Monday, May 27, 2019

Families For Freedom: What Will the Strategy Be?

Families For Freedom Newsletter
May 24, 2019
On the immigrant rights frontline, in this current landscape, it is seriously difficult to win and to hold down that win, solely with a legal strategy. For when we do gain a win, the system finds ways to take it back or neuter it. There needs to be a parallel political strategy, which cannot just be of the electoral type, and it must be intentionally informed by those who are, and will be, directly affected by any result of the strategy, to bring true value to it. As obvious as that may seem, we more often than not, have found ourselves “attacking walled cities” according to Sun Tzu’s (Chinese general, military strategist and philosopher) analysis on strategies.

Metaphorically, our “walled cities” are the Courts, which are being fortified at an accelerated and alarming rate with some hardened and odious men and materials, none more so than at the Supreme Court. The somewhat muted response that followed the Supreme Court’s recent decision on Nielsen v. Preap gives sound to the belief that Justice Alito’s superfluous analysis laid a minefield that would prevent or pervert any other attempt to get that close to their wall again.[…]

To read more, subscribe here.
FFF and CAAAV marching during National Day of Action (2018-6-30)

Sunday, May 26, 2019

La Colusión del Presidente Trump con la Migración Forzosa/Trump’s Collusion With Forced Migration

La Colusión del Presidente Trump con la Migración Forzosa
Por Elvira Arellano
18 de mayo, 2019
El padre Alejandro Solalinde estuvo en Chicago el fin de semana pasado para dar una plática sobre su nuevo libro, un libro que recomiendo que todos mis lectores lean. El largo y duradero compromiso de Solalinde con los migrantes, acompañado por su fe inspiradora, lo han convertido en una voz integra en la confusión y ruido del punto muerto entre los migrantes centroamericanos y la inhumanidad de la administración de Trump.

Acordamos que es necesario hallar una nueva manera de dirigirnos al asunto de la migración centroamericana, e inclusive nuevas maneras de proteger a las miles de familias obligadas a huir de Honduras por la combinación de la violencia del gobierno y de los narcotraficantes, y la política económica de hambre.[…]

Trump’s Collusion with Forced Migration
By Elvira Arellano
May 18, 2019
Alejandro Solalinde was in Chicago this week speaking about his new book—which I highly recommend to all my readers. Solalinde’s long and enduring commitment to migrants, accompanied by his inspiring faith, have made him the voice of integrity amidst all the noise and confusion of the current stand-off at the border between Central American migrants and the inhumanity of the Trump administration.

We agreed that we must find a new way to address the issue of Central American migration and new ways to protect the thousands of families forced to leave Honduras by the combination of government and cartel violence and starvation economics.[…]

Lea el artículo completo/read the full article:ón-del-presidente-trump-con-migración-forzosa-coleman

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Taxing Students and Promoting “Merit-Based” Immigration: The Connection

Does Trump want skilled immigrants... (Photo: Platt/Getty)

On May 17 President Trump used a Rose Garden speech to promote changes to the immigration law that would reduce the number of family-reunification green cards (which Trump calls “chain migration” visas) available to foreigners while increasing the number of employment-based green cards (“merit-based visas,” according to Trump). In other words, the United States would bring in many more highly educated immigrants than currently.

Many or most would undoubtedly work in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

On the same day the New York Times happened to run an article by Erica L. Green explaining how the GOP’s massive 2017 tax package “drastically raised the tax rate on so-called unearned income for children with assets and young adults in school”—that is, basically for “[s]tudents with large financial aid packages.” The article refers to the new tax burden on poorer college and graduate students as an “unintended consequence,” but in fact the same reporter pointed to this likely consequence back in November 2017, before the tax bill became law.

It may be a coincidence that Green’s article came out on the same day as Trump’s “merit-based immigration” speech, but the reality is that the two GOP policies are closely linked, as Politics of Immigration co-author David Wilson explained in November 2017. The tax burden discourages U.S.-born youths from enrolling in higher education while intensifying employment-based immigration “would bring in a still greater proportion of [foreign-born] college graduates,” he wrote then.

"In other words, people who match the profile of the students driven out of careers in science and technology by the House tax bill. Are the Republicans seeing these immigrants as replacements for US-born STEM workers? replace US STEM workers? (Photo: Piacquadio/Getty) 
"Of course this seems to contradict the politicians’ often expressed concern for 'middle-class Americans,' but it makes a lot of sense from the point of view of corporate America. After all, producing a homegrown physicist or software engineer requires a considerable investment of resources; immigrant STEM workers come with an education that was largely provided by their countries of origin, often at public expense."

Read the full article here:

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Book Excerpt: What Happens to Immigrants Accused of Backing the MEK?

John Bolton with MEK leader. Photo: Sipa USA via AP
Recent coverage in the New York Times and other media has highlighted the connection between U.S. national security adviser John Bolton and a radical Iranian group, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK). Many U.S. political figures have been associated with the group over the years, even though the U.S. government listed it as terrorist organization from 1999 to 2012. Apparently none of these political figures have suffered any consequences for their friendship with the MEK, which pays very high speaking fees. But what happens to immigrants accused of MEK ties?

We deal with this question in chapter 8 of The Politics of Immigration: Questions and Answers, “Are Immigrants a Threat?”

U.S. immigration officials detained the Mirmehdi brothers, four Iranians living in Southern California, for nearly four years, claiming they were members of a terrorist group, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK). Two of the brothers had attended a June 1997 demonstration in Denver organized by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCR), a coalition linked to the MEK. It wasn’t until four months later, in October 1997, that the State Department added the MEK to its list of terrorist organizations.

The NCR continued to enjoy the support of at least two hundred members of the U.S. Congress, even after the State Department added the coalition to the terrorist list in 1999, claiming it was another name for the MEK. When the NCR held a rally in front of the United Nations in New York in September 2000, Missouri’s two Republican senators sent a written statement of solidarity that was read aloud to the crowd. One of the two senators was John Ashcroft, who became attorney general in 2002 and fought to block the Mirmehdi brothers’ release on bond. A Justice Department spokesperson later claimed Ashcroft’s statement of solidarity did not “intend to endorse any organization.”

The Mirmehdi brothers were finally released in March 2005, a month after Ashcroft left office and as their case began to draw wider media attention. “This shouldn’t happen in the United States,” Mostafa Mirmehdi said of his family’s ordeal. “If it took place in Iran, I would expect it, but I came here for freedom.”

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

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

More Than 200 Immigration Policy Changes Under Trump: MPI

In just two years, the Trump administration has made more than two hundred policy changes affecting immigration, according to a 41-page report written by Sarah Pierce and published by the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) this month. These changes—implemented in areas where the executive branch can act without Congressional approval—constitute “one of the most assertive agendas on immigration in modern times,” Pierce writes.

Some of new policies, like the Muslim ban and the separation of families, have received widespread coverage, but most have garnered little attention; the media and even immigration policy experts have been overwhelmed by the sheer number. Many of the changes, including the ones overlooked by the media, have serious consequences for immigrants and their communities. Examples include former attorney general Jeff Sessions’ imposition of industrial-style speedup on immigration judges and his efforts to limit their ability to exercise discretion.

While most of the changes appear aimed at limiting immigration—a major goal of the administration—others seem merely petty and cruel. For instance, a December 2017 memo “eliminates prior language instructing judges to use the ‘best interests of the child’ standard to ensure that a case involving a minor takes place in ‘child appropriate’ hearing environment.” In other words, judges are not supposed to make allowances for the infants and toddlers that current immigration law forces to attend court hearings.
The report, Immigration-Related Policy Changes in the First Two Years of the Trump Administration, is an invaluable resource for anyone concerned about immigration policy and it effects.

Download the full report: