Migratory Notes 4
We started this “pop-up newsletter” a month ago, thinking this would be a service we could provide until the frenzied rate of immigration news subsided. We’re starting to have our doubts it will subside. And so we continue. This week we saw sweeping new Department of Homeland Security policies, raids of Asian immigrants in Mississippi, the detention of Muhammad Ali’s son, an emerging modern-day underground railroad…
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Straight-up amazing reporting
Levi Bridges weaves, in Spanish and English versions, a spellbinding tale of the successful host of Mexico’s version of “Pimp my Ride”, who had previously been deported despite helping propel the U.S. show while living as an undocumented immigrant in California. Radio Ambulante re-released the piece this month as part of its NPR collaboration.
Making millennials smarter about immigration
The Skimm, the daily newsletter which claims to get 5 million+ mostly millennial readers up to speed on current events, has added a new campaign : “No Excuses-Immigration.” Last year, the site launched a first No Excuses to “make it easier to be smarter about the 2016 election.” It reports that 2.1 million readers used the site to get informed and more than 110,000 registered to vote via the site. Now The Skimm wants its readers to be smarter about immigration. To do so, it has launched a site with the key players, timeline, an interactive citizenship test, and breaking down developments.
New policies, new questions
Various outlets provided in depth explainers about new Department of Homeland Security policies. The NYT immigration team breaks down big questions such as “who will be deported?” to technical terms like “catch and release.”. Politico reveals the four hidden policy changes in the recent memos, including targeting those who help unaccompanied children. Sonia Nazario also writes for The New York Times Opinion on the potential consequences for minors, “These Are Children, Not Bad Hombres.” USA Today talks to former immigration chiefs about the legality of the new enforcement plans including expedited removal who say the new rules may violate the constitutional rights of immigrants.
Sanctuary city challenges
The New York Times looks at the intersection of policing and immigration enforcement in two different stories. In suburban Long Island, where the Salvadoran-American gang MS-13 has long been active, authorities, which had already distanced themselves from sanctuary policies in December, are concerned about how they will be able to shut down this violent gang without the cooperation of immigrants. Another story details how the Denver sheriff followed his city’s policies, but is now in the spotlight after an undocumented immigrant his department released murdered someone at a light rail station.
Meanwhile, President Trump despite multiple pledges to defund sanctuary cities, has not yet done so. BuzzFeed’s Adrian Carrasquillo maintains a source with knowledge of the lead-up to Homeland Security Kelly’s DHS memos says the reason sanctuary cities were not defunded is “because the agency is still working on a legal definition of what a sanctuary city is.”
PolitiFact finds the Trump administration is not the only one confused about sanctuary cities. It looks at a report showing that 80% of Americans are against sanctuary cities, and unpacks the data.
In a piece for Slate, Daniel Denvir, a fellow with the Fair Punishment Project, argues that the sanctuary city term means nothing for many undocumented immigrants and offers a false sense of security, as enforcement continues to conduct raids and detain immigrants.
And the New Sanctuary Movement
As anxiety over deportations and raids rises, details of how religious and immigration organizations are planning to help have emerged. NPR reports groups are already practicing how to disrupt law enforcers and calling it the “New Sanctuary Movement”. CNN notes others are planning to harbor immigrants at risk of deportation, and BuzzFeed finds some churches and faith groups have already created a network that reaches to Canada in case they need to smuggle immigrants out of the U.S. There is also now a network of 300 “sanctuary restaurants” across the country, according to Washington Examiner.
Facing the consequences
Increased immigration enforcement continues to affect more than just those in violation of the law. Muhammad Ali’s son said he was detained in the Fort Lauderdale Airport after returning from Jamaica where he gave a speech in honor of Black History Month. The Washington Post reports that Ali Jr. was asked twice about his religion, and his attorney connects the treatment with the now-halted travel ban on predominantly Muslim countries; Customs and Border Patrol denied a connection. A visiting scholar of the Holocaust narrowly avoided deportation. Egyptian-born French Jew Henri Rousso, was detained for 10 hours at Houston Airport and was being prepared to be sent to France when a local immigration expert intervened, JTA reports.
At New York’s Kennedy Airport, all passengers on one plane were asked to show their papers as they stepped onto the jetway after arriving from San Francisco, reports the Washington Post, because Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers were looking for an undocumented immigrant who turned out not to be on the flight.
We are beginning to see the policies have a ripple effects on the economy. Bloomberg is tracking the impact on the real estate market as legal and undocumented immigrants put off or cancel purchasing homes. LA Times reports that undocumented immigrants are 10% of California’s workforce and deportation could decimate California farms, construction sites and hospitality businesses. Farmers continue to be worried about the future, finds KJZZ, especially as industry groups like the Western Growers Association warn that farmers should prepare for more ICE raids.
Who are the winners?
Mother Jones explores who benefits in the immigration crackdown, and determines it’s the private prison industry. Madison Pauly writes, “In an earnings call last week, the private prison giant CoreCivic (formerly known as the Corrections Corporation of America, or CCA) announced that it saw the ICE detention expansion as a business opportunity.”
The New York Times investigates “thousands of ICE officers who are newly emboldened, newly empowered and already getting to work.”
Bloomberg reports the Trump administration is charging ahead on plans for the border wall, calling for bids for proposals, while Pew Research finds that most Americans are still against it.
Three AFP photographers took to the 2,000-mile border to show in stunning images the massive walls already there and the open expanse that is secretly manned by surveillance technology from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico for The Guardian. Jim Watson’s narrative takes the audience along for the ride.
On Vimeo Ebony Bailey’s video story about black migrants from Haiti and other places in Mexico shows how many non-Mexicans are getting stuck there on their way to the U.S. and the difficulties they face.
The New York Times’ Kirk Semple writes that Central American migrants are beginning to seek asylum in Mexico instead of continuing their trek to the U.S. after considering how hard it has become and the aggressive immigration policies of President Trump.
Job and internship opportunities
With all the focus on immigration has come new job opportunities in immigration reporting and policy. Here are a few:
- Professor of Practice, Cronkite Borderlands Initiative (2 positions) — Arizona State University
- Immigration Reporter — Marshall Project
- Race/ Related Editor — New York Times (note the immigration reporter position has been filled. Big congrats to Miriam Jordan, who is making the switch from the Wall Street Journal. We haven’t heard word yet on if the Journal plans to fill her position.)
- Director, Immigrant Rights & Integration — Haas Foundation
- Senior Radio Editor — Reveal (not specifically immigration, but they do a lot on the topic).
That’s it for Migratory Notes #4. Let us know what you think. We’re both based in LA, so help us out by letting us know what’s going on elsewhere. And what would you like to see here? We know we are missing lots of great stories. Even as we write this so many are being published.
Thank yous to those who helped this week, knowingly or unknowingly. Here’s a few: Peggy Holman, Global Nation FB group, Cindy Carcamo’s FB posts, Minerva Canto and various members of the Media Consortium.
*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. 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 looked at how California’s undocumented kids could be the first to lose medical care under Trump. You can find her on Twitter @1eaguilera