Sunday, July 14, 2019

Choose Your Own Adventure: Migrant Addition


Check out this interactive feature from the BBC that puts you in the shoes of a migrant coming to America.

Here is the set up:

Your name is Maria and you live in El Salvador. You're 25 with two children. It's not safe where you live - gangs control the neighbourhoods. Your husband is in one gang and he hurts you. A neighbour was recently killed by her partner and you fear for your life. You decide to flee to the US. Taking your children will be dangerous.

Your first choice -- to take the kids with you or not?

Maria, you find out, has lots of choices. None are good.

This might be a good, short assignment before a segment on asylum.


July 14, 2019 in Current Affairs, Teaching Resources | 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 (1)

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Asylum Realothetical: The Chinese Muslims of Xinjiang


Here is an asylum realothetical for your class: Muslims in the Chinese province of Xinjiang also called Uyghurs or Uighurs.

Just a few months ago, Vox reported on the detention of hundreds of thousands of Muslim adults in massive "reeducation camps" or "vocational training centers" focused on "thought education."  The state justifies the mass detentions on national security grounds -- a measure against "violent religious extremism."

This week, the BBC reported on China's system for the reeducation of Muslim children whose parents have been taken to reeducation camps. These kids are being sent to massive boarding schools.

It is significant, as the BBC states, that "the state has been growing its ability to care full-time for large numbers of children at precisely the same time as it has been building the detention camps."

Here are some numbers: "In just one year, 2017, the total number of children enrolled in kindergartens in Xinjiang increased by more than half a million. And Uighur and other Muslim minority children, government figures show, made up more than 90% of that increase."

Children live in these schools, where their native languages are banned. "Many of the schools bristle with full-coverage surveillance systems, perimeter alarms and 10,000 Volt electric fences[.]"

Adrian Zenz has published a report on this topic in the Journal of Political Risk: Break Their Roots: Evidence for China’s Parent-Child Separation Campaign in Xinjiang. He believes that what China is doing with Xinjiang Muslims "points to what we must call cultural genocide."


July 7, 2019 in Current Affairs, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Addressing Race Intentionally in Doctrinal Classes

Prof. Kupenda

Professor Angela Mae Kupenda (Miss. College) has written an essay for the Institute of Law Teaching and Learning that may be of interest to our readers: As Easy as "1, 2, Buckle My Shoe" 10 Steps for Addressing Race Intentionally in Doctrinal Classes.

Prof. Kupenda notes that "In many, if not all, of our courses, racial inequalities either lurk right beneath the surface or are in plain view in the cases and topics we cover." She argues that "Failing to lead our students in these discussions on race results in our not providing them the best education possible."

So what are her 10 steps?

Step 1. Grow in awareness of oneself as a “raced” individual in America.
Step 2. Grow in awareness of oneself as a teacher and of one’s calling as a law professor.
Step 3. Open the door of your mind to consider the presence of race in the courses you teach and to consider the consequences of your failing to address race.
Step 4. Open the door of your mind to consider the context in which you teach. In other words, be open to the possibility that close mindedness may be prevalent at your school. Consider the institutional environment and the consequences of doing what you must do–addressing the racial issues in your courses.
Step 5. Pick up your tools. Set the stage. Prepare for the impromptu. Plan for the unplanned. Rehearse for the unrehearsed.
Step 6. An important tool in addressing race in your courses is to shift some of that work to the students. Figure out ways to share the responsibility in class for addressing race, in other words plan in advance for inevitable disagreement.
Step 7. Notice what is going on in the classroom AND within yourself.
Step 8. If you don’t lay them straight in a given class meeting, you still get another chance and more chances to have a positive impact on the lives of your students by helping them think more deeply about the law and race.
Step 9. Perform a critique of how you are doing in our courses with addressing race.
Step 10. Revise and plan again for the next class meeting, next semester, or even the next academic year.

Check out the essay for a more fulsome discussion of these steps.


June 18, 2019 in Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Emerging Immprof: Teaching and Learning

Immprofs Kayleen Hartman, Liz Keyes, Stella Burch Elias, Jill Family, Pooja Dadhania

The 5th Biennial Emerging Immigration Scholars Conference kicked off with a panel on teaching & learning innovations in immigration law.

The panel was moderated by Pooja Dadhania, who just finished her first year of tenure track teaching at California Western and earned teacher of the year in that period! Way to go Pooja!

Kayleen Hartman (Loyola LA) spoke about: (1) Emily Robinson's bond project at Loyola LA , (2) Kayleen's own removal defense practicum, and (3) Kayleen's removal defense boot camp. It was amazing to hear about how both immprofs have been working to teach students to "fight from the back foot" in removal defense.

Liz Keyes (Baltimore) spoke about clinic design choices. She talked about focusing coursework on the unique needs of Baltimore's student population. In addition, she urged folks to recognize that "we as clinicians cannot solve the representation crisis" but instead must value our teaching -- training lawyers to go and do the work on their own.

Stella Burch Elias (Iowa) inspired us all with her work: (1) bringing practical skills and service to her immigration podium course and (2) creating an immigration symposium to meet the needs of the local immigration community. She also gave us the key to maintaining civility in a classroom that can become divided and divisive: "Remember, 10% of your grade is based on collegial participation."

Finally, Jill Family (Widener) spoke about (1) integrating policy developments into immigration law (in-class policy presentations, policy prompts), (2) her intersession course offering an introduction to immigration law practice, and (3) developing local relationships to give students more options. I super loved her emphasis that students can have any policy focus they want as long as it's supported with facts and reasons. There's no better lesson for law students.


June 8, 2019 in Conferences and Call for Papers, Current Affairs, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

"Myths vs. Facts" Document from EOIR: A Teaching Goldmine


The Executive Office for Immigration Review recently released a document called "Myths vs Facts About Immigration Proceedings." This document is a teaching goldmine for a podium immigration course, clinic, or specialized immigration class.

For example, the document says that one myth is that "Most aliens who claim a credible fear of persecution are asylum seekers." It refutes that myth with the following fact: "On average, at least half of aliens who make a credible fear claim and are subsequently placed in removal proceedings do not actually apply for asylum."

This pairing could be a jumping off point for discussion about why people don't seek asylum. Just two reasons might include the fact that the migrants are in detention and perhaps accept voluntary departure to get out, or they cannot get counsel to help them pursue an asylum claim due to the combined issues of being detained in a remote locale far from counsel and faced with complex law they don't understand.

Another idea would be to give each student one of the document's 18 myth/fact pairings and to ask them to independently research the topics raised. This could be an in class project, homework assignment, or writing prompt.

In short, this document is a super helpful teaching tool. I encourage you to download it before it disappears from the interwebs.


May 8, 2019 in Current Affairs, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (2)

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans

The Paul and Soros Fellowship for New Americans announces it's new class of fellows for 2019. The scholarship supports $90,000 tuition for graduate school in any number of fields. The selection process is focused on identifying the most promising New Americans who are poised to make significant contributions to the nation through their work and who exhibit creativity, originality, initiative and sustained accomplishment. With 1,800 applications for 30 slots, it has become known as the "Rhodes scholarship" for immigrants. This year's impressive group of 30 fellows includes:

  • Countries of origin: China, Columbia, Haiti, India, Japan, Lebanon, Mexico, Mongolia, Paikstan, Peru, Russia, Somalia, South Korea, Sweden, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, Ukraine, Vietnam
  • 21 fellows speak 2 or more languages, 9 fellows speak 3 or more languages
  • 20 women, 10 men
  • 9 first generation college students
  • 5 refugees or asylum-seekers
  • Fields of study: Astrophysics, biomedical research, business, chemical science and engineering, computer science, creative writing, economics, history, law, math, mechanical engineering, medicine, music, physics, planetary science, public policy
  • Graduate universities: MIT, Caltech, Stanford, University of Michigan, Carnegie Mellon, Princeton, Northwestern, Oregon Health and Science, Syracuse, UCSF, Stony Brook Univesrity, Columbia, University of Hawaii, Harvad, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Undergraduate universities: Yale, Brown, Princeton, MIT, Cornell, Georgetown, Columbia, Stanford, Macaulay at Lehman College, CUNY, Duke, Williams, University of Rochester, Loyola Marymount, UC Berkeley, UT El Paso, Harvard, Washington University in St. Louis

The fellows join a 20-year community of fellows with 620 past recipients including former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, Olympic gymnast and doctor Amy Chow, computational biologist and Time person of the year 2015 Pardis Sabet (Ebola Fighters), US Ambassador to Uruguay Julissa Reynoso, and several award-winning poets, filmmakers, musicians and business entrepreneurs.

The new application is available and due by November 2019. The newly-expanded eligibility criteria has been broadened to include any immigrant, regardless of their immigration status, who has graduated high school and college in the United States. This includes undocumented immigrants who lack DACA protections (DACA recipients have been eligible since 2014). Applicants with refugee and asylum status will no longer have to wait to receive their green cards to apply. Thanks to the Soros alum and board of trustees for their expanding the criteria in this way!

- MHC (PD Soros Fellow, Class of 2001)

May 1, 2019 in Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 29, 2019

"Take a Small Step": A Lesson for Law Students


Immprof Liz Keyes (Baltimore) gave us a tip about this article over at Medium: Laziness Does Not Exist. In the article, psychology professor Devon Price writes: "When a person fails to begin a project that they care about, it’s typically due to either a) anxiety about their attempts not being 'good enough' or b) confusion about what the first steps of the task are. Not laziness."

Liz writes: "I love this. It rings very, very true to my experience as a clinical law professor, where students are sometimes paralyzed by the immensity of the responsibility they are assuming. And the skill of identifying and taking the first step is not intrinsic. It can be taught, though, and it can be learned."

It's why Liz starts the semester giving students the poem Start Close In by David Whyte.

Start close in,
don’t take the second step
or the third,
start with the first
close in,
the step
you don’t want to take.

Start with
the ground
you know,
the pale ground
beneath your feet,
your own
way to begin
the conversation.

Start with your own
give up on other
people’s questions,
don’t let them
smother something

To hear
another’s voice,
your own voice,
wait until
that voice
becomes an
private ear
that can
really listen
to another.

Start right now
take a small step
you can call your own
don’t follow
someone else’s
heroics, be humble
and focused,
start close in,
don’t mistake
that other
for your own.

Start close in,
don’t take
the second step
or the third,
start with the first
close in,
the step
you don’t want to take.

Y'all know how much I love poetry. This is a wonderful one. It's going on my office door. Thanks so much for sharing it with us, Liz!


April 29, 2019 in Books, Current Affairs, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 22, 2019

Teaching About Border Militias

Photo by Marco Hazard

I talk about border militias in two different classes: Immigration Law and Border Enforcement (Hofstra) and Crimmigration (OU).

In the Hofstra class, I use the film Crossing Arizona as a jumping off point for discussion. (See past posts on this movie here, here, and here.) A 2006 documentary, it has sometimes felt dated. That's no longer an issue, with this week's crazy news of a border militia detaining migrants (including children) and the subsequent arrest of one member of that militia by the FBI. (See Kevin's post on the developments here.) 

You should download or bookmark the youtube video from this militia about their round up of migrants. It's remarkable.

I also recommend that you revisit this 2016 article, that we previously highlighted, from The Atlantic: Undercover with a Border Militia. It's an astounding first-hand account of a reporter embedding himself with a border militia. Again, more evidence that while no one is currently talking about "minutemen project" that was big in 2004-2006, the border militia movement is still going strong.


April 22, 2019 in Current Affairs, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Father & Son Separated at Border, Reunited Nearly 11 Months Later

Check out this short (3:40) story from CBS News.

There is a lot packed into those few minutes. Jose (the father) was pressured to sign documents in English that he didn't understand, resulting in his deportation. His 10-year-old son remained in the U.S., first in federal care and then with a relative. It took nearly 11 months for the two to reunite. They are here in the U.S. and still pursuing asylum.

Lee Gelernt (ACLU) makes an appearance and puts this story into perspective: We don't know how many families were separated at the border; the government wants 2 years to sort out the mess.


April 16, 2019 in Current Affairs, Film & Television, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

El Paso Detained Docket: "The Bye-Bye Place"

9360790984_37cabbf2d3_oThe American Immigration Council and AILA have filed an administrative complaint calling out practices on the detained docket at the El Paso Service Processing Center. Migrants in this court "face some of the highest obstacles in the nation."

The complaint notes that this El Paso immigration court has the lowest asylum grant rate in the nation. (I honestly didn't know that - here I was thinking that "honor" belonged to Atlanta.)

Another problem highlighted in the complaint: "a culture of hostility and contempt towards immigrants." Just how does that manifest? One example: an immigration judge reportedly described the court as "the Bye-Bye Place," as in, "You know your client is going bye-bye, right?"

You could easily assign the first four pages of the 24-page report in your class about immigration court procedures or asylum. It would be eye-opening.


April 3, 2019 in Current Affairs, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 1, 2019

"It's a big, fat con job": Trump on Asylum Seekers

In a March 28 rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan, President Trump said:

You have people coming up, you know they're all met by the lawyers, the lawyers of... And they come out, they're all met by the lawyers. And they say, "Say the following phrase: 'I am very afraid for my life. I am afraid for my life.'" OK. And then I look at the guy, he looks like he just got out of the ring, he's the heavyweight champion of the world. He's afraid ... It's a big fat con job, folks. It's a big fat con job.

This isn't an April Fool's joke. The clip is below. And it's one to definitely include in your classroom discussion of asylum.


April 1, 2019 in Current Affairs, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Immigration Simulations: Looking Beyond Traditional Casebooks in Teaching Immigration Law


Guest Post by Immprof Regina Jefferies:

Despite the whiplash-inducing speed, frequency, and breadth of changes to immigration law over the last two years, administrative policy moves, field office procedural and substantive idiosyncrasies, the complex relationship between state and Federal authority, and the highly discretionary character of immigration enforcement far predate the current Administration (See Motomura, 2014). Teaching the practice and theory of immigration law thus poses numerous difficulties, particularly if approached as "knowledge transfer." Law and policy often change at the drop of a hat, as do the mechanisms and procedures lawyers have at their disposal to advocate on behalf of clients.

In light of this reality, Immigration Simulations: Bridge to Practice provides students with scenarios based upon real experiences and legal materials, while encouraging students to think critically and creatively in identifying and solving problems. The book is written as a novel and guided by directed questions and assignments, immersing students in the stories of real-life clients to provide a birds-eye view of the lawyering skills and substantive law involved in the practice of immigration law. The text follows two primary real-life client stories, designed to provide the experience of working a case from beginning to end. Several shorter, real-life client scenarios highlight particularly challenging aspects of substantive and procedural immigration practice as it stood at the beginning of 2018. As students bring a variety of prior knowledge, learning approaches, and even conceptions of learning to the classroom (Biggs, 1993), Immigration Simulations aids in priming student engagement, linking to self-identified prior knowledge, and sets the stage for open and critical discussion.

Students develop strategies and advise clients on potential courses of action in a diverse range of situations, using real case documents. The book encourages the development of critical thinking skills by inviting students to examine concepts and material in a wider context, and to test their understandings and think creatively about how to apply that knowledge in different scenarios (Ledoux & McHenry, 2004). Rather than working with a set of predetermined facts extracted from a legal opinion, students learn to cut through the noise and identify information to frame and develop cases. Not only do students demonstrate a deeper understanding of the material, they leave equipped to apply their knowledge and skills outside the classroom.

-KitJ posted on behalf of Regina Jefferies

March 31, 2019 in Books, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

California's AG Releases Report on Immigration Detention

Xavier Becerra via Twitter

Yesterday, California's Attorney General, Xavier Becerra, released a report on immigration detention in California.

The report comes out of a law passed in June 2017 charging the California Department of Justice with reviewing civil immigration detention and reporting back to the Legislature, Governor, and the public about those findings.

Officials from the California DOJ visited all 10 civil immigration detention facilities in the state--public and private. They engaged in a "comprehensive review" of three of those facilities, including a center for minors.

The report found common issues among the facilities:

  • Restrictions on liberty
  • Language barriers
  • Issues with access to medical and mental health care
  • Obstacles to Contacting Family and Other Support Systems
  • Barriers to Adequate Representation

I just finished covering immigration detention in my Crimmigration course. But I am flagging this report to use next year!


February 27, 2019 in Current Affairs, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

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 (1)

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)