Links and stories – March 22, 2017

Migrant farm workers 2 USDA

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.”

The food and farm fallout from a trade war with Mexico (Civil Eats, 3/21/17)

“Because U.S. agriculture is so intertwined with the Mexican economy, the U.S. has a lot to lose in a trade war. As do American eaters: A full 93 percent of the Hass avocadoes in the U.S. come from Mexico, as well as 71 percent of the tomatoes and 15 percent of the sugar. Additionally, the U.S. imports 79 percent of its neighbor’s exported tequila….

“In addition to providing America a large portion of its food, Mexico is the third largest buyer of U.S. agriculture; in 2015, ag exports to the country totaled $18 billion, including $2.3 billion in corn, more than $1 billion each in soybeans, dairy products, pork, and beef.”

Federal Judge: ICE Conducted Austin Raids in Retaliation Against Sheriff’s New Policy (Texas Observer, 3/20/17) and U.S. Judge: ICE said Austin raid was because of ‘sanctuary’ policy (Austin Statesman, 3/20/17)  From the Texas Observer article:

“In a back-and-forth between ICE agent Laron Bryant, Judge Andrew Austin said he and another federal magistrate were briefed by ICE in late January about the upcoming raids. They were told that the agency would be conducting operations in the Austin area as a “result of the sheriff’s new policy” and because a meeting between ICE and Hernandez in January “didn’t go very well,” according to an audio transcript obtained by the Observer. Bryant confirmed that was the case.”

Minnesota immigration news

Minnesota law enforcement grapples with federal immigration orders, goals (MPR, 3/21/17)

“James Franklin, executive director of the Minnesota Sheriffs’ Association, said Hennepin County is doing things by the book, following legal advice given to county sheriffs.

“We cannot hold for ICE unless it is a detainer that has judicial authorization,” Franklin said.

“Franklin said sheriffs are free to tell ICE about people they have in custody, which is public information. But in Hennepin County, he said, ICE picks up no more than a third of the people the agency indicates it wants.”

Extra judges may be headed for Bloomington immigration court (MPR, 3/21/17)

“The Twin Cities immigration court is experiencing an extreme backlog of cases — about 5,300, which is an all-time high….Law professor Linus Chan, director of the Detainee Rights Clinic at the University of Minnesota, said he’s not sure the extra judges will help accelerate the cases. That’s because a lack of legal representation among the immigrants may be causing delays.”

And the rest of the news

How immigrants became criminals (Boston Review, 3//17) Though immigrants are less likely to commit crime than citizens, they are targeted by police and immigration officials, now more than ever. Once in the immigration/deportation system, they lose basic due process rights, such as the right to an attorney.

“[Trump] directed the Department of Homeland Security to pursue not only immigrants with felony convictions, as under Obama, but also any non-citizen arrested for or suspected of having committed a deportable offense, “fugitive aliens” with prior removal orders against them, and anyone known to “abuse public benefits.”

With the travel ban, federal courts face new legal issue (The Atlantic, 3//17)

“Here’s the new legal issue: Can a federal judge consider a president’s statements about his intentions when considering the meaning of an executive order?…

“And—here speaking for myself—I think there’s a second reason the statements should be considered. The judges are using Trump’s words as evidence not only to interpret government purpose but to decide whether the government is even acting in good faith.”

US Citizens on Spring Break in Mexico Chant ‘Build That Wall!’ (TeleSur, 3/20/17)

“‘This situation is far from being an isolated incident, and it adds to the growing number of complaints from tourism sector workers, who point out that in recent days many Spring Breakers have been offensive, rude and haughty towards Mexican people,’ wrote the Yucatan Times in its editorial.”

Trump’s ‘big, beautiful wall’ will require him to take big swaths of other people’s land (Washington Post, 3/21/17)

“Much of the border, especially in Texas, snakes through farms, ranches, orchards, golf courses, and other private property dating back to centuries-old Spanish land grants. As a signpost to the troubles ahead, the government has still not finished the process from the last such undertaking a decade ago…. Of the roughly 400 condemnation cases stemming from that era, about 90 remain open a decade later, according to the Justice Department.”

Fear Of Deportation Spurs 4 Women To Drop Domestic Abuse Cases In Denver (NPR, 3/21/17)

More than 6,000 migrants rescued in the Mediterranean amid surge on dangerous sea route (Washington Post, 3/21/17)

“[T]he dramatic spike in Mediterranean rescues since late last week suggests even greater migrant traffic ahead, said Joel Millman, a spokesman for the Geneva-based International Organization for Migration, which monitors migrant flows and provides direct aid in refugee camps, detention centers and elsewhere. … An estimated 500 migrants have drowned in the Mediterranean this year, and more than 20,000 have been intercepted at sea and brought to Italy and other European ports since January, Millman said.”






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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