Migratory Notes 21
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In his first week in office Trump declared the termination of “catch and release.” But that is not entirely true. Jessica Contrera writes in the Washington Post, “It has not been as simple as that declaration…there are laws and judicial orders in place that limit how long ICE can detain children, and in most cases, when a child is released, at least one of their parents is, too.” Reporting from a Texas border town with decreased unauthorized immigration, Contrera weaves a beautiful story of a Salvadoran father released from detention with an ankle bracelet to accompany his 3-year-old daughter.
As the partial travel ban took effect Thursday night, Hawaii filed a challenge about the scope of what constitutes close family (according to the government’s interpretation, grandparents are not close enough, stepparents are). Attorney General Chin said in a statement: “In Hawaii, ‘close family’ includes many of the people that the federal government decided on its own to exclude from that definition. Unfortunately, this severely limited definition may be in violation of the Supreme Court ruling.”
Select coverage of the travel ban reinstatement:
- Infographic breaking down who is barred (NY Times)
- DV lottery applicants from impacted six countries will not likely “be exempt from the E.O.’s suspension of entry or to qualify for a waiver.” (Reuters)
- Tensions rising in Silicon Valley (CNBC)
- Live blog/ explainer of ban (Vox)
- ⅖ of refugees don’t have a “bona fide” relationship to US (NY Times)
- Trump’s Muslim ban ‘redefining what a family is’ (Al Jazeera)
The Texas attorney general and a 10-state coalition threatened to sue the Federal Government on Thursday if DACA is not rescinded by September. “Just like DAPA, DACA unilaterally confers eligibility for work authorization and lawful presence without any statutory authorization from Congress,” Attorney General Ken Paxton wrote in a letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday.
Capitol Hill to the White House
The House of Representatives passed two Trump backed immigration bills on Thursday.
- “Kate’s Law” is named after a San Francisco woman killed by a previously deported immigrant and it boosts penalties for immigrants who try to re-enter the United States unlawfully.
- “No Sanctuaries for Criminals” authorizes the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice to withhold funds from cities that refuse to comply with federal immigration law or honor immigration detention requests.
To pass in the Senate the separate measures will need at least eight Democratic Senators to break party ranks.
Regardless if these bills pass, Trump has been a “gulp of hope” to parents whose children were murdered by undocumented immigrants, The New York Times’ Vivian Yee reports. She follows how since a first meeting at the Beverly Hilton during the campaign “they have defended him on social media and in the press, assuring the world that, with President Trump in office, their children will not have died in vain.”
Yet, many of the claims that Trump and his administration make connecting undocumented immigrants to crime are false. One of those is that undocumented immigrants are the source of the growth of the MS-13 gang. BuzzFeed reports less than 1% of unaccompanied children detained at the border since 2012 have been identified as gang members.
A new study reviewing two decades of data also debunked the claim that increased immigration correlates with crime, the Desert Sun reports.
State lawmakers have been processing a flurry of new sanctuary-related bills, but few are actually making it into law, according to an analysis by FiscalNote reported on in Newsweek.
The most prominent one that has moved forward is in Texas, and as the anti-sanctuary law prepares to be made into law on September 1, two cases were heard this week, reports the Dallas Morning News. The state preemptively filed one case defending its constitutionality and arguments were heard on Thursday in Austin. Earlier in the week in a case brought by various cities and organizations, arguments were heard challenging the law.
In Nashville, the city’s top lawyer said it can’t force its sheriff to comply with a proposed ban on volunteering city resources to support federal immigration enforcement, reports AP.
The Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is running a campaign for governor that he will get rid of undocumented immigrants and that will help the state economy. But the Wichita Eagle reports immigration to the state is actually falling and the Trump crackdown is having minimal effect locally.
Latin American consulates in New York tell El Diario-La Prensa that they have seen a “stampede of actions and inquiries coming from immigrants considering returning to their countries” as they are concerned about the Trump administration policies.
Immigrants across the country are increasingly forgoing health care out of fear, The New York Times reports, citing a recent national poll of providers by Migrant Clinicians Network in which two-thirds of respondents said they had seen a reluctance among patients to seek health care.
Immigration is an International Issue
Right-wing extremism has surged since Germany accepted nearly one million migrants and refugees in 2015, The New York Times reports.
Fears that mainland Chinese immigrants who moved to Hong Kong in the past 20 years would change the culture of the metropolis have proved to be unfounded, reports the Wall Street Journal. Instead, the immigrants have undergone what is being called “Hong Kongization.”
Construction on the prototypes of Trump’s border wall is already behind schedule. It was supposed to begin in June but U.S. Customs and Border Protection says it’s about two months away from starting construction. The agency has not signed any contracts yet but has received hundreds of bids for the project to be built in San Diego near the border. The San Diego Union-Tribune writes that while the funding for the full project has not been approved by Congress, but did allow $20 million to be used for the prototypes that was originally intended for other security measures.
We Get the Job Done
Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton Mixtape video Immigrants (We Get the Job Done) and advocacy campaign has gone viral. The video features lines like “You claim I’m stealing jobs though/ Peter Piper claimed he picked them, he just underpaid Pablo” and contributions from rappers K’naan, Residente, Snow Tha Product, and Riz MC. “This election cycle has brought xenophobia and vilification of immigrants back to the forefront of US politics,” Miranda writes on Genius. “This is a musical counterweight.”
Can’t go to your sister’s wedding? There’s always VR. PRI reports on two immigrants who created a virtual reality business to reunite family members separated by borders, laws or money. One of them tried it out on his parents first and was surprised by how emotional they became when they were transported to the middle of their Guatemalan hometowns and saw old friends for the first time in decades.
WNYC goes deep into the world of immigration detention centers in its multipart series on the history and practice of immigration detention, and what life is like in ICE detention centers. There are three family centers in the U.S. and they have different issues caring for immigrants from long waits, inhumane conditions and no access to clean water. One of the facilities, in South Texas, continues to detain children without a daycare license.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s long-awaited trial has begun in Arizona. Known as the toughest sheriff in America for his crackdown on immigrants, he was voted out of office last year, reports NPR. The case stems from Arpaio’s disregard of a judge’s orders to stop detaining undocumented immigrants because they lacked legal status because those tactics unfairly targeted Latinos.
Follow up: After the murder of an Indian immigrant in Kansas
Wired writes a compelling story about the Indian immigrant who died last February after a white bar patron targeted him for the color of his skin. His wife says she has stayed in Kansas because it is what her husband would have wanted.
That’s all for Migratory Notes 21. 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.
Thank yous to those who helped this week, knowingly or unknowingly: Intern Dalia Espinosa and to Jacque Boltik for creating our template. Adolfo Flores, Madeleine Bair, 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