The question of what constitutes “a particular social group” for purposes of asylum is one of the most difficult and vexing in immigration law.
The New York Times got a copy of a 46-page memo on the changes that the Biden administration proposes to make to our broken immigration system. Unfortunately, their write-up on the memo is vague and has few details. I’m sure that there is much good in it but it would be nice if the memo itself were released so that we could judge for ourselves.
“Yet, despite widespread reporting of our racial strife, Black immigrants continue to come to America in ever increasing numbers. Once here, their belief in American greatness remains intact. If they had to come all over again, most say they would. In this we can take solace and even dare contemplate that our racial divide may be exaggerated. In any event, it can be overcome, and is overcome, every day. …
“Black immigration is a belated rebuke to the efforts of the American Colonization Society, which enticed free Blacks to move to Africa in the 19th Century. It represents a vote of confidence in America, its principles, its institutions and its people.”
Bristol County Jail is considered among immigration practitioners to be the worst immigration detention facility in New England. And Hodgson is the New England version of Sheriff Arpaio.
It took the Trump administration several years to fuck up our immigration system and it’s likely to take the Biden administration a few years to unfuck it. Meanwhile, the Republican mantra that we need to deal with border security before taking up other immigration matters is dejà vu all over again. When Obama came into office, he wanted to do comprehensive immigration reform but the Republicans in Congress said “secure the border first and then we can talk about comprehensive immigration reform.” Obama was naïve enough to take them at their word and he cracked down hard on the border, earning the title of ‘Deporter-in-Chief,” only to discover their insincerity. At that point, he changed course and did things like DACA. The Republicans are repeating the same line with the same insincerity. One hopes that Biden has learned from this experience.
I doubt very much that any kind of comprehensive immigration reform can be passed as long as the filibuster is intact. At some point, if I have the time, I will post on what I think such reform should look like.
“Migration from Central America today is primarily the result of U.S. policies that have exacerbated violence, poverty, food insecurity and climate change. Our immigration laws, one-sided trade deals, and decades of military intervention have lt hundreds of thousands of Central Americans with no choice — they must flee their homes to save their lives and the lives of their families.”
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Aside from being given sufficient resources, the immigration courts need to be given independence from the executive branch. They should be attached to the federal courts the way the bankruptcy courts are.
No word here on how Biden plans to deal with the immigration court backlog or whether he plans to give the immigration courts independence (e.g., by attaching them to the federal courts just like the bankruptcy courts).