index, evaluating "immigrant integration by measuring local policies and socioeconomic outcomes across the 100 largest cities in the United States."

It's a fascinating tool. I found out that my current hometown (broad defined), Oklahoma City, is pretty low down - 89th out of 100 on the integration scale. Dallas, to the south, wasn't a whole lot higher at #87. (Not one North Dakota city makes the list.) Heck, folks in Miami were surprised to find themselves out-performed by St. Petersberg.

It's an interesting tool to play around with, with data points that students might enjoy exploring.


September 18, 2018 in Current Affairs, Teaching Resources | 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)

Monday, September 10, 2018

Deported for Racism?

Kenyan Masai Mara National Reserve, photo by Wajahat Mahmood

A Chinese man working as a motorcycle trader in Kenya, Liu Jiaqi, was caught on camera saying the African country "smells bad" and its people are "poor, foolish and black". He went on to say that "all the Kenyans" are "like a monkey," including the nation's president. Unfortunately for him, this racist rant went viral.

As the BBC reports, Kenyan authorities announced on Twitter that Liu Jiaqi had been "arrested due to his RACISM remarks" and "has been DEPORTED."

I think it's nice to include some comparative law when talking about deportability grounds. It's an opportunity to say "we've talked about what behavior in the United States may trigger deportation; other countries around the world may have different ideas regarding deportability." This Kenyan example is a good one.

My all time favorite comparative example, and one I end on every year, is the removal of Omar Borkan Al Gala from Saudi Arabia. The man was just too hot!


September 10, 2018 in Current Affairs, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Migration to Europe - in Charts!

I don't just love charts. I charts. So imagine my thrill to come across this set of charts about migration to Europe created by the BBC. Check it out - migrants to Europe by year:


You can really see how much of a drop there has been since the highs of 2015. Lower numbers of migrants has meant lower numbers of migrant deaths:


Other charts include information on where migrants are coming from (Syria leads the back) and where they are heading to (Germany leads the pack).


August 18, 2018 in Current Affairs, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 10, 2018

Laura Ingraham's Inflamatory Immigration Comments

The interwebs are atwitter with commentary about these remarks from Laura Ingraham:

Yes. She actually said that in "some parts of the country, it does seem like the America that we know and love doesn't exist anymore. Massive demographic changes have been foisted upon the American people. And they're changes that none of us ever voted for, and most of us don't like.... Much of this is related to both illegal and, in some cases, legal immigration that, of course, progressives love."

CNN called the segment out with this headline: "White anxiety finds a home at Fox."

It's an excellent clip for a class on race and migration. It might even pair well with discussion of Chae Chan Ping and the "vast hordes... crowding in upon us."


August 10, 2018 in Current Affairs, Film & Television, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)