Minnesota Immigration News: Dinner Parties to Detainees

All are welcome here 1

As the International Institute in St. Paul celebrates its 100th anniversary, Executive Director Gane Graupman told the Midway Monitor:  “Where people come from has changed over the years, but their desire for opportunity, education, jobs, freedom, and safety have not changed. We remain committed to our original mission of helping immigrants and refugees achieve full membership in American life.”

From Moorhead to Minneapolis to Kurdistan to Norway: this week’s Minnesota immigration news comes from communities all over the state and from immigrants who have come from all around the world. Continue reading

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Shelters, Prisons, Concentration Camps: Where Does the United States Put Migrants?

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Figure 1: Overcrowding of Adult Females in PDT Holding Cell Observed by OIG on May 8, 2019

As refugees continue to move from intolerable situations in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, even Mexico, and other countries around the world, The Trump administration doubles down on its no-room-for-anyone policies. That leaves refugees out in the cold—or this month, out in the heat, stranded in cages under the sweltering Texas sun, marooned in Mexico, stuffed into overcrowded cells, and now sent to Fort Sill, site of an internment camp for. Japanese Americans during World War II. The tattered pretense of  respect for U.S. and international law no longer offers any cover: the United States is violating human rights purposefully, intentionally, and on a massive scale. Continue reading

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‘If we don’t stand up for children, then we don’t stand for much.’

dream-act-nowMarian Wright Edelman’s admonition seems particularly damning when we look at U.S. treatment of immigrant children. Denial of safe haven, overcrowded shelters, prison-like detention, mistreatment, neglect, and death top the stories coming from the southern border.

While today’s post focuses on children, developments in the tariff/border circus continue.

On Friday night, Trump said he had a new deal with Mexico and called off the tariffs.

By Sunday, the New York Times was reporting there was nothing new in the deal: all of the announced provisions had been negotiated months ago.

Trump angrily responded that there were secret parts of the deal that have not yet been revealed.

On Monday, both the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times reported that Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said there were no secret deals.

Also on Monday, Vice President Pence told Fox News there was a “safe third country deal” with Guatemala that would be revealed soon.

Then the Washington Post reported AMLO and Ebrard acknowledged there were parts of the deal that had not been disclosed yet.  Vox summarized : 

“The New York Times reported this weekend that Trump dropped the tariffs as part of a bilateral deal with Mexico on immigration (and possibly also agriculture). Essentially, Trump finally agreed to accept commitments that Mexico made late last year, back when Kirstjen Nielsen was still secretary of homeland security.

“As Eliana Johnson and Nancy Cook wrote for Politico, it looks like Trump once again created a crisis and then “cut a vague, imperfect or constitutionally questionable deal at the last minute, claiming victory and savaging the critics.” As they further explained, this pattern of drama followed by climbdown is “getting eerily familiar in Washington.”…

“Now, it’s possible that Trump is telling the truth and his deal with Mexico includes other secret provisions that, if disclosed, would make him look really savvy but are being kept quiet for some unknown reason. Realistically, though, Trump did permanent damage to the US-Mexico trade relationship and accomplished nothing in exchange.”
Continue reading

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Crisis in the Hemisphere Is Driving Migration

Wall of crosses Nogales McIntosh

White crosses with the names of those who have died crossing the US border adorn the Mexican side of the wall in Heroica Nogales, Mexico. Photo by Jonathan McIntosh, published under Creative Commons license

Customs and Border Protection has announced their May statistics, which show an increase in border crossings, particularly by families and children. Rather than a U.S. immigration crisis, the continuing flow of immigrants evidences humanitarian and economic crises in the hemisphere, particularly in Central America and Venezuela. The humanitarian crisis in Central America includes rape and domestic violence that is supported or ignored by government and law enforcement; gang violence in which police and corrupt officials are complicit; and political violence directed at indigenous, human rights and environmental advocates. Continue reading

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U.S. Asylum Policy: Deporting to Danger and Death


Eighty years ago, the St. Louis sailed from Germany with 937 passengers on board, mostly Jews fleeing from the Nazi Third Reich. They were refused entry by the United States and forced to return to Europe. Some found safety in England, Belgium, Switzerland, and France, but 532 were in areas occupied when the Nazis overran Europe, 254 died in the Holocaust.

The passengers on the St. Louis were not deported from the United States: they were refused entry because the quotas were full. Today, tens of thousands of asylum applicants wait in Mexico because “there is no room” in the United States. As they wait, many have no place to live, no permanent address at which they can receive court notices, and severely restricted access to legal assistance. Then there’s the physical danger:  some asylum seekers who have been forced to remain in Mexico have been assaulted, beaten, kidnapped, raped, and even murdered. Continue reading

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Backing Down on Tariffs

Trump caricature by DonkeyHotey

Trump caricature by DonkeyHotey, used under Creative Commons license

On Friday, June 6, at 9:23 p.m., the White House announced that it would not impose tariffs on Mexico because an agreement had been reached. The “agreement” said Mexico would continue the crackdowns on migrants that it has already put in place. The United States will also expand its abusive, dangerous, and failed “Remain in Mexico” program across the entire southern border—also not a new move. In short: in the face of overwhelming opposition to his tariff plan, including opposition from Republican senators, Trump backed down.  Continue reading

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Saying Yes to the American Dream and Promise

We are all Dreamers

The House of Representatives said yes. Yes to Dreamers and people with Temporary Protected Status. Yes to 2.7 million immigrants who want a path  to safety and to citizenship. Yes to the 80 percent of the population that polls say support the Dreamers. Yes to the dream and to the promises that lady in the harbor makes.

That yes may not stand for long:  the negative voices of the Senate and the anti-immigrant administration will try to kill it, but at least for today we can celebrate saying yes to the dream and the promise.

As cynical as we may become in the face of broken promises and lies and racism and politics-as-usual, the hope of immigrants should restore some part of our own dreams. Continue reading

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