Tuesday, July 27, 2021

DACA Recipient Allowed to go to the Olympics


ImmigrationProf has some immigration news.  Sports Illustrated reports that Luis Grijalva, who finished second in the men's 5,000-meter final at the NCAA track and field championships and did well enough to realize a dream of his and qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.  He hoped to competing for home country of Guatemala.   And he will after ironing out some immigration issues.

Grijalva, a student at Northern Arizona University, came to the U.S. from Guatemala when he was just 1 year old, and has lived here ever since. He's a DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipient.  As a DACA recipient, Grijalva needed a special permit to leave the country and return.  He got it on Monday.  

After receiving his advanced reentry document, he's going to be allowed to leave the country in pursuit of his dreams, his agent announced.


July 27, 2021 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Texas and the Dangers of State Immigration Enforcement by Geoffrey A. Hoffman


Texas has been in the news a lot lately (see, for example, here) on immigration matters.  This is what Geoff Hoffman says about that.

Texas and the Dangers of State Immigration Enforcement  Geoffrey A. Hoffman, Yale Journal on Regulation Notice & Comment (July 27, 2021).  The first paragraph lays out the basic argument:

"In a series of bold actions, Texas has attempted to continue where the Trump administration left off in terms of immigration enforcement. These attempts recently have included threats to build a border wall, the devotion of space in state jails to immigration violators, and the use of the arrest power against immigrants under the theory of trespass. The relationship between state, municipal, or local enforcement and the federal government’s authority to do so is legally complex. But one thing is clear, the states do not have the power to enforce immigration law in the expansive ways Texas is attempting. To allow the use of state power in this way is to give tacit permission to a state’s illicit activities and should be reigned in by the federal government."



July 27, 2021 in Current Affairs, Law Review Articles & Essays | Permalink | Comments (0)

Attorney General Garland Deals 4th Blow To Trump Policy In Asylum Order


Jennifer Doherty for Law360 reports on the latest in Attorney General Merrick Garland's walk back of Trump administration immigration policy.

The latest is that the Attorney General yesterday vacated a fourth Trump ruling (see also here, here. here, and here). Garland overturned former Attorney General William Barr's decision in Matter of A-C-A-A-, in which Barr had directed the Board of Immigration Appeals to revisit an immigration judge's finding that a Salvadoran woman who endured domestic violence was entitled to relief from removal follows two similar ones last month and a third one in July. 


July 27, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 26, 2021

From the Bookshelves: The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee

41icBWbTlYL._SX329_BO1 204 203 200_

The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee (March 2021) (young adult historical fiction) (New York Times Bestseller)

Publisher's abstract

From the critically acclaimed author of Luck of the TitanicUnder a Painted Sky, and Outrun the Moon comes a powerful novel about identity, betrayal, and the meaning of family.

By day, seventeen-year-old Jo Kuan works as a lady's maid for the cruel daughter of one of the wealthiest men in Atlanta. But by night, Jo moonlights as the pseudonymous author of a newspaper advice column for the genteel Southern lady, "Dear Miss Sweetie." When her column becomes wildly popular, she uses the power of the pen to address some of society's ills, but she's not prepared for the backlash that follows when her column challenges fixed ideas about race and gender. While her opponents clamor to uncover the secret identity of Miss Sweetie, a mysterious letter sets Jo off on a search for her own past and the parents who abandoned her as a baby. But when her efforts put her in the crosshairs of Atlanta's most notorious criminal, Jo must decide whether she, a girl used to living in the shadows, is ready to step into the light. With prose that is witty, insightful, and at times heartbreaking, Stacey Lee masterfully crafts an extraordinary social drama set in the New South.

Caitlyn Paxson on NPR has this to say about the Downstairs Girl:

"I honestly didn't know it was possible for a work of historical fiction to seriously take on the racism and sexism of the 19th century South while still being such a joyful read. I almost want to dare readers to not be delighted by its newspaper office shenanigans, clandestine assignations in cemeteries, and bicycle-riding adventures, but there's honestly no point. The Downstairs Girl, for all its serious and timely content, is a jolly good time."

The author, Stacey Lee, was one of my star civil procedure students at UC Davis School of Law!


July 26, 2021 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Olympics' refugee team is a 'symbol of hope' in Tokyo.


The Olympics in Tokyo has been dominating the news.  29 stateless athletes are hoping to raise awareness of the more than 80 million forcibly displaced people around the world as part of the Refugee Olympic Team.  It is the second refugee team in history, Biwa Kwan reports for SBS World News. The first Refugee Team competed at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil. 

CNN reported that an Iranian taekwondo athlete competing for the Refugee Olympic Team made her mark at Tokyo 2020 after she defeated two-time Olympic gold medalist Jade Jones.  Kimia Alizadeh beat Team Great Britain's Jones 16-12 on Sunday in the women's -57kg taekwondo round of 16.  She then overcame China's Lijun Zhou in the quarterfinals before losing to Turkey's Hatice Kubra Ilgun in the bronze medal match.  Had Alizadeh won that match she'd have secured the Refugee Olympic Team's first ever medal since its creation in 2016.

Go Olympic Refugee Team!


July 26, 2021 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Third Circuit Spanks IJ and BIA for Failure to Explain Denial of Relief to Ecuadoran Fearing Persecution

In Valarezo-Tirado v. Attorney General, the U.S.. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, in an opinion by Judge Theodore McKee, chastised the immigration court and Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) for explaining the denial relief to a noncitizen from Ecuador.  As described by Matthew Santoni for Law360 (login required), an "immigration judge's two-sentence, 13-word ruling denying an Ecuadorian man's request for asylum was too terse for the Third Circuit to meaningfully review, and the court's heavy workload was no excuse . . . ." (bold added).

Judge McKee explains the Third Circuit's decision to grant the petition for review, vacate the immigration judge and BIA rulings, and remand for further proceedings:

"The IJ’s failure to provide a citation or reference to anything in the record leaves us guessing at the evidence she relied upon and gives us `[nothing] to review.' [citation omitted]. `[W]e cannot give meaningful review to a decision in which [an IJ] does not explain how it came to its conclusion.' Valarezo-Tirado is correct when he argues that although the government  `suggests ways in which [Valarezo-Tirado’s] testimony might have supported [the IJ’s] conclusion,' the government can only guess whether the IJ even considered the evidence of Villa’s alleged arrest by provincial police. We fare no better. It `would be improper for us to speculate as to whether' the IJ considered such evidence, or how it factored into her conclusion. The basis for the IJ’s decision `can and should be addressed explicitly by the [IJ] upon remand.'

We have previously granted a petition for review in which the alleged basis for the BIA’s denial of relief was that `the evidence is insufficient' and `the arguments made by the [government] on appeal . . . are persua[sive]' because we could not `perform meaningful review of [such an] order.' Here, we have even less to work with.

We realize, of course, that the IJ and BIA have a tremendous caseload and very crowded dockets. . . . However, we will not permit crowded dockets or a backlog of cases to excuse an IJ or the BIA from providing a meaningful explanation of why someone has been denied relief under the asylum laws or the CAT. The most fundamental notion of due process must include an opportunity for meaningful judicial review. We reiterate that 'judicial review necessarily requires something to review and, if the agency provides only its result without an explanation of the underlying fact finding and analysis, a court is unable to provide judicial review.' The required review is simply not possible when we are provided with nothing more than the kind of one-line checklist that is relied upon here. We cannot allow an IJ or the BIA to dispense with an adequate explanation of a final decision merely to facilitate or accommodate administrative expediency.  Since `the [IJ]’s failure of explanation makes it impossible for us to review its rationale, we [will] grant [Valarezo-Tirado’s] petition for review, vacate the [IJ’s] order, and remand the matter to [the IJ] for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.'” (footnotes omitted).


July 26, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Let’s Call the “Border Crisis” What It Is: Another Big Lie From the Right

From early in the Biden administration, claims have been made, especially by Republicansof a "border crisis." Breitbart points to the increase in apprehensions as a "crisis."  In Truthout, David L. Wilson counters the Republican narrative.  He writes:

"the present increase in border apprehensions hardly justifies the term `crisis.'

It’s true that as of June, this fiscal year’s apprehensions had topped 1 million for the first time since 2006. Still, this only seems high because of a sharp contrast with the previous 14 years. Apprehensions were unusually low during that period . . . . Apprehensions exceeded a million a year for most of the period from 1983 to 2006, but they declined significantly during and after the Great Recession of 2007-2009. This year’s increase is at most a return to normal.

But it may well be a temporary uptick [due to the pandemic]. . . . . Economic hardships created by COVID may have pushed more Mexican workers to cross the border, he noted, and these conditions might also explain the increase in asylum seekers from Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela.

In addition, stepped-up border enforcement itself accounts for part of the increase. The number of apprehensions is inflated because of the Title 42 policy, according to a fact sheet from the American Immigration Council . . . . By simply pushing migrants back across the border without formally removing them, the policy makes it easier for migrants to attempt repeated crossings — and to be apprehended more than once. From 2014 to 2019, before Title 42 went into effect, only 15 percent of the migrants apprehended by the Border Patrol had been apprehended previously in the same year. In May 2021, recidivists accounted for 38 percent of apprehensions.

In any case, an increase in apprehensions at the border doesn’t necessarily translate into more migrants getting into the United States without being caught."

In evaluating the increase in apprehensions, it is worth noting that border crossings increases in the spring and early summer, with seasonal farm workers seeking to cross and others crossing before the deadly heat hits its peak.  




July 26, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Democrats to go it alone on immigration reform?


Official White House Photo

For years -- decades really, Congress has been discussing immigration reform.  Almost all informed observers are dissatisfied with the current immigration system, which often is characterized as ""broken."  President Biden has voiced support for immigration reform.  Many Democrats in Congress have has well.  But compromises with Republican in Congress, many of who want increased enforcement measures before any other reform (such as a path to legalization for undocumented immigrants).  Now there is renewed pressure for reform with the recent court ruling, for now, future DACA applications.

Will the stalemate in Congress ever end?  Nicole Narea for Vox reports on what appears to be the Democrats' latest plan on passing immigration reform:

"After years of failed bipartisan talks on immigration reform, Democrats in Congress are pushing to go it alone and legalize millions of undocumented immigrants.

They’re hoping to provide a path to citizenship to several key groups: undocumented `DREAMers' who came to the US as children; people with Temporary Protected Status . . . ; farm workers; and other essential workers.

Though the specific legislative language has yet to be announced, Democrats are planning to include the proposal in their 2022 budget reconciliation package, which they could pass with a simple majority in Congress and without a single Republican vote.

It’s a risky strategy, but one Democrats believe is worth trying in order to break the yearslong immigration reform deadlock and improve the lives of millions who would otherwise continue to live in the shadows as a kind of permanent underclass, vulnerable to exploitation and to removal from a country where many of them have put down roots."


July 25, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Immigration Article of the Day: A Lineage of Family Separation by Anita Sinha


A Lineage of Family Separation by Anita Sinha, Brooklyn Law Review, Forthcoming


Family separation is a practice rooted in U.S. history. In order to comprehensively examine the most recent execution of separating children from their parents under the Trump Administration’s “zero tolerance” policy, one must follow and understand this history. That is what this Article does. Examining the separation histories of enslaved, Indigenous, and immigrant families, it offers critical context of a reoccurring practice that has had devastating effects largely on communities of color, and across generations. By contextualizing the separation of migrant families crossing the U.S.-Mexico border under zero tolerance, this Article identifies narratives from colonial times to the present that consistently rely on racism, xenophobia, and paternalism to justify a practice that otherwise is extreme in its inhumanity.

These justification narratives are juxtaposed with counter-stories that resist and challenge the separation of families, including by humanizing those impacted and articulating the profound harm it causes to children, parents, and communities. These stories have been told through first-hand narratives, Congressional testimonies, research studies, media reports, and facts and allegations in lawsuits. Narratives describing the harm caused by separating families are a powerful element of putting the practices to an end. The historical record suggests that these narratives have typically gained potency in specific socio-political contexts that rendered them compelling enough to overcome the justifications for specific family separation policies.

Although these practices were brought to an end, systemic reform has been elusive. In the case of Indigenous family separation, legislation enacted to cease the practice failed to bring about substantial change, and has been diluted by persistent legal challenges. Historical family separation practices against enslaved and immigrant families have been replaced with systems that separate families for prolonged times or permanently. These include the present-day U.S. criminal legal and immigration systems, where the government separates children from their parents on a substantial scale as a collateral consequence of mass incarceration and widespread detention and deportation, with little to no scrutiny. The outrage that ended zero tolerance has not extended to these ongoing examples of family separation. In order to meaningfully address these practices, counter-stories urging the valuation of family integrity must be aligned with a societal will to challenge systems that, through racialized justifications, continue to separate mostly marginalized children from their parents.


July 24, 2021 in Current Affairs, Law Review Articles & Essays | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 23, 2021

Immigration Article of the Day: The Danger of Dissent: A Century of Targeting Immigrants  by Lenni Benson


The Danger of Dissent: A Century of Targeting Immigrants by Lenni BensonNew York Law School Law Review, Vol. 65, No. 2, 2021


Introduction and article discussing 2019 Symposium on the anniversary of the Department of Justice raids that targeted immigrant activists. The article also discusses the contemporary attacks on immigrants who are seeking reforms or are critics of government.


July 23, 2021 in Current Affairs, Law Review Articles & Essays | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, July 22, 2021

DACA in doubt after court ruling: 3 questions answered

Judge Hanen's ruling last week barring the Biden admiistration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals applications has confused many people.  On The Conversation ("DACA in doubt after court ruling: 3 questions answered"), I answer three questions:

  1. If the Supreme Court already ruled DACA could continue, how can it be unlawful?
  2. What does the Texas court’s decision mean for current DACA recipients?
  3. What’s next in the DACA debate?

Check out my answers here.


July 22, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

As COVID-19 Delta Variant Triggers New Round of Travel Restrictions, MPI Report Maps Four Possible Pathways Out of Mobility Shutdown

More than a year since the COVID-19 pandemic abruptly halted most cross-border mobility, travel restrictions continue to make movements of all kinds costly and chaotic. A new Migration Policy Institute (MPI) report maps how different policy choices could dramatically shape the next few years of international mobility, and offers a framework for how countries can navigate complex health, security and economic pressures.

The report, Future Scenarios for Global Mobility in the Shadow of Pandemic, outlines four possible scenarios for mobility that could emerge over the next few years, depending on policymakers’ risk tolerance, the efficacy of vaccinations and therapeutics, the progression and mutations of the virus and appetite for coordinated investments in public health infrastructure.

•    Scenario 1: Pandemic Proofing. In this scenario, much as security considerations after 9/11 dominated decisions on whom to let into a country, public health will decisively shape international standards and procedures for risk assessment, emergency travel restrictions, expanded health data sharing and consistent testing and screening. By increasing and standardizing such requirements, this new system would benefit institutionalized mobility pathways. But it would amplify the divide between “movers” and “non-movers,” in the process creating even more lucrative markets for smugglers.

•    Scenario 2: Mobility with Friends. Here, even as the creation of common international standards and procedures for cross-border movement remains a work in progress, some regions will have swiftly standardized public health procedures and even formed bilateral agreements to revive mobility. But the global picture will continue to be fragmented, with ongoing disruptions, especially in regions that lack capacity.

•    Scenario 3: Chaos and Fragmentation. In this scenario, decisions about travel restrictions and health requirements are primarily taken unilaterally and poorly communicated, and new tools and solutions to restart mobility safely struggle to get beyond the pilot phase. The uneven vaccine rollout and emergence of virus variants further fragments responses and most migration and mobility remains stalled, apart from the movement of essential workers, certain high-skilled migrants and returning nationals and residents.

•    Scenario 4: Pre-Pandemic Status Quo. In this scenario, which the report calls the least likely, the world returns to pre-pandemic norms around travel. For this to happen, almost all countries would have to reach herd immunity to COVID-19 through some combination of vaccines and/or biological immunity. But the threat of a future outbreak would still linger, making this scenario extremely fragile.

The report’s author, MPI Director for International Research Meghan Benton, notes that international mobility will have to navigate a seismic shift in approaches to border management under all plausible scenarios. The Chaos and Fragmentation scenario should be avoided at all costs, which could leave more migrants and travelers stranded, create incentives to circumvent restrictions or forge documents, or lead to more irregular movement.

The report recommends that policymakers further consider a range of questions, including how to introduce vaccine requirements without leaving people out and how to complement such requirements with testing and quarantine protocols that are proportionate to risk. It argues that as governments move beyond using travel restrictions as a tool of deterrence, they need to be clear about the goal they are serving, which may change during the course of the pandemic, and embed these in a risk management approach.

This report is part of a project with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), “From Chaos to Coordination: Mobility during and after COVID-19,” and draws partly from virtual roundtables and discussions organized by MPI’s Transatlantic Council on Migration. It is available here.

And for a comprehensive look at how COVID-19 chilled international movements across the globe in 2020, check out a recent MPI-IOM report, COVID-19 and the State of Global Mobility in 2020.


July 22, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Secretary Mayorkas Announces Extension and Re-Designation of Somalia for Temporary Protected Status

Earlier this week, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas announced an 18-month extension and re-designation of Somalia for Temporary Protected Status (TPS).  This extension and re-designation will be in effect from September 18, 2021, through March 17, 2023.

“Through the extension and re-designation of Somalia for Temporary Protected Status, the United States will be able to offer safety and protection to Somalis who may not be able to return to their country, due to ongoing conflict and a worsening humanitarian crisis,” said Mayorkas in a statement.  “We will continue to offer our support to Somali nationals through this temporary form of humanitarian relief.”

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) welcomed the Biden administration’s extension of TPS for Somalis, protecting the approximately 500 TPS recipients that arrived since 1991 when Somalia was first designated. The IRC  also renewed its call for a permanent, sustainable pathway to safety in the United States.   Congress in the last few years has considered legislation that would create a pathway to durable immigration status for TPS recipients.  "Somalia has suffered decades of conflict, disaster, persistent drought, and food insecurity - all of which continue to affect vulnerable populations in Somalia and reduce humanitarian access, resulting in high levels of displacement that continues to rise," said Richard Crothers, Somalia Country Director at the International Rescue Committee. "The situation remains fragile to this day as this year’s severe drought and subsequent flooding continue to exacerbate an already precarious situation.”


July 22, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Senators Schumer and Durbin News Conference on Immigration and DACA


Judge Hanen's ruling last week barring the Biden administration from accepting new Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals applications has Congress once again talking about immigration reform.

In the press conference above, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) are joined by CEOs, university presidents, Dreamers, and farm workers at a press conference on immigration solutions.

Will Congress respond?  DACA will be celebrating its tenth birthday in 2022.  It is long past time to act.


July 22, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigrant of the Day Leads Milwaukee Bucks to NBA Championship


Two time Immigrant of the Day, National Basketball Association superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks) is now an NBA champion!

Read about the "Greek Freak's" amazing immigration story, which began as follows:

"In December 1994, Giannis Antetokounmpo was born in Athens, Greece, to Nigerian immigrants. His parents arrived in the country without legal status in search of better employment opportunities. While in Greece, Giannis’ family faced the dual threats of potential deportation back to Nigeria and anti-immigrant attitudes within Greek society. 

As a teenager, Giannis avoided going out at night for fear of being attacked by members of Golden Dawn, a neo-Nazi party responsible for numerous assaults on immigrants."

Earlier this week, Giannis scored 50 points, earned the NBA Finals' Most Valuable Player, and led the Bucks to an NBA championship by defeating the Phoenix Suns.

Formerly stateless, Antetokounmpo is now on top of the NBA world.


July 22, 2021 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Operation Lone Star Underway in Texas

AnonMoos based on image by Darwinek, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Operation Lone Star, Texas' border protection initiative, is underway, the Texas Tribune reports. The state has started arresting and prosecuting migrants who cross unlawfully into the United States through Texas on misdemeanor charges of trespassing and criminal mischief. In Val Verde County, 3 were arrested today. The county anticipates ramping up to 200 arrests per day by August.

As Kevin wrote about previously, the state has been freeing up detention facilities in order to prioritize the detention of these new arrestees.



July 21, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Center for Migration Studies of New York to Host Webinar on Estimates of US Undocumented and Eligible-to-Naturalize Populations Showcasing Democratizing Data Mapping Tools


Center for Migration Studies of New York to Host Webinar on Estimates of US Undocumented and Eligible-to-Naturalize Populations Showcasing Democratizing Data Mapping Tools

WHO: The Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS) 

WHAT: The Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS) will host a webinar to present estimates of the US undocumented and eligible-to-naturalize populations and to demonstrate how to use its data mapping tools. With these tools, it is possible to obtain estimates and detailed profiles of immigrant populations at a national, state, and sub-state* level.

Available at data.cmsny.org, CMS’s mapping tools provide demographic information about immigrant populations including country of origin, language spoken at home, educational attainment, tenure in the United States, and poverty status. Since the launch of CMS’s Democratizing Data Initiative in 2013, CMS estimates have been broadly used by scholars, researchers, government officials, and service-providers in crafting, implementing, and evaluating programs that serve noncitizens – as well as by journalists seeking to understand immigrant communities and inform the public.

At this webinar for members of the media, Donald Kerwin, Executive Director of CMS, will provide background information on the Democratizing Data Initiative. Robert Warren, Senior Visiting Fellow of CMS, will explain the methodology behind obtaining this data and present key findings. Daniela Alulema, Director of Programs of CMS, will demonstrate how to use the data tool and moderate questions.

*Note: After a review of its data-sharing policies, CMS will again make public its sub-state level data on the US undocumented and eligible-to-naturalize populations on August 4, 2021. CMS estimates are based on the American Community Survey (ACS). A primary consideration of this project is the privacy of all ACS respondents. No individual can be identified using CMS estimates.

WHEN: July 28, 2021 | 1:00 – 1:30pm (ET)



July 21, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2)

At the Movies: Soledad (Soledad weaves live action and animation to tell the story of a woman from Central America who fled gang violence to seek asylum in the US)

Soledad (2019) (24 minutes)


The New Day Films' synopsis describes the film as follows:

"Soledad tells the story of a young woman from Central America who was imprisoned in the Eloy Detention Facility when she sought asylum in the United States in 2017. Soledad set out on a perilous journey from her homeland after enduring horrific persecution where she was kidnapped, sex-trafficked, tortured and nearly killed. . . . 

Through one woman's story, Soledad illustrates the plight faced by many asylum seekers and refugees arriving at the U.S. border and highlights the incredible work of lawyers and activists who donated their time to fight for another woman's future. Soledad puts a human face to our current immigration system and invites audience members to reflect on what kind of country we want to be and how our stance on immigration impacts real human lives."

For a review on Educational Media Reviews Online, click here.


July 21, 2021 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Heat wave poses life or death decisions for immigrant farmworkers

Many regions have been experiencing heat waves due to climate change this summer, exceeding 100 degrees and breaking many records. While the heat may mean discomfort for some and natural disasters for others, one group is distinctively impacted: farmworkers, who are predominantly immigrants. 

In an article published in Al Jazeera and a similar one published in US News and World Report, farmworkers describe the condundrum this poses: their job or their health?

Severe weather warnings state that “extreme heat will significantly increase the potential for heat-related illnesses, particularly for those working or participating in outdoor activities.” The heat has also caused hundreds of deaths. Yet for  poor and undocumented workers, staying indoors would mean missing out on wages they cannot miss. So they do the work at risk to their own health. One immigrant worker said succinctly:

“The heat is too much. But what choice do we have? We can’t afford to stop.”

Western states impacted by heatwaves and ripe in farmwork have varying protections in state laws. For example, California mandates 10-minute rest breaks every two hours (with shade) and access to cool water. Their occupational heat illness prevention standard that includes training and planning. Washington has a similar occupational heat illness prevention standard, requiring employers to create an outdoor heat exposure plan, train employees, increase the amount of water provided to employees on days when temperatures require preventive measures, and be prepared to react to symptoms of heat-related illness. Oregon has a new OSHA regulation to manage the heat after an immigrant worker died there in early July.   Colorado is developing protections after Gov. Jared Polis signed SB87 this summer; it is a bill concerning agricultural workers' rights and instructs the state's Department of Labor and Employment to enforce protections for workers when outdoor temperatures reach or exceed 80 degrees.

Under federal OSHA law, employers are generally responsible for "providing workplaces free of known safety hazards," including from extreme heat. But there is no federal occupational heat illness prevention standard. Federal protections are being contemplated. 

 The results can be dangerous or deadly for immigrant workers. A study by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 600 people die each year from heat waves, and farm workers die from heatstroke at a rate 20 times greater than for all civilian workers in the US.



July 20, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Urban Institute: Adults in Low-Income Immigrant Families Were Deeply Affected by the COVID-19 Crisis yet Avoided Safety Net Programs in 2020

Check out this Urban Institute study. The abstract:

This analysis uses data from the Urban Institute’s Well-Being and Basic Needs Survey, a nationally representative internet-based survey conducted in December 2020 to assess the chilling effects, hardships, and financial concerns reported by adults in low-income immigrant families. Our main findings are as follows:

  • In December 2020, adults in low-income immigrant families had suffered serious employment impacts from the economic crisis, had experienced high rates of food insecurity in the past year, and were worried about meeting their basic needs in the next month.
    • About half of adults in low-income immigrant families reported that the pandemic negatively affected their or a family member’s employment (51.8 percent).
    • More than 4 in 10 adults in low-income immigrant families (41.4 percent) reported food insecurity in the past year. More than 1 in 4 reported problems paying family medical bills (26.8 percent) or that a family member did not get needed medical care because of costs (25.7 percent) in the past year. More than 1 in 5 reported problems paying rent or a mortgage (21.7 percent) or utility bills (22.6 percent).
    • Many adults in low-income immigrant families reported being worried about paying for basic needs in the next month, including having enough to eat (43.2 percent) and being able to pay rent or a mortgage (50.8 percent), utility bills (49.1 percent), or medical costs (52.1 percent).
    • Adults in low-income immigrant families with green card holders and those in such families with nonpermanent residents were more likely than adults in families with naturalized citizens to be worried about meeting many of these needs in the next month.
  • Despite facing hardships, more than 1 in 4 adults in low-income immigrant families (27.5 percent) reported they or a family member avoided noncash benefits or other help with basic needs because of green card or other immigration concerns in 2020.
    • Adults in families with nonpermanent residents were more likely than adults in other low-income immigrant families to report these chilling effects (43.9 percent).
    • More than 1 in 8 adults in low-income immigrant families reported that someone in the family avoided a nutrition program (13.2 percent), almost 1 in 9 reported avoiding a health program (10.9 percent), and just under 1 in 10 reported avoiding a housing assistance program (9.8 percent).
    • Adults in families with nonpermanent residents were more likely to have experienced chilling effects for each type of assistance: 22.0 percent reported avoiding a nutrition program, 18.2 percent reported avoiding a health program, and 17.0 percent reported avoiding a housing assistance program.
    • Adults reported avoiding programs targeted by the expanded public charge rule, such as SNAP, but also avoided programs excluded from the rule, such as unemployment insurance, free or low-cost medical care for uninsured people, and emergency rental assistance.




July 20, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)