Migratory Notes 84

Tent city for children, zero tolerance indifference, a future without TPS

The New York Times Book Review published a round-up of new children’s books about immigrant experiences. Camille Andros and Julie Morstad’s The Dress and the Girl tells a young Greek immigrant’s story. Credit: Abrams Books

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After Trump canceled Temporary Protective Status for El Salvadorans, thousands of longtime residents were forced to consider relocating. The parents of a 14-year-old girl decided she would stay in the U.S. if they needed to leave — so the teen began learning how she might live her life alone in the country. “Maria explained that if she and Jose were ordered out of the country, they would leave Emily here, in the care of an American family for whom Maria used to nanny,” writes Jennifer Miller in the Washington Post. But that isn’t enough for the young girl’s mother. “Maria could arrange for a warm and loving family to embrace her daughter, but she could not protect her from a culture that felt increasingly hostile.”

Federal inspectors found nooses made from bedsheets hanging in the majority of cells in an ICE processing center with a high rate of detainee suicide attempts, reports the Los Angeles Times.
“When we asked two contract guards who oversaw the housing units why they did not remove the bed sheets, they echoed it was not a high priority,” officials with the Department of Homeland Security inspector general’s office wrote in a scathing report of health risks found at the Adelanto ICE processing center in Southern California.

When a county stops holding ICE detainees, where do they go? Often to remote places very far away. WNYC and Documented investigate the challenges raised by Hudson County’s decision to no longer hold ICE detainees at its county jail in New Jersey. “Community activists celebrated Hudson County’s decision, but immigration legal defense groups said that the move could incentivize ICE to quickly move all detainees from the jail and relocate them farther away, stunting their legal cases and preventing their loved ones from visiting,” Felipe De La Hoz writes.

Private prisons had their birth in the tough-on-crime 1980s; now they house the vast majority of undocumented immigrants detained in America, reports The New York Times ‘Retro Report’ video series.

Detained Children
Hundreds of migrant children were moved from shelters across the country to a tent city in the West Texas desert in the middle of the night, part of the federal government’s efforts to house a growing number of unaccompanied minors, reports The New York Times. As the population of migrant children detained has grown the average length of time they spend in detention has also doubled. Children described the tent city as ‘punishment,’ and advocates worry that the conditions don’t meet child welfare standard, reports HuffPost.

The New York Times also came out against the practice in an editorial, decrying the thousands of children ‘rotting’ in the desert and “the shame of this country’s treatment of vulnerable brown-skinned children, many of whom will spend a lifetime recovering from our failures.”

Zero Tolerance and Family Separation
An unpublished DHS report obtained by The Washington Post reveals that Trump’s zero tolerance policy was beset with problems from the start, including poor communication, lax planning and a lack of concern from the administration. Among the report’s findings:

Mothers stuck in limbo inside detention centers with their children struggle with a mix of despair, bewilderment and hope, according to letters obtained by CNN.

In a radio and story collaboration, The Texas Tribune and Reveal challenge the claim that families were separated because they crossed the border illegally, reporting that dozens of families were divided even though they didn’t cross the border but instead asked for asylum at ports of entry.

DHS continues to maintain it didn’t separate children who were nursing from their mothers, but multiple claims have emerged that show otherwise, reports The Center for Public Integrity.

Asylum & Refugees
More than 13,000 people granted asylum status by the government are now at risk of having it taken away, reports NPR. Federal authorities are targeting immigrants, primarily from China, who received their status through asylum mills the government charged with fraud in 2012.

An Iranian refugee died of a heart attack while waiting to be allowed to settle in the U.S, reports The Los Angeles Times. Before Trump, he would have been a priority for admittance because of his need for life-saving surgery available in the U.S. Instead, caught in the travel ban and the slowdown of refugee admittance, he died 15 months after receiving approval to come to America without ever stepping foot inside the country.

Arrests at marriage interviews are becoming increasingly common in South Florida, reports The Miami Herald.

The case of one man illegally deported by ICE and then illegally detained upon his return to the U.S. after winning his case illustrates the way ICE is going increasingly rogue, reports The Intercept. ICE has been “emboldened by the political moment to exert authority even where it has none, and to defy the rule of law even when it claims to be enforcing it,” writes Alice Speri.

The Trump administration reportedly considered banning Chinese nationals from getting student visas over a fear that they were spying in one of Stephen Miller’s several aggressive immigration policy proposals, reports the Financial Times.

Local efforts against ICE have been victorious in at least a dozen communities around the country, from efforts to convince local police to stop cooperating with ICE or cancel data-sharing agreements, reports The Washington Post.

Economics of Immigration
Immigrants in the country illegally are paying more into the health care system than they are getting out of it — $8 billion more, according to a study released Monday, reports Kaiser Health News.

Two Republicans candidates vying for congressional seats in California have very different stances on immigration, reports the Los Angeles Times. One, in Orange County, warns of the danger of open borders, while the other has a warm relationship with a growing Latino community in central California.


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*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

Migratory Notes Advisory Board: Daniel Connolly, Maria Kari, Dan Kowalski, Paola Marizán, Roberto Suro, Phuong Ly, Fernanda Santos

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