Lose on health care? Beat up on immigrants.
That’s what it looked like at the daily White House briefing, with Attorney General Jeff Sessions called in to threaten “sanctuary cities” and to tout last week’s (somewhat discredited) report on “non-cooperating” jurisdictions. According to Sessions, the Justice Department will withhold new federal funding and will “claw back any funds awarded to a jurisdiction” that violates federal law.
His threats sidestep the question of who’s actually violating federal law. Sessions and Trump define sanctuary cities as any places that refuse to hold prisoners on immigration “detainers.” Many of the “non-cooperating” jurisdictions, as well as federal courts, say that the ICE detainers are unconstitutional, because the detainers demand that immigrants be held in custody after they have been released by a court order.
Sessions claims undocumented immigrants put sanctuary cities at risk from crimes. That statement is contradicted by studies showing immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than native-born Americans. Moreover, the cities identified by the Trump administration as “sanctuary cities” have lower crime rates overall. (That’s correlation, not causation: no proof that being a sanctuary city causes lower crime rates.)
Attorney General Jeff Sessions says sanctuary cities may lose federal funding (Chicago Tribune, 3/27/17) and Attorney General Orders Crackdown On ‘Sanctuary Cities,’ Threatens Holding Funds (NPR, 3/27/17)
Why Sanctuary Cities Are Safer (NPR, 1/29/17)
“On average, counties that did not comply with ICE requests experienced 35.5 fewer crimes per 10,000 people than those that did. Wong also found that counties that did not comply with detainer requests had higher household incomes, lower rates of unemployment, lower rates of poverty, and were less likely to have children under 18 in households receiving public benefits.”
Trump says sanctuary cities are hotbeds of crime. Data say the opposite. (Washington Post, 1/27/17)
Minnesota might be missing doctors
“The prospect that the federal government will suspend processing of immigrant work visas has rural health systems in Minnesota and the Dakotas scrambling to protect doctors already working in or bound for rural, underserved areas.
“The [U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service] has said it will suspend expedited processing of certain immigrant work visas for six months starting in April, worrying rural health advocates and immigration attorneys around the country, and leaving foreign doctors scrambling about how they’ll stay in America.”
Canada does immigration differently
Canadians Adopted Refugee Families for a Year. Then Came ‘Month 13.’ (New York Times, 3/25/17)
“Ordinary Canadians had essentially adopted thousands of Syrian families, donating a year of their time and money to guide them into new lives just as many other countries shunned them. Some citizens already considered the project a humanitarian triumph; others believed the Syrians would end up isolated and adrift, stuck on welfare or worse. As 2016 turned to 2017 and the yearlong commitments began to expire, the question of how the newcomers would fare acquired a national nickname: Month 13, when the Syrians would try to stand on their own.”
‘We really want to say thank you’: Syrian refugees, 1 year later (CTV News, 3/25/17)
“Even if jobs aren’t easy to come by, the al-Dares family say they’re grateful to their new country for making them safe.
“We really want to say thank you to Canada,” al-Dares says.”
Group wants Canada to bring in 20,000 African refugees (CBC, 3/25/17)
“According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, sub-Saharan Africa hosts more than 26 per cent of the world’s refugee population.…
“Chongatera says African refugee camps existed well before the Syrian conflict broke out. He said some people have been in the camps for 20 years, with children being born and growing up there.”
Canadians Divided Over Flood of Refugees (NPR, 3/26/17)
“People who apply for asylum in Canada are automatically given protected status. They’re rarely detained. Ahmed has been assigned a lawyer to help him navigate the refugee application process, which is expected to take about six weeks. During the wait, he’s been given a health care card. His kids have been assigned to school. And he has a temporary work permit, so he’s searching for a job.
“But that welcoming tone appears to be shifting. With more than 25,000 people given permanent refugee status last year, politicians with Canada’s Conservative Party say too many people are coming too fast. They warn that Canada’s southern border is no longer secure.”
Refugee board’s plea for assistance with growing backlog ignored (Our Windsor, 3/23/17)
“Although the 2017 budget provides $62.9 million over five years — and $11.5 million per year thereafter — for legal aid services for asylum claimants, it ignored a recent plea from IRB chair Mario Dion for additional money to deal with its rising backlog of refugee claims, which is expected to hit 30,000 cases this year.”
More immigration news
Chart: Where the World’s Refugees Are (NPR, 3/27/17) Turkey has 2.8 million refugees, 2.7 million of them from Syria. Pakistan has 1.6 million, the majority Afghans who have been there more than 30 years. Lebanon has more than a million. Measured by number of refugees per 1,000 inhabitants, Lebanon leads by a mile, with 173 refugees per 1,000 inhabitants.
Trump is Scaring Indian Americans Into Finding Their Political Voice (The Atlantic, 3/27/17)
“Manik Suri is the archetypical overachiever from an Indian American family. The 34-year-old runs a start-up in Silicon Valley. He speaks four languages. He’s got two Ivy League degrees.
“And yet, when the windows at an Indian restaurant near his house were shot out in late February, along with those of an Eritrean place nearby, he felt shaken. “We catered my wife’s sister’s wedding in that restaurant,” he said. “The whole conception of the Indian community as a model minority—we benefitted from that perception.” This is “the first time I’ve ever felt, ‘Wow, it doesn’t matter.’”
‘They’re so scared.’ Trump brings heartache, fear in L.A.’s ‘Ellis Island.‘ (Los Angeles Times, 3/27/17)
“Boyle Heights for generations was an Ellis Island for immigrants entering America — both legally and illegally. They were Jewish, Japanese, Russian, Italian, Armenian. Eventually, most who came were from Mexico….
“On this street, talk of Trump is everywhere. It’s mostly critical. And it’s tinged with anxiety and uncertainty.”