USDA photo by Lance Cheung. Public domain.
Amid stories of rural U.S. communities unable to get visas for immigrant doctors, California farmers struggling to find workers, and Wisconsin dairy farmers afraid of losing their immigrant labor, President Trump continues to call for everybody to buy American and hire American. Everybody, it seems except his own businesses and family. Look who’s looking for foreign workers: Trump Winery (CBS News, 3/20/17) reports: “Trump Vineyard Estates, better known as Trump Winery, has asked to bring in 29 workers this season through the federal H-2A visa program.”
And here’s a little more irony: The annual African trade summit in California had no African participants this year. Zero. Not one. Because they couldn’t get visas. The Guardian reported on March 20:
“The African Global Economic and Development Summit, a three-day conference at the University of Southern California (USC), typically brings delegations from across Africa to meet with business leaders in the US in an effort to foster partnerships. But this year, every single African citizen who requested a visa was rejected, according to organizer Mary Flowers. …
“Flowers said roughly 60 to 100 people from at least a dozen nations were denied entry to the summit, which went on as planned with a much smaller group last Thursday through Saturday.
“I don’t know if it’s Trump or if it’s the fact that the embassies that have been discriminating for a long time see this as an opportunity, because of talk of the travel ban, to blatantly reject everyone,” Flowers said.”
Mark Twain is often credited with saying, “To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” The Trump administration seems determined to hammer everyone connected with immigration: unauthorized immigrants, their families, refugees, anyone crossing the U.S. border, including some U.S. citizens, “sanctuary” cities, courts, and local police.
Today’s stories include release of a federal hit list of”bad” jurisdictions that would not keep immigrants in jail past their release dates. The Washington Post explains, “Advocates for immigrants say it is unconstitutional for local police to detain someone for a civil deportation proceeding when the judge in their criminal case has ordered them released.” Read more about it in the Feds vs. local government section below. Also in today’s news: Immigrants at work, international migration news, and the latest about That Wall. Continue reading
Do Americans really want to deport 11 million people? Not according to the latest CNN/ORCA poll, which says Americans break with Trump on immigration policy (CNN, 3/17/17)
“All told, 60% say the government’s top priority in dealing with illegal immigration should be developing a plan to allow those in the US illegally who have jobs to become legal residents.
“In contrast, 26% say developing a plan to stop illegal border crossings should be the top priority and 13% say deportation of those in the US illegally should be the first priority.
“The number who prioritize legal status for those working in the US illegally is up from 51% who said so last fall.”
Other news stories from the weekend, posted below, include: money for building the wall, an update on the travel/refugee ban legal action, Minnesota news, the latest anti-immigrant attacks, and international migration news.
Court actions halting Trump’s travel ban were the biggest immigration news this week. Judges in Maryland and Hawaii issued orders for a nationwide halt to parts of Trump’s executive order barring residents of six-mostly-Muslim countries and suspending refugee admissions. U.S. District Judge Theodore D. Chuang in Maryland, like Judge Derrick Webster in Hawaii, said the ban discriminates on the basis of religion, violating the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The Maryland judge issued a preliminary injunction, blocking the travel ban on six mostly-Muslim countries until trial. The Hawaii judge issued a temporary restraining order, blocking both the travel ban and the refugee ban.
Links to some of the reports, interviews and analysis appear below. Other stories in today’s news include a St. Patrick’s Day focus on Irish immigrants, how deportation changes scare domestic abuse victims, Minnesota immigration news, and more.
The suspension of Trump’s second try at a travel ban is today’s biggest immigration story. U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson in Hawaii issued a temporary restraining order halting implementation of the 90-day ban on travel from six mostly-Muslim countries and of the 120-day ban on refugees. His order was based on the the Establishment Clause, and his 43-page opinion left no doubt about his conclusions:
“…. a reasonable, objective observer—enlightened by the specific historical context, contemporaneous public statements, and specific sequence of events leading to the issuance—would conclude that the Executive Order was issued with a purpose to disfavor a particular religion, in spite of its stated, religiously-neutral purpose…” [pp. 28-29]
American Citizens: U.S. Border Agents can search your cell phone – at least, that’s what NBC reported on March 14:
“Within seconds, he was surrounded: one man held his legs, another squeezed his throat from behind. A third reached into his pocket, pulling out his phone. McCormick watched her boyfriend’s face turn red as the officer’s chokehold tightened.
“Then they asked McCormick for her phone.
“I was not about to get tackled,” she said. She handed it over.”
Shibley and McCormick are U.S. citizens, who were returning to the country after a trip to Toronto. They are among at least two dozen U.S. citizens whose cellphones and passwords were taken by Border Patrol agents as they returned to the United States.
“The travelers came from across the nation, and were both naturalized citizens and people born and raised on American soil. They traveled by plane and by car at different times through different states. Businessmen, couples, senior citizens, and families with young kids, questioned, searched, and detained for hours when they tried to enter or leave the U.S. None were on terror watchlists. One had a speeding ticket. Some were asked about their religion and their ethnic origins, and had the validity of their U.S. citizenship questioned.
“What most of them have in common — 23 of the 25 — is that they are Muslim”
Border Patrol agents seized fewer than 5,000 phones in 2015 and almost 25,999 in 2016.
Today’s worst immigration story: At the border and inside detention facilities, immigration agents are telling asylum applicants that asylum no longer exists, that applications will not be accepted. That’s a violation of both U.S. and international law.
A close runner-up: Inside the United States, Unauthorized immigrants are making temporary guardianship arrangements for their U.S. citizen children. Both parents and children live in fear that one day, when the kids come home from school, their parents will be gone. Continue reading