Links and stories – March 21, 2017

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.  

Feds vs. local governments

Trump takes aim at ‘sanctuary cities’ with a proposal to cut more than $200 million in local funds (Los Angeles Times, 3/17/17)

“Trump wants to slash $210 million in federal reimbursements to state and local jails that hold immigrants convicted of crimes while in the country illegally. The Trump administration called the program “poorly targeted,” adding that two-thirds of the money goes to only a handful of states, including California and Illinois, “for the cost of incarcerating certain illegal criminal aliens.”

Trump administration: These police agencies didn’t help feds with deportations (Washington Post, 3/20/17) and Hennepin County lands on new immigration list of ‘noncooperative jurisdictions’ (Star Tribune, 3/20/17)

The issue is whether the jurisdictions will hold jailed immigrants beyond their release dates, when the federal government has requested they be held, but has not gotten a warrant or other legal authorization to hold them.

“If the federal government wants to lock someone up in order to try and deport them, then get a warrant from a federal judge,” said Virgil Wiebe, an immigration law expert at the University of St. Thomas. “We frown on seizing people without probable cause, checked by a judge.”

“He noted that more than half of the unidentified immigrants listed in the report were not yet convicted of a crime. The Trump administration has made immigrants charged and in some cases suspected of crime priorities for deportation, in addition to those with criminal convictions, who were the focus of the Obama administration.”

This Immigration Enforcement Program Has a Troubled History and Trump Wants to Restart It (American Immigration Council, 3/15/17)

Fact Sheet: The 287(g) Program: An Overview (American Immigration Council, 3/15/17)

“Through the 287(g) program, state and local police officers collaborate with the federal government to enforce federal immigration laws. In the past, the 287(g) program has been costly for localities, has not focused on serious criminals, and has harmed the relationship between police and local communities.”

Immigrants at work

Undocumenteds fade from the city they helped build (The Guardian, 3/17/17)

“Undocumented workers make up 5% of the civilian workforce nationwide but are overrepresented in construction occupations, where they are 15% of the workforce, according to the Pew Research Center. And of the 41,000 undocumented immigrants aged 16 and older and employed in Charlotte’s Mecklenburg County, 33% work in construction, according to the Migration Policy Institute.”

Under Trump, Wisconsin dairies struggle to keep immigrant workers (Channel 3000  Wisconsin TV, 3/19/17)

“Dairy producers in Wisconsin increasingly struggle to recruit and maintain the immigrant workforce on which the state’s $43 billion-a-year dairy industry relies…

“Farmers say deporting immigrants working here illegally could harm Wisconsin’s signature industry, which ranks second in the nation for milk production and first for cheese. Milking cows can be a dirty, physically demanding job that includes long, irregular work hours; farmers say few Americans are willing to do it.”

Rural Areas Brace for a Shortage of Doctors Due to Visa Policy (New York Times, 3/18/17) A little-publicized change in the H-1B visa program eliminates a “premium” option for employers to pay an extra $1,225 to get visas processed in weeks, rather than months.

“Small-town America relies on a steady flow of doctors from around the world to deliver babies, treat heart ailments and address its residents’ medical needs. But a recent, little-publicized decision by the government to alter the timetable for some visa applications is likely to delay the arrival of new foreign doctors, and is causing concern in the places that depend on them.

Wages rise on California farms. Americans still don’t want the job. (Los Angeles Times, 3/20/17) Higher wages, even health insurance, subsidized housing, and retirement benefits – nothing keeps U.S. citizen workers on the farm.

International migration news

Along Syria-Jordan Border, Refugees Struggle At A Camp Aid Workers Can’t Visit (NPR, 3/20/17)

“In the middle of the desert, hundreds of miles from the nearest city, 60,000 Syrians are camped out along the Syrian and Jordanian border in what has become one of the biggest and most desperate refugee settlements in the region….

“Jordan, which has taken in some 650,000 Syrian refugees, has said it is at the breaking point and called for more international aid.”

Dangerous sea crossings drive sharp increase in migrant deaths (Los Angeles Times, 3/17/17) “The International Organization for Migration documented 7,763 deaths in 2016, a 27% jump over the previous year …” The Mediterranean was the most dangerous area, with 5,097 deaths, followed by  1,279 deaths in North Africa. Four hundred people died on the U.S.-Mexico border.

That wall

It will cost more, do less to stop unauthorized border crossings, imperil parks and wildlife refuges, take land from farmers who don’t want to sell at prices below what it’s worth, and violate tribal lands and borders. Oh, yes – and the contract announcement calls for it to be 30 feet high and “aesthetically pleasing.”

And in other news

Organizer: ICE Detention of Immigrant Rights Activists in VT is Clear Case of Political Retaliation (Democracy Now, 3/20/17)

‘Your child is safe’: Schools address deportation fears among immigrant families (Washington Post, 3/19/17)

“Millions of U.S. children face growing uncertainty at home because of shifts in immigration policy. The Pew Research Center estimates 3.9 million schoolchildren had an unauthorized immigrant parent in 2014 — or 7.3 percent of all schoolchildren. About 725,000 of those children were unauthorized immigrants themselves.”

More refugees expected to flee to Canada in 2017  (MPR, 3/20/17)

Almost half of Canadians want illegal border crossers deported – Reuters poll (Reuters, 3/20/17) “Nearly half of Canadians want to deport people who are illegally crossing into Canada from the United States…”


About Mary Turck

News Day, written by Mary Turck, analyzes, summarizes, links to, and comments on reports from news media around the world, with particular attention to immigration, education, and journalism. Fragments, also written by Mary Turck, has fiction, poetry and some creative non-fiction. Mary Turck edited TC Daily Planet,, from 2007-2014, and edited the award-winning Connection to the Americas and AMERICAS.ORG, in its pre-2008 version. She is also a recovering attorney and the author of many books for young people (and a few for adults), mostly focusing on historical and social issues.
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