Sunday, January 21, 2018

‘Dreamers’ could give US economy – and even American workers – a boost

Here’s new research supporting our contention that most native-born people in the U.S. would benefit from the passage of the DREAM Act. How would it affect the DREAM Act fight in Congress now if there was more distribution of this sort of material?—TPOI editor
Rally in support of DACA. AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana
Amy Hsin, The Conversation
January 19, 2018
Earlier this month, hopes were high that a bipartisan deal could be reached to resolve the fate of the “Dreamers,” the millions of undocumented youth who were brought to the U.S. as children.

Those hopes all but vanished on Jan. 11 as President Donald Trump aligned himself with hard-line anti-immigration advocates within the GOP and struck down bipartisan attempts to reach a resolution.

As we enter the final hours before a potential government shutdown, many Democrats are insisting that any short-term funding agreement must include a resolution for Dreamers.

One of the arguments advanced by those who oppose giving them citizenship is that doing so would hurt native-born workers and be a drain on the U.S. economy. My own research shows the exact opposite is true.[…]

Read the full article:

Download the research paper:

Saturday, January 20, 2018

The immigration debate at the center of the government shutdown, explained

This article from Vox gives a pretty clear idea of how the immigration impasse is playing out in Washington. The Democratic politicians are generally willing to give away a lot—too much, most activists would say—to get some protection for DACA recipients. The Republicans, by contrast, are very divided. Some Republican legislators are willing to compromise, some are not, and their president is constantly changing his positions—and doesn’t understand those positions. (As the Daily Show noted, Trump may think the diversity visa involves an actual, physical lottery drawing!)

Meanwhile, back in the real world, DACA and TPS recipients are left in a limbo that’s painful for themselves, their families, and their communities.—TPOI editor

By Tara Golshan and Dara Lind, Vox
January 20, 2018
President Donald Trump sits at the center of the fight to re-open the federal government, and it’s posing a major problem.

“Negotiating with President Trump is like negotiating with Jell-O,” Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said on the Senate floor on the first day of the government shutdown.

Republicans and Democrats are stuck in a standoff over the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which the Trump administration has promised to fully sunset by March 5. Frustrated with Trump’s unwillingness to accept a bipartisan proposal to address the nearly 700,000 DACA recipients in legal limbo, Democratic — and some Republican — senators voted against the short-term spending bill on Friday to force a sense of urgency over immigration negotiations. The conversation about reopening the government has become hopelessly entangled with the conversation about what to do on immigration.[…]

Read the full article:

Friday, January 19, 2018

Inside ICE’s Police State

More and more evidence is accumulating: ICE is using its policing powers in an effort to shut down resistance to the immigration system. So far, the effort seems to be backfiring. As the repression intensifies, the resistance seems to keep on growing. One example: nearly 600 people turned out in the cold at Washington Square on MLK Day for a Jericho walk sponsored by the New Sanctuary Coalition; this came four days after ICE detained the organization’s executive director, Ravi Ragbir. We can expect still more grassroots activism as political class inaction continues in DC.—TPOI editor

I Stood Up to ICE, and Now They’re Trying to Deport Me
With the letter delivered to my house, ICE has officially made the leap from a law enforcement agency to a political repression agency.
Photo courtesy of Maru Mora Villalpando
By Maru Mora Villalpando, Yes! Magazine
January 17, 2018
When I imagined U.S. immigration authorities coming for me, I never thought it would be by certified mail. And yet this is how it happened—a few days before Christmas, a knock on my door led to the delivery of a letter, informing me that I was being placed in deportation proceedings.

My daughter, who opened the letter, started to cry. I immediately saw this for what it was: their way of trying to intimidate me. I felt a mix of emotions, but mostly I felt angry.[…]

Read the full article:

No Sanctuary: As ICE Targets Immigrant Rights Activists for Deportation, Suspicious Vehicles Outside Churches Stoke Surveillance Fears

By Nick Pinto, The Intercept
January 19, 2018
When word came down from the upper floors of Federal Plaza in Lower Manhattan that Immigration and Customs Enforcement was taking custody of Ravidath Ragbir and intended to deport him, hundreds of his supporters, standing outside on the cold sidewalk, raised up their hands to the monolithic building and screamed.

Ragbir had entered the building willingly, on his own steam, accompanied by his wife and family, his legal team, and a handful of elected officials. Now, his friends outside learned, Ravi — as everyone knows him — wouldn’t be coming back to them. They had planned for this possibility even as they hoped it wouldn’t come, but the plans soon gave way to a spontaneous gesture of resistance. As the ambulance carrying a handcuffed Ragbir — he had briefly fainted when he was taken into custody — pulled out of the Federal Plaza garage, supporters attempted to stop its progress. Friends, colleagues, clergy, and city council members put their bodies in front of the vehicle, blocking it with their lives.[…]

Read the full article:

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

ICE Targets Activists—Take Action!

New Yorkers arrested as ICE detains Ravi Ragbir. Joana Toro /VIEWpress/Corbis via Getty Images
There can now be little doubt that Immigration and Customs Enforcement is targeting immigration activists and their families for detention and deportation. Today's Democracy Now! program, linked to below, devoted much of its time to coverage of these cases. We are also providing links to other coverage.

It’s important to stay informed, but it’s just as important to act. New Yorkers can support Jean Montrevil and Ravi Ragbir on Thursday, January 18, by coming out for one or both of two actions, and everyone can support Washington state activist Maru Mora-Villalpando by signing a petition:
We’ll try to update you as we learn about other support actions.—TPOI editor

NYC Immigration Activist Jean Montrevil Speaks Out After Deportation to Haiti: “My Heart Is Broken”

By Democracy Now!
January 17, 2018
On Tuesday, immigrant rights leader Jean Montrevil was deported to Haiti after residing in the United States for over three decades. He came to the U.S. from Haiti with a green card in 1986 at the age of 17. During the height of the crack epidemic, he was convicted of possession of cocaine and sentenced to 11 years in prison. He served that time. Upon his release, he married a U.S. citizen, had four children, became a successful small businessman, as well as an immigrant rights activist. He has had no further interaction with the criminal justice system. Joining us from Haiti is Jean Montrevil, who was deported to Haiti on Tuesday. We are also joined by Jani Cauthen, Jean’s former wife and the mother of three of his children.[…]

View this and subsequent segments, or read the transcripts, starting here:

ICE tracks down immigrant who spoke to media in SW Washington: ‘You are the one from the newspaper’
After talking to The Seattle Times about his girlfriend’s arrest by immigration officials, a Pacific County man was detained himself. He said an agent told him it was because of what had been written.

By Nina Shapiro, Seattle Times
December 3, 2017
A man who recounted his longtime girlfriend’s arrest in a Seattle Times story about ramped-up immigration enforcement in Pacific County last month has now been detained, and says U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents told him the arrest was because he was in the newspaper.[…]

Read the full article:

Husband of Peruvian woman taking sanctuary at Boulder church detained by ICE

By John Bear and Jenn Fields, Denver Post
January 11, 2018
When Ingrid Encalada Latorre’s husband, Eliseo Jurado, stopped by a Westminster Safeway on Thursday to pick up some items for his 9-year-old stepson, Bryant, and 2-year-old son, Anibal, she didn’t anticipate that six agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement would snatch him.

“This is an attack on me,” Encalada Latorre said through an interpreter inside the Boulder Unitarian Universalist Church, where she has taken sanctuary for less than a month to avoid deportation to her native Peru.[…]

Read the full article:

What Deportation Really Means

When Deportation Is a Death Sentence
Hundreds of thousands of immigrants in the U.S. may face violence and murder in their home countries. What happens when they are forced to return?

Laura S. Photo: Carolyn Drake / Magnum/New Yorker
By Sarah Stillman, New Yorker
January 9, 2018 (posted)
On June 9, 2009, just after 2 a.m., Laura S. left the restaurant where she waitressed, i
Pharr, Texas, and drove off in her white Chevy. She was in an unusually hopeful mood. Her twenty-third birthday was nine days away, and she and her nineteen-year-old cousin, Elizabeth, had been discussing party plans at the restaurant. They’d decided to have coolers of beer, a professional d.j., and dancing after Laura put her three sons to bed. Now they were heading home, and giving two of Laura’s friends a ride, with a quick detour for hamburgers. Elizabeth said that, as they neared the highway, a cop flashed his lights at them. The officer, Nazario Solis III, claimed that Laura had been driving between lanes and asked to see her license and proof of insurance.

Laura had neither. She’d lived in the United States undocumented her whole adult life.

“Do you have your residence card?” Solis asked.

“No,” Laura said, glancing anxiously at her cousin and her friends. Solis questioned them, too. Only Elizabeth had a visa, which she fished out of her purse. Solis directed the others to get out of the car. “I’m calling Border Patrol,” he said—an unusual move, at the time, for a small-town cop in South Texas.[…]

Read the full article:

What the Salvadorans Being Kicked Out by Trump Face Back Home

By Jonathan Blitzer, New Yorker
January 9, 2018
Patty is a thirty-eight-year-old Salvadoran mother of two who has lived in the United States, on Long Island, since 1998. Her father was killed during El Salvador’s civil war, in the nineteen-eighties, and her mother fled to the U.S. to seek asylum as a refugee. Patty had initially thought that she would be eligible for residency in the U.S. through her mother, but that didn’t work out. “I never understood what happened with my papers,” she told me Monday night, when we spoke by phone. “But then there was another option.” In 2001, after a string of earthquakes had struck El Salvador, Patty was among the thousands of Salvadorans who qualified for temporary protected status, or T.P.S., a federal designation that allowed her to live and work legally in the U.S. She has renewed her T.P.S. status every eighteen months for the last seventeen years. During that time, she got married; had her two sons, who are U.S. citizens; went to community college; and found a job as a secretary at a financial-services firm.

On Monday morning, the Trump Administration announced its decision to cancel T.P.S. for Salvadorans.[...]

Read the full article:

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Humans, “Aliens,” and “Shithole Countries”

There is no evidence that Donald Trump has ever in his life performed a single selfless act, let alone any act of heroism. Probably he wouldn’t be able even to imagine the nobility of character I witnessed among Port-au-Prince residents after the earthquake, and among “alien” activists like Ravi and Jean here in New York.

By David L. Wilson, MR Online
January 14, 2018
Exactly eight years ago, on January 12, 2010, I happened to be in Port-au-Prince when a major earthquake struck southern Haiti, killing tens or hundreds of thousands of people.

That night and in the five days that followed I saw a few Haitians acting selfishly, but mostly I watched and interviewed people trying to help each other, many of them digging through rubble with hand tools or bare fingers, sometimes endangering themselves in attempts to rescue friends, neighbors, and even complete strangers.[…]

Read the full article:
Miami commemoration of the 2010 earthquake. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

NYC, 1/15/18: Stand Up for Immigrants and Against Racism

1. Stand With Us on Martin Luther King Jr. Day
as we proclaim “Immigrant Rights are Human Rights”. Ravi Ragbir, Jean Montreveil, and others have been unjustly detained. Join us Monday as we stand together and demand their immediate release.
New Sanctuary Colation's Ravi Ragbir

Monday, January 15, 2018
12pm: Jericho Walk, Washington Square Park, NYC
1pm: Press Conference, Judson Memorial Church, NYC
Information: New Sanctuary Coalition

Earlier events at Judson Church:
9am: Breakfast at Judson Memorial Church, NYC
10am : MLK Service with Ruby Sales,Judson Memorial Church, NYC

In the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., faith leaders, elected officials, and immigration and legal advocates will come together to condemn the institutional oppression of marginalized communities and hold a "Jericho Walk" in Washington Square Park, around Ai Wei Wei's “Arch” migration sculpture. A press conference will be held following the vigil to call for Mr. Montrevil and Mr. Ragbir’s release, and to honor the 18 people who were arrested putting their bodies on the line in the tradition of peaceful civil disobedience in defense of Mr. Ragbir.

In the face of Trump’s unprecedented assault on immigrant communities and blatant racism, the fight for the rights and dignity of immigrants is more important than ever. Trump’s recent disparaging remarks about Caribbean and African countries, like Mr. Ragbir and Mr. Montrevil’s homelands of Trinidad and Haiti, respectively, highlight the critical need for continued resistance and unity.

Speakers: New York City Councilmembers Jumaane Williams and Ydanis Rodriguez, who were among the 18 people arrested in an act of civil disobedience during Thursday’s solidarity vigil; Rev. Kaji DouĊĦa, whose grandfather stood with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as he delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial; Rev. Donna Schaper, civil rights leader and senior minister at Judson Memorial Church; Alina Das, Professor at New York School of Law and legal counsel to Ravi Ragbir; and loved ones of Jean and Ravi.

2. Rally Against Racism: Stand Up for Haiti and Africa
Haitian workers rally, Port-au-Prince, 2012. Photo: Marty Goodman/Socialist Action
Monday, January 15, 2018
2:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Information: 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East

President Trump's racism was on display yet again this week with his hateful comments about Haitian and African immigrants. We will not let bigotry divide us, and we will welcome and defend all immigrants! WE ARE AMERICA!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Not Passing a Clean Dream Act Would Hurt Taxpayers

Immigrant rights march in Los Angeles, 2016. Photo: Molly Adams
Immigrants aren't just economic factors; they're human beings -- in the case of the Dreamers, human beings who have been members of our society for most of their lives. But even in the Republicans' own terms, the Dream Act would be a big win for the great majority of us.

By David L. Wilson, Truthout
January 12, 2018
This month is almost certain to bring a major confrontation in Congress over the fate of the nearly 700,000 young immigrants who are losing the protection from deportation that they had under President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, now slated to end on March 5.

Immigrant rights activists are demanding that Congress safeguard DACA recipients by finally passing some version of the Dream Act, legislation first proposed in 2001 that would provide legal status for about 2 million immigrants who arrived in the United States as minors. The Republican leadership in Congress, on the other hand, insists that to get any relief for DACA recipients, Democratic legislators must agree to increases in immigration enforcement and a tightening of restrictions on authorized immigration. President Trump tweeted on December 29 that "there can be no DACA without the desperately needed WALL at the Southern Border and an END to the horrible Chain Migration & ridiculous Lottery System of Immigration etc."[…]

Read the full article:

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Trump Targets NY Immigrant Rights Activists

The administration is now taking aim at a faith-based New York activist coalition. This morning ICE detained the New Sanctuary Coalition's executive director, Ravi Ragbir, during his scheduled check-in at the federal building in Manhattan. This followed the January 3 detention of another New Sanctuary activist, Jean Montrevil. The message was clear: the Trump regime is cracking down on the resistance.

At least 400 people gathered outside the federal building starting at 9 am today to show support for Ragbir as he attended his appointment inside. Supporters marched silently for more than an hour and then, at 10:30 held hands for a few moments, forming a chain around the building. When word came out that the activist was being detained and removed from the ICE office, the crowd rushed to the driveway leading into the building’s garage. A number of protesters attempted to block the vehicle carrying Ragbir out; the first attempts were beside the building on Duane Street and then continued for several blocks down Broadway, trying up traffic for about twenty minutes.
Duane Street: protesters surround vehicle carrying Ravi Ragbir
New York City police arrested a total of 18 demonstrators, mostly on Broadway in full view of City Hall; New York claims to be a “sanctuary city,” but its police persist in helping ICE agents carry out their detentions. Arrestees included two City Council members, Ydanis Rodriguez and Jumaane Williams, along with Rev. Micah Bucey, Rev. Juan Carlos Ruiz, and other faith leaders. BuzzFeed News posted footage of the protests; among other police violations, the tape shows Jumaane Williams wincing in pain from tight wrist restraints.

As activists protested in Lower Manhattan, Trump was meeting with lawmakers in the White House to discuss immigration issues. During the gathering, the president reportedly described immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and Africa as “people from shithole countries.” According to sources familiar with the meeting, Trump added: ““Why do we need more Haitians? Take them out.” As Jonathan Katz, formerly the AP correspondent in Haiti, pointed out, Trump’s remark came one day before the eighth anniversary of the 2010 earthquake that killed tens or even hundreds of thousands of people, including Haitian-American citizens, in southern Haiti.

The New Sanctuary Coalition is asking for phone calls to legislators and government officials demanding Ragbir’s release.—TPOI editor

ICE detains immigrant rights leader Ravi Ragbir, prompting Manhattan protests
Ragbir displays his handcuffs
 By Nicole Brown and Lauren Cook, AM New York
January 11, 2018
Hundreds of protesters gathered outside of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center on the Lower West Side Thursday, chanting "ICE out now" and demanding to know the whereabouts of a prominent immigrant rights leader, just hours after two city councilmen were arrested during a similar protest in Foley Square.

City councilmen Ydanis Rodriguez and Jumaane Williams were among 18 people who were arrested during the Foley Square protest sparked by the arrest of Ravi Ragbir, the executive director of faith-based immigrant rights group New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City. Ragbir was detained when he showed up for a check-in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, organizers of the rally said.[…]

Read the full article:

Immigration activist Jean Montrevil detained

By Tequila Minsky, Caribbean Life
January 11, 2018
With the piercing sounds of sirens and traffic, immigration activists, local politicians, and clergy braved bitter weather at the prayer vigil and rally protesting the detention of Jean Montrevil.

Montrevil was picked up during his lunch break — van transport entrepreneur — outside his home near Far Rockaway. He was on a deportation order.

Demonstrators prayed and then spoke. They held placards that read: “Free Jean Montrevil Now and Let Haitians Stay.”[...]

Read the full article:

The New Sanctuary Coalition Requests Phone Calls to Support Ravi Ragbir

The New Sanctuary Coalition’s executive director was detained today when he made his regularly scheduled check-in visit to ICE offices at the New York federal building. The coalition is requesting phone calls to support Ravi.—TPOI editor

Ravi Ragbir
By New Sanctuary Coalition
January 11, 2018
Please, make phone calls NOW to ICE and to your elected officials to demand Ravi’s freedom. Click here for a PDF with names, numbers and instruction for making these calls. When you make these phone calls, please be respectful, not confrontational.


CALL the following:
NYC ICE Field Office Director: 212-238-4530
NYC ICE Field Office: 212-264-4213
ICE Office of Policy: 202-732-4292


Locate Your Elected Officials:

Varick ICE officers (212) 863-3401 extension
D.O. Berndt 3525
D.O. Attanasio 3569
D.O. So 3536 D.O. Folajaiye 3452
D.O. Kow 3582
D.O. Williams 3540
D.O. De Leon 3447
D.O. Syed 3566
D.O. Shnider 3456
D.O. Paoli 3586 Supervising
D.O. 212-863-3438

Script: “Hello, my name is ___, and I am requesting that ICE release my brother Ravi Ragbir, A Number: 044-248-862. Ravi was detained today in New York City. I respectfully ask you to release him from detention and grant him a new stay of removal. Thank you.”

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

NYC, 1/10/18 and 1/11/18: Two Important Actions

Rally for a Clean DREAM Act at Sen. Schumer's Office
Join the New York Immigration Coalition and our partners outside New York Senator Chuck Schumer's office to demand he take strong action to pass a clean DREAM Act!

Wednesday, January 10,  5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Congress failed to pass a clean DREAM Act in 2017. 
Thousands of young immigrants have already lost their status and thousands more will lose their protection in 2018. 
We need a clean DREAM Act NOW!

Co-sponsors (list in formation): Asian American Federation, Arab American Association of New York, Chayya Community Development Corporation, CUNY DREAMers, Indivisible Nation BK, MASA, New York DREAMers, New Immigrant Community Empowerment, New York State Immigrant Action Fund, SUNY DREAMers, 32BJ SEIU

Solidarity Vigil Against Deportation at Foley Square
Arrests by ICE have escalated in the past few months.  One of the New Sanctuary Coalition co-founders, Jean Montrevil, was arrested and detained by ICE outside his home this past week. New Sanctuary Coalition may be a target. The executive director, Ravi Ragbir, has his check in this Thursday January 11th at 9 am.

Thursday, January 11, 2018, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm

New Sanctuary Coalition's Ravi Ragbir
New York City families deserve dignity and respect. Each day, dozens of New Yorkers facing deportation must check-in with ICE Officers at 26 Federal Plaza. When they enter the building, they don’t know if they will be able to see their families again. Now more than ever it is important to show solidarity in the face of policies that threaten our communities.

Join us for a Jericho Walk to stand with individuals and families facing deportation. This interfaith act of solidarity will bring together advocates and supporters to show immigrants that they are not alone.

At 9 am, we will begin the Jericho Walk, circling the building in silence and thoughtful prayer. Though we walk in silence, our actions speak to the injustices that our communities face.

Sponsoring organizations: American Friends Service Committee, Brooklyn Defender Services, Center for Constitutional Rights, Detention Watch Network, Immigrant Defense Project, LatinoJustice, Make the Road New York, MinKwon Center for Community Action, National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Project, the New York Civil Liberties Union, Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights, UnLocal, Inc. and a growing list of others!

Please invite others to attend via Facebook:

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

DACA and TPS: Trump Plans to Push 1 Million More Into the Shadows

Trump rants about Salvadoran gangs. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images
On January 9 the administration announced that it was terminating Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for some quarter million Salvadorans. Along with the termination of DACA and most other TPS programs, this will end protection from deportation for a total of about 1 million immigrants. Few of them will be able or willing to return to their countries of origin. The undocumented population in the U.S. has remained stable at around 11 million for a decade; now the White House, which regularly denounces “illegals,” actually seems to be working to increase the number. Maybe we should ask why.—TPOI editor

Trump’s attacks on humanitarian immigration just became a full-blown war
He’s trying to force 260,000 immigrants to return to El Salvador after decades in the United States.

By Dara Lind, Vox
January 9, 2018
On Monday, the Trump administration announced that it was stripping approximately 260,500 Salvadoran immigrants — who’ve been in the US for at least 17 years, since a 2001 earthquake — of temporary legal status as of July 2019.

It’s the latest, and most significant, blow in the administration’s fight against Temporary Protected Status, an immigration program that lets the government allow immigrants to stay in the US and work legally after their home countries are struck by natural disasters or war.[…]

Read the full article:

Ending Salvadorans' protected immigration status will exacerbate problems Trump aimed to fix
[T]he termination of TPS for Salvadorans likely will cause a significant humanitarian and economic impact for cities such as Washington, D.C., Miami and Los Angeles.

By Geoff Thale and Elyssa Pachico, The Hill
January 8, 2018
It is no secret that protection offered by the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program to Salvadorans, Hondurans and Nicaraguans lasted beyond “temporary,” extending over many years. Under TPS, migrants unable to return to their home countries because of war, natural disasters or other “extraordinary” conditions can live and work in the United States. The U.S. government granted TPS to Salvadorans in 2001, following two devastating earthquakes in the Central American country, and because of violence and instability in subsequent years, continued to approve extensions to the program.[…]

Read the full article:

Save the Salvadorans
So long as our immigration system is built on contortions of logic like these, it will be vulnerable to Trump-style cruelty that’s then justified on the basis of common-sense law enforcement.

David Leonhardt, New York Times
January 9, 2018
The roughly 200,000 Salvadorans whom the Trump administration is subjecting to deportation are deeply ensconced in American society.

They have lived here for at least 17 years. Together, they have about 190,000 children who were born in the United States. The immigrants “work in a wide array of jobs, from defense contractors to school cafeteria workers, commercial office cleaners and restaurant owners,” Maria Sacchetti of The Washington Post writes.[…]

Read the full article:

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Book Excerpt: What Are “Chain Migration” and the “Visa Lottery”?

On December 29 President Trump tweeted that “there can be no DACA without the desperately needed WALL at the Southern Border and an END to the horrible Chain Migration & ridiculous Lottery System of Immigration etc.” As usual, he had no idea what he was tweeting about, but there’s a lot of confusion about these terms in the general public—especially about “chain migration,” which is now misused to describe what was previously known as “family reunification,” “family-based immigration,” or the “family preference visa.”

Here's what we say in The Politics of Immigration: Questions and Answers, second edition, Chapter 4, “Why Can’t They Just ‘Get Legal?’”:

Can’t immigrants bring their extended families here?
If you’re a U.S. citizen, you can generally apply to bring your “immediate relatives”—spouses, parents or unmarried children under twenty-one—here as permanent residents, although there are plenty of hoops to jump through, and it’s not always quick or easy. For other types of “family preferences,” an even more complex set of rules lays out “priority” categories and annual caps based on the family relationship and country of origin. Waiting times of ten to twenty years are not uncommon. In February 2015 the government was still processing family visa applications from as far back as August 1991. While they wait, applicants are disqualified from visiting the United States because they have shown “immigrant intent” by applying for immigrant visas.

Some conservatives now object to the “family preference” system, but it was actually introduced into the 1965 Immigration Act as a concession to conservative politicians who wanted to keep Asians and Africans out of the United States. Family preferences would mean “there will not be, comparatively, many Asians or Africans entering the country,” Representative Emmanuel Celler, a liberal New York Democrat who cosponsored the 1965 law, said in Congress during the final debate on the bill, “Since the people of Africa and Asia have very few relatives here, comparatively few could immigrate from those countries because they have no family ties to the U.S.”

What about the work visa and the “visa lottery”?
The government can also issue up to 140,000 immigrant visas a year for five categories of workers, and each of these has its own numerical limitations. The categories include professionals, people with special skills, and cultural or sports figures. There are openings for religious workers, former U.S. government employees, and investors, but only 5,000 visas can be issued to unskilled workers.

In 1986, Congress created a temporary category of “diversity” visas to bolster immigration from Europe, which had slowed thanks to a growing European economy. The Immigration Act of 1990 made the program permanent starting in 1995. The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, often called the “visa lottery,” allocates 50,000 immigrant visas to different parts of the world under a formula favoring regions that have sent relatively few immigrants in the previous five years. Natives of countries that have sent more than 50,000 immigrants to the United States during the past five years are disqualified from participating in the lottery.

[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.]

Saturday, January 6, 2018

DACA Fight Heats Up—and Other Fights Loom

The Democrats’ failure to defend DACA recipients in 2017 infuriated much of their base. What will they do in 2018? Meanwhile, there’s been comparatively little coverage of Trump’s termination of TPS for many groups, and Sessions may try to restrict some protections in the immigration court system.—TPOI editor
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
Divided Democrats face liberal backlash over inaction on immigration
“The entire progressive movement has galvanized around protection for Dreamers. We need the party united,” said Cristina Jimenez, executive director of United We Dream....”

By Steve Peoples and Matthew Daly, Associated Press via PBS
January 4, 2018
WASHINGTON — With a new deadline fast approaching, Democrats in Congress are struggling to adopt a unified strategy to protect hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation.

Their inaction has enraged liberal activists across the country, who have shifted their anger in recent days from Republicans who control Congress to Democrats seeking to balance their commitment to a progressive priority with their desire to avoid an explosive government shutdown heading into the 2018 midterm elections.[...]

Read the full article:

The Other Imperiled Immigrants
For no good reason, other than spite and symbolism, Trump goes after Central American immigrants with Temporary Protected Status.

By Manuel Madrid, American Prospect
January 5, 2018
The past has come to claim Karla Alvarado and her family.

Departing from Central America’s infamous Northern Triangle of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, Karla and her younger brother Carlos made the harrowing journey to the United States border in 1997, crossing over with the help of a coyote and then waiting for nightfall to hike into Texas. Their mother, Maria, had gone before them just months earlier, fleeing an abusive husband in El Salvador and then arranging for her children to join her in Washington, D.C.

At the time, Karla could count the number of words she knew in English on one hand and her own age on two hands[...]

Trump administration considers eliminating immigration policy seen as a lifeline for thousands
The attorney general wants to aggressively tackle immigration court backlogs

Clark Mindock, The Independent
January 5, 2018
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is reviewing an judicial policy that could potentially reshape the way immigration courts work and thrust thousands of people’s legal status into question.

Mr Sessions is questioning whether he should revoke judge’s ability to conduct “administrative closures” of immigration proceedings, which allow judges to close the cases without a decision.[...]

Read the full article:

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Two Examples of Resistance and One Example of Why We Need It

Photo: Astrid Riecken/Washington Post)
Rapid response network to monitor immigration enforcement launches in San Diego

By Kate Morrissey, San Diego Union Tribune
December 19, 2017
People who see immigration officers knocking at their doors — or their neighbors' — in San Diego County can now call a new 24-hour hotline for support.

The hotline is part of the San Diego Rapid Response Network, which sends trained volunteers to reported immigration enforcement activity across the county to document officers’ behavior, gather information for legal screenings and offer resources to family members. The network is activists’ answer to increased immigration arrests under President Donald Trump.

More than 150 volunteers have received training so far.[…]

Read the full article:

How a Group of Immigration Attorneys Stopped a Deportation Flight to Cambodia
ICE is seeking to deport Cambodian Americans at unprecedented speed.

By Julianne Hing, The Nation
December 19, 2017
A plane packed with around 50 Cambodian Americans set for deportation was scheduled to depart on Monday from Texas for Phnom Penh. But a court order issued late Thursday has blocked, at least for now, the Trump administration’s plan to expel them.

A US district-court judge granted a month-long temporary restraining order after attorneys argued that—in the course of raiding, apprehending, detaining, and attempting to deport more than 100 people to Cambodia in recent weeks—Immigration and Customs Enforcement denied people due process and violated the agency’s own procedures.[…]

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Shocking treatment of immigrants by US immigration agents revealed in new report
Immigration advocates say that ICE frequently fails to bring about change

Clark Mindock, The Independent
December 15, 2017
American immigration detention facilities regularly subject inmates to strip searches, unsanitary conditions, and threats of prolonged confinement without justification - a new report details.

The report stems from an inspection of several US detention facilities by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General, which followed after immigrant rights groups and members of the public lodged complaints about the treatment of the immigrants.

“Overall, we identified problems that undermine the protection of detainees’ rights, their humane treatment, and the provision of a safe and healthy environment,” the report states.

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