Ag worker visas up, other worker visas down, immigrant media innovators
What are the actual costs of deportation to a community? With more than 6 million U.S. citizen children living in mixed-status families, how do you measure the loss when a breadwinner and loved one is forced to leave? The Marshall Project’s Julia Preston investigated this question by analyzing data and going deep into the stories of three families in an Ohio community feeling the impact of ramped up deportations. “While the benefits to communities from these removals are unclear, the costs — to devastated American families and to the public purse — are coming into focus. The hardships for the families have only deepened with the economic strains of the coronavirus,” writes Preston in a story also published in The Guardian. Mariceu Erthal García and Michael McElroy provide stunning, intimate photography.
Visa Restrictions & Expansions
One group of visas is growing: the rate of approval for temporary agricultural visas is 15% faster this year, reports The Washington Post. “Why simultaneously accelerate immigration in agriculture while restricting it in other industries?” Julie Weise, a historian at University of Oregon, writes in an opinion piece. “Because U.S. farmers have long found a way to access cheap, foreign-born labor in times of depression and prosperity, xenophobia and openness alike.” (The US is not alone: The Mexican government announced Sunday that it will resume sending temporary agricultural workers to Canada, reports Reuters.)
Meanwhile, the Trump administration announced Monday the suspension of skilled worker visas through the end of this year, saying the move is intended to protect American workers as the economy recovers. Some immigrants will be allowed to apply for an exception, and the rule will not affect immigrants already in the U.S. The order also extended a temporary ban on green cards.
Critics of the plan say that it will hurt the U.S. economy long-term and stymie innovation in science and technology as the U.S. competes with China, reports Foreign Policy. Critics also say it could push companies to hire remote workers outside the U.S., a decision that would limit tax revenue, reports The New York Times.
On Tuesday, Trump told DACA recipients to “put your chin up,” because good things would be happening for the program. But just days before he said that he intends to end DACA, reports AP. Acting DHS head Chad Wolf echoed the sentiment Sunday when he said on NBC’s Meet the Press that the program is unlawful and the agency is looking to end it.
Regardless of next steps, for some young immigrants the Supreme Court ruling was not enough. It was too little, too late for former DACA recipients like Raul Martinez Lopez, one of thousands who have chosen to return to Mexico rather than risk being stripped of their status, reports the Arizona Republic. He does not regret his decision, because the ruling does not provide a permanent legal status for DACA recipients. The ruling also left out an estimated 66,000 young immigrants who became eligible for DACA after Trump ended the program in 2017, reports The Marshall Project. Some lawyers believe the Trump administration is now obligated to process new applications.
Some of the 700,000 DACA participants wrote about what it means to them:
- Reporter Andrea Lopez-Villafaña said the decision provided “peace and a sense of relief.” (The San Diego Union-Tribune)
- Medical student Jin K. Park reflected on how organizing for DACA was an experience emblematic of U.S. civic engagement. (The Atlantic)
- Lawyer Luis Cortés-Romero shared his own story of how DACA helped him become part of the legal team for the case. (Slate)
Strict isolation measures are starting to take a toll on the children at the family detention center in Dilley, Texas, including an 8-year-old boy from El Salvador who often asks his mother if they are going to die. At least three employees have tested positive for the coronavirus, reports AP.
Even after the Federal Bureau of Prisons announced a policy to stop transfers during the pandemic, hundreds of immigrant detainees were transferred from Criminal Alien Requirement (CAR) prisons, a special subset of facilities under the Bureau of Prisons that sit in a gray area between immigration and criminal detention, reports The Intercept.
Deportations & Expulsions
The Guatemalan Health Ministry confirmed that six Guatemalans deported on June 9 tested positive for the coronavirus, adding to the list of nearly 200 deportees who have tested positive even after additional health measures were put in place, reports AP.
The U.S. announced Friday it will stop issuing travel visas to people from Burundi because the country has refused to accept deportees, reports AP. Five Burundi citizens in ICE custody are awaiting deportation and another 500 have been ordered deported.
A hotel in Ciudad Juarez has become a quarantine center for migrants turned back to Mexico during the pandemic, reports KERA News. Officials hope quarantining migrants will prevent the virus from further spreading to shelters, which have already reported outbreaks. Deportees are not tested before being sent to Mexico, exacerbating an already dire situation for tens of thousands of migrants waiting in Mexican border cities, reports The New Humanitarian.
Trump traveled to Yuma, Arizona Tuesday to celebrate the 200th mile of border wall constructed under his administration, calling it “powerful and comprehensive.” But that number is misleading. Most of Trump’s border wall has been built in places that already had a barrier or fence. Only three miles of border wall have been constructed where there was none before, a detail Trump neglects to share when campaigning, reports the LA Times. A strong message in Arizona is crucial to the Trump campaign as some Democratic officials believe the state could turn blue in part by the increase of young Latino voters, reports The New York Times.
Courts & Justice
The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that migrants whose initial requests for asylum were rejected by immigration officials have no right to a federal court hearing. The decision will affect thousands of asylum seekers.
A federal appeals court reversed an injunction that prevented the Trump administration from expanding expedited removal, the process of deporting immigrants without passing through an immigration court, reports Politico. Previously, it was only applied to immigrants within 100 miles of the border but the Trump administration expanded the practice of deportation without court to the whole country in July. The court ruled that DHS has discretion to apply the policy. The Trump administration has said the move will help decrease a backlog in immigration courts, reports The Wall Street Journal. Immigrant advocates say it violates due process.
The Trump administration wants to decertify the immigration judges union, reports The American Prospect. But the National Association of Immigration Judges, and their supporters, believe they should continue to be an independent body within the executive branch. A decision in the case is expected before elections in November. This isn’t the first time the union has faced decertification, it happened once before under President Bill Clinton. The union prevailed last time.
After the Trump administration announced a plan to bar asylum seekers from getting work permits, DHS advised asylum seekers to familiarize themselves with homelessness resources in the state where they live, reports Mother Jones.
The UN called for governments to develop support programs for the millions of migrant workers that will likely return to their countries because of the coronavirus, reports Reuters. The Migration Policy Institute research director also called for more research on immigrant gig economy workers during the pandemic. These informal platforms often allow immigrants to skirt barriers to entering the labor force, but lack support for workers, which has been further exposed during the coronavirus.
Immigrant Media Innovators
The Center for Community Media released a report Tuesday on innovation and growth in immigrant-serving news outlets, and how they are serving their communities during the coronavirus crisis and informing them about civil rights and BLM. The report, Digital First Responders, includes 50 outlets in 23 states publishing in more than 30 languages. “Immigrant outlets are vital sources of information for people from indigenous farmworkers to Chinese engineers to Somali Uber drivers,” Daniela writes in the introduction. “On the Chinese social media app WeChat, Houston Online documented empty Chinese-owned businesses well before most U.S. outlets were paying attention to the pandemic’s reach. Punjabi Radio USA in Northern California reported on dangerous rest stop conditions for truckers, one of their main listener groups. And as Queens emerged as an epicenter of coronavirus in the U.S., TBN24, a Bangladeshi digital television outlet with more than 2.7 million followers on Facebook alone, informed viewers about everything from how to get a stimulus check to how to connect with funeral homes.” On Tuesday, June 30 at 12 pm PT, Daniela will be hosting a forum that will review findings, and feature leaders of The Haitian Times, Chicago in Arabic, Jambalaya News, Punjabi Radio USA and many of the other outlets featured in the report.
- US Citizenship and Immigration Services is preparing to furlough 70 percent of its staff, in blow to legal immigration system. (Reuters)
- A federal judge blocked the removal of a Honduran boy caught in coronavirus-related border restrictions. (CNN)
- CBP data revealed the extent of DHS surveillance through helicopters, airplanes and drones at George Floyd protests in 15 cities. Only surveillance in Minneapolis was previously reported. (The New York Times)
- Texas lawmakers called on ICE Monday to release all detainees in Texas facilities who are not a safety risk and could be vulnerable to the coronavirus. (The Texas Tribune)
- A federal judge in Maryland ruled Friday that a case against the Trump administration for excluding U.S. citizen children with undocumented parents from the coronavirus stimulus package can continue. (BuzzFeed News)
- The U.S. deported former Haitian paramilitary leader Emmanuel Constant after decades in the U.S. He was immediately taken into custody for questioning when he arrived in Haiti. (The Haitian Times)
Immigration Resources & Opportunities
- Database of more than 200 COVID relief funds that are accessible to refugees and other immigrants, including without legal status. (IRAP)
- Updates on immigration developments during COVID-19 (Center for Migration Studies)
- Map of detention centers tracking coronavirus outbreaks (Freedom for Immigrants)
- COVID-19 resources for undocumented immigrants (UndocuScholars)
- Database of likely deportation flights during the pandemic (Center for Economic and Policy Research)
Recently released immigration books (got one, send it over)
- The Deportation Machine: America’s Long History of Expelling Immigrants by Adam Goodman. The book examines how public officials have used different forms of deportations and expulsion “to purge immigrants from the country and exert control over those who remain.” (June 2020)
- One Mighty and Irresistible Tide: The Epic Struggle Over American Immigration, 1924–1965 by Jia Lynn Yang, chronicles the major changes in U.S. immigration policy in the 20th century and their profound impact on immigrant families including her own. (May 2020)
- The Dispossessed: A Story of Asylum at the US-Mexican Border and Beyond by John Washington. The book takes an in-depth look at the Trump administration’s attack on asylum, told through the story of one Salvadoran dad, Arnovis. (May 2020)
- Migranthood: Youth in a New Era of Deportation, by anthropologist Lauren Heidbrink, chronicles deportation from the perspectives of Indigenous youth who migrate unaccompanied from Guatemala. (April 2020)
- The Undocumented Americans by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio. A series of “memoir-infused reported essays” provides a more nuanced picture of being undocumented in the U.S. that breaks with the trope of the perfect, grateful immigrant.
- America for Americans: A History of Xenophobia in the United States by Erika Lee. The University of Minnesota professor provides a timely history of the roots and ongoing threats of hatred of immigrants. (November 2019)
- Separated: Family and Community in the Aftermath of an Immigration Raid by William D. Lopez. The University of Michigan professor follows the story of the lasting damage of a raid in Michigan in 2013. (September 2019)
- Migrating to Prison: America’s Obsession with Locking Up Immigrants by César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández. The law professor and crimmigration.com blog author explores how the U.S. came to lock up almost half a million migrants annually.
- Border Wars: Inside Trump’s Assault on Immigration by Julie Hirschfield Davis and Michael Shear. The New York Times reporters probe Trump’s rise and its connection to the country’s attitudes toward foreigners.
- Here We Are: American Dreams, American Nightmares by Aarti Namdev Shahani. The NPR correspondent and co-founder of Families for Freedom’s memoir of her family’s battles with the immigration system.
- A Good Provider Is One Who Leaves: One Family and Immigration in the 21st Century by Jason DeParle. A chronicle of the age of global migration, told through the multi-generational saga of a Filipino family
- This Land Is Our Land: An Immigrant’s Manifesto by Suketu Mehta. An argument for why the United States and the West would benefit from accepting more immigrants
- Immigration Reform: The Corpse That Will Not Die by Charles Kamasaki. An insider’s history and memoir of the battle for The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986: its evolution, passage, impact, and its legacies for the future of immigration reform
- Migration as a (Geo-)Political Challenge in the Post-Soviet Space by Olga R. Gulina, about how migration policy in post-USSR states can be used to gain geopolitical power or destabilize an area
- Cruz: A Cross-border Memoir by Jean Guerrero, about a daughter’s journey to understand her father
- The Death and Life of Aida Hernandez: A Border Story by Aaron Bobrow-Strain
- Legal Passing: Navigating Undocumented Life and Local Immigration Law by Angela S. García (May 2019)
- Refuge Beyond Reach, by David Scott FitzGerald, details how wealthy countries in the Global North systematically deny asylum seekers.
Newsletters, Podcasts, & Facebook Groups
- In The Thick podcast covers the coronavirus impact on immigrant communities from Chelsea, MA to the Bronx, New York.
- Only Here is a podcast about the “subcultures, creativity and struggles” at the US-Mexico border from KPBS
- 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.
- ¿Qué Pasa, Midwest? Podcast tells stories of Latino life “from the homeland to the heartland.”
- Frontera Dispatch is a weekly newsletter by the Hope Border Institute on news and analysis from the border.
- 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).
- 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.
- Politico’s Morning Shift newsletter: a daily read on employment and immigration.
- 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
- Informed Immigrant is an online resource that provides information for undocumented immigrant communities in the U.S. during the coronavirus.
- Doctors for Immigrants released a toolkit to welcome and protect immigrants within the healthcare system.
- We Have Rights is a campaign to educate immigrants about rights in encounters with ICE
- Ecologies of Migrant Care has collected nearly 100 interviews with migrants, activists, academics and other immigration experts to shed light on the reasons why Central Americans flee and detail the networks that have developed to help them along their journey.
- Moving Stories is an app and curriculum to capture and share immigrant stories.
- Re-imagining Migration has resources and lessons to teach about migration, immigration, refugees, and civic empowerment through history, literature, and the sciences
- The Advocates for Human Rights and the Immigration History Research Center at UMN free curriculum that helps students learn about U.S. immigration through personal narratives: Teaching Immigration with the Immigrant Stories Project
- Freedom for Immigrants publishes an Immigration Detention Syllabus
Reporting resources, tools and tips
- Journalists who have been targeted for their work can send incident reports through the online platform of Press Freedom Tracker.
- No Refuge from Council on Foreign Relations’ InfoGuide series, includes an interactive map of origin and destination countries for refugees, and policy options that can help refugees and support host states.
- Covering Immigration Enforcement webinar from Poynter with Marshall Project contributing writer Julia Preston.
- Tools for covering ICE from the Columbia Journalism Review
- Migration Reporting Resources (Global Investigative Journalism Network)
- Resources for Investigating Visas (Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting)
- Reporting on Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Immigrants (90 Days, 90 Voices)
- Immigration Data Resources: An extensive, and growing, list of immigration resources curated by PRI’s Angilee Shah.
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 Media (CCM) 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 published Digital First Responders: How innovative news outlets are meeting the needs of immigrant communities, a report for the Center for Community Media. 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 where she covers the health and welfare of California’s next generation after covering health care and social services, including immigration, for several years for the digital outlet. 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 For some California teens, school closures led to work in the fields. You can find her on Twitter @1eaguilera
*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
*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