Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Two Reviews: In the Fields of the North / En los campos del norte

Two new reviews of David Bacon’s latest book have come out recently. Both are available at Bacon’s blog, The Reality Check:

Review: In the Fields of the North (En los campos del norte)

By Eve Ottenberg, Labor Notes
August 8, 2017
David Bacon's unforgettable new English-Spanish photo-essay, In the Fields of the North (En los campos del norte), is about migrant farm workers on the West Coast. Bacon says that without unions, the state of affairs in the fruit and vegetable fields would be even sorrier.[…]

Read the full review:

Chasing the Harvest' and 'In the Fields of the North'

By Elaine Elinson, SF Gate
July 19, 2017
In 1946, Carlos Bulosan documented the gritty lives of Filipino migrant workers in California in his autobiographical novel "America Is in the Heart."

Since that time, there have been a wealth of books about California farmworkers, from Steinbeck's iconic "Grapes of Wrath" to Peter Matthiesen's "Sal Si Puedes," published at the height of the Delano grape strike, to Matthew Garcia's recent "From the Jaws of Victory," with revelations from an excavation of United Farm Workers archives.[…]

Read the full review:

Monday, August 21, 2017

Renegotiating NAFTA Will Only Serve the Rich -- Just Like It Always Has

By David L. Wilson, Truthout 
August 21, 2017
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) went into effect at midnight on January 1,
A Mexican response to NAFTA, January 2994
1994. That night, thousands of Indigenous Mayans rose up in arms in the southeastern Mexican state of Chiapas, seizing at least five towns and declaring NAFTA a "deathcertificate" for people like themselves. This was just the beginning of Mexico's troubles in a year that brought countless protests, hotly disputed elections and the assassinations of two of the then-ruling party's leaders. 1994 ended with a sudden devaluation of the peso, the start of an economic collapse from which the country didn't recover fully for years.

NAFTA is back in the news this month: On August 16, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer met with his counterparts from Canada and Mexico, the other two NAFTA nations, to open talks on renegotiating the pact.

While it's true that NAFTA was just one of the many problems Mexico had in the 1990s, we have to wonder, given the renewed focus on the trade accord, why US mainstream media have carried so little discussion of the events that accompanied NAFTA's rollout in Mexico.[…]

Read the full article:

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Trump Guts Obama’s Program for Central American Kids

The White House is now cutting out part of the Central American Minors (CAM) program that the Obama administration set up in 2014 to admit some underage refugees fleeing violence in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

We wrote two years ago that the CAM program seemed to be less about saving kids than “about giving the impression that the U.S. government is finally addressing the root causes of immigration—causes which to a large extent are the result of past and present U.S. policies.” In fact, as of earlier this year, the program had only led to the admission of some 2,400 refugees and parolees, with about 2,700 others granted conditional parole but still waiting to come to the U.S. But the program has at least saved some children from danger, and now Trump is eliminating the parole option, leaving the conditional parolees stranded in Central America.

Presumably this will gratify the rightwing politicians and journalists who targeted the CAM program back in 2015. Then-senator Jeff Sessions claimed the program had “created a dangerous situation" and the fact-challenged Daily Caller warned about “potentially millions of current and former illegal immigrants” bringing their children into the country.—TPOI editor

Jeff Sessions' "dangerous situation."  Photo: Jennifer Whitney/NY Times                     
Program allowing some minors from Central America into U.S. halted

By Greg Moran, San Diego Union Tribune
August 15, 2017
The Department of Homeland Security announced Tuesday it plans to shut down a program that offered some children and young adults from three Central Amercian countries a chance to lawfully immigrate to the U.S. to join their parents.

The decision will close down a portion of the Central American Minors program, established in 2014 under President Obama as a way to slow the stream of minors from strife-torn Central American countries.

The program allows unmarried youths under 21 years old from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala who had one parent who had lawful status in the U.S. to apply for refugee status, from their home country.

If the refugee status was denied. they could still be allowed into the U.S. under humanitarian parole, a way to legally be in the country that is not permanent but must be renewed periodically.

In an announcement to be published in the Federal Register today DHS said that it was terminating the humanitarian parole part of the CAM program.[…]

Read the full article:

Friday, August 18, 2017

Manhattan Church Provides Sanctuary for Mother Targeted by ICE

A Guatemalan immigrant has taken sanctuary with her three children at the Holyrood Episcopal Church in northern Manhattan; the move came after Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) told her to prepare for deportation. An August 17 press conference announcing her decision included the New Sanctuary Movement, Fr. Luis Barrios, NYC Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, NYS Assembly Member Carmen de la Rosa, and many others.
Amanda Morales with her children and supporters. Photo Prensa Libre: Mundo Hispánico
Guatemalan immigrant seeks sanctuary in Manhattan church

By Claudia Torrens, AP via Seattle Times
August 17, 2017
NEW YORK (AP) — A Guatemalan immigrant with no authorization to live in the U.S. entered a church in Manhattan with her three children on Thursday to seek refuge from immigration authorities.

Amanda Morales, who has lived illegally in the U.S. since 2004, said she decided to seek sanctuary instead of showing up to her appointment with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Morales said ICE told her during her last appointment this month that she would be deported and needed to buy a one-way plane ticket to Guatemala.

“I am scared, but at the same time I feel safe here,” she said during a press conference at Holyrood Church, in the Washington Heights neighborhood.[…]

Read the full article:

Manhattan church offers sanctuary to immigrant mother facing deportation

By NY1 News
August 18, 2017
A Manhattan church and several city leaders are standing by an undocumented immigrant facing deportation.

Amanda Morales is seeking refuge at the Holyrood Church in Washington Heights.

Morales moved from Guatemala to the United States in 2004 and is the mother of three children — all U.S. citizens.[…]

Read the full article and watch the video:

Thursday, August 17, 2017

When Deportation Is a Death Sentence: One Domestic Worker's Fight for Survival

By Sheila Bapat, Truthout 
August 13, 2017
Reina Gomez, 49, has been cleaning homes and caring for elderly people in South Florida since 2002. Her earnings as a domestic worker support her treatments for leukemia at a public South Florida hospital. Gomez was diagnosed with leukemia in 2007.

On July 31, Gomez had an appointment with Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE). Gomez is facing deportation to Honduras, where she lived before fleeing to the United States to escape an abusive relationship. ICE told Gomez to buy an open-date ticket to Honduras and to bring it with her to her July 31 appointment. While ICE didn't render a final decision on her case on July 31, it plans to in mid-August.

And so, the specter of deportation looms, even though two Honduran hospitals have already told Gomez that they do not have the resources to treat her leukemia.[...]

Read the full article:

Monday, August 14, 2017

August 15: Nationwide Events to Defend DACA

Together We Can Protect DACA and Immigrant Youth!

By United We Dream
August 11, 2017
August 15th marks 5 years since 800,000 immigrant youth have been able to get legal protection, go to college, and support their families because of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA).

But some right wing Republicans have threatened to take it away as early as September 5 so we HAVE to mobilize now. Are you ready?

Ending DACA and a program called Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for over 300,000 immigrants from Africa, Haiti, central America and other countries means the lives of over a million immigrants are in danger.

On August 15th, we need YOU to join thousands across the country to protect DACA and immigrant youth!

The clock is ticking – we must take to the streets and stand our ground! Let’s do this.

Join the march in Washington for DACA and immigrant youth on August 15th, or find an event near you:

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Braceros Strike After One Worker Dies

By David Bacon, American Prospect
August 9, 2017
Risking deportation, Washington state farmworkers protest dangerous conditions in the fields.

A farmworker’s death in the broiling fields of Washington state has prompted his fellow braceros to put their livelihoods in jeopardy by going on strike, joining a union, being discharged—and risking deportation.

Honesto Silva Ibarra died in Harborview hospital in Seattle on Sunday night, August 6.  Silva, a married father of three, was a guest worker—in Spanish, a “contratado”—brought to the United States under the H-2A visa program, to work in the fields.

Miguel Angel Ramirez Salazar, another contratado, says Silva went to his supervisor at Sarbanand Farms last week, complaining that he was sick and couldn’t work. “They said if he didn’t keep working, he’d be fired for ‘abandoning work.’ But after a while he couldn’t work at all.”

Silva finally went to the Bellingham Clinic, about an hour south of the farm where he was working, in Sumas, close to the Canadian border. By then it was too late, however. He was sent to Harborview, where he collapsed and died.[…]

Read the full article:

Photo: David Bacon

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Advocates stage first big Texas protest against border wall

Hundreds march to oppose Trump’s proposed wall. Photo: AP/Eric Gay
By Nomaan Merchant and John L. Mone,  AP via Austin American-Statesman
August 12, 2017
MISSION, TX—Hundreds of protesters wearing white and chanting in English and Spanish marched Saturday in Texas’ first major protest against a border wall, crossing the earthen Rio Grande levee where President Donald Trump’s administration wants to build part of the first phase.

The protesters launched what’s expected to be a fierce movement against Trump’s best-known immigration policy priority. Many of the participants acknowledged they might not be able to stop a project that the U.S. government is already planning, but they hoped to draw national attention to the cause and persuade lawmakers who have yet to sign off on funding for the project.

“We might seem small and insignificant. Maybe we are,” said Anthoney Saenz, a 19-year-old native of the Rio Grande Valley, the southernmost point of Texas and a region where Trump has proposed putting 60 miles of wall as part of a $1.6 billion proposal. “But when our voices come together,” Saenz said, “when we band together as a community to try to get a voice out there, we have to hope we get heard.”[...]

Read the full article:

Thursday, August 10, 2017

August 10: Radio Interview With Politics of Immigration Co-Author

Politics of Immigration co-author David L. Wilson is being interviewed on Heartland Labor Forum (KKFI 90.1 FM, Kansas City) on August 10. Topics include the book’s updated second edition, for-profit detention centers and general immigration issues. The August 10 program, “The Politics of Immigration and Invisible Hands: Voices from the Global Economy,” starts at 6 pm Central Time; it’s underwritten by Pipefitters Local 533 and United Auto Workers Local 249.

Kansas City's only radio show about the workplace and the labor movement.
Radio that talks back to the boss!

Thursdays 6:00-7:00 pm Central Time
Fridays 5:00-6:00 am Central Time

Live streaming: www.kkfi.org

Heartland Labor Forum’s July-August 2017 schedule:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Heartland-Labor-Forum-206937092684612/

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Assimilation Goes Both Ways: Two Different Views

These two articles underline, in very different ways, an important point usually overlooked in discussions of immigration: that while immigrants assimilate to the society they settle in, that society also assimilates to them.—TPOI editor

Stanford sociologist flips assimilation formula in new book
In his new book, sociologist Tomás Jiménez turns the conventional analysis of assimilation on its head and dissects the phenomenon from the perspective of Silicon Valley’s established population.

By Milenko Martinovich, Stanford News
July 31, 2017
The conventional way of studying assimilation is to document the changes immigrants and their children experience when adapting to a new culture.

Stanford sociologist Tomás Jiménez flips the equation in his new book, The Other Side of Assimilation: How Immigrants Are Changing American Life. Focusing on the unique composition and atmosphere of three distinct areas of Silicon Valley, Jiménez analyzes assimilation from the perspectives of the region’s established inhabitants by exploring how their lives have changed due to the presence of immigrants and interactions with them.[…]

Read the full article:

The Meaning of ‘Despacito’ in the Age of Trump

By Moises Velasquez-Manoff, New York Times
August 4, 2017
On Friday, “Despacito,” the hit song by the Puerto Rican artists Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee, became the most watched video on YouTube ever, with nearly three billion views. And it got there faster than any music video in history. Just over two weeks ago Universal Music announced it was also the most streamed song in history, if you combine the number of times people played the original song or video with a remixed version featuring vocals from the Canadian singer Justin Bieber.

The ascendance of “Despacito” is remarkable for a number reasons: Except for Mr. Bieber’s intro, the song is almost entirely in Spanish. (Despacito means “slowly,” and depending on how you interpret the lyrics, the song is about what you’d do slowly to someone you really like.) The rhythmic backbone of the song is reggaeton, a style with roots in Jamaica that developed in Puerto Rico and has long been popular in Latin America but has only occasionally broken through to the English-speaking world. The video is set in a storied Puerto Rican slum called La Perla and features a joyously multiracial cast.[…]

Read the full article:

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Trump Endorses Proposed Immigration Changes: Policy or Political Theater?

Cartoon by Lalo Alcaraz
On August 2 President Trump announced his support for a bill introduced into the Senate by Tom Cotton (R-AR) and David Perdue (R-GA), the Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy Act. (Following a recent Congressional tradition, the title is chosen to produce a misleading acronym, in this case “RAISE,” falsely implying that the law would somehow push U.S. wages up.) Contrary to confused reporting in much of the media, most serious analysts think the bill will never be passed. If enacted, it would drastically reduce visas for family members of citizens, but it would have little effect on employment visas.

The New York Times editorial board correctly remarked that “[t]he only way to understand Mr. Trump’s vocal support of an obvious turkey is as yet another attempt to energize his dwindling base of right-wing and nativist supporters.—TPOI editor

RAISE Act Effects Both Bigger and Smaller than Billed, New MPI Analysis Finds

From Migration Policy Institute Letter
August 4, 2017
The RAISE Act, introduced this week by two Republican senators and endorsed by President Trump, has gotten major media and public attention even as its chances for approval by Congress appear scant. Still, the ideas at the heart of the legislation seem likely to surface in future discussion over reform of the U.S. immigration system.

A new Migration Policy Institute commentary analyzes the two major proposals in the legislation: Deep cuts to family-based immigration and the creation of a points system for the selection of immigrants coming via employer sponsorship.

Analysis suggests the family-based cuts would fall hardest on U.S. residents seeking to bring in relatives from a small number of countries, India and Vietnam among them. While much attention has focused on the proposed points system and the sponsors’ promise of “merit-based” immigration, in reality the legislation would change employment-based immigration less than some might anticipate. The points system would largely echo the existing preference for higher-educated, higher-paid workers or for investors, and for those already in the United States on a temporary basis.

“As a whole, the implications of the RAISE Act may be both bigger and smaller than promised by its sponsors,” writes MPI Senior Policy Analyst Julia Gelatt.[…]

Read the analysis:

Trump Embraces a Senseless Immigration Proposal

By the Editorial Board, New York Times
August 7, 2017
President Trump has endorsed legislation that would slash legal immigration by half, mainly by cutting the number of visas granted to relatives of citizens, while favoring people who speak English and have advanced degrees. The bill, which would do nothing to solve the country’s immigration and economic challenges, is unlikely to become law. The only way to understand Mr. Trump’s vocal support of an obvious turkey is as yet another attempt to energize his dwindling base of right-wing and nativist supporters.

The bill was introduced by two Republican senators, Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia, who say it will protect American workers from competition from low-skilled foreign workers.[…]

Read the full editorial:

Monday, August 7, 2017

ICE Carries Out Second-Largest Deportation Sweep of the Year

In four days at the end of July, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detained 650 immigrants in the agency’s  largest series of raids since it made 680 arrests in February. Focused on the bizarre reality show in the White House, US media generally gave the latest sweep little coverage.

The ostensible purpose of the raids was bad enough: it was a continuation of the Obama administration’s sweeps last year targeting asylum seekers who had fled violence in Central America as minors or in family groups. But the great majority of the people actually detained weren’t in the targeted group; it appears that some 70 percent may just have been immigrants ICE agents encountered during the sweep. As usual, the government tried to bill the raids as an effort to rid the country of “criminal aliens,” but most of the people detained didn’t have criminal records. In typically misleading language, ICE justified its arrest of 38 minors by claiming that they “were at least 16 and had criminal histories and/or suspected gang ties” (emphasis added). (An ICE memo indicates that tattoos and hanging out in areas with gangs were enough to make a teen a suspected gang member.)

As Vox’s Dara Lind points out, this was the last major ICE operation before Gen. John Kelly left Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to become President Trump’s chief of staff. Commentators have been describing Kelly as a reasonable man who might bring the White House under control. Actually, what he did at DHS was the opposite of bringing people under control. He “unshackled” ICE agents who during the Obama administration had been pressured to limit detentions to groups like immigrants with criminal records. Now ICE agents seem to be free to pad out their arrest records by detaining any undocumented immigrants they happen to run into. It makes their jobs a lot easier.—TPOI editor

ICE announces results of Operation Border Guardian/Border Resolve

Immigration and Customs Enforcement Press Release
August 1, 2017
WASHINGTON – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) deportation officers apprehended 650 individuals during a four-day operation last week, Operation Border Guardian/Border Resolve, which targeted individuals who entered the country as unaccompanied alien children (UACs) and family units.

This operation was the second iteration of Operation Border Guardian/Border Resolve which first took place in January and February 2016 in response to the significant spike in families and UACs from Central America attempting to illegally cross the southern border.[...]

Read the full press release:

US deportation raids under Trump lead to huge rise in arrests of immigrants without criminal records
The rise comes even though immigration agencies in the US have a stated priority to target 'criminal aliens'

By Clark Mindock, The Independent
August 2, 2017
US immigration officers have arrested 650 people in communities across the US in the latest deportation sweep, but the vast majority of those picked up by law enforcement don’t have a criminal record — an apparent break from the organization’s stated priority to focus on “criminal aliens”.

In a crackdown that came close in size to a large-scale sweep earlier this year, Immigrations and Custom Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested 650 people over a four-day span last month, including 38 minors. Of that group, though, 520 had no criminal record, compared to just 170 people who had no criminal records and were arrested in the earlier crackdowns.[…]

Read the full article:

What John Kelly's final ICE raid tells us about Trump's new chief of staff
Seventy percent of immigrants ICE arrested weren’t the people ICE was supposedly targeting.

By Dara Lind, Vox
August 2, 2017
Immigration and Customs Enforcement launched a nationwide sweep — ostensibly designed to catch Central Americans who’d come to the US as family units — in late July. But according to the press release they sent out Tuesday, 70 percent of the immigrants they captured were merely collateral damage.

The statement said that of the 650 immigrants nationwide, fewer than 200 of those people were actually targeted in the operation: 73 members of family units, and 120 (former) unaccompanied children. The other 457 people — nearly three-quarters of those caught up in the sweeps — were simply “also apprehended” and arrested.

This is a stunning admission from the Trump administration. Even in the most generous accounting, that means more than half of the immigrants picked up in last week’s ICE raids hadn’t been targeted and didn’t have criminal records.[…]

Read the full article:

Sunday, August 6, 2017

New Trouble at GEO Group’s Northwest Detention Center

Northwest Detention Center on Lockdown Following Guard Beating of 18-Year-Old
Even attorneys are being turned away from visiting their imprisoned immigrant clients

Press Release, NWDC Resistance
August 4, 2017
Tacoma, WA – At five this morning, immigrants detained in at the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC) began e-mailing supporters with reports of a lockdown in section F3 of the facility. The NWDC, the largest immigrant detention center on the West Coast, has been the site of frequent protests, including a recent series of hunger strikes. The lockdown was triggered after a guard assaulted an 18-year-old detained at the facility, and those witnessing the assault vocally protested the mistreatment. Lights have been turned off and those detained are not being allowed to make any phone calls.[…]

Read the full press release:

Protesters support striking detainees in April. Photo: Tacoma Action Collective

Detainees flood unit with toilet water after early morning incident, ICE says

By Kenny Ocker, News Tribune
August 4, 2017
A guard at the Northwest Detention Center on Tacoma’s Tideflats watched a detainee draw on a sleeping bunkmate’s back Friday morning, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The detainee’s lack of cooperation, as well as the behaviors of others in his residence unit, led guards at the privately operated facility to enter a lockdown, according to a statement from ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice.

“After the offending detainee refused multiple commands to leave the unit with the officer, guards were required to remove him using minimal force,” Kice wrote.[…]

Read the full article:

Detainees have repeatedly protested conditions at the Northwest Detention Facility. Here are some earlier stories:

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Trump just delivered the most chilling speech of his presidency

The president of the United States is explicitly encouraging police violence.

By Dara Lind, Vox
July 28, 2017
In a speech to law enforcement officials in Long Island on Friday, the president of the United States delivered a clear and chilling message: He thinks that unauthorized immigrants are subhuman, and that law enforcement should treat them accordingly.

The ostensible villains of Trump’s speech: the transnational criminal gang MS-13, which started in California but has taken root in El Salvador and whose members have been fingered in a string of high-profile killings in Long Island. Trump described MS-13 members as “animals” who “have transformed peaceful parks and beautiful, quiet neighborhoods into bloodstained killing fields.”

But the president has never been particularly scrupulous about differentiating “good” and “bad” immigrants.[…]

Read the full article:

Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Monday, July 31, 2017

Hundreds of American citizens end up in deportation proceedings each year, immigration data shows

The newly released information on 1,714 citizenship claim cases shows that only about two dozen people with citizenship cases nationwide were resolved quickly. One out of every six people with citizenship cases spent more than six months behind bars…

By Lise Olsen, Houston Chronicle
July 30, 2017
Emilio Blas Olivo, a 69-year-old Texan born in Weslaco, ended up in a deportation cell for three months after he returned home from a visit with relatives in Reynosa in the summer of 2014.

He presented both his birth certificate and a social security card to U.S. border officers but was detained anyway and then deported to Mexico.

In a lawsuit filed this year in the Southern District of Texas, Olivo claims immigration authorities lacked the right to arrest him and violated his rights by failing to give him due process after he repeatedly told them he was an American.

Olivo is not alone.[...]

Read the full article:

Friday, July 28, 2017

The Political Class’s Hypocrisy on the San Antonio Deaths

Officials and politicians naturally expressed shock and horror at the deaths of 10 migrants crammed into a sweltering tractor-trailer in San Antonio the night of July 22. The political class blamed human traffickers; the truck’s driver, who appears to be African American, may face the death penalty. But of course these deaths were just among the latest in the thousands that these same officials and politicians have caused through stepped-up border enforcement dating back to the Clinton administration.

Frank Fuentes
The death of Frank Fuentes is a case in point. Fuentes, a young man who has lived in Virginia and Maryland since the age of two, was one of the “gang members” and “bad hombres” Trump and Sessions have targeted for removal from the country. Deported to Guatemala, the recent high school graduate and DACA recipient was trying to return to his family in Maryland. Friends said he was pursuing a degree a local community college.—TPOI editor

Human smuggling is a deadly problem—and hardline immigration policies will make it worse

By Marie Solis, Mic
July 26, 2017
Sunday’s discovery that between 30 and 40 people had been smuggled across the border in the back of a tractor-trailer — and the subsequent reports that 10 of those people died from the sweltering heat — was a startling one. But historically speaking, it’s not too unusual.

Deadly human smuggling has been a problem for decades. Aggressive anti-immigration policies and rhetoric have only made the practice more commonplace, with smugglers or “coyotes” making millions off of immigrants desperate to enter the United States.

With President Donald Trump in office, experts said the problem may only grow worse.[…]

Read the full article:

Victim of Hot Tractor-Trailer in Texas Was Va. High School Graduate

"Frank learned from his mistakes, but he was robbed at a shot to fulfill his dreams. A broken immigration system within a broken, less than fortunate community. Frank was on his way to receiving an associate's degree at Nova. Do you know the positive impact that would have had on the Fuentes family?"

By Jackie Bensen, NBC4 Washington
July 25, 2017
Two years before he suffocated to death in the sweltering cargo area of a tractor-trailer in Texas, Frank Guisseppe Fuentes graduated from J.E.B. Stuart High School in Falls Church, Virginia.

At least 100 people were found crammed inside a big-rig trailer Sunday morning at a Walmart parking lot in San Antonio, 10 of whom died, including 19-year-old Fuentes. Many more were taken to the hospital to be treated for dehydration and heat stroke.

The driver of the tractor-trailer has been charged with transporting immigrants into the United States illegally. Eight people were found dead inside the broiling truck's trailer and two others died later at local hospitals from extreme dehydration and heatstroke.

Fuentes migrated from Guatemala to the U.S. with his parents when he was just 2 years old, according to the Washington Post.[…]

Read the full article:

At Least 14 Border Deaths in Three Days

The deaths of 10 migrants in San Antonio this week have gotten plenty of media attention, and there’s been some for the four deaths at the Rio Grande. Despite these stories, people continue to mouth the anti-immigrant mantra: “they should just wait their turn in line.” Can anyone seriously believe that migrants would risk gruesome deaths like these if there was actually a line for them to wait in?—TPOI editor

San Antonio death toll in 'horrific' human trafficking reaches 10

By Guillermo Contreras and Emilie Eaton, My San Antonio
July 23, 2017, updated July 24
A 10th person has been confirmed dead after immigrants were trapped inside a tractor-trailer at a Walmart parking lot, officials confirmed Monday morning. Several people are still in critical condition at local hospitals.

Eight immigrants initially were found dead inside the closed trailer just after midnight Saturday. More than two dozen others, the only ones left of the estimated 100 travelers who started the trip, were taken to area hospitals, many in serious to critical condition due to the heat.

A ninth person died Sunday afternoon and the U.S. Attorney's Office stated on Monday morning that a 10th person died following the incident.[…]

Read the full article:

Photo: Jerry Lara, San Antonio Express-News

Four Migrants Die Trying to Cross Rio Grande Into the U.S.

By Matthew Haag, New York Times
July 25, 2017
At least four people have died since Monday trying to cross the Rio Grande into Texas, the authorities said Tuesday, another deadly sign of the extremes to which migrants will go to reach the United States.

Heavy rains have transformed the usually slow-moving stream near El Paso into a treacherous torrent, engulfing people trying to make the already-dangerous journey. Members of the city’s water rescue team pulled the first victim from the water around noon Monday, a 37-year-old woman who died a short time later at a hospital.

Early Tuesday, firefighters retrieved three other victims — two teenagers, a boy and a girl, and an adult woman. Seven people were rescued, the authorities said.[…]

Read the full article:

Monday, July 24, 2017

A Deportation at M.I.T., and New Risks for the Undocumented

Immigration is one area where the President can deliver, to a substantial extent, on his incendiary words, without Congress. …And the more Trump fails at other parts of his agenda, and the more he doubles down on a strategy of pleasing his core supporters, the more unconscionable cases, like that of Francisco Rodriguez, there will be.

By Steve Coll, New Yorker
July 20, 2017
On Tuesday, the Boston Globe published a letter from Francisco Rodriguez, who had written it from a jail in Suffolk County, Massachusetts, where he has been held for the past week. Rodriguez, who is forty-three, has lived in this country for a decade. For the past five years, he has worked as a custodian at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he belongs to a labor union. He pays taxes and runs a carpet-cleaning business on the side. He is married, with two children, and his wife is pregnant with a third. Prior to his current incarceration, he wrote, he had never been arrested for any crime.

Rodriguez is from El Salvador, where he worked at an engineering firm, but he left the country in 2006, fearing for his life, after gangsters murdered one of his colleagues. He reached Boston without documentation and applied for asylum but was denied. His appeals ended in 2011, and he became subject to deportation. Each year since, however, officials at the Department of Homeland Security have granted him a stay against removal, after he has met with them to insure that he has remained a resident in good standing. This spring, however, following the election of Donald Trump, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, who are part of D.H.S., sent a different message: Rodriguez needed to buy himself a ticket to El Salvador and volunteer to surrender for deportation. An invitation that had been a routine check-in in previous years suddenly became an order to leave the country. “I was told that if I did what ice said, I would not have to be in jail,” Rodriguez wrote in his letter. “I believed them. I came when they told me and did what they said, but they took me. I do not understand why I am here.”[...]

Read the full article:

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Dark History of Defining ‘Family’

…[E]fforts to define and manipulate the definition of “family” in immigration matters are not new. For more than 100 years the government has done so, often reflecting political exigency and racial bias rather than the real needs and desires of families.

By Mae Ngai, New York Times
July 19, 2017
The Trump administration lost another round on Wednesday in its continuing legal battle over its travel ban against people from six majority-Muslim countries and all refugees. The Supreme Court let stand — pending full review of the ban in October — a Federal District Court ruling in Hawaii that included grandparents and other close relatives of those in the United States within the scope of exemptions to the ban.

Last month, the Supreme Court authorized the administration to implement the ban but instructed the government to exempt people with “bona fide” relationships to relatives and institutions (like employers and universities) in the United States. The State Department issued guidelines that narrowly defined those family relations as spouses, parents and parents-in-law, children and siblings. It excluded grandparents, aunts and uncles, nephews and nieces, and brothers- and sisters-in-law. It also excluded all refugees.[…]

Read the full article:

Photo: James Lawler Duggan/Reuters

Saturday, July 22, 2017

MPI: As Many As 1.5 Million DREAMers Could Get Legal Permanent Residence Under Bipartisan Senate Bill

July 20, 2017
Migration Policy Institute

Contact: Michelle Mittelstadt

MPI Estimates As Many As 1.5 Million DREAMers Could Get Legal Permanent Residence Under Bipartisan Senate Bill Unveiled Today

WASHINGTON — Bipartisan Senate legislation unveiled today could, if enacted, grant legal permanent residence to as many as 1.5 million unauthorized immigrants brought to the United States as children, according to Migration Policy Institute (MPI) analysis of key provisions outlined by the measure’s authors, Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Richard Durbin (D-IL).

A new fact sheet, Protecting the DREAM: The Potential Impact of Different Legislative Scenarios for Unauthorized Youth, examines the DREAM Act of 2017 proposed by Graham and Durbin as well as a House bill introduced in March by Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), the Recognizing America’s Children Act.

The fact sheet compares these two latest versions of the DREAM Act to the one that passed the House in 2010, offering estimates of who might qualify for initial conditional legal status as well as the subset who might fulfill the additional academic or professional requirements to obtain legal permanent residence later.

Using an innovative MPI methodology to assign legal status within Census Bureau data and to study attributes of the unauthorized, the researchers find that:
  • 1.8 million people under the Senate bill and slightly more than 1 million under the Curbelo bill would be immediately eligible to earn conditional legal status because they already have the required high school education.
  • Of those with conditional status, a smaller subset—1.5 million under the Senate bill and 938,000 under the pending House bill—would be likely to satisfy the college completion, military enlistment or other professional criteria to get legal permanent residence (aka a green card).
  • While there is a maximum pool of 3.3 million unauthorized immigrants under the Senate legislation and 2.5 million under the House bill who meet the minimum age at arrival and years of U.S. residence threshold, in reality those who do not already have the required education are significantly unlikely to be able to re-enroll and thus qualify to apply for conditional status. 
  • The experience of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program shows the limited ability of those without a high school degree to qualify for deportation relief by getting back into education because of limited English proficiency, high levels of poverty and family pressures.

The researchers suggest that given the significant overlap in qualifying criteria between the DACA program and the pending House and Senate bills, the vast majority of current DACA recipients would be able to apply for conditional status under either version.

Read the fact sheet:

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Supreme Court won't let Trump travel ban hit grandparents

Several analysts said the signals from the high court increase the possibility that the case may never be argued or decided on the merits. The 90-day period for the six-country ban is set to run out in late September and the refugee halt is scheduled to expire soon thereafter. The justices also said last month they want the parties to address in their briefs whether the dispute could be moot.
By Josh Gerstein, Politico
July 19, 2017
The Supreme Court has rejected the Trump administration’s effort to subject foreigners who are grandparents or cousins of Americans to the president’s travel ban executive order, but the justices will allow the administration to block many refugees for now.

The Trump administration said grandparents, cousins, uncles and aunts did not qualify for a travel ban exemption, which was required by the high court for foreign citizens with close ties to U.S. people or institutions. But a federal judge in Hawaii disagreed with the administration’s interpretation and ordered officials to exempt a broader set of relatives.

The Hawaii judge also said refugees assigned to a U.S. resettlement organization were exempt from the ban. However, the justices put that part of the decision on hold Wednesday pending an appeal.[…]

Read the full article:

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Activist: Threat to DACA Is a Reality Check

Mixed message from Trump on DACA sparks frustration from Dreamers as well as critics of illegal immigration

Serrano-Taha said some DACA recipients became complacent and stopped fighting for others left behind by the program, despite the growing numbers of deportations during the Obama administration.…“It created a sense of entitlement,” Serrano-Taha said. “DACA has always been in danger, ever since it started. This should be a wake-up call. It’s a reality check.”

By Cindy Carcamo, Los Angeles Times
July 16, 2017
DACA recipient Melody Klingenfuss, a 23-year-old who lives in North Hills, feels like her immigration relief is under threat. Klingenfuss came to the U.S. on a tourist visa when she was 9.
Ever since Donald Trump was elected, Melody Klingenfuss has known her time in the United States could be limited.

The 23-year-old has temporary immigration relief under President Obama’s landmark Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which seemed imperiled amid Trump’s vowed crackdown on illegal immigration.

But instead of clear policy, Klingenfuss and thousands of other DACA recipients have faced mixed messages, contradictory leaks and a lack of clarity about their future. Inside the administration, there has been talk of deportations, only to have the president himself sound a less dire tone.[…]

Read the full article:

Monday, July 17, 2017

Could the DACA Threat Set Off a Big Immigration Fight in September?

February protest in Seattle. Photo: Ted S. Warren AP
A threatened lawsuit by anti-immigrant hardliners could put DACA on hold or even end it completely unless Congress takes action or the Trump administration decides to defend the deferred action program. The hardliners set the deadline for a response on September 5, the day Congress resumes, so it’s clearly an effort to spark a showdown on immigration policy the Congress within the administration.

What’s less clear is how immigrant rights activists are going to respond. Democrats in Congress are apparently looking for a compromise. McClatchy reports that Chuck Schumer, the Democrats’ Senate leader, is “asking if [immigrant] advocates will give in on any other parts of the immigration fight in order to save DACA.” Others are wondering why we would need to "give in to save DACA" when a poll last November found that the public already opposes efforts to repeal the program by a margin of more than two to one. –TPOI editor

The future of DACA suddenly looks very shaky
If Trump makes 780,000 young immigrants vulnerable to deportation again, all hell might break loose.

By Dara Lind, Vox
July 14, 2017
President Trump looks like he might be gearing up to touch the third rail of immigration policy in 2017: ending the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which allowed young unauthorized immigrants to work legally and protected them from deportation.

Democrats are bracing for a second wave of an immigration crackdown this fall: White House adviser Stephen Miller is reportedly working with members of Congress on a bill to curb legal immigration, while Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly refused to assure members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus about the future of some immigrants currently protected from deportation.

But it’s DACA that could open the floodgates.[…]

Read the full article:

Democratic leaders to secretly huddle over strategy to save DACA

By Franco Ordoñez, McClatchy DC
July 11, 2017
Senate Democratic leaders will huddle secretly with immigration advocates Wednesday to find out what measures they will — and won’t —support as the clock ticks down on immigration issues that must be decided in the next 50 to 90 days, including the Obama-era policy that grants temporary legal status to immigrants brought into the country illegally as children.

Knowing that the deferred action program known as DACA — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals — could be eliminated if it ends up in court, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and other leaders are expected to hold a conversation with advocates on the realities of the political fight, pressing for unity and asking if the advocates will give in on any other parts of the immigration fight in order to save DACA.

“Schumer is a good person to be meeting with right now because he has to hold his guys together to block some of this stuff that is coming from the House,” said a congressional staffer who could not speak publicly about Democratic strategy.[…]

Read the full article:

Correction, July 18: The posting has been corrected to reflect the fact that the lawsuit against DACA  is threatened, not actually in progress.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

There Is No Evidence of an Illegal Immigrant Crime Wave: Why the “Elusive Crime Wave Data Shows Frightening Toll of Illegal Immigrant Criminals” Is Flawed

This blog post by Alex Nowrasteh, an analyst at the libertarian Cato Institute, presents an important response to claims about a supposed “illegal alien crime wave.” In 2015 Fox News tried to counter the generally accepted research showing that immigrants are less likely to be convicted of crimes than the native born. Nowrasteh points out obvious errors in the Fox News report—such as a common misunderstanding of county jail statistics that we pointed out in 2008—and shows the questionable reliability of references to a Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) report which is not publicly unavailable. (The references originate in a blog at the far-right PJ Media site. Rightwing provocateurs Gavin McInnes and Ann Coulter are responsible for similar distortions of Texas DPS data.)—TPOI editor
Rightwingers used dubious stats as "evidence" in debate on Kate's Law (H.R. 3004
By Alex Nowrasteh, Cato Institute
July 7, 2017
The House of Representatives recently passed the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act (H.R. 3003) and Kate’s Law (H.R. 3004) to tighten immigration enforcement in response to the fear that illegal immigrants are especially likely to commit violent or property crimes.  Both laws stem from the tragic 2015 murder of Kate Steinle by an illegal immigrant named Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez after he had been deported multiple times.

Debates on the House floor over both bills veered into the social science of immigrant criminality.  The majority of research finds that immigrants are less likely to be incarcerated than natives and that increases in their population in local areas are correlated with lower crime rates – even for illegal immigrants.

Despite that wealth of empirical evidence, a two-year-old Fox News piece entitled “Elusive Crime Wave Data Shows Frightening Toll of Illegal Immigrant Criminals” by investigative reporter Malia Zimmerman was offered as evidence of illegal immigrant criminality.  Ms. Zimmerman’s piece makes many factual errors that have misinformed the public debate over Kate’s Law and the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act.[…]

Read the full article:

Friday, July 14, 2017

NYC, July 19: “Resistance at Tule Lake” East Coast Premiere

"A dominant narrative of the World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans is that they behaved as a 'model minority,' cooperating without protest and proving their patriotism by enlisting in the army. Konrad Aderer’s documentary overturns this history, telling the story of the 12,000 Japanese Americans labeled “disloyal” who dared to resist the U.S. government’s program of mass incarceration at Tule Lake Segregation Center... Resistance at Tule Lake brings to surface stories of dissent and noncooperation marginalized for 70 years—ever more vital today amidst new threats to the rights of immigrants and minorities."

Resistance at Tule Lake at JAPAN CUTS: Festival of New Japanese Film
Japan Society
333 E 47th St, New York, NY 10017

Wednesday, July 19, 2017 at 6:30PM
*Introduction and Q&A with Director Konrad Aderer!

Tickets $14 / $11 Seniors & Students / $10 Japan Society Members

Resistance at Tule Lake in the News:

From Hiroshima to Tule Lake, Films About Japan and America
By Mike Hale, New York Times
July 12, 2016
"Interviewing survivors, and traveling on a pilgrimage to the desolate remains of the Tule Lake relocation camp in far Northern California, Mr. Aderer shows that the narrative of stoic obedience in the face of repression and imprisonment is radically incomplete... Toggling among fascinating, often sorrowful film and photographs from the period, and the still vivid anger of the now elderly former prisoners, 'Resistance at Tule Lake' is a potent piece of history at a time when the United States is once again feeling less than hospitable."[…]

Read the full article:

Resistance at Tule Lake: Film Looks at WW2 Internment
Tom Brook interviews Konrad Aderer, BBC
July 13, 2017
More than 120,000 Japanese-Americans were held at internment camps in the US during the 1940s because they were viewed as a security threat.  New documentary, Resistance at Tule Lake, looks at some of the internees’ resistance to incarceration at one California detention camp. BBC Talking Moves’ Tom Brook reports.[…]

Watch BBC interview:

Film Review: Konrad Aderer’s “Resistance at Tule Lake”
By Rex Baylon, Meniscus
June 7, 2017
"For many viewers, 'Resistance at Tule Lake' will not be an easy watch... The newsreels showcase the complete obliviousness of the American public’s perspective on Japanese [incarceration]. The interviews from surviving Japanese internees are maddeningly depressing as they nonchalantly tell of their experiences in the camps. They fight back tears as they tell their story, yet they end each harrowing tale of deprivation and humiliation with the same sentiment: that they stilllove this country and are proud to be Americans."[…]

Read the full article:

#SDAFF Spring Showcase: RESISTANCE AT TULE LAKE Demonstrated How the Struggle Is REAL
By Erin Chew, YOMYOMF Network
May 10, 2017
"This particular film directed by Japanese American filmmaker Konrad Aderer provides a deep insight into the resistance movement of the Japanese Americans incarcerated at the Tule Lake Segregation Center, and quashes the idea that Asians are obedient, non-confrontational, don’t voice their dissent and are happy to be apart of the model minority myth."[…]

Read the full article:

Interview with Konrad Aderer: Telling a dramatic story through real-life experiences is a very powerful way to engage people in an issue
By Panos Kotzathanasis, Asian Film Vault
April 26, 2017
"When I was making my first film 'Enemy Alien' about a Palestinian activist Farouk, I was looking for a parallel in Japanese-American history. I found it in Tule Lake. Pretty much everything that he did: conduct hunger strikes, reason with his captors, fight illegal cases on base of constitutional principles—that’s all the things that Japanese Americans did at Tule Lake. And they had the same kind of consequences—beating, torture, deportation, yet they still persisted, which is why I felt this story was invaluable to tell because it was so little-known."[…]

Read the full interview:

“Resistance at Tule Lake” at San Diego Asian Film Festival 2017
By Sam Velazquez, UCSD Guardian
April 23, 2016
“'Resistance at Tule Lake' reifies both the strength of people and the inexcusable, illegal actions of a government that has made a tradition of subjugating its citizens. The proud Americans dragged to this camp fought for their constitutional rights and were rebuked for it... As a nation of immigrants and contradictions, we must establish the fight for equality and justice as an active goal — not a pipe dream." […]

Read the full article:

Konrad Aderer Interview
By Andrea Chase, PRX
March 11, 2017
An interviewee in Konrad Aderer’s Resistance at Tule Lake compares that militarized internment camp to Guantanamo. It’s a connection that I had not made before, but which is just one of the many enlightening moments in the documentary.  When I spoke with Aderer on March 11, 2017, it was just before Resistance’s world premiere at CAAMFest, and my first question was about that comparison.[…]

Listen to the interview:

Konrad and team are grateful to announce that Resistance at Tule Lake was awarded the Jason D. Mak Award for Social Justice by the DisOrient Asian American Film Festival of Oregon!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Gutiérrez Warns Those With DACA or TPS to Prepare for the Worst

“This was a wake-up call that Trump, Sessions and Kelly are serious about mass deportation and are anxious to get started.  It is a call to action for people who oppose mass deportation and turning the documented into undocumented so that they can be deported.”

Press Release, Office of Rep. Luis Gutiérrez
July 12, 2017
Washington, DC – On Wednesday, Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) was among the Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) to meet with Secretary John Kelly of the Department of Homeland Security.  In the closed door meeting that lasted more than an hour, Sec. Kelly was questioned about the continuation of the DACA program (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals); ICE arrests targeting the parents and family of children seeking refuge; detention and deportation of those with no criminal record and/or stays of deportation; the renewal of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for numerous countries; and the deportation of U.S. veterans.

The following is a statement from Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez, a Member of the Judiciary Committee and Chair of the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

I think we have to prepare for the worst and get ready to fight mass deportation.  We showed up at airports to fight the Muslim and Refugee Ban and now DREAMers and people who have lived here legally for decades with TPS are in imminent danger.

Secretary Kelly determines the future of TPS and basically told us he is not sure if he will extend it for hundreds of thousands of people. He also said that the future of DACA is up to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, America’s leading advocate against immigration, so Kelly was basically telling us DACA is facing a death sentence.  They actually want to take millions of people who are documented – with our own government – make them undocumented, and then go after them and their families.

So, I fear for anybody currently with DACA or TPS.[...]

Read the full press release: