Migratory Notes 20
“There’s trouble in the muck this growing season,” writes Miriam Jordan in The New York Times. The muck is what makes the soil so fertile in Willard, Ohio. The Chamber of Commerce used to welcome the seasonal farm laborers with a festival. But this year the festivities were called off after some residents complained these Latino workers should not receive special treatment.
Jim Rutenberg, the media columnist for The New York Times, writes that Spanish language news giant Univision is “one of the most striking examples I’ve seen all year of a news organization that is meeting the moment.” The piece highlights the growth of coverage with nearly 75 new reporters in the past two years, among them many top journalists who fled violence in their native countries. One of the most shared recent stories was “on the papers that documented and undocumented immigrants should always have on them, in case of immigration raids or stops.” (Univision also was announced this week as a winner of the Knight Prototype Lab for its #ImmigrationLab project that aims to create a reliable news and information resource for undocumented immigrants.
In Arizona’s Sonoran Desert, Border Patrol agents stormed a humanitarian aid camp and arrested four migrants who were seeking shelter, reports the Intercept. The Arizona Republic writes that the apprehensions may “suggest a more aggressive border patrol control policy….and could deter some from seeking help as a scorching heat wave approaches.”
After decades of favored status, Cubans in the U.S. now face the same enforcement consequences as other immigrants. Previously, any Cuban who set foot on U.S. soil was allowed a path to citizenship but that changed under the Obama Administration as part of its improved relations with the island nation. Under Trump’s enforcement machine, Cubans, who voted in large numbers for the president, say they feel betrayed, reports the Associated Press.
ICE is increasingly using digital surveillance tools such as facial-recognition enhanced drones to track down immigrants. The agency began building its tech-toolbox under the Obama administration. Now the Trump the technology is increasingly testing it out within U.S. borders, writes The Atlantic.
The Justice Department is moving to create an “express deportation” system by asking district judges to issue “judicial orders of removal” at the same time they sentence immigrants who have been convicted of crimes, reports the Miami Herald. This move, ordered by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, is intended to cut down on the time in detention waiting to see an immigration judge after serving a criminal sentence.
The Supreme Court made it harder for the government to strip immigrants of U.S. citizenship, considered a setback for the Trump administration. Reuters reports the justices unanimously rejected the “Trump administration’s stance that the government should be able to revoke citizenship of people for even minor misstatements in the citizenship application process.”
Los Angeles County set aside $3 million for the legal defense of immigrants facing deportation, reports the Long Beach Press Telegram. Advocates said the fund doesn’t go far enough because it does not include those who have been convicted of a violent felony.
The state of California is also aiming to provide legal protections to immigrants facing deportation, reports CALmatters. Last week, the Legislature sent Gov. Jerry Brown a budget that includes $45 million for the legal defense of immigrants facing deportation. Elizabeth spent time with deported veterans in Tijuana and writes that they are hopeful about a separate bill that would provide state-funded defense for them. The green card holders were automatically eligible for citizenship when they served but they did not complete the paperwork and were deported.
Immigration is an International Issue
The U.S. has experienced a spike in Venezuelan asylum requests since the beginning of the year after a violent outbreak in the South American country that left 70 people dead and thousands arrested. The Washington Post reports thousands have applied for asylum and about 40 percent have been rejected.
Vice President Mike Pence told Central American leaders at a conference in Miami that they must stop “illegal and dangerous migration,” as well as “defeat gangs and transnational drug cartels, and end corruption,” reports Voice of America.
The Venezuelan indigenous tribe, the Warao, fled its long-time home and made the dangerous trek to Brazil to survive, reports the LA Times. The tribe is one of the oldest indigenous groups and are among thousands of Venezuelans who have been driven away by violence and hunger.
In Arizona, the Court of Appeals ruled that undocumented students are not eligible for in-state tuition rates, reports the Arizona Republic. The case was brought by the state after a local college system began allowing students to pay in-state rates in 2013.
In Georgia, a group of students has sued the state arguing that they should be able to receive in-state tuition, reports the Times Free Press. The state is arguing before the Court of Appeals that the Board of Regents can’t grant DACA students lower tuition because non-citizens don’t qualify.
The Fear Factor
Rural Americans are more likely than city or suburban dwellers to believe the worst about immigrants, a new Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation survey found. They believe that immigrants are not adapting to American life and are more likely to say that immigrants have different values than their own. Rural Trump voters are the most critical. But, in places where there were more foreign-born residents more people said immigrants strengthen the country.
The Marshall Project provides a roundup of how nine “sanctuary cities” are helping immigrants to “outwit” ICE. In Denver, city officials changed sentencing for certain crimes that would previously lead to deportation. In Santa Fe, city workers are prohibited from disclosing immigration status. And in Milwaukee, officials say no county money will be used for immigration enforcement.
In San Francisco, BART directors are considering a policy that would protect commuters from immigration raids while riding transit, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
In Texas, resistance to the state anti-sanctuary bill, SB 4, continues to grow. So far the four largest cities in Texas have joined together and advocates in other cities are pressing their leaders to do the same.
- Houston votes to join other Texas cities in lawsuit over new immigration law (Texas Tribune)
- Protesters in Fort Worth urge city leaders to join a lawsuit to have Texas’ so-called sanctuary cities law declared unconstitutional (Forth Worth Star-Telegram)
- MALDEF To Represent Bexar County In “Sanctuary Cities” Suit (KTSA — San Antonio)
That’s all for Migratory Notes 20. We’re both based in LA, so help us out by letting us know what’s going on elsewhere. We realize this is in no way a complete list. If there’s a story you think we should consider, please send us an email.
Special thanks to independent journalist Madeleine Bair and intern Dalia Espinosa for help this week with curation. Madeleine recently wrote The News Deserts in Immigrant Communities.
Other thank you to those who helped this week, knowingly or unknowingly. Jacque Boltik for creating our template. Sue Cross, Jason Alcorn, Cindy Carcamo’s FB posts, Voice of San Diego Border Report, Global Nation Exchange FB group, Marshall Project newsletter, Xavier Maciel’s Sanctuary Schools newsletter, Migration Information Source, and countless tweeters.
*Daniela Gerson is an assistant professor at California State University, Northridge with a focus on community, ethnic, and participatory media. She is also a senior fellow at the Democracy Fund. Before that she was a community engagement editor at the LA Times; founding 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 wrote about Five lessons from a bilingual, bicultural newsroom in Southern Indiana for Local News Lab. You can find her on Twitter @dhgerson
*Elizabeth Aguilera is a multimedia reporter for CALmatters covering health 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 before that she covered a variety of beats and issues for the Denver Post including urban affairs and immigration. Her latest story explores the fate of deported veterans in Discharged. Deported. Why California may cover vets’ legal bid to return. You can find her on Twitter @1eaguilera