Exploring New Approaches to Unsettled Legal Questions

Tag: Immigration Law Page 1 of 2

Who Counts as Extraordinary? Allowing Foreign College Athletes to Receive O-1 Visas

By Kristian Lundberg*

As college students across a variety of sports enjoy their new freedom to profit from their names, images, and likenesses, one group of student-athletes remains left out of this $1 billion industry: F-1 visa holders. Because F-1 visas restrict opportunities for student employment, foreign college athletes may begin to look to the O-1 visa—bestowed upon immigrants of “extraordinary ability”—to benefit from the new name, image, and likeness (“NIL”) regime. The O-1 visa would not restrict its holder from entering the NIL market, but obtaining such a visa has required meeting stringent evidentiary burdens that many professional athletes have failed to overcome. This Contribution highlights the benefits of NIL rights for college athletes and suggests a rethinking of the O-1 “extraordinary ability” visa to level the playing field by allowing foreign college athletes to participate in the NIL market on par with their domestic peers.

Immutable Skills: The Validity of Career-Based Asylum Categories

by Nathaniel Brodsky*

Federal asylum law requires that all “particular social groups,” the persecuted identity upon which an asylum claim is based, demonstrate three qualities: immutability, particularity, and social distinction. While courts have historically rejected careers as particular social groups, since people can change jobs and that characteristic is therefore not immutable, this Contribution argues that a more professionalized career—based on the past experience of acquiring specialized skills—is a valid particular social group under asylum law precedent.

Barred from Birthright: The Constitutional Case for American Samoan Citizenship

by Tess Saperstein*

Unlike those born in any other United States territory, American Samoans are saddled with the ambiguous legal status of “nationals, but not citizens, of the United States.” American Samoans have repeatedly sued, arguing that they are entitled to birthright citizenship. However, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and the Tenth Circuit have denied their claims, relying on the Insular Cases, a series of early twentieth century Supreme Court decisions dealing with territories acquired as a result of the Spanish-American War. Nonetheless, the modern Court has repeatedly expressed its reluctance to extend the logic of the Insular Cases because of their racist underpinnings. This Contribution argues for the Court to overturn the Insular Cases and grant American Samoans birthright citizenship.

Falsifying a Social Security Number Is Not Morally Turpitudinous

by Claire Lisker*

A conviction for a “crime involving moral turpitude” renders an undocumented immigrant ineligible for cancellation of removal, a discretionary form of relief that the Attorney General may grant to individuals who have remained in the United States for ten or more years. This Contribution argues that falsifying a Social Security number, as criminalized under 42 U.S.C. § 408(a)(7)(B), is not a crime involving moral turpitude.

Dismantling Crimmigration: Why No One Should Be Deported for a “Crime Involving Moral Turpitude”

by Kameron Johnston*

Crimmigration is the intersection of immigration law and criminal law. At this intersection, officials are widening the net of deportable offenses at an alarming rate to make immigrants more susceptible to removal. The “crime involving moral turpitude” provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act has been one means by which officials have arbitrarily expanded the reasons why a person may be deported out of the United States. But is the moral turpitude provision in 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(2)(A)(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act—used to justify deporting “criminal aliens,” including lawful permanent residents—void for vagueness pursuant to the Fifth Amendment? In this Contribution, Kameron Johnston (’21) argues that the recent Supreme Court decisions Johnson v. United States and Sessions v. Dimaya require that the exacting vagueness test used in criminal contexts be applied to immigration law as well. Finally, this Contribution demonstrates that the moral turpitude provision has provoked unpredictability and judicial confusion that simply cannot be reconciled with the fair notice and enforcement standards that due process demands.

All Hands on Deck: Preserving the Humanity of Asylum Through Meaningful Judicial Review

by Susan Levinson*

How can asylum applicants and their advocates safeguard their rights to a fair, impartial consideration of their claims when the Board of Immigration Appeals has virtually complete discretion in its decisions? In this Contribution, Susan Levinson (’19) argues that the lack of procedural safeguards built into the asylum process, coupled with the Court’s generally deferential, hands-off approach in the immigration context, deprive vulnerable applicants of their right under due process to a fair, impartial consideration of their claims. Ultimately, this Contribution recommends judicial, regulatory, and legislative reforms to protect legitimate asylum claims.

Immigration and the Second Amendment: Why Undocumented Immigrants Are Entitled to the Fundamental Right to Possess Firearms

by Kathy Buckalew*

Do undocumented immigrants have Second Amendment rights? Can they be categorically banned from possessing firearms? In this Contribution, Kathy Buckalew (’19) examines the constitutionality of a categorical ban on possession of firearms and ammunition by undocumented immigrants. The Contribution argues that undocumented immigrants living in the United States have the same individual right to keep and bear arms for purposes of self-defense as do United States citizens. Therefore, undocumented immigrants cannot be categorically prohibited from possessing firearms absent an affirmative showing by the government that such a prohibition is substantially related to the achievement of an important government interest.

“Reliable, Specific, and Objective”: The Scope of Judicial Review of Documentary Evidence in Asylum Decisions

by Deirdre Dlugoleski*

Under what standard should courts of appeals review decisions of the Board of Immigration Appeals regarding supporting documentation in asylum cases? In this Contribution, Deirdre Dlugoleski (’19) explains the role of supporting documentation entered into evidence in asylum cases by the applicant, the government, and the Immigration Judge and the standard for admission. The Contribution argues that the scope of substantial evidence review of supporting documentation should be broad, and that courts play an important role in holding the BIA accountable for basing its decisions on reliable information.

Rights on ICE: A Determination Delayed is Due Process Denied

by Sharon Turret*

How long may Immigration and Customs Enforcement detain a noncitizen before he or she must go before a judge? In this Contribution, Sharon Turret (’18) analyzes the Due Process Clause issues with a “reasonableness” test for length of detention and the need for a bright-line rule. This Contribution argues that the Due Process Clause requires a bright-line rule that the length of detention be presumed unreasonable after six months. That very bright-line rule is now before the Supreme Court in Jennings v. Rodriguez.

A Catch-22? The Social Distinction Requirement for Asylum

by Clay Venetis*

Is the Board of Immigration Appeals’ (“BIA”) test for determining whether an asylum-seeker qualifies as a refugee too restrictive? Clay Venetis (’17) addresses this question based on his experience at the Asylum and Refugee Law National Moot Court Competition, held at the University of California Davis School of Law in March 2016. In order to obtain protection from persecution on the basis of their membership in a group not specified in the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”), asylum-seekers must show that their particular social group possesses “societal distinction” — recognition by society in general, and not just the alleged government persecutors — in their country of origin. This Contribution argues that the “societal distinction” requirement creates a “catch-22” that unfairly denies asylum to those who deserve it, and urges courts to adopt a more flexible, case-by-case approach to determining whether an individual qualifies for asylum.

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