Migratory Notes 75
Reunification deadline looms, signing away rights, Postville revisited
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While deportations were actually much higher in 2010 under Obama, fear appears to be higher now. The Marshall Project and New York magazine contacted more than 100 undocumented people in New York City to find out how they live in the age of Trump. The article, as well as The Intercept, feature a new interactive mapping project of detentions called ICEwatch, by the Immigrant Defense Project and the Center for Constitutional Rights.
In a Twitter exchange responding to the article, Migration Policy Institute Senior Analyst Julia Gelatt posits that the change for immigrants in New York may not be increased enforcement, but the type: “In addition to changes in rhetoric, a larger share of ICE arrests are now at-large arrests (at homes, workplaces, streets) rather than arrests through the criminal justice system (31% in early FY17 vs. 15% in FY08–11). At-large arrests are more-visible & can seem random.” USC Professor and Migratory Notes advisory board member Roberto Suro responded that with the absolute number down so much, he questioned whether the type of arrest actually makes the difference: “Seems logical that at-large arrests have greater impact on public perceptions. But, share of arrests might not be right measure. In absolute numbers, at peak Obama [had] at least 2x as many at-large arrests as now. Fewer arrests, more fear. I give portrayals/rhetoric much credit.”
Immigrant parents unknowingly signed away the right to reunify with their children, according to affidavits filed in federal court.
With a reunification deadline looming, the process has been “incredibly chaotic.” Parents being moved from detention center to detention center not knowing if they are heading for a reunion with their child or the terror of deportation, reports The Intersection. “There doesn’t appear to be any rhyme or reason on who gets released and who doesn’t,” a lawyer told NBC. “It’s mind-boggling.” The places where attorneys meet with their clients before court aren’t much better. The Guardian reports on a windowless parking garage under one San Diego courthouse where there is little privacy and many attorneys only have three hours to get to know their clients.
The administration now admits that 463 parents have been deported without their children, a figure far higher than they initially admitted. CNN obtained audio of anguished parents in court pleading to be reunited with their children before being ordered deported by a judge.
Some of the deported parents are making an agonizing choice, reports The Washington Post — bring their children home to violence and poverty, or give them a chance at a life in the United States at the cost of losing them for years or longer.
Even amidst the pain and chaos of family reunification, some companies are making a quick buck, reports Buzzfeed. A group of 150 Democrats wrote a stern letter calling out exorbitantly high rates for phone calls from immigration detention centers, some as high as $8 a minute, for parents to speak to their detained children.
The federal judge overseeing the family reunification effort, Judge Dana Sabraw may have issued some tough demands for the Trump administration but he speaks softly in person reports the Los Angeles Times, while The Wall Street Journal notes the unusual role he now inhabits as “watchdog, enforcer and motivational coach.”
Univision used a crowdsourcing project run by ProPublica in cooperation with several other news outlets to find the story of a young girl who believed her mother had abandoned her, until they were reunited last week.
Immigration bonds have risen by 50 percent in the last five years, reports The Dallas Morning News, to a median of $5,700. It’s only the latest way in which courts put an extra burden on people who are already struggling.
Ten years later, Univision explores the aftermath of a large immigration raid on a slaughterhouse in Postville, Iowa, in a documentary, including the demographic changes in the town.
High profile Dems are acting out against Trump’s immigration policy in a variety of ways:
- Hillary Clinton offered to help with travel arrangements for reuniting families(ThinkProgress)
- New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo pardoned seven people under threat of deportation (The Hill)
- Joe Biden called migrant family separation “an all-out assault on human dignity” (NBC News)
Africans and South Asians on the Border
African asylum seekers face unique challenges in the U.S., including difficulty communicating with other migrants while in detention and the feeling that their experiences are missing from the broader narrative around migration in the U.S., reports The Texas Tribune. “We become frustrated with the single story pushed out,” said an activist with the UndocuBlack Network.
Two men’s respective journeys across the U.S.-Mexico border, from Bangladesh to the Southwest border went via South Africa in one case, the Ecuador jungle and Central American in the other, ended tragically. Both perished in the desert. DocumentedNY covers the struggle to recoup their bodies.
Government-funded migrant shelters aren’t getting informed consent before they give drugs to minors, reports ProPublica. In some cases, those drugs can have dangerous consequences, such as increasing suicidal behavior.
At least 60 detainees went on hunger strike against the conditions, food and health care access at a Massachusetts immigration detention center last week, reports The Standard-Times.
The Trump administration chose to prosecute thousands of parents under zero tolerance rather than target adults traveling without children, reports Mother Jones in an analysis of Transaction Records Access Clearinghouse data.
Undocumented immigrants are being detained when they apply for a special visa which is provided to victims of violent crimes that cooperate with authorities, AP reports. It appears the Trump administration is stepping up enforcement of this group which was previously protected as a public safety measure.
New ICE statistics show a five-fold rise in workplace raids and I-9 audits under the Trump administration, reports Buzzfeed.
This American Life takes a look at ICE, “a government agency in its tumultuous teenage years,” featuring an unlikely alliance between a group of undocumented immigrants and an ICE agent.
A new study shows that family separation won’t deter migrants — the last two big border crackdowns in 2014 and 2017 had little impact on apprehensions at the border, reports Vox.
The human smuggling operation on the U.S-Canada border may be smaller than the one on the southern border, but it’s no less sophisticated, reports the AP.
Denaturalization through History
The history of stripping foreign-born Americans of their citizenship in the U.S. spans more than a century, reports Smithsonian.com.
Compassionate Immigration Reporting
Immigration reporters don’t have to choose between objectivity and compassion, argues The New York Times reporter Miriam Jordan in a first-person account onhow she reports on family separation without foregoing her human response to occasionally using her resources or language skills to help desperate migrants. “It’s not something journalists often talk about: We have to be careful, of course, not to cast ourselves as advocates or problem-solvers to the people we interview and the readers we serve, but we should not forgo compassion,” writes Jordan.
Jobs, Fellowships & Awards
- Feet in 2 Worlds is looking for its next managing editor. (New York City)
- The San Francisco Chronicle is hiring an immigration reporter.
- The Atlantic is seeking an immigration reporter. (LA, Texas, DC or NY)
- Cascade Public Media in Seattle is hiring a race/immigration producer.
- A donor is looking for the right book project to support with free publication and marketing services. If you’re working on a project with the intention of using it to raise awareness and raise funds for a nonprofit helping families, please email email@example.com a few sentences about your project and your contact info.
- Freedom for Immigrants is hiring for several California-based positions, including development director and immigration bond fund coordinator.
- ProBar Immigrant Children’s Assistance Project is hiring various positions: an unaccompanied children legal service specialist, legal assistant, legal director, and staff attorney.
- Immigrant Justice Corps is hiring for several attorneys and a social worker.
- Define American is hiring a development manager for fundraising and strategic growth.
- The League of Kitchens is hiring a fellow for recipe writing and testingas part of a program where immigrants teach cooking classes.
- FWD.us is hiring for several positions, including press and campaign manager positions
- WBEZ is hiring a radio reporter to cover race, class and communities
- ProPublica is offering student scholarships to a host of conferences, including NABJ, AAJA, and others
Immigration Resources & Opportunities
Recently released immigration books (got one, send it over)
- Deportation in the Americas edited by Kenyon Zimmer and Cristina Salinas explores deportation policy and its global impact
- We Built the Wall: How the US Keeps Out Asylum Seekers from Mexico, Central America and Beyond by Eileen Truax
- Vanishing Frontiers: the Forces Driving Mexico and the United States Together by Andrew Selee explores the two countries intertwined histories.
- Homelands: Four Friends, Two Countries, and the Fate of the Great Mexican-American Migration by Dallas Morning News border correspondent Alfredo Corchado
- From Here and There: Diaspora Policies, Integration, and Social Rights Beyond Borders, by Alexandra Délano Alonso, is the first book-length guide about consular services.
- Undocumented Lives: The Untold Story of Mexican Migration, about the Mexican government’s support for migration. PRI profiled the book’s author.
- The Making of a Dream: How a group of young undocumented immigrants helped change what it means to be American by Laura Wides-Muñoz covers the growth of the Dreamer movement.
Podcasts & Immigration News
- Radio Public curates a list of podcasts about immigration and migration
- 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.
- The New American Songbook from Groundtruth Project looks at the stories behind the songs of immigrants.
- ¿Qué Pasa, Midwest? is a bilingual podcast to help connect a Midwestern Latinx community.
- Moving Stories is an app and curriculum to capture and share immigrant stories.
- Re-imagining immigration 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
- Imm-print publishes an Immigration Detention Syllabus.
Reporting resources, tools and tips
- Tools for covering ICE from the Columbia Journalism Review
- Documented covers New York City’s immigrants and the policies that affect their lives
- 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 and shared as part of her presentation on finding immigration stories at NICAR 2018.
- Tips on covering immigration when you do not live near the border(Daniel Connolly, from IRE 2017)
That’s all for Migratory Notes 75. If there’s a story or immigration-related opportunity you think we should consider, please send us an email.
*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 How can collaborations between ethnic and mainstream outlets serve communities in the digital age? for American Press Institute. 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 is What ice cream flavors can teach us about the changing California Dream. You can find her on Twitter @1eaguilera
*Yana Kunichoff is an independent journalist and documentary producer who covers immigration, policing, education and social movements. 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