Refugees In The Empire State: A Panel Discussion – 8/20/18

Refugees In The Empire State: A Panel Discussion – 8/20/18

I was honored to participate in an hour-long panel discussion on WCNY about how President Trump’s immigration changes are affecting people in NY. The show is available via live-stream starting Monday Aug. 20 at 10 pm at A preview is currently available via the same link.

Please join me and my fellow panelists as we discuss immigration policy, and how New York State is responding to the needs of refugees and the effects they have on Central New York communities.

Cornell University Panel on Trump’s Immigration Executive Actions

Cornell University Panel on Trump’s Immigration Executive Actions

On Friday, September 8, I moderated a panel at Cornell Law School analyzing President Trump’s immigration executive actions. The panelists were three eminent constitutional law scholars: Michael Dorf from Cornell, Ilya Somin from George Mason, and Eric Posner from the University of Chicago. The panel discussed both the travel ban and DACA rescission litigation and the Ninth Circuit’s September 7 decision. It also provides a good primer on plenary power and executive power generally. Toward the end, I asked the panelists for their predictions on how the Supreme Court might rule in the travel ban case. Oral arguments in that case will be held in October.

Over 200 people attended in person, and many more watched via livestream. A video of the panel discussion is at The panel discussion begins at about minute 6:30, after the introduction by law school dean Eduardo Penalver.

Cornell faculty panelists discuss immigration reform in America

Cornell faculty panelists discuss immigration reform in America

I joined fellow Cornell faculty members on a panel addressing immigration issues under the new administration. We received many audience questions on current policies and the complications of migrating to the U.S. and crossing its borders.

In response to one question, I stated the courts rather than Congress might intervene on immigration policy changes and limits to the number of refugees admitted to the U.S., but the president could enact other measures. For example, the State Department has a new form for visa applicants with questions about their recent social media usage and travel in the last 15 years.

In response to questions about the President’s mission to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, my fellow panelist, Garcia-Rios, a native of Durango, Mexico, contributed that, “we see a binational dynamic at the border”. During his first year at the University of Texas, El Paso, and after moving to El Paso he would often cross back and forth across the border to Mexico to visit family and friends or for a meal.

“Now I see a change that is more restrictive. A community that used to be binational is disrupted,” he said.

“We already effectively have a wall, just not a physical wall,” I added.


Read the article in the Cornell Chronicle, here.

Faculty, staff discuss travel ban at forum

Faculty, staff discuss travel ban at forum

The Cornell Institute for Public Affairs hosted a panel in response to recent Executive Orders. I was grateful to sit with Brendan O’Brien of the International Students and Scholars Office and Raza Rumi, a visiting CIPA lecturer and international journalist and answer questions from concerned students. Cornell deeply values its international students, and we’re here to help.

Flaws & Evolution of the U.S. Immigration Policy

Flaws & Evolution of the U.S. Immigration Policy

On Tuesday, September 27, I gave a talk entitled “Borders and Ballots” addressing the presidential candidates’ views on immigration. The article below covering the event was originally published in the Cornell Daily Sun.

Law Professor Addresses Flaws, Evolution of U.S. Immigration Policy

By Yongyu Chen
Cornell Daily Sun
September 30, 2016

Prof. Stephen Yale-Loehr ’77 JD ’81, immigration law, discussed the current state of immigration policy and how either a Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton presidency would change the issue’s evolution in Klarman Hall Tuesday.

Yale-Loehr asserted that immigration law is the the most complicated area of law in the United States.

“We are the largest immigration system in the world,” he said. “Over 10 million people come to the United States temporarily each year and over a million people immigrate permanently.”

Yale-Loehr explained that many factors — including the large numbers of immigrants, complicated categories of visas, and conflicting interests between the U.S. homeland security, state and labor departments — contribute to a system that is currently “broken.”

For example, he said, due to complicated bureaucratic processes, it can take 23 years for someone to petition for a green card for a sibling from the Philippines. Even after receiving the green card, it can take another three to five years for these immigrants to become citizens.

“Because it takes so long to get through the front door, legally, many people come through the back door, illegally,” he said.

Yale-Loehr added that processes, concerning illegal immigration, are similarly backlogged — despite due process, it takes on average 18 months to reach an immigration hearing.

He also discussed the potential immigration policies that presidential candidates Clinton and Trump would implement.

“Both of them are looking at the immigration issue,” Yale-Loehr said. “But one says [the issue is] half full; the other says it’s half empty.”

Trump aims to reduce both legal and illegal immigration, compelling employers to hire more U.S. workers, according to Yale-Loehr. He said the Republican nominee’s proposed policies aim to increase enforcement of immigration laws, repeal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, limit visas for foreign workers, institute “extreme vetting” against Muslims and require all employers to electronically verify the status of their workers.

However, Yale-Loehr noted that “at the national level, immigrants are not taking away jobs from Americans,” citing a report spearheaded by Prof. Francine Blau, economics.

The report outlines that while “immigrants are competing for jobs in the low-wage sector … immigration is not the primary reason [citizens who have not finished high school] cannot find jobs.”

On the other hand, Clinton’s policies — which include include increasing visas for workers, reducing backlogs, systemic reforms, and an increased numbers of “properly screened” refugees — reflect a “much more positive” view, according to Yale-Loehr.

He assured the audience that, either way, “it takes time to make changes in our immigration system. You don’t have to worry that these things are going to happen overnight. So don’t worry, nothing is really going to happen in 2017.”

The professor concluded by recalling that the United States’s motto — E Pluribus Unum or “one out of many” — reflects the country’s pride in its immigrant origins.

“Remember that the United States is a land of immigrants,” he said. “We always have been and, as far as I know, we always will be. The more that people learn about the benefits of immigration, the more that we can get over this rhetoric and go on to becoming a better country for all.”