Sunday, May 21, 2017

Haitian TPS redesignation: Is it being held hostage to discrimination and xenophobia within the Trump administration?

“As a leader in the UndocuBlack Network, an organization comprised of and advocating for currently and previously undocumented Black immigrants, I find USCIS’s investigation very troubling, even criminal — but not surprising.”

By Patrice S. Lawrence, Medium
May 18, 2017
Dept. of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly’s process for deciding whether to redesignate Haiti as a country whose nationals living in the United States remain eligible for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) should be a simple one.

TPS is a form of humanitarian relief made available to nationals of certain countries where there are conditions that, according to a definition that appears on many websites, “prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately.”

Haiti was designated as such a country in 2010. Twelve other countries are also similarly designated. However, each country’s designation must be renewed every 18 months for its nationals to remain eligible for TPS. If Haiti’s designation is to be renewed, Secretary Kelly must announce the decision around May 23, 2017, 60 days prior to the current designation’s expiration.[…]

Read the full article:

Friday, May 19, 2017

Action Kit for Haitian TPS – May 19

ACTION ALERT! The Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI) is calling for activists to telephone Homeland Security today, May 19, and demand that the government not go ahead with its plan to end TPS for Haitians. We're reposting BAJI’s alert below, along with links.

BAJI created a simple action kit to help you call DHS and tag them on social media asking them to tell Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to extend TPS.  Click here to access the toolkit, which has contact phone numbers, a sample script and social media posts for you to take action today.

A few facts:

·                            Communities living in Florida, New York, and New Jersey will be hit especially hard, as these are home to most of the  U.S. Haitian diaspora.
·                            Most Haitians with TPS have lived in the U.S. for 7-15 years, they have families here and contribute to their communities and Haiti’s recovery by working with authorized work permits.
·                            In addition to the devastating 2010 Earthquake, Haiti has been hit by a cholera epidemic leaving nearly 1 million people sick and just last October a category 4 hurricane hit the island.
·                            Under no circumstances are the conditions in Haiti stable enough to receive deportees safely.
·                            Deporting Haitians with TPS would also hurt the U.S., costing an estimated $469 million dollars  according to a new report:

Advocates across the country are working hard to convince key decision makers that extending TPS is the right thing to do. Join BAJI now and let the Haitian community know that they are not alone! Let’s stand together and fight for one another.

                                 CLICK HERE for the action toolkit!!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Book Presentations: David Bacon’s “In the Fields of the North / En los Campos del Norte”

David Bacon’s new book, In the Fields of the North / En los Campos del Norte, came out on May 1. Published by the University of California Press and Colegio de la Frontera Norte, the book is “an intensive look at farm workers, documenting work life, living conditions, culture and migration through over 300 photographs and many narratives of workers themselves, in both English and Spanish.”

David is a photographer and journalist with years of experience covering labor and immigration developments. He'll be giving book talks in the coming weeks in Los Angeles and Davis.  For more information, go to The Reality Check, David’s blog,
TPOI editor

“David Bacon renews and updates the progressive documentary tradition with these extraordinary, carefully chosen portraits of farmworkers, their families and communities.”
Mike Davis, distinguished professor, sociologist and urban theorist, University of California, Riverside

Los Angeles, Tuesday, May 23, 2017
1-3 PM, Chicano Studies Research Center, 144 Haines Hall
5:30-8 PM, UCLA Downtown Labor Center
675 S. Park View St.

Davis, Thursday, June 1, 2017
7-9 PM, Art Annex Room 107 (Technological Studies Building)
UC Davis Main Campus

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Book announcement: The Politics of Immigration, 2nd Edition

By Jane Guskin and David L. Wilson
Monthly Review Press 

Publication date: May 22, 2017
372 pages | $24, paper

“Brilliantly interrogates this urgent subject that defines our time. This concise volume—ideal for students and the general public—presents a wealth of data in lively and engaging prose that ultimately explores who is an American and what is America. Read this book now!”
—Ron Hayduk, San Francisco State University

Praise for the first edition of The Politics of Immigration:

“We desperately need to put aside false information about immigrants, to see them as we see ourselves with honesty and compassion. This book gives powerful meaning to the slogan ‘No Human Being is Illegal.’ I hope it will be widely read.”
Howard Zinn, author, A People’s History of the United States

Immigration has been the subject of furious debates in the United States for decades. On one side, politicians and the media talk about aliens and criminals, with calls to “deport them all.” On the other side, some advocates idealize immigrants and gloss over problems associated with immigration. But what does it mean to be “illegal”? How do immigration raids, prisons, and border walls impact communities? Who suffers and who profits from our current system—and what would happen if we transformed it?

The Politics of Immigration: Questions and Answers goes beyond soundbites to tackle these concerns in straightforward language and an accessible question-and-answer format. For immigrants and supporters, the book is a useful tool to confront stereotypes and disinformation. For those who are undecided about immigration, it lays out the facts and clear reasoning they need to develop an informed opinion. Ideal for classroom use, this updated and expanded edition provides a succinct overview of U.S. immigration history, policy, and practice, with detailed notes guiding readers toward further exploration.

to order, contact: Monthly Review Press,
t: (212) 691-2555 | email:

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

White House Seeks Pretext for Deporting Haitians

The 2010 earthquake. Photo: Tequila Minsky/NY Times
Some 50,000 Haitians have been able to live legally in the United States since 2010 under Temporary Protected Status (TPS), a special immigration status granted after a massive earthquake struck southern Haiti that year. The Trump administration plans to end TPS for Haitians starting in 2018, and now it’s looking for an excuse. Since there’s no evidence that conditions have improved in Haiti—which would provide a rationale for terminating TPS—the Department of Homeland Security is turning to classic racist and xenophobic stereotypes. Department employees have been instructed to look for evidence that Haitians covered by TPS are committing crimes and/or living on welfare.

Ironically, some Haitian Americans supported Donald Trump during his 2016 election. Now they seem surprised that his rightwing administration wants to deport African-descended immigrants.—TPOI editor

AP Exclusive: US digs for evidence of Haiti immigrant crimes

Alicia A. Caldwell, Associated Press
May 9, 2017
WASHINGTON (AP) — As the Trump administration weighs extending humanitarian protections for thousands of Haitian immigrants, officials are digging for unusual information: How many have been convicted of crimes.

Internal emails obtained by The Associated Press show a top immigration official wanted not only crime data on Haitians who are protected from deportation under the Temporary Protected Status program, but also how many were receiving public benefits. Such immigrants aren’t eligible for welfare benefits.

Roughly 50,000 Haitians have been allowed to live in the U.S. under the program in the aftermath of a 2010 earthquake, and the questions about misdeeds among them comes at a critical moment. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly must decide soon whether to continue protecting the group from deportation.[…]

Read the full article:

A Harrowing Turning Point for Haitian Immigrants

By Edwidge Danticat, New Yorker
May 12, 2017
D.—he asked that I not use his name—moved to the United States from Haiti with his parents in 2001, when he was nine years old. They travelled from Port-au-Prince on tourist visas, and then stayed beyond the authorized time period because of political instability in Haiti. D. attended school in Miami.

In high school he played football and had a 4.1 G.P.A. He completed all of his coursework, including all the Advanced Placement classes offered at his school, by the end of his junior year, and graduated in the top three per cent of his class. He applied and was accepted to Florida Memorial University in 2009, hoping to study engineering, but because he was undocumented he did not qualify for the full-ride scholarship he was offered. He tried other schools, including the local community college, but did not qualify for loans or in-state tuition. Instead, D. saved up for a paralegal-certificate course by working as a parking attendant at a Miami Beach hotel during the day, then at the hotel’s front desk at night. He studied and wrote papers during his night shifts. “It was like having two and a half jobs,” he told me recently. “I was only sleeping every other day. People kept telling me, ‘You’re so bright, why aren’t you in college?’ They didn’t realize that I wanted more than anything to go to college. I just didn’t have the opportunity.”[…]

Read the full article:

Monday, May 15, 2017

Mother’s Day in an ICE Detention Center

“I thought that entering this country, which had always been my dream, was always going to be an unforgettable day.... It was. But it was the saddest and ugliest day I could have imagined.”

By Sharon Lerner, The Intercept
May 14, 2017
The woman arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border with her daughter in late April. “From what I had heard about the U.S., it was supposed to be a country that practices showing love to their fellow man. But what I have experienced with my daughter was horrible,” she wrote a few days later, after she was transferred from Border Patrol custody to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.

An official took me who humiliated me, throwing all of my things into the trash, even the medicines of my daughter and the food that, with much work, I had brought. When I walked in to give my declaration the officials laughed at me because I arrived wet and with mud up to my abdomen. I asked them to please allow me to change my daughter’s clothes, but they wouldn’t let me. … We were still wet with mud. My sadness was that my daughter was shaking from the cold, wet and thirsty. But they would not give us water or food.

The letter was one of 22 I received from women who had crossed into the United States in recent weeks and were awaiting asylum hearings at the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas.[…]

Read the full article:

Sunday, May 14, 2017

“Politics of Immigration” News: Excerpts, Dialogues, and a Chronology

The second edition of The Politics of Immigration is due out in a little more than a week, but we’ve already started facilitating events and making additions to our blog and our website.

We’re now occasionally posting excerpts from the book which seem especially relevant to breaking news stories. The postings so far have dealt with “What Trump Doesn’t Get About MS-13,” “How Much Would Trump’s Wall Really Cost?” and “What’s Up With the Kushners and the EB-5 Visa?

We’ve also just facilitated our first two immigration dialogues for the Trump era. These were both held on May 10 at Bard High School Early College Manhattan, where the students organized a teach-in around the theme of “civic engagement.” We’ve facilitated about three dozen dialogues and other events since the publication of the first edition, and we look forward to doing many more in the coming months. Please contact us if you’re interested in hosting one.

Today we’ve enhanced the website with the new edition’s “Immigration and the Law: A Chronology.” In addition to the material in the book, the web version has hyperlinks to the texts of the laws and court decisions. We can also update it as new legal issues arise, and we can make improvements and add material. We welcome comments from readers who feel that something should be added or that we’ve got something wrong. Write us at

And if you’re going to Left Forum in New York the weekend of June 2, be sure to check out our panel, “Immigrant Rights in 2017: Crisis and Opportunity?” More information to follow.

Immigrants at Ellis Island, 1902