Practicing, teaching, & writing on US #immigrationlaw. Managing @massimmlaw, co-directing @GoldenStairsImm. Triple Gemini. Chaotic Good. Class war criminal.
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30 Jun 20
1/ By amending no more than THREE WORDS of the Immigration & Nationality Act, Congress could amend a 91-yr-old law to grant a pathway to citizenship to millions of undocumented Americans in a piece of legislation shorter than this tweet.

Really: three words!

Here's how:
2/ Loosely speaking, the U.S. had virtually open borders for everyone other than Chinese/East Asians until 1917.

The visa system was then formalized in 1924 based on white supremacist "national origins quotas" explicitly designed to favor white northern/western Europeans.
3/ As strange as this is to think of today, we simply weren't keeping good track of who was coming to the country at a federal level until 1906 and there was no mandatory requirement that new immigrants register with the government once here.

There wouldn't be until 1940.
Read 24 tweets
29 Jun 20
13,400 employees of a mismanaged federal agency are losing their paychecks at the worst possible time--a scandal by any definition, but even worse when you factor in the many thousands of immigrants with pending citizenship applications who now may not be able to vote in November
USCIS has always been 95%+ funded by the extremely expensive filing fees paid by immigrants themselves. This is why it never closes even during government shutdowns, and why it hasn't depended on Congressional appropriations generally.

So how did this happen? A few things:
DHS claims that new filings have been way down since the #COVID19 lockdowns began. And I'm sure that's true: A typical greencard through marriage costs $1760 in filing fees alone--a lot for any family facing economic uncertainty.

But there's a lot more going on here.
Read 20 tweets
25 Jun 20
1/ 48 hours after Trump's ICE was given the green light to use "expedited removal" to deport non-citizens ANYWHERE IN THE US w/o seeing a judge first, #SCOTUS has today confirmed that this power is unreviewable. I'm reading the decision now, initial thoughts below
2/ Alito writes for the majority, and in case you had any doubt about where he's been getting his news he leads with the Fox/#TantonNetwork view of #asylum. (FYI, the fact that most asylum apps are not granted is not a valid argument against asylum, but that's for another day.)
3/ In 1996 Congress (working closely with the Clinton admin) passed the single worst immigration bill in modern American history, aka #IIRIRA. Among many other terrible things, this bill both created the expedited removal process & strictly limited review of ERs in the courts
Read 40 tweets
22 Jun 20
1/ A few quick notes on Trump's desperate move today to suspend most non-immigrant labor visas, starting with this:

It's a proclamation, not an executive order.

Is there a difference? Not really! Does it matter? No. Trump sure does love his proclamations though!
2/ First, the suspension of new immigrant visas (the basis for greencards) from April is extended, bc nothing says "we love immigrants, so long as they do it the right way!" like slamming the door on the "right way" for people who have already been waiting for months, if not yrs
3/ This thing is in effect until the end of 2020, at which point the administration is delusionally "assuming the conclusion of the economic contraction" even as we're facing down the barrel of a second wave, record mass unemployment, and an economy in freefall
Read 20 tweets
11 Jun 20

Yesterday's proposed regs are just so full of awful ideas that I've had a lot of trouble reading more than a few pages at a time; there are at least 5 other terrible changes to the law just on this page. But a presumption of denial for gender-based #asylum is truly a new low.
I'm sure if you asked they'd tell you that they were trying to keep applicants from getting around the Sessions-era decision (mostly) ending protections for domestic violence victims by claiming that they were actually persecuted for their gender. But this is *way* more than that
Read 6 tweets
11 Jun 20
Trump's proposed strict #asylum rules are the logical apotheosis of his ongoing war on the very concept of asylum. They will become permanent if he gets 4 more yrs. People will die and/or see life as they know it end. Sure Dems suck, but pls stop telling me they're "just as bad"
This is not a defense of Obama, or Biden, or the weakass Dems generally. But it has become an absurd article of faith on the left that Obama was "just as bad" on immigration as Trump is now. Try telling that to anyone who has tried to stop deportations under both administrations
Yes, Obama on paper deported more people. His admin purposely achieved that # by tweaking definition of "deportation" & including expulsions from the border for the 1st time. Not great! But internal deportations--the ones which ruin families & destroy American lives--were down
Read 7 tweets
5 Jun 20
As Americans continue to gather for justice & real change, @DOJ_EOIR has been closing #immigrationcourts in major urban centers throughout the US early due to "civil unrest"--but Eloy is well outside of Phoenix in the AZ desert. Are the rattlesnakes rising up, or
Just a few examples from the last few days
Read 6 tweets
1 Jun 20
1/ Trump seems to be doing everything he possibly can today to be sure that he will seem to have no choice but to invoke the Insurrection Act to deploy the military into American cities.

I don't have to tell you how bad this is. But I do have to tell you how it came to be legal
2/ Necessary disclaimer: this is a bit out of my lane, but I did a lot of research on the lawful use of the military on U.S. soil for this @newrepublic piece on Trump's probably-illegal use of National Guard to enforce immigration law at the border

3/ The Insurrection Act of 1806 was originally designed to be used as little as possible, and carefully circumscribed federal (and especially executive) authority. It had to, as the principle of "posse comitatus" is supposed to keep the military out of domestic law enforcement
Read 20 tweets
1 Jun 20
Not even three months ago I noted that CBP had established a foothold in blue cities which would start to allow them to do things well beyond their agency mandate and increasingly resemble a general federal police force before November.

Really wish I'd been wrong on this one.
ICYMI, here's that thread from Feb. At the time, I called sending CBP strike teams to sanctuary cities "the fashiest thing Trump has done yet." Seems like so many years ago now

lol not even *four* months ago, you know like 2006 or whatever
Read 3 tweets
1 Jun 20
FYI, the only cases these courts are doing rn are those of people in ICE custody who will now have to be held for weeks longer if their cases (many of which may ultimately have them released from custody) aren't able to be heard today. This is not a win.
but I've never seen the phrase "due to civil unrest" actually ever used by the government before and I'm going to be thinking about this tweet for a long time
Read 3 tweets
1 Jun 20
@0331lmv Whoever it is I can't believe it would actually be antifa from what I'm seeing
@0331lmv To be clear for anyone reading this in the future I am talking specifically about the crowd which swarmed the police cruiser and set it on fire. Something was really off about that.
@0331lmv I support protests led by affected communities, but large groups of shifty white kids in hoodies showing up to co-opt this kind of thing get me on edge
Read 3 tweets
29 May 20
@DropkickMurphys There's no substitute for live music, I miss it the most. But tonight's free live show at Fenway is art unto itself, be sure to catch a few minutes if you can
@DropkickMurphys It's a short list but this is the best use of a historic site for a show with no audience since @pinkfloyd's played Pompeii
Read 3 tweets
27 May 20
I've seen this episode of "Messiah," & to the extent that I could (and this is true) stop laughing through most of it the portrayal of ICE detention was one of the few things I thought it basically got *right.*

Here's a thread on just a few of the things it didn't:

2/ Up top: "Messiah" is smart TV for stupid people. It's Very Serious #resistance theater.

I haven't seen "Homeland," but I guess it's a similar setup except instead of being a possible terrorist our guy (hereinafter "Sexy Jesus") might *also* be the Second Coming, or something
3/ Anyway, all you really need to know is that Sexy Jesus has magicked himself from an Israeli interrogation cell to work a miracle in Dilley, Texas.

If that town sounds familiar, it's bc it has been a major family detention center since the Obama yrs.

Read 57 tweets
18 May 20
did anybody stop and think "you know, it's just not going to get any better than this & all of human history is just a slow slide into the void from here" at the point at which @Neilyoung and @PearlJam did a whole-ass album together, bc looking back 1995 was it. That was the year
all in '95:
-cool young President who played the saxophone on TV
-deficit going down
-'90s econ. boom popping off
-Simpsons Season 7
-"Gangsta's Paradise" top song of yr
-OJ trial on TV
-world's last yr w/p Fox News
-aforementioned @neilyoung /@pearljam jams
-no US wars
*w/o Fox News
Read 3 tweets
15 May 20
Thanks to #StephenMiller, this ream of paperwork is now the minimum required for the spouse of a U.S. citizen to receive a greencard. (And this is *before* we've included evidence of the relationship.)

This is the easiest possible way to immigrate to the United States in 2020.
And by "this" I mean an immediate relative visa. Filing for a parent or child under 21 would require the same stack, thanks to the absurdly expansive new #publiccharge rule which #StephenMiller has (and this is true) wanted to impose on new immigrants since he was 15 yrs old.
FWIW, this client is exactly the kind of immigrant Trump and Miller explicitly want more of: a wealthy English-speaking European entrepreneur ready to innovate in a vital STEM field and create American jobs. Really rolling out the red carpet here, guys
Read 3 tweets
14 May 20
Made the mistake of rejoining the #BrightHearing just in time to hear @RepBuddyCarter demonstrate that he doesn't know the difference between supporting clinical trials & supporting distribution of a drug before testing. These people are truly going to get us all killed
Carter was seriously asking Dr. #Bright if he'd changed his mind about hydroxychloroquine after he learned that Trump liked it. The witness patiently noted that he has always supported proper clinical trials, but that he had concerns about Trump's attempts to "bypass" science
What is it with these people and hydroxychloroquine? Do they just have to say these things because Trump and the right-wing media universe have been pushing it, or is there something else going on here? Seriously, what is this about
Read 3 tweets
14 May 20
Idk why I'm thinking about this now, but remember how goshdarn *mad* Republicans pretended to be during the #Kavanaugh/impeachment hearings? Not righteous anger, the kind of mad when you're wrong & just want that feeling to go.

What was that like? Must have been weird for them
No sympathy for these goons here, just curiosity.

I sometimes feel real righteous anger on behalf of my clients. It's a clarifying fire, and I've learned to trust and channel its confidence when it comes. I saw nothing like that in these performances. Just a lot of bad actors
Anger is by definition righteous when it is on behalf of others. MLK expressed it like no one else, calling it a "transforming force."

I've come with some reluctance to believe that this kind of anger is the only path to true justice, to getting us all free
Read 7 tweets
14 May 20
lol (actual)

Has anything like this ever happened in the entire history of American federal criminal law? Because now's the time for sure
-#Flynn admits to the court not once but TWICE that he lied to the FBI
-At Trump/Barr's direction, DOJ gives an excuse to drop case before Flynn's sentencing so dumbass that
-Judge refuses to accept motion to dismiss and
-APPOINTS A THIRD PARTY to argue against DOJ's motion
Read 3 tweets
13 May 20
1/ Real talk: we can (and should) dunk all day on the credulous fools & cynical grifters desperately pushing the #ObamaGate / #SubpoenaObama narrative, but it is if nothing else a bleak reminder that most of this country has no more than a 4th-grade understanding of basic civics.
2/ Obama had credible evidence--entirely apart from the Steele dossier, which also FWIW came from a credible source & had plenty of truth in it--that a Presidential campaign was, to some degree, coordinating with a foreign power. That's more than enough to open an investigation.
3/ #MichaelFlynn was known by then to be operating as an unregistered agent for Turkey, & involved in a plan to unlawfully kidnap a foreign national w/no criminal charges from the US for torture/imprisonment. Also in touch with Russia, for some reason? That's an investigation.
Read 17 tweets
13 May 20
There's a story in @peterpomeranzev's "Nothing Is True & Everything Is Possible" I think about all the time re: an importer jailed by Putin's DEA for possession of legal cleaning chems bc his pals wanted the contract.

We're a little closer to living in that country every day.
Even if you didn't already know that DOJ's appalling corruption in the Flynn case was a threat to the health & future of anything resembling the pretense of what the US. citizenship exam still calls the "rule of law," you have no excuse after this letter

United States Senator @RandPaul immediately wrote this letter's signatories off as "deep state" operatives, arguably as much as of a problem as Barr's ugly hackery itself. These people are actively destabilizing the United States in front of us, w/#MAGA nation cheering them on
Read 9 tweets
7 May 20
Plot twist: RBG sent the "illegal immigration for financial gain" #SCOTUS case I discussed with the @RedirectPod guys a few months ago back to the 9th Cir with a bullet, instructing them to review the case the parties had actually raised. Oof
In his concurrence, Thomas takes the opportunity to gripe about the overbreadth doctrine itself--with a bonus cite to Roberts's dissent in the Court's landmark marriage equality case because, sure, okay--and whinge on a bit more about "preferred rights"
This was a unanimous decision, which means that one of the few things #SCOTUS has been able to agree on recently is that they *really* don't want to consider whether my entire career might be charged as a federal crime. Some clarity on that point would have been nice, but ok
Read 3 tweets