Volume 68 | Summer 2016 | Issue 5
For over fifteen years, I have used the image of a hotel with each floor representing different immigration statuses as a way to introduce students to the confounding immigration system we have in the United States. The analogy has served me well, and I wish to share it with others. The analogy works at several levels. Law students have survived their first year of law school by the time they get to clinical work or the doctrinal immigration law course, and many parallels with property law make some intuitive sense. The tiered nature of the analogy suggests hierarchy, inclusion and exclusion, issues of safety and protection, and benefits and limits of hospitality. In this hotel we find both legalized luxury and legalized squalor, often on the same floor. The analogy allows for discussions of conceptions of social justice and inequality. Many of the same arguments and emotions stirred by property disputes (e.g., zoning, trespass and eviction, means of acquisition) arise in immigration debates. When I started this Article, I saw the property law analogy as a useful pedagogical tool. By the time I finished it, I came to see that immigration law and property law often have been two interlocking pieces of a system of racialized and gendered exclusion and oppression. The system has come under attack and undergone change, but equal justice for many remains beyond reach.
Rachel Gonzalez Settlage
Immigrants in the United States without permanent lawful status are particularly vulnerable to domestic violence, and once in a domestic violence relationship, face unique and substantial obstacles to obtaining protection. U.S. immigration laws often exacerbate abusive situations in which battered immigrants may find themselves. In recognition of this, Congress created several forms of immigration relief for battered immigrants. However, these forms of relief were not created equally, as the two stories below demonstrate. For some battered immigrants, obtaining protection and lawful status is out of reach.
Can undocumented debtors benefit from bankruptcy relief? If so, would they consider pursuing bankruptcy relief? This Article seeks to answer these questions through an empirical study designed to explain why so few undocumented debtors appear in the bankruptcy system, as well as to tell the broader story of undocumented debtors’ experiences with debt in our economy. Specifically, the empirical study covers a broad array of questions, including what types of debts undocumented immigrants incur, experiences of undocumented immigrants with debts over the past three years, and undocumented immigrants’ experiences with the bankruptcy system. As this Article will show, these questions are all tightly interknit: Income shortfalls can make borrowing a necessity for this group, but borrowing is often accompanied by feelings of shame and trepidation.And although the ambivalence around borrowing is overcome by necessity-such that the vast majority of study participants had borrowed-shame and fear prevented study participants from seeking bankruptcy relief.
Lauren Van Driesen
American colleges and universities are in a state of crisis. Sexual violence, an issue that once lingered in the background of college life, has come to the forefront of culture and politics, shining a light on the often shocking way in which colleges and universities deal with sexual assault cases. Indeed, as of June 2015, there were 124 higher education institutions under investigation by the Department of Education for having sexual assault policies that potentially violate Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
The way in which colleges and universities respond to these complaints is not the only problem: rates of sexual assault continue to increase, placing college students at significant risk. According to a 2007 study, roughly one in five women experiences sexual assault in some form as an undergraduate student. This high rate of sexual assault plaguing college campuses has prompted students and activists to fight for victims’ rights and seek policies that will protect students from what has become an imminent harm. The White House has also been active in advocating for victims’ rights and created the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault in January 2014. In addition to circulating high-profile public service announcements featuring well-known celebrities, the Task Force has created an online resource, NotAlone.gov, to inform students of their rights under Title IX and provide easy access to required security disclosures and Title IX resolutions.
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