What Latino vote? Samosa Caucus and Hindu politics, young Michigan Muslims

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Mariachis serenade first-time immigrant voters at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights, also known as CHIRLA, brought the mariachis. Photo by Marguerite de Bourgoing.

Immigrants and the Elections
The big reveal on election night seemed to be that Latino voters are not homogenous, and many vote Republican. But since you read Migratory Notes, we assume you already knew that. “None of this is new, and I’m frankly getting bored of having to explain Latino conservatives every election cycle,” Gustavo Arellano writes in a column in the LA Times in which he describes Democrats as “an ossified institution that continuously banks on Latinos running to it for protection from the mean GOP, then does little to keep us.” …


Who really built the cages? The Hmong vote? Anonymous no more

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Rohingya refugees, unable to vote in their native Myanmar, voted for the first time in Chicago. Photo by Michelle Kanaar for Borderless Magazine.

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#MustReads / #MustListens
For the first time in modern asylum history, the U.S. is sending political dissidents back to the countries they fled, without ever allowing them to present their case for protection from persecution. This riveting and devastating love story produced with This American Life starts in an attic where a couple famous for their opposition to Nicaragua’s government is in hiding. …


Separated kids stranded in U.S., SCOTUS to review Remain in Mexico, Children learning & working in the fields

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The number of college students coming from immigrant families has increased 20% in the past two decades to more than 5 million, reports The New York Times. Photos of graduates at California State University, Northridge by Daniela Gerson.

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One was a Guatemalan presidential candidate accused of drug trafficking, another an Ecuadorian politician implicated in a broad corruption scandal. They are two among myriad Latin American elites who used their wealth and connections to resettle in Miami, report Monique O. Madan and Romina Ruiz-Goiriena in a four-part Miami Herald investigation into loopholes in the immigration system. While those with money and political clout game the system, asylum seekers and poor immigrants are targeted for raids and locked in detention for months or years. …


Detention times triple, deported by Barrett, cocaine tunnels

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Yovin Estrada Villanueva was murdered in August 2019 after he lost his asylum case in the United States and was deported back to San Pedro Sula, Honduras. His sister holds up a photo of him in his casket. Kate Morrissey reports for the San Diego Union-Tribune that victims of Central American gang violence are increasingly denied asylum in the U.S. (Nelvin C. Cepeda / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

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Gerson Alvarenga-Flores, who had been targeted by MS-13 for witnessing a murder, was deported to El Salvador in 2018 after Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett ruled that minor discrepancies in his case disqualified him for asylum even though she had the power to grant him protection. Now, he barely leaves his parents’ home, terrified he will be murdered, reports The Intercept. “Alvarenga’s story speaks not only to how Barrett might rule on such immigration cases, but to the systemic regulatory disaster of the U.S. …


Detainees drop 60%; ICE billboards

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In an unprecedented political move, ICE launched billboards in Pennsylvania warning of the “real dangers” of sanctuary policies, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. Former DHS officials called the move to target immigrants on billboards “wildly inappropriate” reports CBS. Photo via ICE (Migratory Notes covered eyes).

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#MustReads
Mayela Villegas, a 27-year-old trans woman from El Salvador, “looked like a success story. Defying the odds, she had been allowed into the United States to pursue her asylum claim,” writes Molly Hennessy-Fiske in the L.A. Times. But, despite being with family in Texas, she would eventually walk in front of a truck, her hands up. “I hadn’t spoken to Mayela in months, and felt guilty,” Hennessy-Fiske writes in an intimate story probing the apparent suicide and the brutal obstacles facing trans women on both sides of the border. “She had called me now and then but, traveling and on assignment, I had responded late or not at all. …


Telemundo viewers: Trump won debate; New record low refugee cap

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A new migrant caravan set out Wednesday night from Honduras toward the Mexican border, reports CBS and AP. While some reports said hundreds of people were walking together, Jacobo García, a journalist with El País, tweeted that about 2,000 people were heading north. Gif from video García posted on Twitter.

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#MustReads
They voted for Trump. Now, their immigrant employees are dying of COVID. A Center for Public Integrity investigation found that in Hall County, Georgia, many poultry workers have died in obscurity, absent from lists of COVID victims or workplace safety records. A county-by-county national map overlays coronavirus cases with the number of front-line workers and the percentages that are immigrants. “Focusing on 10 industries, Public Integrity found 1.87 million workers in front-line farm and food processing jobs, 790,000 of whom are immigrants,” Susan Ferriss and Joe Yerardi report. “Latino immigrants are also the backbone of food-production businesses throughout the United States — including many counties that, like Hall County, voted heavily in 2016 for Trump.” …


Sterilizations in detention, TPS blocked, spy warfare

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Thousands were displaced by fires at Europe’s largest refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos earlier this month. Now more than 12,000 people are packed into makeshift canopies, reports The World. Photo from “The Story Won’t Die” a forthcoming documentary on refugee artists from Daniela’s brother David Gerson which was filmed at the camp, Moriah, and the surrounding areas on Lesbos.

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#MustReads
What happens when you refuse to spy for the FBI? In the case of an Iranian scientist, the FBI accused him of spying, and then threw him in jail. When a judge threw out the case, ICE threw him in detention due to the FBI scuttling his visa. Then he caught coronavirus and almost died, Laura Secor writes in The New Yorker in a meticulously researched story that reads like a thriller. “The Bureau recruits counterintelligence assets in much the same way it turns witnesses in domestic racketeering cases: agents look for vulnerabilities to use as leverage in pressuring people to become informants,” Secor writes. …


Solitary COVID confinement, arbitrary asylum, DACA renewals a go

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Laura Castro, 15, submitted a painting to the Migrant Education Program about her experience as a child farmworker from the time she was five-years-old. ‘What I wanted people to see in the painting was that it was always hot. That’s why there’s a sunny half. The other half is raining because we worked in the rain,” she said to Borderless Magazine. Source: Borderless Magazine/Laura Castro

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ICE is sending dozens of detainees exposed to COVID-19 to solitary confinement, reports The Intercept and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. These cells are “a far cry from a hospital bed or a hotel room: Cells are claustrophobic, sparsely furnished, and those confined are allowed limited social interaction. A stay can cause lasting trauma and trigger suicidal impulses,” writes Carmen Molina Acosta. …


Tale of two Millers, detainee abuse, child migrant trauma

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Guatemalan migrant Janio, 20, was deported in March with no way of knowing if he had COVID-19 and might spread it to his community, reports The Texas Observer in the second part of a Pulitzer Center-supported series. ICE has sent thousands of deportees to Latin America on more than 450 flights since February, and the consequences have been devastating for countries like Guatemala. Photo courtesy of Morena Pérez Joaquin.

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#MustReads
Two septuagenarians died of COVID-19 complications last week in ICE detention. One of them was Canadian immigrant and former Louisiana doctor James Hill, who was looking forward to a second chance at life after his 14 years in prison for healthcare fraud and distribution of controlled substances came to an end. “Just as Jim began to emotionally prepare for his release and return to Canada, the coronavirus began spreading across the globe,” writes Mica Rosenberg in a richly detailed profile for Reuters investigating the policies that cost Hill and other vulnerable immigrants their lives. In April, the 72-year-old was transferred to ICE custody, but it’s unclear if he was evaluated as part of a potentially high-risk group. Hill was not fighting to stay in the U.S. — in fact, he wanted to go home to his family — as many detainees are, but the delays in his deportation proved deadly. He was infected at Farmville Detention Center, where ICE transfers led to an outbreak. …


Potato slaves, Kamala, GW Bush paints 43 immigrants

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President George W. Bush has completed a new book featuring his own paintings of 43 immigrants and their stories: Out of Many, One: Portraits of America’s Immigrants. “While I recognize that immigration can be an emotional issue, I reject the premise that it is a partisan issue,” the former president, who created the Department of Homeland Security and unsuccessfully advocated for comprehensive immigration reform, said in a statement. “It is perhaps the most American of issues, and it should be one that unites us.” Source: George W. Bush Presidential Center

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#MustReads
Thousands of Mexican and Central American immigrants on temporary visas are coerced annually into working as modern slaves, reports Univision. The creative multimedia investigative project — featuring illustration, graphics and animation — centers on the small Texan city of Dalhart, home to one of the country’s largest potato producers. Some of the workers on H-2A visas reported supervisors illegally forcing them to pay fees for their visas or confiscating their passports to make them work longer hours. But most “suffer in silence, afraid of being turned over to authorities who could mount a case against them and order their return to the poverty and danger of their home countries,” write Patricia Clarembaux and Almudena Toral. …

About

Elizabeth Aguilera

Health/Social Services reporter @CALmatters, co-founder of #MigratoryNotes. I carry a mic & a pen. Prev: @KPCC @SDUT, @DenverPost. elizabeth@calmatters.org

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