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:

Heartland Labor Forum’s July-August 2017 schedule:

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