Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Roseanne, Immigration, and the Unasked Question

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

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

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

This scene got its share of pushback.[…]

Read the full article:

Monday, June 18, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Book Excerpt: What’s the Flores Settlement?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, June 15, 2018

Emergency Request From Families For Freedom

Families For Freedom
June 14, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

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

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

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

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

Read Sessions’ full ruling:

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

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

Read the full statement:

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

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

Read the full article:

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

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

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

Read her letter and full statement:

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Two Pieces from David Bacon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the full article:

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Family Separation Update: UN Human Rights Condemns, KIND Deplores, Judge Question, Father Found Dead After Separation

Cartoon: Rob Rogers, http://robrogers.com/
Press briefing note on Egypt, United States and Ethiopia

Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Ravina Shamdasani
Location: Geneva
Date: 5 June 2018
Subject: (1) Egypt, (2) United States and (3) Ethiopia
(2) United States

We are deeply concerned that the zero tolerance policy recently put in place along the US southern border has led to people caught entering the country irregularly being subjected to criminal prosecution and having their children – including extremely young children -taken away from them as a result.

The practice of separating families amounts to arbitrary and unlawful interference in family life, and is a serious violation of the rights of the child. While the rights of children are generally held in high regard in the US, it is the only country in the world not to have ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. We encourage it to accede to the Convention and to fully respect the rights of all children. […]

Read the full briefing:

I work with children separated from caregivers at the border. What happens is unforgivable.
The policy has a devastating emotional impact on kids.

By Katie Annand, Vox
June 6, 2018
Helplessness. It’s what I feel when children are faced with forced separation from their parent or caregiver at the US border. Anger, sadness, uncertainty, and dismay all follow closely behind.

I work as an attorney with an organization called Kids in Need of Defense, or KIND, devoted to working with unaccompanied children. I hear firsthand stories that illustrate the severe impact of family separation on children; to say they are terrorized and completely devastated is an understatement. This new terror is compounded by the trauma already experienced by these children — the violence, persecution, and other harm they faced in their home country that caused them to seek protection in the US in the first place.[...]

Read the full article:

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images
Family Separation at Border May Be Subject to Constitutional Challenge, Judge Rules

By Miriam Jordan, New York Times
June 6, 2018
LOS ANGELES — A federal judge in San Diego on Wednesday refused to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s practice of taking children from immigrants when they arrive at the border to seek asylum, ruling that the “wrenching separation” of families may violate the Constitution’s guarantees of due process.

“Such conduct, if true, as it is assumed to be on the present motion, is brutal, offensive, and fails to comport with traditional notions of fair play and decency,” Judge Dana M. Sabraw of the Southern District of California wrote in his 25-page opinion.[…]

Read the full article:

A family was separated at the border, and this distraught father took his own life

That’s when Muñoz “lost it,” according to one agent, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the incident.
“The guy lost his s---,” the agent said. “They had to use physical force to take the child out of his hands.”

By Nick Miroff, Washington Post
June 9, 2018
A Honduran father separated from his wife and child suffered a breakdown at a Texas jail and killed himself in a padded cell last month, according to Border Patrol agents and an incident report filed by sheriff’s deputies.

The death of Marco Antonio Muñoz, 39, has not been publicly disclosed by the Department of Homeland Security, and did not appear in any local news accounts. But according to a copy of a sheriff’s department report obtained by The Washington Post, Muñoz was found on the floor of his cell May 13 in a pool of blood with an item of clothing twisted around his neck.[…]

Read the full article:

Thursday, June 7, 2018

The Delusion of Deporting the Country’s Troubles Away by Banishing “Criminal Aliens"

[T]he Court’s decision presents the nation with a chance to address a more fundamental issue: Is there really any reason for the US government to deport non-citizens with criminal records?

By David L. Wilson, Truthout
June 6, 2018
On April 17 the Supreme Court handed down a ruling that limited some of the excuses the government can use for deporting people. At issue in the case, Sessions v. Dimaya, was the meaning of “crime of violence” in immigration law; immigration judges have relied on this very broad category to order some non-citizens deported as “criminal aliens.” The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in 2015 that the category was unconstitutionally vague and therefore not a basis for deportation, and the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision upheld the Ninth Circuit’s ruling.

The decision got a good deal of media attention. Time ran a headline claiming that the Court had “Dealt the White House a Big Blow on Immigration.” But this type of coverage probably exaggerates the ruling’s practical effect.[...]

Read the full article:

ICE arrest in New York, April 2018. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Reports on #EndFamilySeparation Protests

Protest in NYC’s Foley Square. Photo: NYU Immigrant Defense Initiative
Trump migrant family separations protested as U.S. is accused of violating human rights
The U.S. is violating "well established Inter-American standards," such as rights to family and to seek asylum and protection," said petitioners.

By Suzanne Gamboa, NBC News
June 1, 2018
Dagoberto A Melchor Santacruz hasn’t seen his 16-year-old partially deaf son since the two came to the U.S. border to ask for asylum. Maria Andrés de la Cruz awaits reunification with her three young children that agents separated from her and put in an icy cold cell. Antonio Bol Paau has been unable to find out where his 12-year-old son is for days.

Migrant advocates and attorneys accused the United States of human rights violations in an official complaint filed with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Thursday. The complaint came as activists protested in cities around the country against the Trump administration's latest tactic aimed at curtailing immigration.[…]

Read the full article:

Protesters Across the U.S. Decry Policy of Separating Immigrant Families

By Joel Rose and Marisa Peñaloza, NPR
June 1, 2018
Protesters gathered in more than two dozen cities across the country on Friday to condemn the Trump administration's practice of separating immigrant parents and children at the Southern border.

At least 600 children were taken from their parents last month as part of the administration's crackdown on illegal immigration.

"The stories are horrific," said Jessica Morales Rocketto, with the National Domestic Workers Alliance, who helped organize the protest in Washington, D.C.[…]

Read the full article:

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Enforcement Updates From Cato, Urban Institute, ACLU

The State of Immigration Enforcement

By Alex Nowrasteh, Cato Institute
May 16, 2018
President Trump’s administration is ramping up immigration enforcement in the interior of the United States and along the border.  However, the near-half-century low in illegal border crossers, the longer-settled illegal immigrant population inside of the country, and resistance by state and local governments are hampering his administration’s efforts to boost deportation.  Try as he might, his administration will not be able to ramp up removals to the level seen in the first term of the Obama administration.[…]

Read the full article:

ICE worksite raids are back. Here’s what we know about them

By Juan Pedroza and Molly M. Scott, Urban Institute
May 9, 2018
Last month, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducted a large-scale worksite raid at a meat processing plant in Bean Station, Tennessee, arresting 97 immigrants and grabbing national headlines. This action represents one of the Trump administration’s pushes to broaden immigration enforcement rather than target serious criminal offenders. But this type of enforcement isn’t new.

May 12 marks the 10-year anniversary of a massive raid at another meatpacking plant called Agriprocessors in Postville, Iowa. It was the largest, single-site enforcement action conducted by ICE, which arrested and processed 389 workers in the 2,200-person town. In just four days, most of these workers were sentenced to five months in prison and deportation.[...]

Read the full article:

ACLU Report: Neglect and Abuse of Unaccompanied Immigrant Children by U.S. Customs and Border Protection

ImmigrationProf Blog
May 26, 2018
A new ACLU report (Neglect and Abuse of May 2018 Unaccompanied Immigrant Children by U.S. Customs and Border Protection) is attracting attention.  As the ACLU summarizes the report, "Documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union featured in a new report released today show the pervasive abuse and neglect of unaccompanied immigrant children detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The report was produced in conjunction with the International Human Rights Clinic at the University of Chicago Law School.[…]

Read the full article:
Read the report:

Friday, June 1, 2018

How the Feds Mislabel Immigrant Youths as “Gang Members”: Two Reports

Swept up in the Sweep: The Impact of Gang Allegations on Immigrant New Yorkers

New York Immigration Coalition
May 16, 2018
Swept up in the Sweep: The Impact of Gang Allegations on Immigrant New Yorkers is a report by the New York Immigration Coalition and the Immigrant and Non-Citizen Rights Clinic (INRC) at the CUNY School of Law. Through an extensive field study, the report shows how Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), with other federal agencies and law enforcement, uses arbitrary methods to profile immigrant youth of color to allege gang affiliation.

Download the report:

Deportation by Any Means Necessary: How Immigration Officials Are Labeling Immigrant Youth as Gang Members

Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC)
May 21, 2018
Crimes Immigrant Youth Removal Defense Enforcement Asylum
This report details findings from a national survey of legal practitioners concerning the increased use of gang allegations against young immigrants as a means of driving up deportation numbers, at the encouragement of the Trump administration. The report suggests emerging best practices for immigration attorneys to employ in both fighting against unfounded gang allegations and working to mitigate the impact of prior gang involvement.

Download the report at: