Pope vs. President on immigration and other immigration news – April 13, 2017


Image by Devendra Makkar, published under Creative Commons license

Beginning during the presidential campaign, Pope Francis’s denunciation of anti-immigrant and anti-poor political rhetoric and policies was seen as a criticism and challenge to Trump.  Vatican Radio quoted a 2016 speech that summarizes many of the positions that continue to put the pope and the president on opposite sides:

Pope Francis warned against the rule of money, which governs with “the whip of fear, inequality, and violence – economic, social, cultural and military – which creates more and more violence in a downward spiral that never seems to end.”…

“No tyranny can be sustained without exploiting our fears,” – continued the Pope – “Citizens are walled-up, terrified, on one side; on the other side, even more terrified, are the excluded and banished.”

Pope Francis said this fear “is fed and manipulated.”

“Because fear – as well as being a good deal for the merchants of arms and death –  weakens and destabilizes us, destroys our psychological and spiritual defenses, numbs us to the suffering of others, and in the end it makes us cruel,” he explained.

The pope’s stance also opposes nativist and right-wing populist politics in Europe – and bishops there and in the United States are following his lead, according to reporting in the Washington Post this week. Meanwhile, The Atlantic analyzes nativism and traces its roots in the United States.

Other stories today: Trump’s immigration appointees, Sessions’ hard line, and more. 

How Pope Francis is leading the Catholic Church against anti-migrant populism (Washington Post, 4/10/17)

“Catholic cardinals, bishops and priests are emerging as some of the most influential opponents of immigration crackdowns backed by right-wing populists in the United States and Europe. The moves come as Francis, who has put migrants at the top of his agenda, appears to be leading by example, emphasizing his support for their rights in sermons, speeches and deeds.

“The pro-migrant drive risks dividing Catholics — many of whom in the United States voted for Trump. Some observers say it is also inserting the church into politics in a manner recalling the heady days of Pope John Paul II, who stared down communism and declared his opposition to the 1991 Persian Gulf War. The Vatican is standing in open opposition to politicians like Trump not just on immigration but also on other issues, including climate-change policy.”

What is a nativist? And is Donald Trump one? (The Atlantic, 4/11/17)

“The term’s origins lie with mid-19th century political movements in the United States—most famously the Know Nothing party—thatportrayed Catholic immigration from countries such as Germany and Ireland as a grave threat to native-born Protestant Americans. (Never mind that the Protestant “natives” were themselves migrants relative to another native population.) Nativism arose in a natural place: a nation constructed through waves of migration and backlashes to migration, where the meaning of “native” is always evolving….

“Nativism, Mudde told me, is “xenophobic nationalism.” It is “an ideology that wants congruence of state and nation—the political and the cultural unit. It wants one state for every nation and one nation for every state. It perceives all non-natives … as threatening. But the non-native is not only people. It can also be ideas.”

Pope Francis — not naming names — makes appeal ‘not to create walls, but to build bridges’ (Washington Post, 2/8/17)

Pope Francis Appears to Knock Trump’s Immigration Policies on Twitter (People, 2/22/17)

Who’s in charge?

Hard-line anti-illegal immigration advocates hired at 2 federal agencies (CNN, 4/12/17)

“Jon Feere, a former legal policy analyst for the Center for Immigration Studies, or CIS, has been hired as an adviser to Thomas D. Homan, the acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to Homeland Security spokesman David Lapan.
“At Customs and Border Protection, Julie Kirchner, the former executive director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, or FAIR, has been hired as an adviser to Customs and Border Protection acting Commissioner Kevin McAleenan, said Lapan….
“CIS and FAIR are think tanks based in Washington that advocate restricting legal and illegal immigration. The two organizations were founded by John Tanton, a retired Michigan ophthalmologist who has openly embraced eugenics, the science of improving the genetic quality of the human population by encouraging selective breeding and at times, advocating for the sterilization of genetically undesirable groups.”

Choice of Pro-Immigration Economic Adviser Riles Trump’s Base (New York Times, 4/12/17)

“Like most economists, Mr. Hassett believes that immigration spurs economic growth. At times he has pilloried Republicans for becoming the “Party of White,” arguing in 2010 that Republicans like then-Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona “have too often appeared hostile to immigrants.” In 2013, Mr. Hassett said the United States should double its intake of immigrants.
“Mr. Hassett, who currently works at the American Enterprise Institute, is a widely respected conservative economist who previously advised prominent Republicans like Senator John McCain and Mitt Romney….
“He might be a sign of some stability, but no one knows if the president is going to listen to him so it’s premature to says it is encouraging,” said Austan Goolsbee, who was chairman of Mr. Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers. “Regarding his critics, there is not a single reputable economist they could find in either party that would support their worldview.”

Trump Nominating Francis Cissna to Head Immigration Agency (Bloomberg BNA, 4/11/17)

“Cissna seems to have focused on one particular area of interest to the Trump administration: displacement of U.S. workers by foreign workers on H-1B visas.”

And in other immigration news:

Burgum signs refugee resettlement study bill (InForum, 4/12/17) North Dakota will study the effects of refugee resettlement,”ranging from any effect refugees have on wages or working conditions, law enforcement, government services, housing and others.”
Deported to Mexico, these men feel lost in a country they no longer know (PBS, 4/11/17)

JOSE MESA: This is my first day over here in Mexico. I feel, like, weird, because I don’t know nothing about over here.

NICK SCHIFRIN: For the last 15 years, 29-year-old Jose Mesa lived in Phoenix and worked as a caregiver. He says he was arrested for driving under the influence, and then deported.s

Joe Arpaio’s Tent City Is Closing, But Will Life for Undocumented Immigrants in Maricopa County Really Change? (The Nation, 4/12/17)

There will no longer be any courtesy holds, but only because the county jails will hand immigrants over to ICE immediately now.

“They never see the light of day,” Garcia said of those who get transferred from county jails into ICE custody. “It’s the same result as when Arpaio was in power. As long as ICE lives in his jails, Arpaio is in power. And so long as the same deportation machine is in power, Penzone hasn’t shifted anything.”

The Steady Rise of Digital Border Searches (The Atlantic, 4/12/17)

“New statistics released Tuesday by U.S. Customs and Border Protection reveal that the rate of digital border searches is on pace to quadruple since 2015. That means more and more travelers entering the U.S. are being asked to turn over their electronic devices to be analyzed.”

After errors, ICE suspends reports designed to embarrass ‘sanctuary cities’ (Los Angeles Times, 4/11/17)

“But the plan didn’t go smoothly. In some cases, ICE mixed up names, confusing Franklin counties in Iowa, New York and Pennsylvania, said David Lapan, chief spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security. In other cases, the detainees had already been picked up by ICE, or had never been released in the first place.”

Trump Administration Halts Reports on Immigration Cooperation (New York Times, 4/10/17)

“The first report, released last month, was intended to provide a complete tally of cities and counties that had declined requests from ICE. But it contained misleading information that prompted confusion and defiance among law enforcement officials from the jurisdictions named.”

ICE Quietly Confirms 367 Immigrants Were Detained in Raids Across the Country (Fusion, 4/10/17)

“The agency said the operations focused on arresting “criminal aliens, illegal re-entrants and immigration fugitives.” These talking points are similar to the ones ICE used during the Obama administration to justify deportations, except now we know that was misleading: people without records were also detained and deported. And now the Trump administration is using that same line to conduct what appears to be more raids more often. Indeed, in at least one region of the country where raids were conducted last week, a majority of immigrants detained were charged with non-violent offenses.”

California leaders to Sessions and Kelly: Legislature ‘will use all available means’ to defend state policies (Los Angeles Times, 4/10/17)

“In a letter sent to the U.S. officials last week, a lawyer for Covington & Burling, a private firm hired by the state Senate and Assembly, said the Trump administration had repeatedly made unsupported accusations against California. In its “repeated attacks on states,” the document stated, the administration appeared to disregard the balance of power between the states and the federal government.”

Atty. Gen. Sessions calls for harsher penalties for migrants who repeatedly enter the country illegally (Los Angeles Times, 4/11/17)

“The crime of improper entry by a migrant is currently a misdemeanor. Under the new policy, it will be prosecuted as a felony for migrants who already have two such misdemeanor convictions or for those with one conviction if there are aggravating circumstances, such as gang affiliation.”

ACLU Files 13 Lawsuits For Records Related To Trump’s Travel Ban (NPR, 4/12/17) (And Minnesota joined in the lawsuit.)

“The organization’s FOIA requests seek any records regarding implementation of the travel bans, including text messages, voicemails, emails, contracts, directives and training documents.

“The ACLU says the agency has a long history of not complying with FOIA rules.”

Trump wants immigrants to ‘share our values.’ They say assimilation is much more complex (Los Angeles Times, 4/11/17) Karen is a DACA recipient – brought here as a baby, but still not a legal resident.

“Sometimes I feel like I don’t belong anywhere,” she said. “In Mexico, I would be seen very differently because of my accent. It’s like, god, what do I do? If I were to go back, I wouldn’t have anything back there.”

“On the one side, the Hispanics tell you, ‘You’re way too American.’ On the other, you’ll have the Americans telling you you’re too Hispanic. It’s hard to be in the middle.”

“What makes me American? It’s not only the 24 years of my life,” she said. “It’s that this is all I know.”

One Taxi Driver’s Mission To Help Refugees Reach The Canadian Border (NPR, 4/12/17) After U.S. officials arrested a Haitian woman trying to reach Canada and said her 15-year-old son would be placed in foster care, Victor Pizarro changed plans.

“Pizarro called his drivers to an emergency meeting. He told them there would be a change of plans. From now on, he said, the goal is to make sure people get to the border safely. So if passengers don’t have valid visas, Pizarro tries to make sure Canadian officials are waiting at the end of Roxham Road.

“But as far as ripping families apart, we’re not in that business anymore,” he says. “It happened once, and that’s it. It won’t happen again with us.”


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, www.tcdailyplanet.net, 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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