Friday, November 18, 2016
Photo via WaPo; David Michaels/U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum
Ruth Gruber has passed away at the age of 105, WaPo reports.
During World War II, Gruber, with the backing of the U.S. government, escorted some 1,000 refugees across the Atlantic from Italy to Oswego, New York.
The refugees, from eighteen different countries, were all escaping the Holocaust and seeking asylum in the United States.
If you haven't read it, her autobiography about the experience, Haven, is a gripping read. She details how she was chosen by the government to go overseas on this journey, the perils of the journey itself, the detention of the refugees in Oswego, New York, and their eventual release. It's powerful stuff.
Rest in peace, Ruth.
CNN reports that President-elect Donald Trump has selected Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) to be his nominee for the next Attorney General. It was unclear as of Friday morning whether Sessions had accepted.
Sessions was a leading opponent of the 2007 amnesty bill and 2013 “Gang of Eight” amnesty bill. The Gang of Eight bill eviscerated immigration enforcement, opened up welfare and citizenship to millions of illegals aliens, issued an astonishing 33 million green cards in a single decade, and doubled the annual flow of temporary workers to fill jobs at lower wages.
Sessions has also been a leading opponent of President Obama’s unconstitutional executive amnesties, which gives jobs and benefits to illegal workers at the expense of struggling families.
A former Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee, Senator Sessions now serves as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest, where he promotes an immigration policy that prioritizes the jobs, wages, and security of the American people."
As well as being the nation's chief law enforcement officer, the Attorney General, who heads the Department of Justice, has important immigration functions. The Executive Office for Immigration Review, which includes the Board of Immigration Appeals and the immigration courts, is housed in the Department of Justice. The Office of the Solicitor General, which handles cases for the U.S. government before the Supreme Court, also is housed in the Department of Justice.
Sessions' nomination can be expected to provoke controversy -- it already has.
The International Organization for Migration reports that an estimated 350 migrants are missing, presumed dead after at least six incidents in the Mediterranean in the past three days. This brings the already record number of migrant deaths in the Mediterranean in 2016 to an estimated 4,621. This means that 1,000 more deaths have been recorded this year than during the same period last year. In all of 2015, some 3,777 migrants died trying to cross the Mediterranean. These six latest incidents (see the articlefor further details) mean that IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has already recorded 546 migrant deaths in the Mediterranean this November, compared to 81 during the period 1-17 November 2015. This means that migrant deaths in November 2016 are over 6 times higher than the number of deaths recorded in November last year.
Thursday, November 17, 2016
Over at the Crimmigration blog, Cesar Cuauhtémoc García Hernández and Linus Chan have shared their reflections on how the election of Donald Trump will likely devastate immigrant communities across the country.
Hernandez reflects on how the changes brought by the Administration will shape his approach to teaching and scholarship:
As a teacher, I rededicate myself to training my students in the righteousness of justice. Terrorizing families is not just, even if it happens with due process. Demonizing migrants is not just, even if it turns on the stigma of a conviction meted out by a legal proceeding. When the towering jurist Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote that “the life of the law has not been logic: it has been experience,” what he meant was that there is nothing inherently compelling about the law. The law is what the community to which legislators are accountable demand that it be. In short, the law is malleable. It will move in the direction that lawyers, judges, legislators, and activists push it. I will help my students learn the skills they need to push our nation’s moral compass toward an appreciation of our shared humanity.
As a scholar, I take seriously the responsibility to unearth the human consequences of the legal system. I take seriously the need to “look to the bottom,” as Mari Matsuda urged years ago, for guidance about where to direct my intellectual energies. I am fully aware that my position at an institution that supports the production of knowledge means that I am afforded the opportunity to “trade in ideas in their vital bearing on a wider political culture,” to borrow from bell hooks. I know that I am provided the luxury of resources most can’t imagine. This is not new. But in a historical moment when the dark clouds of xenophobia are moving from their perennial perch on the mountaintop and into the valley, I must recommit to scholarship that is engaged with the hard realities of a government ready to unleash its coercive powers.
Chan offers thoughts on concrete ways that concerned individuals can advocate and respond on behalf of immigrants:
1) If you are in a blue state and your state doesn’t yet allow for drivers’ licenses for the undocumented, now is the time to get the state legislature to do it. Unlicensed driving is one of the easiest ways to get put into the removal system.
2) Obviously we need more lawyers for removal hearings. We should push cities to follow the New York City model that provides an appointed counsel system for all migrants in removal proceedings. If we can’t get universal legal coverage, then, as much as I hate drawing lines to exclude noncitizens with criminal records like the people I regularly represent, let’s start with the most sympathetic migrants: push for lawyers for children, the mentally ill, and asylum seekers. We can also look to Alameda County, California and the Bronx Defenders to get public defender organizations to also represent their clients in immigration court hearings.
3) We can create bond funds. Non-detained folks have cases lasting more than two or three years and we may even get that number up over four if the Trump Administration does increase immigration law enforcement. Making bond available and affordable will go a long way to protect migrants’ families from being torn apart and into crisis-even if in the end they cannot stay.
4) We can find more criminal attorneys to take post-conviction cases, especially ones that may seem benign but actually carry serious immigration consequences. Trump has already used the term “criminals” so now is the time to try and find ways to clean your record.
Data from the Institute of International Education
There are more than 1 million international students enrolled in universities across the United States. Where I teach, at the University of North Dakota, over 6% of our undergraduates and 11% of our law students are international scholars. At other schools, the international student population is significantly higher: More than 50% of the students at Northeastern University (Boston) and Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh) come from outside the United States.
The revenue that these students bring to campuses nationwide is significant. And their varied backgrounds and experiences greatly enrich our classrooms.
Now, it appears, fears about president-elect Donald Trump's immigration reforms may lead some international students to pursue their education outside the United States.
Students are afraid about Trump's ideas regarding Muslim registration. This alone might dramatically affect enrollment of international students come 2017-2018. After all, the country presently sending the third highest number of students to the U.S. is Saudi Arabia, a predominantly Muslim country.
Students are also concerned about potential limits on their ability to work in the United States after graduation. If NAFTA is abandoned or renegotiated, for example, what will that mean for Canadian and Mexican graduates hoping to secure a TN visa? What will happen if Trump spearheads efforts to restrict OPT? What if H1B changes are pursued with Congress?
Universities may be inclined to adopt a “wait and see” attitude about what changes actually happen and in what order. Yet such an approach is misguided. The mere possibility of these changes is going to affect enrollment.
I'm sure we've all sat in a few meetings looking at similar charts over the years. Law schools around the country are still reeling.
So, the mere possibility of restrictive immigration policies will undoubtedly affect international student enrollment. And the shortfalls that will occur as a result of reduced enrollment of international students will have a significant financial impact on universities around the country. If your institution isn't thinking about this yet, they need to.
Now is the time for universities to engage with their elected federal representatives to make them understand the economic impact that immigration changes will have on higher education. It's also time to start getting serious about strategic planning for inevitable revenue shortfalls.
From a University of San Francisco Student:
There’s something you should know about me and my behavior today. Why I look at you longingly, searching for who I thought you were. Why I leave the room when you get on your soapbox. I was taught to respect you, but I don’t know if I have it in me anymore.
I remember you and Grandma arguing with my Dad about Mexicans over the dinner table every Sunday night for a few months. Something about driver’s licenses. I was a child and racism meant nothing in my white life.
I remember you scolding me for having a black boyfriend; I heard you spit a word that I was taught was poison. I was a teenager then and racism meant nothing in the face of my rebellious nature; you were the establishment and I expected friction.
I remember when you told me I was too good to work in Africa. You didn’t want your youngest granddaughter sleeping on mud floors or getting AIDS. I was older then so I laughed kindly at your ignorance, took it as a sign of love and filters lost.
I remember when I realized you were a racist. Casual, old age, Korean vet racist. Off the cuff, means well, mid-century racist. Apple pie, baseball, American flag racist. I’m a young woman now and it’s stopped being excusable. People allow it because of age, because of patriarchy, because you have seen some shit, but I can’t. I’d like my Papa back now. The one with warm, leathery hands and candy and a slow laugh. But now, I have you.
So excuse me as I shudder when you speak tonight around the table. When you tell us all you’re thankful for, all you have, all the love you’re surrounded with. Excuse me if I can’t eat; my mouth’s full of blood cause I’ve been biting my tongue all night.
Because you can’t fathom the privilege that allows you to breathe easy tonight. You can’t imagine the fear your vote has instilled in millions of people in this country. You can’t imagine what it means to the future, to the world, to my brothers or my mother or me.
I still love you, but I hope you stop being so afraid.
Serving Immigrant Families through Two-Generation Programs: Identifying Family Needs and Responsive Program Approaches
Addressing the needs of low-income parents and their children simultaneously via two-generation programs that weave together early childhood services with adult-focused programs such as English literacy or workforce training hold great potential to support the successful longer-term integration of immigrants and their children, a new Migration Policy Institute (MPI) report finds.
The report from MPI’s National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy, Serving Immigrant Families through Two-Generation Programs: Identifying Family Needs and Responsive Program Approaches, finds that programs that offer adult English instruction and build U.S. cultural and systems knowledge — particularly as they relate to parenting, child development and kindergarten readiness — are a key threshold service for many immigrant parents as they work to join the mainstream of economic and civic life in the United States.
Little research exists on the success of two-generation programs in reaching immigrant families. The MPI study, which examined a number of such programs across the United States working with immigrant families, concludes that the field must tailor its approaches to reach a population that faces specific barriers, including limited English proficiency and low levels of formal education. The report, which offers some of the factors for success of the programs studied, also provides an analysis of the sociodemographic characteristics of U.S. parents, whether immigrant or native born, with young children.
“Our analysis reveals that while immigrant parents possess particular strengths that are advantageous to their children, many also face a number of risk factors that make them prime targets for two-generation programs,” said Maki Park, a policy analyst with MPI’s National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy and lead author of the report.
Immigrant parents lead an increasingly large proportion of U.S. families with young children (age 8 and under) living in poverty, comprising 23 percent (8.4 million) of these parents, according to the report’s analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data for 2010-2014. Twenty-four percent of these families live below the federal poverty level, compared to 15 percent for U.S.-born parents with young children. The overwhelming majority of young children in immigrant-headed households — 94 percent — were born in the United States and were therefore U.S. citizens at birth.
English and other adult education programs have often been the primary avenue through which immigrant parents with young children become engaged in two-generation programs. For example, Family Literacy and Even Start programs for decades have provided the first interaction that many such parents had with local government and community services. These programs have helped hundreds of thousands of immigrant parents improve their English skills, support their children’s early learning and kindergarten readiness and lead their families along a pathway to greater educational and economic success.
The federal government, in partnership with states, has supported such programs primarily through the Workforce Investment Act, which was reauthorized in 2014 as the Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act (WIOA). However, under the new WIOA performance accountability system, adult education programs are now assessed under the same measures used to judge workforce training programs. These measures, including transition to postsecondary education and attainment of credentials and postsecondary degrees, overlook the important “on-ramp” role played by parent-focused literacy programs, which face a significant risk of appearing to be failing under the law’s accountability metrics. The result could be possible loss of federal funding.
“This new report details key ingredients in the ‘secret sauce’ used by a diverse array of programs that support two-generation success in immigrant families,” said Margie McHugh, a report co-author and director of the National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy. “And though WIOA’s implementation poses a serious threat to the field’s gateway service for many immigrant parents, states can take action to address the potential crowding-out of these programs, and draw lessons from the strengths of well-tailored initiatives to better leverage their early childhood and anti-poverty investments for the two-generation success of all families.”
The report can be found here.
What the Mass Deportation of Immigrants Might Look Like: "Operation Wetback" didn’t merely enforce immigration law—it enforced the idea that American citizens are white.
"To return to the era of Operation Wetback would be to return to an America ruled not by law but by terror. We will not strengthen our economy by persecuting the most vulnerable. Launching a massive deportation drive will not preserve jobs for American workers. What it will do is draw racial borders around our citizenry and restore whiteness as a necessary condition for being a real American."
NPR also summarizes the damage of "Operation Wetback" here.
"Even if [Trump] cannot quickly build a wall or remove millions of unauthorized immigrants, he can instill fear, driving some immigrants to leave and others not to come in the first place. Fear alone can reduce immigration—both legal and illegal—without the federal government spending a cent. For this, at least, Trump gets all the credit."
Kirk Semple of the New York Times writes that Mexico's Foreign Ministry, responding to promises by President-elect Donald J. Trump's promises to greatly increase deportations, announced a plan on Wednesday to provide more protection and support for Mexican immigrants in the United States and urged the Mexican population to “stay calm.”
In a statement and an accompanying video, both titled “We Are With You,” (Estamos Contigo) the ministry laid out an 11-point plan intended to help Mexicans in the United States get accurate information about possible changes in immigration policy and avoid falling victim to “abuse and fraud.” Click the link to the story above for details.
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
The Independent is reporting that the Trump transition team, which includes immigration hardliner Kris Kobach, is considering a come-back of the "special registration" program for Muslim noncitizens. "Such a programme would echo a registration system created under Mr Bush’s presidency, which [Kris] Kobach also helped design, and which required thousands of Arab and Muslim visitors and temporary US residents to register with the state, but was abandoned in 2011 after it was criticised for unfairly targeting immigrants from Muslim-majority nations."
Immigration Article of the Day: Refugee, Asylum, and Related Legislation in the US Congress: 2013–2016 by Tara Magner
Members of Congress have introduced numerous pieces of legislation in recent years related to refugees, asylum seekers, and other populations of migrants seeking protection in the United States. These bills were drafted in reaction to dramatic events within the United States, at its borders, and around the world. For example, roughly 400,000 children traveling alone and mothers with children have arrived at the southern US border since 2013, many seeking protection from organized crime, gang violence, and threats of human trafficking. Similarly, more than a million refugees from the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia sought to reach safety on the European continent in 2015 alone. Terrorist attacks fueled attempts to curtail the US commitment to offer protection to those fleeing persecution, even when those attacks had no connection to refugees or only tenuous links. And yet existing US law has been left virtually unchanged throughout this tumultuous period. This article describes the significant attempts to enact legislation related to refugees and international migrants since 2013 and examines the reasons why those attempts have not succeeded. It also describes American attitudes toward refugees and assesses whether those attitudes affected the fate of legislation.
Tara Magner is Director, Chicago Commitment, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The views expressed herein are solely the author’s, expressed in her personal capacity, and do not reflect the views of the MacArthur Foundation.
Throughout the world, children flee peril in their place of origin, but often they exchange one set of dangers for another. A new report published today by Harvard University’s FXB Center for Health and Human Rights finds that protection for children on the move, particularly during time of transit, is lacking worldwide.
Children on the Move: An Urgent Human Rights and Child Protection Priority, which began as a research project commissioned by the Oak Foundation, documents the dramatic protection failures (including pervasive exposure to sexual exploitation and abuse) of migrant children involved in various forms of distress migration – ranging from refugee flight to humanitarian movement to exploitative labor or sex-related forced migration. The report details the incomplete patchwork of legal provisions relevant to the protection of these children, along with the social ecology of risk as it manifests itself at different points across the migration trajectory. It includes seven case studies analyzing a range of diverse situations in geographical locations spanning North America to Africa, Europe, Latin America, and Asia. The report also includes targeted recommendations for improving access to effective child protection for the extensive and growing populations of children of the move. As the report notes, “Although international human rights law requires states to provide each child with a basic level of care and protection, this is too often contingent upon a determination of legality or status. The protection of these individual rights is also impacted when the numbers of children on the move are particularly great.”
Click here for more details.
Guest blogger: Andrea Portillo, graduate student, Masters in Migration Studies, University of San Francisco
Here’s something you should know we lost last Tuesday’s presidential elections. We as a people lost. Because unfortunately this country is still embedded with racist and “othering” rhetoric. Because unfortunately we live in a country where race, sexual orientation, citizenship status, and gender are still used as weapons against you. People will continue to stereotype and discriminate against you based on these things. They will say hateful, hurtful and wrong things about you. They will label you things you are not and they will even try to take some of your rights away—some of the rights that you were born with, some of the rights that your people have worked/ and continue to work for.
Here’s something you should know. You are still here. We are still here. We are motivated, now more than ever. We should all be ready to stand with our fists in the air, ready to fight back. Because it’s more important now. It means more now. For the student who is undocumented and whose dreams have just been cut short. For the people of color who deal with racism, and systemic oppression every day. For the women of color who have to work twice as hard to reach their goals. For everyone who continues to be discriminated against based on their gender, race, status and health. Now is not the time for self-pity. Yes things are harder but they have always been hard. We have to go harder. We have to put 150% into everything that we do because our families need it, our communities need it and this country needs it.
Guest blogger: Nora Alicia Castaneda, graduate student, Masters in Migration Studies, University of San Francisco
Here’s something you should know about me. I was once an undocumented immigrant. I was born in Nayarit, Mexico. My mother emigrated to the United States and after my first six years as a citizen of Mexico I arrived to the States. I do not remember how it is I crossed. All I can remember was that I had a cousin who let me borrow her passport and proper identification and we did the old switcheroo. I was living as an undocumented immigrant for the majority of my life. Four years ago on November 2012, I became a U.S Permanent Resident. The large part of my family however, remains in the shadows. They remain undocumented. Since the election of Donald Trump, my life has been in a constant haze. I do not know what to say to my family to console them in these difficult times. I want to be strong for them, but it breaks my heart to know that we continue to live in a society that is in fear of immigrants. The United States continues to fear what they don’t know. White supremacy continues to be the law of the land. I am scared that my family can be deported any minute. This is a constant fear that I had to live with and they continue to endure to this day. It seems our country, and I use the words our country because for the majority of my life I have known the United States to be my home; has taken five steps backwards. I do not know where we go from here, but though these last few days have been a constant struggle for me, I continue to find strength and resilience in my Latino community. We are not going anywhere, and it is now more than ever that my passion to serve my community will be of utmost importance. I continue to seek how the work that I am doing in my Master’s program, and the work I will be forever doing as an activist will fit into making the world a better place for migrants everywhere. I do not know what my piece in this puzzle is yet, but I am now more than ever, passionate to find it. So, Donald Trump, though you have won this battle, you have not won the war. In the words of my undocumented community: We are undocumented, unafraid, unapologetic and we will not be going anywhere!
The Los Angeles Times editorial board has come out in support of the policy of the Los Angeles Polce Department's limits on cooperation with federal immigration authorities. Stay tuned as we are likely to see push back on the Trump administration's likely war on "sanctuary cities."
It has been reported (and here) that Court documents filed in U.S. court in Miami list Major League Baseball star outfielder Yoenis Cespedes as a possible government witness in the case against Florida sports agent Bartolo Hernandez and his associate Julio Estrada, who are accused of smuggling Cuban ballplayers into the United States. Chicago White Sox star Jose Abreu is also listed as potential witnesses in the trial, which is scheduled for Jan. 3 in Miami. Hernandez and Estrada have pleaded not guilty.
A grand jury indictment unsealed earlier this year says baseball ballplayers paid more than $15 million to a smuggling ring to leave Cuba. The ring provided the players with phony documents, false identities and secret boat travel from Cuba to Mexico, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The smugglers allegedly took a cut from any Major League Baseball contract signed by the players.
There has been much interest—and confusion—in recent days regarding the number of unauthorized immigrants who could be deported because of criminal convictions when the Trump administration takes charges.
During an interview Sunday on CBS’ 60 Minutes, President-elect Trump said his administration would seek to deport 2 million to 3 million people with criminal records who he said are in the country illegally.
A new Migration Policy Institute (MPI) commentary, which draws from earlier MPI work, examines how many unauthorized immigrants would be priorities for removal under the circumstances outlined by Mr. Trump. The answer: About 820,000, based on MPI estimates drawing from the most recent publicly available information from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
DHS last reported on the “removable criminal alien population” in a 2012 report to Congress, estimating that there are 1.9 million noncitizens with criminal records that make them removable. Based on the DHS number, we estimated in a 2015 report that 820,000 of the approximately 11 million people living in the country illegally had criminal convictions. These 820,000 people are a subset of the 1.9 million, with the remainder comprised of people lawfully present in the United States.
The commentary explains how the 820,000 estimate was derived, traces how the U.S. immigration enforcement system has already been recalibrated over recent years to focus on the removal of noncitizens with criminal records, and outlines issues affecting the removal of this population.
Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Following on the heels of Trump's 60 Minutes Interview in which he declared that the Administration would immediately seek to deport between 2 to 3 million undocumented immigrants with prior convictions, this Los Angeles Times article reports on what the incoming Administration means when it says it will prioritize the removal of so-called "criminal aliens."
According to two senior officials in the transition team, Trump’s advisors will seek to widen that net to include migrants who have been charged but not convicted, suspected gang members and drug dealers, and people charged with such immigration violations as illegal reentry and overstaying visas, as well as lower-level misdemeanors.
The article also discusses the possible expansion of expedited removal at the border, return of 287(g) agreements with local law enforcement agencies, and return of Secure Communities.
Although the number of U.S. residents who speak a language other than English has grown in recent decades, the share of those who are Limited English Proficient (LEP) has fallen: 40 percent in 2015, compared to 44 percent in 1980—even as immigration rose rapidly. This Migration Policy Institute article examines growing linguistic diversity in the country and sketches a profile of the LEP population, including size, location, and socioeconomic characteristics.