Thursday, April 18, 2024

Australia has reached a new immigration milestone with more than 100,000 foreigners arriving in just one month for the first time ever

The landmark total is eight times the number of new homes approved and is set to further fuel the worsening housing crisis.

February's net intake of permanent and long-term arrivals was 105,460 - almost double January's 55,330 level, new Australian Bureau of Statistics data showed.

This occurred as a large number of international students moved to Australia for the first semester of the university year.

Australia's capital cities also have rental vacancy rates under one per cent as construction activity fails to keep pace with booming population growth.

The 12,520 houses, apartments and government units approved in February was only one-eighth the monthly net immigration arrival figure, with capital city rents surging by double-digit percentage figures during the past year.

Institute of Public Affairs deputy executive director Daniel Wild said this was a recipe for a housing crisis.   'Australia's migration intake remains out of control, with promises to "normalise" arrivals in tatters,' he said.  'Combined with plummeting housing construction approvals, Australia is being set up for a disaster.'

Treasury's Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook forecast Australia's annual net overseas migration figure would moderate to 375,000 in the 2023-24 financial year.

But that is hardly happening, with 498,270 net arrivals in the year to February, covering permanent skilled migrants and long-term arrivals like international students.

A record 548,800 migrants arrived in the year to September, with the foreign influx making up 83.2 per cent of Australia's population increase.

The population growth pace of 2.5 per cent, with births included, was the fastest since 1952.

Mr Wild said high immigration was locking Australians out of the housing market.

'The data proves that the federal government’s unplanned mass migration program is unsustainable,' he said.




Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Indefinite detention of queer Iranian 'not punitive': Australian government lawyer

He is right to think he would be hanged if he returned to Iran but the "refoulement" regulation says you cannot send him to any other place where he might be persecuted. That rules out the Muslim world and Africa. So where do you send him? Who else would want a queer Iranian?

And you cannot give him permission to live in Australia as both major parties have a policy that illegal arrivals will not be resettled. And any wavering on that policy would restart the flow of parasitical Muslim illegals

An Iranian asylum seeker's indefinite detention is not punitive, Australia's solicitor-general has argued, because he would be freed if he co-operated with attempts to deport him to his home country, despite his fears of the death penalty.

The detained 37-year-old man, known as ASF17, has taken his legal bid for freedom to the High Court in a case that could determine the fates of hundreds of immigrants and government policy.

Authorities have attempted to deport him to Iran every six months since 2018, when his asylum seeker visa was refused.

But as a bisexual man, ASF17 could face the death penalty upon return.

As a result, he has refused to co-operate and Solicitor-General Stephen Donaghue KC says this means his detention is not punitive.

"Where a person can be removed with their co-operation, that can't be characterised as punitive, whether or not the reason for non-co-operation was a genuine fear of harm," he told the court on Wednesday.

ASF17 had previously urged the government to remove him to any country other than Iran.

"Take me back to where you picked me up in the high seas, even take me to Gaza," the asylum seeker said during a Federal Court cross-examination, his lawyers recalled on Wednesday.

"I have a better chance there of not being killed than if you take me to Iran."

Dr Donaghue argued refugee applicants can genuinely fear what may happen on return to their home countries, but this may not be "objectively well-founded".

The government had investigated the possibility of deportation to a third country, but this could inflame diplomatic tensions or lead to the risk of refoulement, Dr Donaghue said.

ASF17's barrister Lisa De Ferrari SC said without being offered other deportation options, her client remained indefinitely detained.

"They've straitjacketed themselves and now they're turning the table on my client, saying 'you've been very unreasonable by not helping us get you to Iran'.

"How can it not be punitive (when) there's never any end point?"

His case springs from a November High Court ruling, which found it was unlawful to indefinitely detain people with no prospect of deportation.

About 150 immigration detainees were released as a result.

The appellant wants this expanded to cover people who refuse to co-operate with authorities on their deportation.

The Federal Circuit Court previously ruled the continued immigration detention of a Baha'i man from Iran was unlawful and he was immediately released.

"This is another case that says, whatever has been happening to people who are vulnerable and have come to Australia for protection, they cannot be indefinitely detained," his lawyer Alison Battisson told AAP.

"It creates a precedent that somebody has non-refoulement obligations owed to them."

Baha'is are a persecuted religious minority in Iran and Australia has signed international human rights treaties which include the principle of non-refoulement, meaning refugees cannot be sent back to countries where they face persecution.

ASF17, who is not Baha'i, first arrived on Australian shores by boat in 2013 and has been in detention for a decade.

There are about 200 other people in a similar situation, and Human Rights Law Centre legal director Sanmati Verma said the government was using indefinite detention as a way to "coerce people into returning to danger".

In an attempt to pre-empt ASF17's hearing, the government tried to ram through laws to prevent a release of people from immigration detention.

Under the proposed laws, which could affect more than 4000 people, those who refuse to co-operate with the government over their deportation could spend up to five years in prison.

The legislation would also give the home affairs minister  power to ban visa classes of relatives of asylum seekers who come from blacklisted countries that do not accept deportees.

But it was blocked in parliament and sent to a senate inquiry.

The High Court has adjourned and is yet to decide when it will hand down its decision.




Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Immigration Court No-Shows Soar in FY 2024

The latest disclosures from the Department of Justice (DOJ) reveal that the number of alien respondents who failed to appear for removal proceedings is soaring — on track to exceed 170,000 in FY 2024, which would best last year’s record of nearly 160,000. Those aliens may be under orders of removal, but the Biden administration has no inclination — let alone plans — to remove them. Which is why so many aliens likely didn’t bother to appear.

In Absentia Orders of Removal. Section 240 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), governs removal proceedings in immigration court.

Removal cases are heard by immigration judges (IJs), a position I held for more than eight years. Those IJs determine whether alien respondents are removable, consider bond requests, adjudicate applications for “relief” from removal (asylum, adjustment of status, cancellation of removal, etc.), and when appropriate, issue orders of removal.

That entire process is generally dependent, of course, on respondents actually appearing in court. While the Biden administration detains a tiny fraction of the three million-plus aliens currently in proceedings, the vast majority are free to live here while their cases are proceedings.

Congress anticipated that some respondents would fail to appear, and consequently section 240(b)(5)(A) of the INA provides, in pertinent part, that:

Any alien who, after written notice required ... has been provided to the alien or the alien's counsel of record, does not attend a proceeding under this section, shall be ordered removed in absentia if the Service establishes by clear, unequivocal, and convincing evidence that the written notice was so provided and that the alien is removable. [Emphasis added.]

Simply put, Congress has made clear that respondents must show up in immigration court or they will be deported. That said, the whole process requires DHS enforcement to function.

The Decline in DHS Removals. DHS’s Office of Homeland Security Statistics (OHSS) has made significant progress of late in pulling back the curtain on the department’s enforcement efforts — likely to the chagrin of the Biden administration.

In its most recent report, current through the end of December, OHSS reveals that DHS removed just over 179,400 aliens in FY 2023. That may sound like a lot, but it’s important to keep in mind that CBP alone encountered more than 3.2 million aliens at the borders and the ports last fiscal year.

Those 179,400-plus removals in FY 2023 are even less impressive when you place them into historical context. In FY 2014, under the Obama administration, DHS removed just fewer than 405,000 aliens, and as recently as FY 2019, removals exceeded 347,000.

Why are removals down so markedly? Because DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is actively attempting to limit the number of removable aliens subject to “enforcement actions”, that is, questioning, arrest, detention, prosecution, and removal by DHS officers and agents. As he explained in a September 2021 memo titled “Guidelines for the Enforcement of Civil Immigration Law”:

The fact an individual is a removable noncitizen therefore should not alone be the basis of an enforcement action against them. We will use our discretion and focus our enforcement resources in a more targeted way. Justice and our country's well-being require it.

That memo identifies three classes of aliens who are “priorities” for enforcement action: (1) threats to national security (terrorists and spies); (2) threats to public safety (serious criminals); and (3) threats to border security (aliens who entered illegal after the arbitrary date of November 1, 2020).

Notably absent from that list are aliens ordered removed in absentia after they failed to appear for their removal proceedings. That notable omission is despite the fact that each of those individuals received their due process rights and that section 241(a) of the INA mandates that aliens under final removal orders be detained and removed within 90 days.

The No-Show Statistics. In the first quarter of FY 2024 — October to December 2023 — IJs issued 42,714 in absentia orders of removal for alien respondents who failed to appear in immigration court, putting the court on pace to issue about 170,000 such orders this fiscal year.

To put the most recent in absentia figure into context, that’s more no-show orders in just three months than IJs issued in all of FY 2014 (25,909), FY 2015 (38,260), FY 2016 (34,305), or FY 2017 (42,044).

Part of that massive increase has to do with the fact that there are more IJs today than there were 11 years ago, and that the immigration court is now able to hear more cases and issue more decisions. The number of total IJs on board increased 77.5 percent between FY 2014 (249) and FY 2019 (442), and grew by an additional 64 percent by the end of the first quarter of FY 2024 (725).

That said, while there were about three times as many IJs at the end of December as there were in FY 2014, the total number of in absentia orders increased by nearly 560 percent over that same period, so increased hiring cannot be the sole factor at play — there must be more to it.

I can’t tell you dispositively why the number of aliens who failed to appear at their removal hearings has soared under President Biden and Secretary Mayorkas, but I do have an educated guess.

In all of its policies — from its announcement the day of the 2021 inauguration that it would pause alien removals for 100 days, to its “overarching non-detention” regime for illegal migrants, to the Mayorkas guidelines themselves — the administration has signaled to aliens with no legal right to be here that it has no interest in enforcing Congress’ dictates in the INA. If the White House doesn’t care, why would the aliens?

In much the same way, Secretary Mayorkas has concluded he has the discretion to determine which immigration laws he’ll enforce — few, if any, as it turns out — and so alien respondents in removal proceedings have concluded that they, too, had the right to decide which court orders they’ll comply with.

What happens if 725 IJs held removal proceedings in three months and 42,714 respondents failed to appear? For the time being, not much. Immigration enforcement has become kabuki theater. Enjoy the show — you’re paying for the enforcement the administration refuses to provide.




Monday, April 15, 2024

ISIS and the National Security Vulnerabilities of an Insecure Border

If they’d attack Putin and Iran, what will stop them from attacking our homeland?

Any number of experts are warning about potential terrorist threats to our homeland, but missing from most analyses is the source of such threats. The group you should be most worried about is Islamic State (ISIS) and especially its subsidiary, ISIS Khorasan (ISIS-K), which has both the motive and — thanks to President Biden’s border policies — the opportunity to strike the heart of America. Worse, ISIS-K has few concerns about the ramifications of its actions: Militants from the group recently carried out attacks in Russia and the Islamic Republic of Iran, and if they are not afraid of Putin or the mullahs, there’s no reason to think they’d hesitate to attack us.

ISIS, Syria, Iran, Russia, and the United States. In 2004, notorious terror mastermind Abu Musab al Zarqawi founded an al-Qaeda offshoot, al Qaeda in Iraq or “AQI”, a Sunni coalition of former Iraqi military and foreign fighters opposed to the U.S. occupation of that country.

Al-Zarqawi himself was killed in a U.S. attack in 2006, and AQI fell victim to its own brutal tactics (which alienated many of its would-be adherents), but the group quickly reinvented itself as Islamic State of Iraq.

A 2007 U.S. military surge managed to undermine the new group’s effectiveness, but ongoing sectarian strife in majority-Shia Iraq and instability in Syria provided an opening for the group to engage in yet another 2013 rebranding as “Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant”, known variously as “Daesh”, “ISIS”, or “ISIL”.

In June 2014, ISIL declared an Islamic caliphate in a vast region of western Iraq and Syria under Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, headquartered in the Syrian city of Raqqa, and it is at this point that the story gets strange.

Ever since 1970, Syria has been controlled by the Assad family, first by Hafez al-Assad and after his death in 2000 by his son, erstwhile London-based ophthalmologist Bashar al-Assad. Both Assads are members of a religious Muslim minority, the Alawi sect, in a country that is 74 percent Sunni.

The United States supports an oppositionist group there known as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which also has the backing of the United Kingdom, France, Saudi Arabia, and other Arab countries. SDF was created to oppose ISIL, and the United States has been assisting in that effort since around 2014.

You can read the U.S. State Department’s October 2023 factsheet, “U.S. Relations With Syria”, and see how confusing all of our assistance to various entities in the country has been, but suffice it to say that our government is officially both anti-Assad and anti-ISIS there.

Meanwhile, Iran has been providing the Assad government with military assistance since at least 2012, and they were joined in that effort (for various regional and economic reasons) by the Russian government in 2015.

In an August 2023 paper, the Institute for the Study of War explained that the Syrian-Iranian-Russian coalition is actively attempting to push the United States out of Syria, even while opposing an ongoing ISIS threat.

ISIS-K. Meanwhile, around 2014, a group of disaffected al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders in Afghanistan and Pakistan formed ISIS-K, pledging loyalty to the ISIS effort then gaining ground in Iraq and Syria. As NPR has explained, “the group has sought to distinguish itself among jihadi fighters by adopting a radical Islamic worldview more militant and uncompromising than its rivals”.

ISIS-K has already launched one major attack against the United States. During the disastrous U.S. withdrawal from Kabul in August 2021, suicide bombers from the group set off explosions outside Hamid Karzai International Airport, killing 13 U.S. service members and approximately 150 Afghan civilians.

Then, in January, the group claimed responsibility for two bombings that killed about 100 and wounded 200 more during a ceremony in Kerman, Iran, commemorating the third anniversary of the death (in a U.S. airstrike) of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, leader of the Quds Force of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.

Next, in March, the group took credit for an attack on the Crocus City Hall, a venue near Moscow, when four assailants dressed in fatigues opened fire during a concert that killed more than 140 and wounded countless others.

Apparently, the United States gave both Tehran and Moscow a heads-up prior to both of those attacks, to no avail.

ISIS Threat to the United States? One could view the ISIS-K attack at Karzai airport as purely opportunistic, given that the group is hostile to both the Taliban and American interests, but does ISIS pose a threat to our homeland?

On the one hand, Gen. Michael Kurilla, leader of U.S. Central Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee days before the Crocus attack that “ISIS-K ... is rapidly developing the ability to conduct ‘external operations’ in Europe and Asia”, but “will not be able to strike the U.S. homeland in the near future”.

On the other hand, days after that attack, Max Abrahms, associate professor of political science at Northeastern University, opined:

The United States would be considered a very juicy target for ISIS and any of its affiliates or supporters around the world. I suspect it’s just a matter of time before there is another ISIS attack in the United States.

The Border Threat. In the past, most alien terrorists entered the United States legally but fraudulently, as my colleague Steven Camarota explained in his seminal May 2022 work, “The Open Door, How Militant Islamic Terrorists Entered the United States, 1993-2001”.

That said, at least one would-be terrorist, Jordanian national Gazi Ibrahim Abu Mezer, crossed illegally. Mezer was apprehended three times while entering illegally through Washington state before he was eventually released and travelled to New York, where he was later arrested and convicted for plotting to plant bombs in the New York City subway.

Two factors, however, make it more attractive for terrorists to cross illegally today. First, in the wake of September 11, both Congress and the executive branch tightened the restrictions on aliens seeking to enter legally, largely to blunt the terrorist risk.

That’s not to say that aliens with terrorist intent wouldn’t try to exploit our lawful immigration system, but the risks of getting caught are much higher today than they were two decades ago.

Second, the Biden administration has loosened the restrictions on aliens coming here illegally, and in particular has expanded the opportunities for those aliens to be released on their own recognizance and parole.

That has encouraged more aliens to cross the border illegally, which in turn has overwhelmed the ability of Border Patrol to secure the border. That, in turn, has allowed more than 1.8 million aliens — identified in statute as “got-aways” — to evade apprehension and move into the interior illegally since President Biden took office.

Given that — by my conservative estimate — some 88.5 percent of aliens apprehended after entering illegally who weren’t expelled under (the now-expired) Title 42 were released into the country, many of those 1.8 million-plus got-aways likely had a reason to want not to be caught.

As it is, more than 350 aliens on the federal government’s terrorist watchlist have been apprehended after crossing the Southwest border illegally since FY 2021 — nearly 32 times as many as in the prior four fiscal years. Perhaps agents have just gotten better at nabbing terrorists, but this suggests that something more sinister is afoot.

“Motivated by the Logic of Outbidding in its Attacks”. Even by terrorist standards, ISIS-K is exceptionally brutal in its methods. BBC reports that the group has “been blamed for some of the worst atrocities in recent years, targeting girls' schools, hospitals and even a maternity ward, where they reportedly shot dead pregnant women and nurses”.

And the group is interested in making a name for itself. The New York Times recently quoted Asfandyar Mir, a senior expert at the U.S. Institute of Peace, who explained:

ISIS-K has long been motivated by the logic of outbidding in its attacks. ... It seeks to outperform rival jihadis by carrying out more audacious attacks to distinguish its jihadi brand and assert leadership of the global jihadi vanguard.

Consistent with that agenda, German authorities on March 19 arrested two suspected ISIS members who were allegedly plotting to attack the Swedish parliament, the same week that Dutch police arrested a husband and wife from Tajikistan “on similar terrorism-linked suspicions”.

Few ISIS-K attacks would be more “audacious” than one along the lines of — or bloodier than — the Crocus City Hall attack here in the United States. Perhaps it’s time that the “Department of Homeland Security” live up to its name and start securing the Southwest border, and the homeland with it.




Sunday, April 14, 2024

Living paycheck to paycheck and crammed into Chinese-style high rise apartments: Prominent philanthropist predicts a future Australia that NO-ONE wants to see..

Dick Smith fears today's young people will have no savings and be forced to live in Chinese-style high-rise apartments unless immigration is urgently slashed.

Younger voters are the group least likely to criticise record-high immigration, even though they are the most likely to be locked out of the housing market, unable to buy or even now rent.

Mr Smith, who has nine grandchildren, said 'woke' young voters are more likely to back the Greens and believe all critics of high immigration are racists.

But the veteran businessman and philanthropist says they need to understand the connection between a surging population and climate change.

The entrepreneur, who turned 80 last month, fears homes with a backyard in Australia's capital cities will no longer exist by 2050.

He said the national population will have almost doubled to 50 million by then - and housing will have become even more 'catastrophically' unaffordable.

For young people now, that would mean a future living in overcrowded conditions like China, even if Australia's annual population growth pace slowed to 1.6 per cent, down from 2.5 per cent now which is the highest levels since the early 1950s.

'Basically, we're doomed; we're going to increase our population to staggering numbers,' he told Daily Mail Australia.

'Jammed into high-rise like China, many very poor and who just live pay packet to pay packet and have no savings at all.

'Mainly capital cities, basically, will be like Shanghai.

'The beautiful houses with a block of land for the kids to play in the front yard and have a cubby house, that will go forever.

'Every house will be knocked down and replaced with high rises.'

Mr Smith has also blamed the ABC for young people being less likely to criticise high immigration, even though they are suffering in the housing market as a result.

'The people at the ABC, being a bit lefty, you would think would support having a population plan,' he said.

'The ABC never, ever suggests we should have a population plan because then you'd have to talk about our high immigration levels, and in the ABC, if you talk about limiting immigration, you must clearly be racist.'

Mr Smith argued most young voters, obsessed with climate change, had failed to make the connection between a surging population and unaffordable housing - because of the ABC.

'We have one great hope, and that's the ABC; it's independent, it should be able to tell young people that you can't have endless growth and we need to have a plan,' he said.

'But they don't say it. I can understand why the young people wouldn't link population growth to unaffordable housing because they're never told about it.'

Mr Smith suggested young campaigners against high immigration could make the link between rapid population growth and higher carbon emissions, with Labor and the Greens both committed to a 43 per cent reduction by 2030.

'Younger people have been so frightened by what could happen with climate change,' he said.

'But there's no leader out there saying, "If climate change is caused by human beings, if we double the number of humans in our country, we're going to have double the problem".'

Unaffordable housing

Sydney's median house price of $1.4million is so expensive, someone would need to earn $293,578 a year, and be among the nation's top 1.5 per cent of income earners, to be able to buy on their own and avoid mortgage stress.

'It's a catastrophe,' Mr Smith said.

The Greens had commissioned those figures from the Parliamentary Library but the party's 32-year-old housing spokesman Max Chandler-Mather last month told the ABC's Q+A program criticism of high immigration was a 'distraction'.

Mr Smith revealed his friend Bob Brown, a former Greens leader, admitted his party was reluctant to advocate lower immigration because it didn't want to be regarded as racist.

'It's quite incredible, the Greens have no population policy at all,' said Mr Smith.




Thursday, April 11, 2024

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signs law allowing police to arrest certain migrants

Republican Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed legislation on Wednesday that will allow state authorities to arrest migrants who were previously denied entry or deported from the US.

“The Biden administration has failed to enforce our nation’s immigration laws, putting the protection and safety of Iowans at risk,” Reynolds said in a statement announcing the signing of SF 2340.

“Those who come into our country illegally have broken the law, yet Biden refuses to deport them. This bill gives Iowa law enforcement the power to do what he is unwilling to do: enforce immigration laws already on the books.”

The new law, passed by the Iowa legislature last month, makes it an aggravated misdemeanor offense — punishable by up to two years in prison — for migrants to be in the Hawkeye State if they have outstanding deportation orders, were previously deported or were at one point barred from entering the US.

The law, which goes into effect July 1, elevates the crime to a felony offense if the person’s previous removal orders were related to misdemeanor convictions for drug crimes, crimes against people or any type of felony conviction.

Police are barred from arresting suspected migrants in violation of the law at places of worship, schools or medical facilities.

Arrested individuals may be allowed by a judge to leave the country and not face charges, according to the law’s text.

The head of the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa slammed the legislation last month as one of the “most extreme, discriminatory, and unconstitutional anti-immigrant bills” in the country, arguing that it will  “wreak havoc” on both citizens and noncitizens alike.

“The Iowa law enforcement and state judges tasked with authority to carry out this outrageous legislation are not trained in immigration law and have no proper authority to enforce it,” Mark Stringer, executive director of the Iowa ACLU, said in a statement.

“This legislation encourages and facilitates racial profiling and stereotyping. It undermines — not promotes — public safety and the rule of law,” he added. “It will consume already strapped state court and law enforcement resources.”

The law is similar to Texas’ SB4 legislation, which makes crossing the border illegally a state crime and allows state authorities to arrest, jail, prosecute and deport migrants who enter the country between ports of entry.

Texas’ law, a part of Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s Operation Lone Star initiative, has been blocked by an appeals court pending litigation.

The Justice Department says that the Texas law violates the US Constitution, arguing that the founding document gives the federal government sole authority to enforce federal immigration laws.




Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Judge Sets Whopping Fine on Migrant Bond Issuing Firm, $811 Million

One of the legal ways that non-migrants can make money from the migration business is to lend money (for bonds) to illegal aliens in trouble with the law. The bonds are designed to make sure that an alien involved shows up at scheduled court hearings and meets other requirements.

There is also substantial illegal money to be made in this business. As the Washington Post reported on April 4, a single firm in Virginia took in so much money from this business illegally to warrant a total penalty of $811 million, an amount large enough to threaten the firm involved with bankruptcy.

The firm is Libre by Nexus, and it is located far from migrant populations; it is in Verona, Va., population 4,582, in the northern Shenandoah Valley. A federal judge in Roanoke, Va., found, according to the Post, that the company owed the federal consumer protection agency $231 million in restitution plus massive civil penalties. The company, which operates throughout the United States, plans to appeal the verdict.

Immigration bonds are somewhat similar to bonds in the criminal court system, and perform the same service, making sure that the individual involved shows up in court when needed.

It is also a program that operates on a lot of relatively small-scale cases; TRAC, the Syracuse University research outfit, estimates that in CY 2024, the median bond was for $5,000.

Lending money to lots of people at $5,000 a crack, despite high fees, is not a very profitable business, as Libre must have found, because it added a new element to its dealings with many of the aliens (illegal ones by definition). It insisted that many of them must wear cigarette-package-sized monitors on their legs for $420 a month. And, again according to the Post, the fee had to be paid whether the device worked or not.

The judge ruled that Libre could not do this in the future.

Five entities were charged in the case: Libre, its parent company Nexus Services, CEO Mike Donovan, and two of his associates, Richard Moore and Evan Ajin. The company has been in and out of various state and federal courts in recent years.