Just in time for Mother’s Day, Jeanette Vizguerra got to go home to her children. She had been living in sanctuary in a Denver church for three months, after her stay of removal expired in February.
Since then, private bills have been introduced in Congress to allow her to apply for legal residence — after 20 years of living in this country. Last week, ICE issued a stay of removal, allowing her to remain here until March 2019. Time Magazine, which had named her one of the Time 100 for the year, reported on her reaction:
“It’s a special day for me because I will be able to celebrate Mother’s Day with my children and grandchildren,” said Vizguerra in a press conference outside the church where she was staying. Still, she vowed to continue fighting for other undocumented immigrants threatened with deportation. “Their struggle is my struggle, and my struggle is their struggle, because we are a community,” she said.
Vizguerra’s story is a win – but other immigrant moms had sad stories to tell on Mother’s Day.
Immigrant moms on Mother’s Day
Denver mother is granted temporary deportation relief after 3 months of sanctuary in a church (Los Angeles Times, 5/13/17)
For undocumented immigrants, Mother’s Day raises painful thoughts, plans (Orange County Register, 5/12/17) “One has to do what one needs to do for our children.”
Parents who are unauthorized immigrants say they have no choice but to have these kinds of conversation with their children: Don’t open the door. Don’t answer questions. Assert your Constitutional rights. And if mom and dad are deported, here’s what to do.
“My daughter cries when we talk about the possibility of leaving. ‘No, mami, I don’t want you to go,’ she cries,” said Mireya, a San Bernardino mom of three….
“Mireya said she and her husband gave her aunt and cousin power of attorney months ago.
“They also got their American-born children passports – just in case.”
Mother’s Day in an ICE Detention Center (The Intercept, 5/14/17)
“”An official took me who humiliated me, throwing all of my things into the trash, even the medicines of my daughter and the food that, with much work, I had brought. When I walked in to give my declaration the officials laughed at me because I arrived wet and with mud up to my abdomen. I asked them to please allow me to change my daughter’s clothes, but they wouldn’t let me. … We were still wet with mud. My sadness was that my daughter was shaking from the cold, wet and thirsty. But they would not give us water or food.’
“The letter was one of 22 I received from women who had crossed into the United States in recent weeks and were awaiting asylum hearings at the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas. Although the worst treatment, such as that described above, occurred before the women arrived at Dilley, conditions at the camp were described in stark terms.”
LETTER: A Mother’s Day Tribute to a Refugee Mother (The Daily Republic, 5/13/17)
“Seventy-five years ago, my children’s mother arrived on the last refugee ship from Europe in New York City, after fleeing for 18 months. Her parents, herself and brother and sister were barred by a quota — not very different from a quota now proposed….
“At the last moment, the family received a special visa exception. Two years later, they went to Canada for a few hours, and came back as immigrants for citizenship — since the quota from Poland had now opened — and their families left behind in Europe perished.”
Latest on travel ban
Today, May 15, the Ninth Circuit will hear the Trump administration’s appeal from the ruling of the U.S. District Court in Hawaii, which stopped enforcement of the executive order that imposed both the travel ban on people from six mostly-Muslim countries and refugee admissions. In other developments:
Federal judge orders Trump to share Giuliani travel ban memo (The Hill, 5/12/17)
“A federal judge in Detroit on Thursday ordered the Trump administration to turn over a memo drafted under former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani‘s guidance outlining a plan to implement a travel ban without making it seem as if it was directly aimed at Muslims, Bloomberg reported.”
U.S. judge in D.C. signals readiness to become third to order halt to revised Trump travel ban (Washington Post, 5/11/17)
“U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan postponed ruling on two combined challenges to the White House action by Iranian-American organizations and a Shi’a Muslim group, saying she would wait for decisions expected after federal appeals courts arguments this month on halts imposed March 15 by judges from Hawaii and Maryland.
“But Chutkan said she was persuaded by arguments that the groups’ missions and the lives of more than a dozen individual plaintiffs would be unconstitutionally harmed by the travel ban.”
And in other immigration news
Minnesota’s refugee stream slows to a trickle (Star Tribune,5/14/17)
“Arrivals hit a low of 66 statewide in March, roughly one-fifth the level of a year ago, before rebounding slightly in April. Somalis, who last fall were a majority of refugees in the state, made up less than a quarter of last month’s arrivals, based on new data from the State Department….
“A recent Washington Post article cited Homeland Security officials who said their department has stopped interviewing refugees overseas — a key prerequisite for resettlement….
“If the administration has decided that the way they are going to implement the executive order is simply to stop interviewing people,” he said, “then they will succeed in thwarting the intent of the courts.”
Immigration Lawyers Call For More Oversight Of U.S. Representation Program (NPR, 5/12/17) Carlos Davila started selling an identification card that he said could protect from deportation. That’s a lie. So why would anyone pay him $200?
“Davila literally has the government’s seal of approval. He’s one of 1,800 people currently accredited by a Department of Justice program that lets non-lawyers represent low-income immigrants in court and with citizenship matters. To qualify, they have to work at a nonprofit and demonstrate a knowledge of the law.
“The agency recently tweaked the program and began asking more questions of applicants, including whether they’ve ever been convicted of a crime. When Davila applied in 2011, that wasn’t a question.
“He did not disclose that he had been convicted of first degree manslaughter in the 1980s and of misdemeanor sex abuse in the ’90s. He spent a total of 12 years in prison.”
One Republican’s ‘shameful’ plan to save money: Turn 82,000 non-English-speaking kids over to ICE (Washington Post, 5/12/17) What’s the matter with – Oklahoma?
“Republican Rep. Mike Ritze told CBS affiliate KWTV that he has another proposal in mind: Rounding up the state’s 82,000 non-English-speaking students and handing them over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
“Identify them and then turn them over to ICE to see if they truly are citizens — and do we really have to educate noncitizens?” Ritze asked.
“The lawmaker disagrees with the idea that the state should be responsible for educating children who aren’t citizens, though a 1982 Supreme Court decision, Plyler v. Doe, actually prohibits states from denying education to undocumented immigrants.”
“Just days after her comments to Chinese investors set conflict-of-interest questions swirling, Jared Kushner’s sister will not be holding a similar presentation that had been scheduled for Saturday. Nicole Kushner Meyer, who has been in China courting investors interested in the family firm’s stateside real estate development, had drawn significant criticism for mentioning her family’s White House connections in a pitch last weekend.”
Changes to visa program could set back Kushner family’s real estate company (Washington Post, 5/11/17) But will those changes happen?
“The decision, which rests with Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly, stands as an early test of how the Trump administration will handle matters that could carry significant consequences for the financial interests of the president’s extended family.”
Police in Georgia are turning traffic stops into the first step toward deportation (The Intercept, 5/8/17) In Gwinnett County, Georgia, 70 percent of the immigration holds from February through April were based on traffic-related charges. And there were five times more immigrants held in the county jail for ICE in this period in 2017, compared to 2016.
“For undocumented immigrants living in the Trump era, their current zip code may be a stronger indicator of the deportation threat level they face than the length of their criminal record or when they first arrived in the United States. Routine traffic stops are beginning to prove how exceptionally broad Trump’s definition of an “illegal criminal” is, and how that definition is being applied to the undocumented immigrants local police encounter in their day-to-day work. And for regions with a history of racial tensions and hostility toward immigrants, local leaders now effectively have carte blanche to turn any interaction with police into the first step toward deportation….
“Infractions at times were so minor, from a tiny crack in a windshield to failure to turn on headlights within 30 minutes of sunset, to prompt questions of whether race factored into the arrest.”
“In December, while Barack Obama was still in office, secretary of state John Kerry recommended renewal of TPS based on a comprehensive eight-page report from James McCament, acting director of US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). McCament’s report concluded that Haiti remained “fragile and vulnerable” and faced serious challenges including “a housing shortage, a cholera epidemic and limited access to healthcare, political instability, security risks, food insecurity and considerable environmental risk.”
“By April, three months into the Trump administration, McCament had changed his tune. A memo obtained by USA Today revealed that he now believed conditions had improved enough for him to recommend to the new secretary of homeland security John Kelly the ending of the TPS programme for Haitians by next January.”