Immigration Policy

Immigration Policy

Immigration Detention Should Not Be a Death Sentence

The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has begun to sweep through facilities holding immigrant detainees, including detainees with underlying conditions that put them at high risk of death if exposed to the virus. The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) should immediately embark on an aggressive program of supervised release and alternative-to-detention (ATD) programs for those in its custody. Immigrant detention serves two main purposes, to ensure that non-citizens appear for their removal proceedings and, in rare cases, to protect the public. However, well-structured ATD programs can accomplish these goals for the overwhelming majority of detainees. As it stands, continued detention will endanger detainees, detention staff, court officials, health care providers, and the public. The administration should recognize the scale of this emergency and act now.

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Humanitarian Crisis of “Staggering” Dimensions Heightens in Idlib

Omar al-Muqdad – a prominent journalist, documentary filmmaker, and former Syrian refugee – writes a regular blog for CMS titled, “Dispatches from the Global Crisis in Refugee Protection.” This series covers the Syrian Civil War, the experiences of Syria’s immense and far-flung refugee population, the global crisis in refugee protection, religious persecution, and US refugee and immigration policies. Mr. al-Muqdad’s work has been featured by the BBC, CNN, and in many other media outlets. Resettled in the United States in 2012, Mr. al-Muqdad became a US citizen in Spring 2018. CMS features this series in its weekly Migration Update and on its website.

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The Use of Executive Orders and Proclamations to Create Immigration Policy: Trump in Historical Perspective

This article examines presidential immigration policy making through executive orders (EOs) and proclamations. It finds that Donald Trump’s overall volume of EOs has been remarkably similar to that of other presidents, while his number of proclamations has been relatively high. However, his immigration-related EOs and proclamations diverge from those of his predecessors in several ways. Of the 56 immigration-related EOs and 64 proclamations issued since 1945, one percent of all EOs and proclamations have been immigration related, compared to eight percent of Trump’s EOs and 2.4 percent of Trump’s proclamations. In a sharp departure from previous presidents, a greater share of Trump’s EOs and proclamations have been substantive policy-making documents intended to restrict admissions of legal immigrants and increase enforcement along the border and in the interior of the United States. This article explores Trump’s unorthodox use of executive tools to make immigration policy, circumventing Congress and even members of his own administration. It recommends that Congress reassert its power over US immigration law and policy.

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CMSONAIR | Josiah Heyman on Border Patrol Culture and a Positive Vision of the Borderlands

This episode of CMSOnAir features an interview with Josiah Heyman, Professor of Anthropology, Endowed Professor of Border Trade Issues, and Director of the University of Texas, El Paso’s Center for Inter-American and Border Studies. CMS’s communications coordinator Emma Winters asks Josiah Heyman about a CMS Essay he authored with Jeremy Slack and Daniel E. Martínez. The essay, titled “Why Border Patrol Agents and CBP Officers Should Not Serve as Asylum Officers,” examines findings from the Migrant Border Crossing Survey and concludes that US Border Patrol agents and other CBP officers should not serve as asylum officers because they “abuse migrants, physically and verbally, with significant frequency.” In the episode, Josiah Heyman also presents a positive vision of the US-Mexico border and lifts up Annunciation House as an example of the openness and generosity of border communities.

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What’s Wrong with Temporary Protected Status and How to Fix It

This paper evaluates the purpose and effectiveness of the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) statute and identifies inadequacies in the TPS regime and related protection gaps in the US asylum system. It argues that TPS has not proven to be an effective mechanism for the United States to protect foreigners from generalized conditions of danger in their home countries. It calls for changing the US protection regime to make it more responsive to the risks many asylum seekers actually face by creating a broader “complementary protection” standard and a more effective procedure for assessing individual protection claims, while reserving “temporary protection” for rare situations of mass influx that overwhelm the government’s capacity to process individual asylum claims. Considering alternative models for complementary protection from other jurisdictions, this article proposes that the United States adopt an individualized complementary protection standard for arriving asylum seekers who are not able to meet the 1951 Refugee Convention standard but who would face a serious threat to life or physical integrity if returned because of a real risk of (1) cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment; (2) violence; or (3) exceptional situations, for which there is no adequate domestic remedy.

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Cynthia S. Gorman of West Virginia University reviews Refuge Lost: Asylum Law in an Interdependent World by Daniel Ghezelbash. As Europe deals with a so-called ‘refugee crisis,’ Australia’s harsh border control policies have been suggested as a possible model for...

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New from IMR: Generational Differences, Work, and Social Change

The Winter 2019 edition of the International Migration Review (IMR) is now available online and in print through paid or institutional subscription. This edition is sorted thematically into four sections. The first section is about enforcement and uncertainty facing immigrants. The second section has articles that examine family and social change, including an article on ethnic and generational differences in gender role attitudes among immigrant populations in Britain. The third section analyzes selectivity and immigration policy. The fourth section features two articles about gender and work, one about migrant domestic workers in Spain and one about itinerancy among Filipino and Indonesian domestic workers. Lastly, this edition has four new book reviews, which are free to access.

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“There Is No Safe Place”: Displacement and Flight from Idlib

Omar al-Muqdad – a prominent journalist, documentary filmmaker, and former Syrian refugee – writes a regular blog for CMS titled, “Dispatches from the Global Crisis in Refugee Protection.” This series covers the Syrian Civil War, the experiences of Syria’s immense and far-flung refugee population, the global crisis in refugee protection, religious persecution, and US refugee and immigration policies. Mr. al-Muqdad’s work has been featured by the BBC, CNN, and in many other media outlets. Resettled in the United States in 2012, Mr. al-Muqdad became a US citizen in Spring 2018. CMS features this series in its weekly Migration Update and on its website.

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DACA and the Supreme Court: How We Got to This Point, a Statistical Profile of Who Is Affected, and What the Future May Hold for DACA Beneficiaries

In June 2012, the Obama administration announced the establishment of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which sought to provide work authorization and a temporary reprieve from deportation to eligible undocumented young immigrants who had arrived in the United States as minors. Hundreds of thousands of youth applied for the program, which required providing extensive evidence of identity, age, residence, education, and good moral character. The program allowed its recipients to pursue higher education, to access more and better job opportunities, and to deepen their social ties in the United States. This paper provides a statistical portrait of DACA recipients based on administrative data from US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and estimates drawn from the 2017 American Community Survey (ACS) Census data. Beyond its statistical portrait, the paper provides testimonies from DACA recipients who recount how the program improved their lives and their concerns over its possible termination. It also recommends passage of legislation that would create a path to citizenship for DACA recipients and programs and policies to support and empower young immigrants.

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