Sunday, December 31, 2017

UCLA Scholars Study the President's Intent on Immigrants


UCLA Scholars Study the President's Intent on Immigrants

This study looks at  300 speeches and 6000 tweets of Trump from July 2015 to September 2017, using both qualitative and quantitative methods. Trump's story about immigrants boils down to just one narrative. It is a complete fiction, a dystopic view of a nation under siege.

TRUMP'S FALSE NARRATIVE: America, the once great castle on the hill, is besieged. Its walls are broken, its border lays open, and it is overrun by ruthless invaders. Our enemy, Mexico, has flooded us with the worst of its people: violent criminals, drug cartels, gang members, and human traffickers. Meanwhile, stupid and corrupt American politicians have led us to this existential crisis. Only brave Trump can save our country by letting law enforcement officers forcefully rid the nation of the invaders, and by building a Great Wall to "make America great again." Trump’s false narrative is simple, false, and powerful. BELOW ARE ITS MAJOR ELEMENTS..."


December 31, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Black Immigrants Face "Double Punishment"

Handcuffs, photo by Victor

Last year, Mother Jones published an article about the double discrimination facing black immigrants. Because black immigrants in the U.S., like African Americans, are more likely to have criminal convictions, they're more likely to face deportation on criminal grounds.

The story hasn't changed in a year. As Jeremy Raff writes for the Atlantic this week,

although black immigrants represent about 7 percent of the non-citizen population, they make up more than 10 percent of immigrants in removal proceedings. Criminal convictions amplify the disparity: Twenty percent of immigrants facing deportation on criminal grounds are black.

The article features commentary from immprofs Alina Das (NYU) and César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández (Denver).


December 31, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Fear of immigration raids partially to blame for 100-year-old church's closure

News from Detroit.  After more than 100 years, a Roman Catholic church in Detroit is closing, partly because Hispanics who worship there fear immigration agents.

The final Mass at All Saints Church will be celebrated Sunday on Detroit's southwest side. All Saints was founded in 1896 and has been at its current site since the early 1900s.  The pastor at St. Gabriel, the Rev. Marc Gawronski, said there are many reasons for the closing of All Saints. The church has weak finances, needs repairs and has been losing members. A construction project on Interstate 75 has hurt attendance.  Gawronski said there has been an increase in raids and enforcement by federal immigration agents in the community.  Immigration agents have an "informal agreement that they have affirmed that they will not go into churches and not hassle people going to church," he said. Nonetheless, "people are even nervous about being able to get up in the morning and go to church."

Only three people attended a Spanish Mass on a recent Wednesday night.


December 31, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Refugees Flee Burma

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Immigrant of the Day: Emmanuel Mensah (Ghana)


Emmanuel Mensah immigrated to the U.S. from Ghana five years ago. A member of the U.S. Army National Guard, Mensah died on Thursday in the Bronx fire that killed 12.

The night of the fire, Mensah successfully evacuated the family of six with whom he was staying as well as another four individuals. When he returned to the fire to save more, he succumbed to smoke inhalation.


December 30, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

DACA Fix May be Costly -- Funding "the Wall," Restricting Family Immigration, Eliminating Diversity Visas

The pressure builds for Congress to pass a DACA fix.  But, according to news accounts, it appears that any relief for the DACA recipients will be costly.

In an interview with the New York Times and a Friday morning tweet, President Trump said that any deal that would grant legal status to immigrants brought to the United States as children needed to include funding for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

“Look, I wouldn’t do a DACA plan without a wall,” Trump said to the Times, referring to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that he has set to expire next year. “We need it. We see the drugs pouring into the country, we need the wall.”

He reiterated that point in a tweet.  President Trump tweeted yesterday the following:


December 30, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

DACA Legal Services Toolkit

In response to the urgent DACA crisis, the Center for Human Rights & Constitutional Law has prepared a DACA Legal Services Toolkit for legal services providers, pro bono attorneys, BIA representatives, and advocates. Accessible through this link . Based on discussions with numerous DACA recipients and their advocates, we have anticipated several areas in which DACA recipients will face major obstacles and in seven (7) practice advisories we suggest strategies to protect and legalize the status of DACA recipients wherever possible. 

December 30, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 29, 2017

Chain Migration

Vox has a great piece on "chain migration," which President Trump has been railing against of late. It not only summarizes the president's arguments against chain migration, it tackles the issue from an academic and historical perspective. Dara Lind, the author of the Vox piece, cites Doug Massey's work on family migration, how Massey's work has been co-opted by anti-migration forces, and then goes on to debunk some of the more outrageous claims regarding chain migration.


December 29, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

NY Governor pardons 18 immigrants in face of Trump immigration crackdown

NPR's Five Immigration Stories to Watch in 2018


NPR identifies five immigration stories to watch in 2018:

1.  DACA

2.  Travel ban

3.  Border wall

4.  Sanctuary cities

5.  Employer crackdown.  So far, the administration's enforcement efforts have focused mostly on immigrants themselves, not on employers who hire undocumented workers. Trump administration officials have said publicly that that will change in 2018. But past administrations found that workplace raids carried a high political price. The new year may reveal whether the White House has the stomach for a fight with the pro-business wing of the Republican Party.


December 29, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Extending Temporary Status for El Salvador: Country Conditions and U.S. Legal Requirements by Jayesh Rathod et al.


Extending Temporary Status for El Salvador: Country Conditions and U.S. Legal Requirements by Jayesh Rathod et al.

In March 2001, the U.S. government announced the designation of El Salvador for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). This designation was premised on the significant disruptions and damage caused by two earthquakes that had ravaged El Salvador in January and February 2001. TPS for El Salvador has been extended over the years, and the current period of designation is set to expire in early March 2018. In the current political moment, there is concern about whether this TPS designation will be extended once again. Recent reporting suggests that the Department of State has recommended to the Department of Homeland Security that TPS be terminated for El Salvador and other countries.

This report provides a background on TPS, and also undertakes a detailed examination of the justifications offered over the years for extending TPS for El Salvador. Each of these past extension decisions concluded, as required by the TPS statute, that El Salvador is not able to adequately handle the return of its nationals who are residing in the U.S. with TPS. Our analysis reveals that the U.S. government has premised these past extension decisions on six categories of factors: climate and environment; economy; infrastructure; public health; safety and security; and governance.

Drawing on ongoing research on country conditions in El Salvador carried out by American University and research institutions in the region, the report proceeds to assess this same broad range of country condition factors in present-day El Salvador. Findings support the conclusion that TPS for El Salvador should be extended. Consideration of this country condition evidence is compelled by an analysis of prior TPS extension decisions.


December 29, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Migration Mayhem in 2017

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Your Playlist: Charlie Parker Quintet

This is Visa, from the Charlie Parker Quintet:

Off the same album, you'll find Passport:


December 28, 2017 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Making the Rio Grande Great Again

has an alternative vision for the Rio Grande, the river marking the border between the United States and Mexico.  He writes that the United States and Mexico have shared their current international border for nearly 170 years. Today they cooperate at multiple levels on issues that affect the border region. President Trump’s focus on building a border wall threatens to undermine many binational initiatives, as well as our shared natural environment.

A scholar focusing on urban planning and design in the border region, Diaz has worked with communities in both countries to restore deteriorated urban and natural environments. He sees great potential for green infrastructure – projects that use live natural systems to deliver benefits to people and the local environment. This approach can help mitigate air and water pollution, restore soils and habitats and regenerate plant, animal and human communities.  

He also sees see an opportunity for Mexico and the United States to work together on a much larger scale. Rather than spending billions of dollars on a border wall, here is an alternative vision: regenerating the Rio Grande, which forms more than half of the border, to form the core of a binational park that showcases our spectacular shared landscape.


December 28, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

How Libraries Discriminate Against Undocumented Children

Photo by The City of Toronto

Erica Sánchez, author of I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, wrote an interesting piece for Time about how public libraries, perhaps inadvertently, create barriers that can prevent undocumented immigrants from obtaining library cards. For example, if libraries require government-issued photo identification, and the state doesn't provide driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants, then this can be a barrier preventing immigrants from accessing public libraries. Sánchez argues that this is particularly troubling when those denied services are kids, commenting that "libraries are supposed to be a safe haven for children."

Sánchez reached out to one library that had this policy, with fabulous results:

It was with this frustration that I called Jane Schoen, the director of the library and explained to her that their policy was discriminatory. To my surprise, she said she never considered that this would create a barrier for undocumented people. I asked Schoen to reconsider the policy, and when I followed up the next month, I learned that the board had changed the requirement to a photo ID that did not have to be government-issued. When I asked Schoen why the library had agreed to change their policy, she said simply, “Because you brought it to our attention, and it made sense."

The next time that you're visiting your public library, consider inquiring about what is needed to obtain a library card.


December 27, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Canada Immigration: 2017 Year-in-Review


Colin Singer, Managing Partner of, discusses Canada Immigration 2017 year-in-review covering permanent residence, citizenship, temporary workers, students, refugees and criminal inadmissibility.



December 27, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Trump’s new suspension of refugees leaves some at risk of dying, doctors say

Elections matter.  Kevin Seiff for the The Washington Post reports on the U.S. government's slow response to refugees with dire health issues.

The United States has been a global leader in resettling refugees since the aftermath of World War II, when it accepted more than a half-million displaced Europeans. But the number admitted in 2018 could be the lowest in decades, advocacy groups say.

The White House says the new pause is necessary to improve vetting procedures for people from high-risk countries such as Somalia, where an Islamist extremist group, al-Shabab, is battling the government. U.S. authorities say they will consider exceptions on a case-by-case basis. People who work at one refugee camp of 250,000 refugees say, however, that they have seen none approved since late October.



December 27, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The Christmas Message & Refugees

Pope Francis focused on the plight of refugees during his Christmas Eve mass, as the NYT reports. He made a direct parallel between Joseph and Mary who, on traveling to Bethlehem, found a city “that had no room or place for the stranger from afar” and current refugees who "do not choose to go away but, driven from their land, leave behind their dear ones" in the pursuit of "survival.” Jesus, the pope proclaimed, “comes to give all of us our document of citizenship.”

Artist Kelly Latimore has the following take on the story (which, in fairness, predates the pope's comments but clearly connects to them):


And the internets have offered this take on the message:



December 26, 2017 in Current Affairs, Religion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: The Employment Effects of Mexican Repatriations: Evidence from the 1930’s by Jongkwan Lee, Giovanni Peri, Vasil Yasenov

  Profile2 Image_normal Vasil

The Employment Effects of Mexican Repatriations: Evidence from the 1930’s by Jongkwan Lee, Giovanni Peri, Vasil Yasenov,  September 22, 2017


During the period 1929-34 a campaign forcing the repatriation of Mexicans and Mexican Americans was carried out in the U.S. by states and local authorities. (I analyze the "forgotten" repatriation here.).  The claim of politicians at the time was that repatriations would reduce local unemployment and give jobs to Americans, alleviating the local effects of the Great Depression. This paper uses this episode to examine the consequences of Mexican repatriations on labor market outcomes of natives. Analyzing 893 cities using full count decennial Census data in the period 1930-40, we find that repatriation of Mexicans was associated with small decreases in native employment and increases in native unemployment. These results are robust to the inclusion of many controls. We then apply an instrumental variable strategy based on the differential size of Mexican communities in 1930, as well as a matching method, to estimate a causal "average treatment effect." Confirming the OLS regressions, the causal estimates do not support the claim that repatriations had any expansionary effects on native employment, but suggest instead that they had no effect on, or possibly depressed, their employment and wages.

This paper is discussed on This American Life blog.  The findings of the report are summarized as follows:  "What their findings suggest: The mass expulsion didn’t create jobs. In fact, it did the opposite. The job markets shrank more in places that had expelled more Mexicans and Mexican-Americans. There was actually higher unemployment for the remaining residents in those places."


December 26, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

California Governor Pardons Immigrants -- Will Removal Be Avoided?


Kurtis Lee for the Los Angeles Times reports on the increasing use of pardons by state governors in order to avoid federal removal.  The two Cambodian refugees living in Northern California had been convicted of crimes years ago and, under the Trump administration's more aggressive immigration enforcement policies, those offenses had placed them on a path toward deportation.  But shortly before Christmas, California Governor Jerry Brown announced the pardons of both men — Mony Neth of Modesto and Rottanak Kong of Davis — saying they had paid their debts to society and now lived honest and upright lives.

Immigration is a federal, not state, responsibility, but attorneys for the men hope the pardons will eliminate the rationale for deporting them. Across the country, immigration attorneys are doing the same: seeking gubernatorial pardons in last-ditch attempts to forestall deportations or allow the deported to return to the U.S.

Targeting convicted criminals for deportation isn't a new idea; it was a priority under President Obama, who deported more people than any of his predecessors. But during the Obama administration, only those with serious crimes on their records were targeted for removal. President Trump has cast a much wider net.

Governor Brown previously had pardoned two immigrant veterans for crimes, which began the process for their return to the United States after being removed.

Other state governors are considering pardons of immigrants.


December 26, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)