Migratory Notes 153

Made by Africans pop up, #Iamnotavirus, Remain in Mexico remains

Elizabeth Aguilera
Mar 5 · 13 min read
Across the globe, the coronavirus threat has triggered xenophobia, reports NPR’s Code Switch. On Twitter, Jia Liang Sun-Wang, a Chinese scientist pursuing a PhD in Spain, started a campaign to promote support for immigrants.

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When the Miami-Dade Superintendent, Alberto Carvalho, discovered Guatemalan migrants and their children were living in a secret ramshackle trailer camp in his school district, he decided to enroll them in school instead of reporting them to immigration authorities, reports the Miami Herald. The case of the formerly undocumented superintendent emphasizes the importance of educators who understand how immigration status can affect students. “We just want them in school, learning, doing what kids should be doing, period,” Carvalho said. “Their status doesn’t matter to us.”

A pop-up bar “Made by Africans” deep in Southern Mexico quickly grew to 100 patrons per night. It is among many new businesses that reflect the ripple effects of the closing of U.S. borders. At a time when migrants are more often cast as victims, The New York Times reports on their entrepreneurial agency. Each endeavor is “an expression of the ambition, creativity and courage that drive so many of the world’s migrants to leave home in pursuit of better lives,” writes Kirk Semple. But these businesses are often short-lived: “As the migrant populations ebb and flow, these businesses, too, come and go, like a restaurant serving South Asian cuisine and a Cuban-run gay bar that thrived, then closed.”

Elections 2020
Latino voters drawn to Sen. Bernie Sanders’ stance on Medicare for All, free college tuition and immigration, propelled the Vermont senator to victory in California. Overall, his strongest support is among Latinos under 29, while Latinos over 65 prefer Vice President Joe Biden, reports NPR. But going forward, Sanders could struggle to garner more delegates in future races in states with smaller Latino populations, including Arizona, Florida and New York.

Among Asian American voters, Sanders received the most support, with 39 percent of their Super Tuesday votes, reports NBC News.

By the November election, immigrants will make up a historic 10 percent of the electorate, according to a new report from Pew Research Center. The report also finds that 63% of those eligible immigrant voters live in just five states: California, New York, Florida, Texas, and New Jersey.

For the first time in nine months, detentions on the border rose in February, particularly among single Mexican adults and unaccompanied minors, signaling that the impact of Trump administration’s deterrence approach may be stalling, reports the Washington Post.

One former U.S. Marine crossed the border from Mexico legally for the first time in nearly 20 years on Tuesday, reports the Arizona Republic. A judge determined he had been wrongly deported after attorneys represented him in a new California state initiative to support the cases of some of the more than 300 deported military veterans seeking to return to the United States.

Remain in Mexico
Migrants’ hopes were dashed Friday after a court temporarily blocked the Remain in Mexico program only to have it reinstated a few hours later. When the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals declared the program illegal many migrants waiting in Mexican border cities packed up their belongings and headed to the border to try to enter. But the ruling was quickly suspended pending a decision by the Supreme Court. The Trump administration asked Tuesday for the court to allow the policy to remain in place for at least a week while the Supreme Court reviews the case.

To increase access to legal representation for asylum seekers in MPP, pro bono lawyers have started to represent their clients remotely, reports PRI’s The World. But this causes a range of problems that lawyers say violates the asylum seekers’ right to due process.

Trump Administration
Sanctuary cities are being targeted with increased surveillance, as an internal memo reveals the government is deploying at least 500 special agents, reports The New York Times.

A federal judge ruled Sunday that Trump illegally appointed Ken Cuccinelli as acting director of USCIS in a decision that invalidates two directives he issued to restrict asylum, reports Vox. The policies sped up the time frame for credible fear interviews for asylum seekers who have crossed the border and prevented migrants from receiving extensions to give them more time to prepare for these interviews. The Trump administration appointed Cuccinelli to the position through a series of bureaucratic maneuvers meant to bypass Senate confirmation. Cuccinelli is now acting deputy homeland security secretary and will likely stay in the position despite the ruling. He said the agency will reissue the directives.

On Monday, Trump backtracked on an announcement that his administration was considering shutting down the U.S. southern border to stop the spread of coronavirus and said he would try not to do that, reports U.S. News & World Report and Reuters. Mexico has identified three cases of coronavirus to date. The country’s foreign minister said he had not been alerted about the possible shut down. The State Department also increased travel warnings to South Korea and Italy, where there have been many cases. In an “abundance of caution,” DHS also decided to temporarily close a USCIS field office near Seattle where an employee might have been exposed to the virus, reports Q13 Fox.

Other Trump administration policies, such as the public charge rule and increased immigration enforcement, may make it more difficult to contain the spread of coronavirus, reports STAT News. These policies make immigrants fearful to access public health services at a moment when it is necessary to stop the spread of the disease. ICE told the Miami Herald that it will not raid hospitals and that all patients should continue seeking care.

At the only facility in the country that had a dedicated unit for transgender detainees, an internal government inspection found serious health problems leading to its closure, reports Reuters. One transgender woman was bleeding from her rectum for 13 days with no treatment, reports BuzzFeed. Detainees were transferred out of the New Mexico center in January after reports of hundreds more unanswered medical requests and other improper medical care, particularly for mental illnesses and HIV. Many have been transferred to a detention center in Tacoma, Colorado, despite repeated calls from advocates for the release of all transgender detainees because of ICE’s inability to provide them with adequate care, reports High Country News. Legislators have asked DHS to provide an explanation of their treatment of transgender migrants by the end of the month.

Border Wall
Border Patrol invited journalists to watch them blow up a national monument to clear the way for border wall construction last week, reports The Intercept. The event took place in Arizona, where tribal leaders have protested the desecration of their sacred lands, water sources and protected cacti, reports The New York Times. Under other circumstances, cutting down these cacti can lead to years in prison.

Nineteen states filed a lawsuit in a California court Tuesday against the reallocation of military funds to the border wall on the grounds that it violates the constitution and environmental law, reports The Hill. Multi-state lawsuits are becoming a more common tactic to oppose the border wall. Another lawsuit filed by 16 states last year challenged the use of emergency powers to build the border wall.

The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday to allow states to prosecute undocumented immigrants for lacking authorization to work in the U.S., overturning a 2017 Kansas Supreme Court decision that determined only federal courts have authority in these cases under the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act, reports Reuters.

Lawyers representing immigrants and asylum seekers are increasingly burned out from the demands of the job, constant exposure to trauma and pressure of feeling they hold people’s fate in their hands, reports Virginia Quarterly Review. “If their mission is to help others, where do they find help of their own? There’s rarely time to entertain such a question,” writes Lauren Markham.


Jobs, Fellowships & Awards

The Vera Institute of Justice is hiring a senior writer to focus on immigration issues.
The Center for Migration Studies of New York is hiring an editorial and research professional to conduct research and write reports.

Immigration Resources & Opportunities

Newsletters, Podcasts, & Facebook Groups

  • Only Here is a podcast about the “subcultures, creativity and struggles” at the US-Mexico border from KPBS
  • Frontera Dispatch is a weekly newsletter by the Hope Border Institute on news and analysis from the border.
  • Nuestro South is a podcast exploring the experiences of Latinx people in the U.S. south.
  • Salvadoran investigative media outlet El Faro has launched an English-language newsletter with reporting from Central America.
  • BIB Daily Edition is a free aggregation of “inside immigration news” (court cases, new regulations and the like) and “outside news” (culled from the mainstream and not-so-mainstream media).
  • The Global Nation newsletter and Facebook group from PRI’s The World.
  • Center for Migration Studies Migration Update is a weekly digest of news, faith reflections, and analysis of international migration and refugee protection.
  • Migration Information Source from the Migration Policy Institute offers a series of newsletters.
  • Documented NY’s Early Arrival newsletter aggregates information on immigration in New York and nationally.
  • The Marshall Project newsletter: criminal justice news that regularly intersects with immigration.
  • Politico’s Morning Shift newsletter: a daily read on employment and immigration.
  • Give Me Your Tired, an (Im)migration Newsletter offers updates on global migration.
  • Radio Public curates a list of podcasts about immigration and migration.
  • Only Here is a KPBS podcast about the place where San Diego and Tijuana meet.
  • ¿Qué Pasa, Midwest? Podcast tells stories of Latino life “from the homeland to the heartland.”
  • Tempest Tossed, a podcast with “conversations on immigration and refugees that go beyond the predictable soundbites.”
  • Displaced, a podcast from the International Rescue Committee.
  • A is for America America’s Voice discusses immigrant politics and organizing.
  • Only in America National Immigration Forum’s podcast about the people behind immigration issues.

Curriculum & Campaigns

Reporting resources, tools and tips

If there’s a story or immigration-related opportunity you think we should consider, please send us an email.

*Daniela Gerson is a co-founder and the editor of Migratory Notes. She is an assistant professor of Journalism at California State University, Northridge and senior fellow at the Center for Community and Ethnic Media(CCEM) at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at City University of New York (CUNY). Previously she was a community engagement editor at the LA Times; editor of a trilingual hyperlocal publication, Alhambra Source; staff immigration reporter for the New York Sun; and a contributor to outlets including WNYC: New York Public Radio, The World, Der Spiegel, Financial Times, CNN, and The New York Times. She recently reported A Japanese American newspaper chronicles the ‘searing’ history of immigrant incarceration for PRI’s The World. You can find her on Twitter @dhgerson

*Elizabeth Aguilera is co-founder and executive editor of Migratory Notes. She is a multimedia reporter for CalMatters covering health care policy and social services, including immigration. Previously she reported on community health, for Southern California Public Radio. She’s also reported on immigration for the San Diego Union-Tribune, where she won a Best of the West award for her work on sex trafficking between the U.S. and Mexico; and worked for the Denver Post covering urban affairs and immigration. Her most recent story was Troubling audit reveals state failure to test millions of babies for toxic lead. You can find her on Twitter @1eaguilera

*Yana Kunichoff is a special projects editor for Migratory Notes. She currently covers public education for Chalkbeat Chicago. She was project manager for Migrahack 2016 in Chicago. She has also produced feature-length documentaries and a pop-culture web series for Scrappers Film Group; worked as a fellow with City Bureau, where she won a March 2016 Sidney Hillman award for an investigation into fatal police shootings; and covered race and poverty issues for the Chicago Reporter. Her work has appeared in The Guardian, The Atlantic, Pacific Standard and Chicago magazine among others. You can find her on Twitter @yanazure

*Anna-Cat Brigida is a staff writer for Migratory Notes. She is a freelance reporter covering immigration and human rights in Mexico and Central America. She began covering immigration as a journalism student at USC Annenberg and later moved to Central America to work as a reporter. She has covered the region since 2015 and has been based in El Salvador since January 2018. She has also worked as a Spanish-language writer for Fusion out of the Mexico City office. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, The Guardian, Univision, LA Times, and Al Jazeera, among others. You can find her on Twitter @AnnaCat_Brigida

*Migratory Notes Advisory Board: Daniel Connolly, Maria Kari, Dan Kowalski, Paola Marizán, Mirta Ojito, Roberto Suro, Phuong Ly, Fernanda Santos

Migratory Notes

At a time of rapidly shifting policies, we publish a weekly…

Elizabeth Aguilera

Written by

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

Migratory Notes

At a time of rapidly shifting policies, we publish a weekly concise and insightful guide to immigration news.

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