Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Roseanne, Immigration, and the Unasked Question

[T]here’s a second way the elite can exploit immigrant workers—as scapegoats. When people like Dan and Roseanne complain about their economic problems, the superrich and their hired propagandists point their fingers at undocumented immigrants.

By David L. Wilson, MR Online
June 18, 2018
On May 8, a few weeks before its cancellation, the popular sitcom Roseanne devoted an episode to immigration.

The main focus was on the title character’s anit-Muslim prejudices, but the plot hinged on a problem for Roseanne’s husband, a construction contractor: his loss of drywall installation work to a rival who employs undocumented immigrants. “I got underbid on Al’s job,” Dan, the husband, explains to Roseanne. “He’s using illegals… It ain’t right, Rosie. These guys are so desperate they’ll work for nothing, and we’re getting screwed in the process.”

This scene got its share of pushback.[…]

Read the full article:

Monday, June 18, 2018

A New Item at “Immigration and the Law: A Chronology”

We have now added the Immigration Act of 1929 to Immigration and the Law: A Chronology. This was the first law making it a crime to cross the border without authorization.

1929: Immigration ActFor the first time makes it a crime to enter the country by fraud or anywhere other than at an official port of entry. This becomes a misdemeanor punishable by fine or imprisonment or both. Reentry of a previously deported alien is now a felony. The act adds two deportable classes: immigrants convicted of carrying any weapon or bomb and sentenced to any term of six months or more, and immigrants sentenced to a year or more for violation of Prohibition laws. Known as “Blease’s Law,” for the white supremacist senator who sponsored it.

Here is a link to an article by Kelly Lytle Hernandez giving some more history on the law, which was proposed by a white supremacist from South Carolina.

We weren’t able to find the text of the law online. If any reader knows how to access the text, please write us at thepoliticsofimmigration@gmail.com. Also, we welcome suggestions about other additions to the chronology, or any corrections you feel are necessary. We want this chronology to be a useful tool for people trying to understand the origins of today’s immigration system.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Book Excerpt: What’s the Flores Settlement?

No, Flores doesn’t mandate this. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images
As outrage rises over the Trump administration’s family separation policy, Republican leaders have been trying to put the blame elsewhere—for instance, on the 1997 Flores agreement. In fact, on June 14 the GOP’s House leadership announced that it had a “moderate” bill that would end the family separations. It turns out the actual text would only end the Flores agreement.

We explain a little about the settlement and its history in Chapter 11 of The Politics of Immigration: Questions and Answers.

Locking Up Kids
In July 1985, four girls ages thirteen to sixteen seeking refuge from war-ravaged El Salvador sued the U.S. government and two private for-profit contractors over their detention. One of the plaintiffs was detained at a facility run by the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) in Laredo, Texas, where authorities subjected her to strip search procedures—including vaginal and anal inspections—every time her attorney visited. The other girls, including lead plaintiff Jenny Lisette Flores, were held at a detention center in Pasadena, California, operated by Behavioral Systems Southwest. The children were not allowed to see visitors, and were not provided with any opportunities for education or recreation.

At the time, U.S. border and immigration authorities were detaining immigrant children—as many as 2,000, according to advocates—together with unrelated adults under prisonlike conditions. The numbers had grown after the government changed its policy in September 1984 and began releasing unaccompanied minors only to a parent or guardian; previously children could be released to any responsible adult. Advocates said the new policy scared away unauthorized parents, who feared arrest if they tried to claim their children.

Flores v. Reno was finally resolved in 1997 with the legally binding “Flores Settlement Agreement,” mandating specific protections for minors in immigration custody. Some of the settlement’s rules were codified into law over a decade later with the passage of the 2008 Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act. Under the Flores settlement rules, unaccompanied minors from Canada or Mexico are generally returned home “voluntarily” after a few days in custody. Children from other countries must be transferred within seventy-two hours to the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), which releases them to a sponsor or a shelter and provides support services through its Division for Unaccompanied Children’s Services.

[We’re occasionally posting excerpts from the new edition of The Politics of Immigration: Questions and Answers. You can order here or from your favorite bookseller.]

Friday, June 15, 2018

Emergency Request From Families For Freedom

Families For Freedom
June 14, 2018

A longtime member of Families For Freedom is in danger of being removed.

In protest of his prolonged detention, Pius Iyamu has been on hunger strike since May 11, 2018. In what appears to be retaliation for his strike, ICE and jail officials at Irwin County Correctional Facility indicated yesterday their intent to put Pius on a plane to Texas to facilitate his deportation in the coming days. As of this morning, neither Pius's wife nor Families For Freedom are aware of Pius's location.

In addition to the threat of removal, these officials told Pius that they would pursue criminal charges against him if he did not break his hunger strike. They are using the threat of further incarceration in an attempt to force him to relent to his removal after a period of brave and solitary resistance.

Families For Freedom has been in consistent contact with Pius and his family since 2013, when he was first detained by ICE. We supported Pius during his incarceration then, eventually helping him get released. He was arrested and incarcerated again in 2016, and has spent the intervening two years separated from his wife and daughters and detained in some of the worst facilities in the country.

He was arrested and incarcerated again in 2016, and has been separated from his wife and daughters since. One year ago, Pius filed a habeas corpus petition to challenge his prolonged detention, which the government has dragged its heels on despite no travel document being issued for his removal. Now, after keeping Pius in the dark about the status of his case for months, the government is acting suddenly in what appears to be retaliation for his hunger strike.

On the phone with us yesterday, Pius said the following: "I started this hunger strike because of the situation I am in. I have been held by ICE for two years with no court date. They have pushed me around from state to state, facility to facility, east to west coast. I have decided to go on hunger strike because I feel like someone needs to know what's going on with me... I am a father with a wife and daughters at home. They have a lot of medical issues and I am just trying to get back to them. It's hard. This is hard. All I am worried about now is my freedom. Any help and support that anyone can give to me will mean a lot. I just want to get free."

Please support Pius and his family by sharing this with your networks and contacting the Atlanta field office by phone and email.

Ask ICE to stop its coercive intimidation of Pius and demand he be released to his family.

Atlanta ERO Field Office Phone: 404-893-1210
Field Office Director Sean Gallagher sean.gallagher@ice.dhs.gov
Deputy FOD George Sterling george.sterling@ice.dhs.gov
Deportation Officer Michael Taylor michael.taylor@ice.dhs.gov

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Sessions’ Attempt to End Asylum for Victims of Domestic and Gang Violence

U.S. asylum policy in 1939: the MS St. Louis

On June 11 Attorney General Jeff Sessions overturned a 2016 Board of Immigration Appeals decision supporting asylum for an abused Salvadoran woman. The decision was expected but is still shocking in the breadth of its effort to undo two decades of immigration decisions.—TPOI editor
Matter of A-B-, Respondent
Decided by Attorney General June 11, 2018
U.S. Department of Justice
Office of the Attorney General

(1)Matter of A-R-C-G-, 26 I&N Dec. 338 (BIA 2014) is overruled. That decision was
wrongly decided and should not have been issued as a precedential decision.[…]

Read Sessions’ full ruling:

Retired Immigration Judges and Former Members of the Board of Immigration Appeals Statement in Response to Attorney General’s Decision in Matter of A-B

June 11, 2018
“[T]he Attorney General today erased an important legal development that was universally agreed to be correct... We hope that appellate courts or Congress through legislation will reverse this unilateral action and return the rule of law to asylum adjudications.”

Read the full statement:

First They Came for the Migrants
We still talk about American fascism as a looming threat, something that could happen if we’re not vigilant. But for undocumented immigrants, it’s already here.

By Michelle Goldberg, New York Times
June 11, 2018
The sci-fi writer William Gibson once said, “The future has arrived — it’s just not evenly distributed yet.” In America in 2018, the same could be said of authoritarianism.[…]

Read the full article:

Statement of Coretta Scott King on the Nomination of Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III for the United States District Court Southern District of Alabama

Senate Judiciary Committee
Thursday, March 13, 1986
In 1986 Coretta Scott King strongly opposed Jeff Sessions’ appointment to the federal bench. Here is an excerpt from her testimony:

I do not believe Jefferson Sessions possesses the requisite judgment, competence, and sensitivity to the rights guaranteed by the federal civil rights laws to qualify for appointment to the federal district court. Based on his record, I believe his confirmation would have a devastating effect on not only the judicial system in Alabama, but also on the progress we have made everywhere toward fulfilling my husband’s dream that he envisioned over twenty years ago. I therefore urge the Senate Judiciary Committee to deny his confirmation.

Read her letter and full statement:

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Two Pieces from David Bacon

Migrant farm workers protest immigration raids. Photo: David Bacon
We Can Change an Unjust Immigration Policy
Testimony given by David Bacon at the People's Tribunal at the West County Detention Center in Richmond, CA

By David Bacon, 48 Hills
June 4, 2018
We've heard the living experiences of people who have had no alternative to leaving home to escape violence, war and poverty, who now find themselves imprisoned in the detention center in front of us.  And we have to ask, who is responsible?  Where did the violence and poverty come from, that forced people to leave home, to cross our border with Mexico, and then to be picked up and incarcerated here? 

Overwhelmingly, it has come from the actions of the government of this country, and the wealthy elites that it has defended.[…]

Read the full testimony:
Growing Pains: Guest farm workers face exploitation, dangerous conditions

By David Bacon
Capital and Main, June 6, 2018
The American Prospect, June 8, 2018
Many migrant workers in California on H-2A temporary agricultural visas are forced to contend with unsafe working conditions, wage theft and other labor law violations. The H-2A temporary agricultural program allows employers to bring workers from other countries, mainly Mexico, for temporary farm labor in the U.S. The workers are given visas that allow them to work in the U.S. but tie them to the employer that recruits them. Part 2 of this story documents migrant workers housed like sardines, and the use of immigration enforcement to expand the H-2A visa program

Tomato grower Harry Singh had an idea for speeding up the harvest in the fields he rents at the Camp Pendleton Marine Base near San Diego. His foreman told Serafín Rincón, 61, to pick beside two imported contract workers in their 20s. In the summer heat, Rincón was told to run. He could hardly keep up.

Rincón had come to work with his friends Santiago Bautista and Rufino Zafra They were all longtime farm workers in the area. Bautista had been working in San Diego since 2003, and Zafra since 1975. All day they had to listen to gritos(shouting) and insults from their boss Celerino when they fell behind. "Stupid donkey, you're old now," he shouted at them. "You can't make it anymore!"[…]

Read the full article: