Migratory Notes 5
This week we saw a Dreamer detained after speaking to media, a move to separate mothers from children in detention, a class-action lawsuit against a private prison company for alleged slave labor of ICE detainees…
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We wondered earlier who else was going to attempt to crowdsource immigration raids when Latino Rebels announced it was relaunching “migramap.” Well, someone’s on that: A formerly undocumented immigrant created redadalertas (Raid Alerts), an open source project first developed to track Obama’s raids. It is gaining new support from GitHub to build an active resistance to Trump’s anti-immigrant actions, Patrick O’Neil reports for Vice. O’Neil also notes that it “echoes a newly launched Iranian app that warns nearby individuals about raids from the country’s morality police,” and raises questions regarding privacy and verification.
An indicator came this week that immigrants and their supporters will record and broadcast on social media this era of deportations, much like witnesses to recent police violence against African-Americans. LAist.com, among various outlets, shared the video recorded by a 13-year-old girl, while sobbing, as she witnessed her father’s arrest by immigration authorities from the backseat of the car. He had been taking her to school when he was stopped. By Sunday the child’s video had been viewed more than 500,000 times on YouTube.
A radical policy departure
The Marshall Project’s Julia Preston breaks down how the Trump administration enforcement policies make for a “radical departure from the recent past.” The new environment has closed pathways for legal immigration and found ways to bar them or kick out immigrants lacking legal status.
A striking example first reported by Reuters this week is a proposed policy that would try to discourage mothers from immigrating by separating them from their children in detention. While much more punitive an approach, this is not the first time maternal ties have been used to control immigration. Daniela reported from Southern Spain 10 years ago about an effort to reduce unauthorized immigration there by only admitting mothers on temporary visas.
In The Atlantic Anand Giridharadas likens the recent hate-crime shooting of two Indian men in Kansas to a similar crime that took place in 2001 in Texas. Giridharadas writes that such a crime requires looking “at the broader context of hate and fear in which it took place, and at their enablers.” PRI’s Global Nation published a first-person account from Tim Hubbard, the owner of a software company in Kansas, who was ordering nachos when he heard the shots. “If I really wanted to, I could mostly forget. Because as a white male, I have that privilege,” he writes. “Here is the important part of the story: one man is dead. Two more landed in the hospital with gunshot wounds. Because somebody shot them. It is not normal. It is not okay.”
For City Lab, Tanvi Misra looks at the growth of the anti-sanctuary movement, namely efforts to increase enforcement relationships between police and the federal authorities and the revival of the controversial 287g program. Despite previous criticism of that program for racial profiling and inefficiency, the Trump administration is taking steps to broaden the policy.
Meanwhile, hundreds of colleges and universities nationwide have been declaring their campuses sanctuaries or are considering doing so. But there could be major costs, Bloomberg reports. The colleges could lose as much as a quarter of their annual revenue if proposed state and federal legislation to withhold funds from sanctuary institutions becomes law.
On the state level, various efforts are progressing to halt sanctuary efforts on campus. The Indiana Lawyer documents an Indiana bill under consideration that would require colleges and universities to cooperate with federal immigration investigations.
Canadian cities, which are following the U.S. lead and adopting the sanctuary title, also face challenges. Rabble describes how these Canadian sanctuary cities often fail to live up to the name much in the same way their American counterparts do.
Immigration authorities have cast a wide net capturing undocumented immigrants across the country but Alabama seems to be a focal point for the effort, according to AL.com. It has seen the most deportation efforts across the Deep South with agents arresting people at their homes and workplaces.
In neighboring Mississippi, a second Dreamer was detained. Daniela Vargas, 22, who immigrated with her parents from Argentina at seven and overstayed a tourist visa, had just spoken out about how deportations were impacting immigrant families when she was arrested. Vargas had let her DACA status lapse when she could not pay the renewal fee. Authorities may deport her without a hearing.
In Houston, a 31-year-old father who is married to a citizen and who has a clean record was arrested by immigration authorities, the Houston Chronicle reports. This and other recent deportations across the country have led experts to surmise that the Trump administration will deport any person in the U.S. illegally.
This ramp up of deportations has people in a Trump town questioning the hard-core policy after a popular town favorite named Carlos was arrested by immigration enforcement The New York Times explains.
The Guardian reports that more than 60 local law enforcement heads, many in districts that support Trump, wrote a letter to the president objecting “to being thrust into ‘new and sometimes problematic tasks’ that will ‘harm locally-based, community-oriented policing’”.
Others see signs that damage to trust has already been done. In Denver the district attorney says that anxiety has prompted witnesses of violent crimes to avoid appearing to testify (9 news).
In Pacific Standard, Jared Keller reports that the costs of deportations will fall to American taxpayers, and they will be significant. “According to two independent reports,” he reports, “the implementation of mass deportations would reduce the national gross domestic product (GDP) by 1.4 percent in the first year alone and, ultimately, 2.6 percent in the next decade — a cumulative economic loss of $4.7 trillion.”
Border wall bidding is set to begin at a rapid pace, Andrew Becker reports for Reveal. U.S. Customs and Border Patrol “outlined a two-step process for bids, beginning March 6, with a solicitation ‘for the design and build of several prototype wall structures’ in the area of the border….Moving at breakneck speed, the agency wants design concept papers within four days — by March 10.”
A time for queer, Latina superheroes
America Chavez may have her hands full as Marvel’s latest superhero to get her own first solo series called “America”, coming this year. She’s Marvel’s first queer Latina superhero — and she’s going to have some tough battles in front of her. Charles Pullam-Moore writes that she’s a superpowered, inter-dimensional being who can literally punch holes through the fabric of reality. America Chavez first appeared in the 2011 limited series Vengeance and later appeared again in the Young Avengers series. Let’s see what you got America! Elizabeth wrote about one of the first Latina Marvel superheroes in 2004 for the Denver Post — Anya Corazon, aka spider-woman.
On the food front
Joan Nathan has a new cookbook coming out next month. And its first review, from the Raleigh News-Observer, explains why a cookbook on Jewish diaspora food is so relevant right now. “Its message about the vast contributions of immigrants to their adopted homelands is particularly relevant in light of federal authorities investigating bomb threats at Jewish community centers and schools, including one in Durham, and the glaring focus on Muslim immigrants.” This is a shameless plug, Nathan is Daniela’s mother. The book is King Solomon’s Table, and, yes, we’re kvelling.
Job and internship opportunities
With all the focus on immigration has come new job opportunities in immigration reporting and policy. Here are a few:
- Latino USA Reporting Fellowship A year-long fellowships funded by California Endowment
- 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. Congrats to Miriam Jordan, who starts this week after making the switch from the Wall Street Journal.)
- 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 #5. 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.
Image credit: Marvel’s new superhero America Chavez
Thank yous to those who helped this week, knowingly or unknowingly. Here’s a few: Cindy Carcamo’s FB posts, Global Nation Exchange FB group, Marshall Project newsletter, Mash-Up American newsletter, Audrey Singer, various members of the Media Consortium, 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. 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