International Law and Immigration

Ca. Int'l Law Journal SPRING 2014, VOL. 22, NO. 1

EDITOR’S COMMENTS

Fleeing the poverty and violence of their homeland, tens of thousands of Latin American migrants stream across the U.S. border, begging for refuge. The influx overwhelms the nation’s creaky immigration infrastructure, forcing federal officials to warehouse the detainees in cramped facilities under deplorable conditions. Human rights groups call for tolerance—and a path to legalization—while nativists insist that the country must stop rewarding those who enter illegally. The debate roils Washington, where the only politically viable solution appears to be mass deportations….

This scenario could be plucked straight from today’s headlines: For much of 2014, a humanitarian disaster has been brewing along the U.S.-Mexico border, as waves of desperate Central Americans, many of them young children, seek to escape one of the world’s most troubled regions. But for the subject of this edition’s "Practitioner’s Spotlight"—Niels W. Frenzen, director of the Gould School of Law’s Immigration Clinic at USC—it was the eerily similar Haitian refugee crisis of the 1980s and ’90s that moved his conscience and shaped his professional trajectory. As you’ll read in our interview, the images of Haitian boat people, having fled hunger and repression only to be corralled in barbed-wire detention facilities, confirmed to Niels that he had to "do something." He has since represented hundreds of asylum seekers and other immigrants, and we’re fortunate to have him here in California training a new generation of litigators.

The immigrants described in William Tolin Gay’s keen analysis of the EB-5 visa process hail from the other end of the spectrum. For the foreigner willing to invest $500,000 to $1,000,000 in a job-creating enterprise, the prize is permanent U.S. residency—and as Bill argues, a small tweak in the investment rules could both boost the national economy and minimize the applicant’s financial risk. In "Going Overboard," Megan K. Reid’s in-depth report on the misplaced criminalization of seafarers, we get yet another view of a man who has journeyed from his native land. She tells the harrowing story of Apostolos Mangouras, a Greek oil-tanker captain who, after losing his ship to stormy seas off the Iberian peninsula, finds himself confined to a high-security Spanish prison. Of course, there’s a lot more in these pages. I hope you’ll learn as much from these articles as I did!

The International Law Section of the California State Bar was founded in 1987 to serve California lawyers handling international legal matters in a wide variety of areas, including corporate and business transactions, litigation and arbitration, tax, regulatory and trade matters, bankruptcy, intellectual property, immigration and family law. The Section’s goals are to (i) promote interest, (ii) provide educational materials and seminars, and (iii) provide professional networking opportunities for its members.

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