"An urgent, no-holds-barred tale of gang life, guerrilla warfare, intergenerational trauma, and interconnected violence between the United States and El Salvador, Roberto Lovato’s memoir excavates family history and reveals the intimate stories beneath headlines about gang violence and mass Central American migration, one of the most important, yet least-understood humanitarian crises of our time—and one in which the perspectives of Central Americans in the United States have been silenced and forgotten.
The child of Salvadoran immigrants, Roberto Lovato grew up in 1970s and 80s San Francisco as MS-13 and other notorious Salvadoran gangs were forming in California. In his teens, he lost friends to the escalating violence, and survived acts of brutality himself. He eventually traded the violence of the streets for human rights advocacy in wartime El Salvador where he joined the guerilla movement against the U.S.-backed, fascist military government responsible for some of the most barbaric massacres and crimes against humanity in recent history.
Roberto returned from war-torn El Salvador to find the United States on the verge of unprecedented crises of its own. There, he channeled his own pain into activism and journalism, focusing his attention on how trauma affects individual lives and societies, and began the difficult journey of confronting the roots of his own trauma. As a child, Roberto endured a tumultuous relationship with his father Ramón. Raised in extreme poverty in the countryside of El Salvador during one of the most violent periods of its history, Ramón learned to survive by straddling intersecting underworlds of family secrets, traumatic silences, and dealing in black-market goods and guns. The repression of the violence in his life took its toll, however. Ramón was plagued with silences and fits of anger that had a profound impact on his youngest son, and which Roberto attributes as a source of constant reckoning with the violence and rebellion in his own life.
In Unforgetting, Roberto interweaves his father’s complicated history and his own with first-hand reportage on gang life, state violence, and the heart of the immigration crisis in both El Salvador and the United States. In doing so he makes the political personal, revealing the cyclical ways violence operates in our homes and our societies, as well as the ways hope and tenderness can rise up out of the darkness if we are courageous enough to unforget."
Dorany Pineda talks with Lovato about the book in this article.
The NYT coverage of the refugee camp on the U.S./Mexico border in Matamoros is a must read. It shows the real impact of MPP on those who have sought asylum in the United States yet have been told to wait in Mexico while their cases are processed. They're living in tents, without electricity or plumbing or schooling. Many have been there for an entire year.
The article includes stunning photos of camp life.
The American Bar Association (ABA) Commission on Immigration and Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice jointly hosted a virtual screening of the film The Undocumented Lawyer and hosted a live Q&A. This HBO documentary short film, which follows Lizbeth Mateo, an attorney who is herself undocumented, as she fights for justice for her clients, is available to stream from October 18-24. The film will premiere on HBO in March 2021.
Professor Michael Olivas is one of the speakers who participated in the Q&A with the ABA.
There are more than 23 million immigrant women and girls in the United States today. The American Immigration Council’s Fact Sheet provides the latest economic and demographic data about this group of immigrants. The Council’s research shows that immigrant women in the labor force earn less than any other demographic in all top 10 countries of origin.
Other takeaways from the Fact Sheet:
Mexico Is the Single Largest Country of Origin for Immigrant Women and Girls
Immigrant Women and Girls Outnumber Immigrant Men and Boys
Immigrant Women and Girls are More Likely Than Immigrant Men and Boys to Come to the United States Through the Family-Based Immigration System
Immigrant Women and Girls from Vietnam and the Philippines Have Particularly High Naturalization Rates
Immigrant Women Are Active in the Labor Force, with Some Origin Countries Seeing a Higher Rate of Labor Force Participation for Immigrant Women Than for Native-Born Women
Immigrant Women in the Labor Force Earn Less Than Any Other Demographic
UPDATE: On Monday October 26 (4-5pm MT, 6-7pm ET) you can hear a different angle on the book at an event about hosted by the University of Denver Sturm College of Law professor Cesar Garcia Hernanedez. "Welcome Strangers, Building Community -- A Conversation about Hospitality and Citizenship" will feature Professor Chen discussing Pursuing Citizenship in the Enforcement Era and Sarah Jackson, the Executive Director of Casa de Paz in Boulder and author of The House That Love Built.
The New York Times reports in its October 22 morning roundup of news articles that President Trump and the Republican party are winning one-third of the Latino vote, no worse than in 2016, despite anti-immigrant rhetoric and declining support in the general population. This level of support contributes to Trump's chances of winning Texas and Florida, where Latino voters are prevalent.
An important part of the explanation appears to be a gender gap, wherein support about Latino men is significantly higher than support among Latina women. The story is based on a NY Times poll shows the gender gap among Latino voters — 26 percentage points — is significantly larger than it is among Black, white or Asian voters. The NY Times report concludes:
In effect, gender seems to be outweighing ethnicity for some Latino men.
Trump's support contrasts with higher Latina support for Biden. Among Latina women, Biden leads Trump by a whopping 34 percentage points (59 percent to 25 percent). Among Latino men, Biden’s lead is only eight points (47 percent to 39 percent).
The final presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Joe Biden last night was easier to watch then the first, with fewer interruptions and the opportunity for some substantive discussion of the issues. For analysis of the debate in its entirety, click here.
Moderator Kristen Welker asked President Trump about the migrant children who had been torn from -- and still not reunited with == their parents, with Biden pouncing on the Trump family separation policy as "criminal." Welker asked Biden about the record-setting deportations during the Obama years and the failure of President Obama to convince Congress to pass immigration reform. Trump jumped on that pressing Biden on "who built the cages?"
The Guardian observed that Trump and Biden squared off over immigration policies, including the U.S. government being unable to locate the parents of more than 500 immigrant children. "Children are brought here by coyotes and lots of bad people, cartels, and they're brought here and they used to use them to get into our country. We now have as strong a border as we've ever had,'" Trump said. "The president also criticised immigration under the previous Obama-Biden administration, including the catch and release policy, saying 'those with the lowest IQ' were the only ones who returned for an immigration hearing." (bold added).
Generally sympathetic to President Trump, Fox News observed that "[t]he comments from Trump during this exchange [on immigration], potentially perceived as callous, could be his biggest blunder of the night as he tries to appeal to centrist and suburban voters." (bold added).
Al Jazeera viewed Joe Biden as winning the war of words on immigration:
"Joe Biden’s righteous indignation over the separation of immigrant children from their parents at the US-Mexico border was a stand-out moment in this debate.
Biden seemed to be channeling the revulsion many Americans feel about recent revelations that more than the parents of more than 500 of these kids cannot be tracked.
Biden has an emotional authenticity that serves him well on the debate stage, says Alan Schroeder, Al Jazeera debate analyst."
A new report released yesterday by the Texas Civil Rights Project documents that family separation continues to occur along the U.S. border with Mexico. As the report explains, these separations are "the direct result of the Trump Administration’s Zero Tolerance policy, which called for the criminal prosecution of 100 percent of people who crossed the southern border without authorization." Notably, the report reveals a "vast discrepancy between actual separations and what the federal government has reported."
The report contains a number of important findings. For example, they have tracked the separations families in McAllen, Texas in the below table:
Accompanying Adult’s Relationship with the Separated Child
Number of Children Separated between 6/22/18 and 4/17/2020
The report tracks the how the pandemic has impacted individuals in detention and changed global detention policy. In some locations, according to the contributions in the report, the pandemic has strengthened the rights of noncitizens held in detention. However, in other locations, there has been an increase in punitive treatment of and discrimination against refugee, undocumented migrant, and stateless communities.
Contributions to the volume include countries all around the world, including Spain, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Tunisia, and many more.
"U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement can now expedite the removal of certain aliens thanks to a recent order issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Sept. 30, 2020. The court order mandates the removal of the July 27, 2019, preliminary injunction which was the only legal impediment to ICE in enforcing former Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin K. McAleenan's July 23, 2019, Designation of Aliens for Expedited Removal. Expediting removals will help keep dangerous criminals from entering communities to potentially reoffend."
ICE is implementing new rules unveiled in July 2019 that expand "expedited removal," a fast-tracked deportation process created by a 1996 immigration reforms.
"U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is implementing new rules unveiled in July 2019 that allow agents to expand their use of "expedited removal," a fast-tracked deportation process created by a 1996 law that bars certain immigrants from seeking relief before an immigration judge.
Before the enactment of the new policy, which had been held up in federal court until last month, immigration authorities were only allowed to use expedited removal on immigrants apprehended within 100 miles from an international border who failed to demonstrate they legally entered the country and had been in the U.S. for at least two weeks.
The expansion will apply expedited removal to undocumented immigrants apprehended anywhere in the U.S. if deportation agents determine they have lived in the country for less than two years and were not lawfully paroled or admitted. An immigrant will bear `the affirmative burden to show to the satisfaction of the encountering immigration officer' that he or she is not eligible to be summarily deported."
The CBS story quotes Donald Kerwin, the executive director of the Center for Migration Studies: "To make the immigration enforcement official the judge, the prosecutor, the jury, the police — that's just ridiculous in term of the rule of law and due process."
"Lawyers appointed by a federal judge to identify migrant families who were separated by the Trump administration say that they have yet to track down the parents of 545 children and that about two-thirds of those parents were deported to Central America without their children, according to a filing Tuesday from the American Civil Liberties Union.
The Trump administration instituted a `zero tolerance' policy in 2018 that separated migrant children and parents at the southern U.S. border. The administration later confirmed that it had actually begun separating families in 2017 along some parts of the border under a pilot program. The ACLU and other pro-bono law firms were tasked with finding the members of families separated during the pilot program.
Unlike the 2,800 families separated under zero tolerance in 2018, most of whom remained in custody when the policy was ended by executive order, many of the more than 1,000 parents separated from their children under the pilot program had already been deported before a federal judge in California ordered that they be found."
Karin Fischer for the Chronicle of Higher Education reports that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security today announced the arrest of 15 international students as part of an investigation into fraud in optional practical training, or OPT, the work program for international graduates. Another 1,100 will lose their work authorizations.
And some college officials will likely have their certification to administer student visas on their campuses revoked as part of the investigation, which is dubbed Operation OPTical Illusion. Kenneth T. Cuccinelli, the acting deputy secretary of homeland security, college administrators exercised a “willful ignorance or a level of negligence” that would lead to their termination as what are known as “designated school officials” in the student-visa program.
In 2017, the Trump administration began separating families at the Southern border, prosecuting parents for unlawful entry into the United States and placing their accompanying children into foster care.
By the time lawsuits were filed to challenge this program, many parents had already been deported, without their children.
Lawyers were assigned to work on reunifying kids with their parents. Yesterday, they reported that they've been unable to find the parents of 545 children left behind in the United States.
A new study from the Brookings Institution authored by Dany Bahar, Prithwiraj Choudhury and Britta Glennon shows that President Trump’s June executive order restricting entry to skilled foreign workers caused a negative impact to the valuation of Fortune 500 firms equivalent to over $100 billion in losses. “While there may be such long-run adjustments that firms can make when access to skilled labor supply is abruptly constrained, we document that there is a significant short-run negative impact,” they write. “In this particular instance, the June 22, 2020 immigration ban plausibly eroded valuation to the tune of 100 billion dollars for the firms in our sample.” Read the full working paper here.
Here is the abstract to the paper:
"On June 22, 2020, President Trump issued an Executive Order (EO)that suspended new work visas, barring nearly 200,000 foreign workers and their dependents from entering the United States and preventing American companies from hiring skilled immigrants using H-1B or L-1 visas.Exploiting this shock, and using event study methodology analyzing the cumulative average abnormal returns (CAARs) of Fortune 500 companies following this order, we find that the EO statistically and economically significantly caused negative CAARs of up to 0.45%, the equivalent of over 100 billion of US dollars of losses, based on the firms’ valuation be-fore the event. Our results are particularly pronounced for firms that had maintained or increased their reliance on skilled immigrant workers over the prior years."
NILC's Immigrant Justice Fund is laser-focused on reaching 130,000 persuadable Latino and white women voters in Arizona, North Carolina, and Wisconsin. The work has shown Hincapie that Trump's attacks on immigrants don't resonate like they used to and persuadable voters are "hungry" for a different vision of America.
If [the moderator] doesn't bring up immigration, Biden should, Hincapie said.
`He has a history of describing immigrants as a strength to this nation, he believes that at his core,' she said, citing research that showed that pro-immigrant messages focused on an economy that works for everyone increased support substantially. `He should lean into immigrants—not just immigration—as part of our nation whether he's talking about climate or the economy, whether at the debate or on the trail.'"
Press release: "17 individual and organizational plaintiffs, including institutions of higher education, nonprofit organizations, and businesses, represented by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), Jeff Joseph of Joseph and Hall PC, Charles Kuck of Kuck Baxter Immigration LLC, and Greg Siskind of Siskind Susser PC, sued to enjoin, in its entirety, the Department of Labor Interim Final Rule, `Strengthening Wage Protections for the Temporary and Permanent Employment of Certain Aliens in the United States.' The poorly-drafted, improperly-issued rule did not comply with the procedural rules for rule-making and is substantively arbitrary, incorrect, and irrational."
The Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration has released a new Presidents' Alliance-commissioned and Migration Policy Institute-produced report, Immigrant-Origin Students in U.S. Higher Education, demonstrating that in 2018 more than 5.3 million students, or 28% of all students enrolled in colleges and universities, were immigrants or the children of immigrants. You can view the full report here. You can view our press statement here.
The report’s findings reveal the growing proportion of first and second generation immigrant students in postsecondary education, the diversity of these students, and their importance for future U.S. labor growth. The report’s findings also show the direct impact and real-life consequences that immigration policies can have on millions of students and families.
Here are some of the key findings:
The United States is home to 5.3 million immigrant-origin students enrolled in U.S. higher education institutions. First-generation immigrants, individuals born abroad who immigrated to the U.S, account for 1.7 million students. Second-generation immigrants, persons born in the U.S. to one or more immigrants parents, account for 3.6 million students.
The proportion of immigrant-origin students as a share of all students in higher education in the United States was 28% in 2018, up from 20% in 2000. Immigrant-origin students accounted for about 60% of the increase in all post-secondary education students between 2000 to 2018.
Immigrant-origin students are a heterogeneous population. The report finds that 63% of Latinx/Hispanic students are first- or second-generation immigrants, as are 85% of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) students and 24% of Black students.
In nine states, immigrant-origin students make up more than 30% of all students in higher education (CA, FL, HI, MA, NJ, NV, NY, TX, WA). There are 32 states with at least 20,000 immigrant-origin students in higher education.
NPR reports that the U.S. borders with Canada and Mexico will remain closed to nonessential travel for at least another month.
The United States and Mexico both have far higher COVID-19 mortality rates than Canada.
To continue to limit the spread of COVID, the US, Mexico, & Canada will extend the restrictions on non-essential travel through Nov 21. We are working closely with Mexico & Canada to identify safe criteria to ease the restrictions in the future & support our border communities.