IMMIGRATIONPROF: Dean Kevin Johnson Gives Us The Supreme’s “Immigration Lineup” For Oct. 2107 — It’s Much More Than Just The Travel Ban!

Dean Johnson writes:

”The Supreme Court will hear four oral argument in four cases in the first two weeks of the 2017 Term. And the cases raise challenging constitutional law issues that could forecever change immigration law. Watch this blog for previews of the oral arguments in the cases.

Sessions v. Dimaya, Oral Argument October 2. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in an opinion by the liberal lion Judge Stephen Reinhardt, held that a criminal removal provision, including the phrase “crime of violence,” was void for vagueness.

Jennings v. Rodriguez, Oral Argument, October 3. The Ninth Circuit, in an opinion by Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw, found that the indefinite detention of immigrants violated the U.S. Constitution.

Dimaya and Jennings are being re-argued, both having originally been argued before Justice Scalia. One can assume that the eight Justice Court was divided and that Justice Gorsuch may well be the tiebreaker.

The final two immigration cases are the “travel ban” cases arising out of President Trump’s March Executive Order:

Trump v. Int’l Refugee Assistance Project. Oral Argument October 10.

Trump v. Hawaii. Oral Argument October 10.”


Go on over to ImmigrationProf Blog at the above link where they have working links that will let you learn about the issues in these cases.




Professor Ong Hing writes:

“From the Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journal:

President Trump’s recent call for overhauling the legal immigration system suffers from serious racial implications and violations of basic family values. Earlier this month he endorsed the Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy (RAISE) Act, which would eliminate all family reunification categories beyond spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (reducing the age limit for minor children from 21 to 18), and would lower capped family categories from 226,000 green cards presently to 88,000. The prime relatives targeted for elimination are siblings of U.S. citizens and adult children of citizens and lawful residents. The diversity immigration lottery program, which grants 50,000 green cards to immigrants from low-admission countries, also would be terminated. The RAISE Act is essentially the Asian, Latino, and African Exclusion Act of 2017. Why? Because the biggest users of family immigration categories are Asians and Latinos, and the biggest beneficiaries of the diversity lottery are Africans.

The RAISE Act is an elitist point system that favors those with post-secondary STEM degrees (science, technology, engineering, or mathematics), extraordinary achievement (Nobel laureates and Olympic medalists), $1.35 to $1.8 million to invest, and high English proficiency. However, it fails to connect prospective immigrants with job openings and makes incorrect assumptions about family immigrants.

Promoting family reunification has been a major feature of immigration policy for decades. Prior to 1965, permitting spouses of U.S. citizens, relatives of lawful permanent residents, and even siblings of U.S. citizens to immigrate were important aspects of the immigration selection system. Since the 1965 reforms, family reunification has been the major cornerstone of the immigration admission system. Those reforms, extended in 1976, allowed twenty thousand immigrant visas for every country. Of the worldwide numerical limits, about 80 percent were specified for “preference” relatives of citizens and lawful permanent residents, and an unlimited number was available to immediate relatives of U.S. citizens. The unlimited immediate relative category included spouses, parents of adult citizens, and minor, unmarried children of citizens. The family preference categories were established for adult, unmarried sons and daughters of citizens, spouses and unmarried children of lawful permanent resident aliens, married children of citizens, and siblings of citizens. Two other preferences (expanded in 1990) were established for employment-based immigration.

Asian and Latino immigration came to dominate these immigration categories. The nations with large numbers of descendants in the United States in 1965, i.e., western Europe, were expected to benefit the most from a kinship-based system. But gradually, by using the family categories and the labor employment route, Asians built a family base from which to use the kinship categories more and more. By the late 1980s, virtually 90 percent of all immigration to the United States – including Asian immigration – was through the kinship categories. And by the 1990s, the vast majority of these immigrants were from Asia and Latin America. The top countries of origin of authorized immigrants to the United States today include Mexico, China, India, the Philippines, the Dominican Republic, Vietnam, and El Salvador.

As Asian and Latin immigrants began to dominate the family-based immigration system in the 1970s and 1980s, somehow the preference for family reunification made less sense to some policymakers. Since the early 1980s, attacking kinship categories – especially the sibling category – has become a political sport played every few years. Often the complaint is based on arguments such as we should be bringing in skilled immigrants, a point system would be better, and in the case of the sibling category, brothers and sisters are not part of the “nuclear” family. Proposals to eliminate or reduce family immigration were led by Senator Alan Simpson throughout the 1980s, Congressman Bruce Morrison in 1990, and Senator Simpson and Congressman Lamar Smith in 1996. As prelude to the RAISE Act, the Senate actually passed S.744 in 2013 that would have eliminated family categories and installed a point system in exchange for a legalization program for undocumented immigrants.

Pitting so-called “merit-based” visas in opposition to family visas implies that family immigration represents the soft side of immigration while point-based immigration is more about being tough and strategic. The wrongheadedness of that suggestion is that family immigration has served our country well even from a purely economic perspective. The country needs workers with all levels of skill, and family immigration provides many of the needed workers.

A concern that the current system raises for some policymakers is based on their belief that the vast majority of immigrants who enter in kinship categories are working class or low-skilled. They wonder whether this is good for the country. Interestingly enough, many immigrants who enter in the sibling category actually are highly skilled. The vast majority of family immigrants are working age, who arrive anxious to work and ready to put their time and sweat into the job. But beyond that oversight by the complainants, what we know about the country and its general need for workers in the short and long terms is instructive.

The Wharton School of Business projects that the RAISE Act would actually lead to less economic growth and fewer jobs. Job losses would emerge because domestic workers will not fill all the jobs that current types of immigrant workers would have filled. In the long run, per capita GDP would dip. Furthermore, in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’s forecast of large-growth occupations, most jobs require only short- or moderate-term on-the-job training, suggesting lower skilled immigrants could contribute to meeting the demand for these types of jobs.

The economic data on today’s kinship immigrants are favorable for the country. The entry of low-skilled as well as high-skilled immigrants leads to faster economic growth by increasing the size of the market, thereby boosting productivity, investment, and technological practice. Technological advances are made by many immigrants who are neither well-educated nor well-paid. Moreover, many kinship-based immigrants open new businesses that employ natives as well as other immigrants; this is important because small businesses are now the most important source of new jobs in the United States. The current family-centered system results in designers, business leaders, investors, and Silicon Valley–type engineers. And much of the flexibility available to American entrepreneurs in experimenting with risky labor-intensive business ventures is afforded by the presence of low-wage immigrant workers. In short, kinship immigrants contribute greatly to this country’s vitality and growth, beyond the psychological benefits to family members who are able to reunite.

The preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights highlights the unity of the family as the “foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world” for good reason. Our families make us whole. Our families define us as human beings. Our families are at the center of our most treasured values. Our families make the nation strong.

Bill Ong Hing is the Founder and General Counsel of the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, and Professor of Law and Migration Studies, University of San Francisco”


Unhappily, America has a sad history of using bogus arguments about the economy and protecting American labor to justify racist immigration acts.  Among other things, the Chinese Exclusion Act was supposed to protect the U.S. against the adverse effects of “coolie labor.”

I find it remarkable that those pushing the RASE Act are so ready to damage American families, the fabric of our society, and our economy in a futile attempt to achieve their White Nationalist vision.



Supremes Drop Back, Boot It Deep, J. Gorsuch Calls For Fair Catch, Play To Resume In Fall Quarter! — I.O.W. They “Punted” The 3 Remaining Immigration Cases On The Fall 2016 Docket!

Actually, only two of them”went to Gorsuch,” that is, were set for re-arguement next Fall, presumably because the Justices were tied 4-4. The other case was kicked back to the 9th Circuit to reconsider in light of Ziglar v. Abbasi, the Court’s recent decision on “Bivens actions.” Here’s a link to my prior Ziglar blog:

You can read all about it over on ImmigrationProf Blog in a short article by Dean Kevin Johnson at this link:




BIG ISSUE: Right To Counsel In Expedited Removal!

ImmigratonProf Blog reports:

“Posted at the request of Kari Hong and Stephen Manning:

“We are authoring an amicus brief supporting access to private counsel in expedited removal.  In United States v. Peralta-Sanchez, 847 F.3d 1124 (9th Cir. 2017),the Ninth Circuit (2-1) held that there is no statutory or constitutional right for non-citizens to have access to counsel in expedited removal proceedings.  The brilliant federal defender Kara Hartzler argued the case and filed an en banc petition.

 This amicus brief filed by law professors, practitioners, and clinicians supports the request of Mr. Peralta-Sanchez for a recognized right to access to counsel.
The amicus brief makes three points (1) There is a significant private interest at stake given that expedited removal extends to those with claims to potential remedies (including asylum seekers and long-term residents), to those whom are mistakenly found not to have status when they are citizens or lawful permanent residents, and to those who live within 100 miles of the border, which reaches 66% of the U.S. population; (2) The right to counsel will improve accuracy of the determinations made in expedited removal proceedings to correct these recent and documented errors.  A 2016 study documented a substantial rate of success for immigrants with representation compared to those without in other immigration proceedings.  All reasonable inferences then support that the presence of counsel will ensure that those entitled to protections due in expedited removal proceedings will receive then; (3) The costs to the Government if non-citizens are permitted to hire private counsel are minimal.  Any delay arising from the adjudication of expedited removal proceedings form the presence of counsel arises as individuals entitled to protections simply receive them.  There is no compulsion for the Government to incur the costs of detention when alternatives to detention are available, less costly, more humane, and as effective.  There is no compulsion for the Government to hire a new corps of attorneys to contest these adjudications.  The USCIS routinely processes claims by non-citizens, including those with private counsel.  No disadvantage to the Government has occurred not to contest these proceedings, which include affirmative asylum claims, adjudication applications, and naturalization applications.
The amicus will be filed on Monday, April 17.  The final draft will be completed over the weekend and circulated when finished.  For those who wish to sign onto the brief, please sign here.
The deadline for signing will be 10:00 am ET on Monday, April 17.”
This issue is huge. DHS is considering expanding “expedited removal” to include all individuals who can’t prove that they have been in the U.S. continuously for two years. Without the assistance of counsel, many individuals who have been here for a substantial period of time but do not have any “proof” readily available will be arrested, detained, and railroaded out of the country without being given a reasonable chance to establish that they should be entitled to a full due process hearing before a U.S. Immigration Judge at which they could apply for relief.

EAST BAY EXPRESS: Are U.S. Immigration Court Hearings For Unrepresented Individuals Unconstitutional? Darwin BondGrahm Seems To Think So — Perhaps Darwin Is Right!

Darwin BondGraham reports in a profile of justice at the U.S. Immigration Court in San Francisco, CA:

“Ilyce Shugall can rattle off a similarly long list of due-process problems. The directing attorney of Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto, Shugall is one of a couple dozen pro-bono lawyers who try to provide counsel to a fraction of the people facing deportation in San Francisco.

“Procedural protections don’t really exist, despite the consequences of banishment,” she said at a recent legal symposium held by the Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice in Berkeley. “There’s no right to an attorney, but the government is represented in every case by an ICE attorney.”

As Shugall sees it, the ICE attorney also has a kind of home-field advantage: Being in the same courtrooms day-in, day-out, allows an attorney to establish better rapport with judges.

And the judges and ICE attorneys all have the same boss: The President of the United States.

The immigration judges are employees of the Executive Office for Immigration Review, which is overseen by the attorney general — they’re not members of the independent judicial branch of government. The ICE attorneys work for the Department of Homeland Security.

Over her career practicing immigration law, Shugall said she’s seen ICE attorneys frequently miss filing deadlines without consequences; file motions on the day of a hearing, preventing review by the defense; and withhold records in a case from the person being targeted for deportation, thereby forcing them to file a burdensome Freedom of Information Act request to get the documents.

She’s also seen extended detention result, countless times, in what Mr. Gonzales apparently did in Judge Murry’s courtroom this past December: Give up on his case and beg to be deported, just to get escape the misery of jail.”


The full article, which I found through ImmigrationProf Blog, is well worth a read.

I think that the Administration’s ill-advised “pedal to the metal” detention and removal plans, combined with elimination of funding for various Government sponsored outreach, information, and self-help programs is very likely to bring the due process weaknesses of the current U.S. Immigration Court system to a head.

I would not be surprised if a U.S. District Judge somewhere issues a TRO preventing the Government from proceeding in certain types of cases unless the individual is represented. After all, the Government was recently blocked in the 9th Circuit from proceeding against incompetent individuals without establishing some viable system for determining competency and representing those determined to be incompetent.

I also predict that the Administration’s ill-conceived plan to “jack up” detention, particularly by using private facilities which have been determined to have a greater incidence of problematic conditions, is likely to result in major “conditions of detention” litigation and, perhaps, further intervention by the Article III Courts.

Rather than studying the situation and looking for ways to fix our broken immigration justice system so that individuals receive the due process to which they are entitled, the Trump Administration seems determined to make matters worse by turning up the volume. That’s likely to have unhappy consequences not only for the individuals, but also for the Administration.




Instant Summary Of New TRAC Immigration Court Reports By Dean Kevin Johnson On ImmigrationProf: Courts Are Peddling Faster But Going Backwards — Backlog Now Tops 542,000!

“Unfortunately, this growth in case completions has been insufficient to stem the growing backlog of cases still waiting for resolution before the Immigration Court. At the end of January 2017, the court’s backlog had increased to a record 542,411. Even if no additional cases were filed, the backlog now represents over a two and a half year workload for the court’s judges, based upon its current capacity to handle the matters before it.”


Needless to say, the Trump Administrations’s ill-conceived “max enforcement – no common sense or judgment” program — as announced by DHS today — will completely “tank” what remains of due process in the U.S. Immigration Courts. Unless Congress steps in (highly unlikely) with legislation to establish an independent Article I Court which sets its own priorities, the entire immigration justice system is headed for collapse. Then, it will be up to the Article III courts to decide what, if anything, the Constitution requires for due process in immigration and what, if anything, the Executive Branch must do to reform the system. Stay tuned.




ImmigrationProf: Professor Lauren Gilbert Reports On Effect Of EO On Detention Center

“With all attention on the Muslim ban and building The Wall, the Trump Administration seems to have diverted our attention from their other plans to roll out the January 25, 2017 Executive Order on Border Security. Although that Executive Order includes a lot of language regarding The Wall, there’s also other troubling language that the Administration already appears to be implementing. Two of my students and I spent all of Friday at a detention facility with students and a faculty member from another area law school. We were amazed by the number and diversity of folks in detention. Our students did know-your-rights presentations to different groups, intakes, and talked with as many folks as we could. I would summarize my observations about what we saw as follows. While the Executive Order on border security appears to authorize immediate construction of the wall, it also does the following:

Calls for the expansion of expedited removal to anyone not in U.S. for the last two years
Build and expand use of detention facilities and contracts with local law enforcement Detain Central American asylum seekers with pending claims, even those who’ve been released on parole and passed credible fear
Dramatically limit use of parole to humanitarian situations
Use ICE/ERO and alternatives to detention to round up parolees
Use local law enforcement to arrest and detain immigrants and asylum seekers
This implementation is bound to affect many of the women and children we served at Karnes, Texas last December, both those women who passed their CFIs as well as the women who were released on their own recognizance. It also affects many other immigrants in our community without secure immigration status.”




Is Trump’s Plan To Remove 3 Million “Criminal Aliens” Achievable?

“No,” says Professor and Immigration Practitioner Kari Hong of Boston College Law School in this op-ed in the Washington Post:

“If Trump truly wants to focus on drug dealers, terrorists, murderers and rapists, he should call on Congress to restore immigration law’s focus on those whom prosecutors and criminal judges determined were dangerous in the first place — people who were sentenced to five years or more in prison. That’s what the law used to be, before it was changed in 1996 to cover many more crimes.

Instead of penalizing immigrants for minor crimes, immigration law needs to separate contributing immigrants from their non-contributing peers. Those who pay taxes, have children born in the United States, serve in the military, work in jobs American citizens will not take or help those around them need a path to legalization. Those who cause more harm than good should be deported. Restoring proportionality and common sense to immigration law would certainly help make America great again.”


Go over to ImmigrationProf Blog and the Washington Post at the above link and get the whole story.