MN immigrant advocates and Governor, Trump executive order and Supreme Court, and other immigration news – June 5, 2017

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Protesters at governor’s official residence on May 23

Minnesota immigrant advocacy groups met with Governor Mark Dayton last week, and subsequently canceled a planned picket line and boycott of a DFL fundraising event. They also issued a June 2 public statement explaining the decision and reviewing the long, and ongoing, fight for driver’s licenses for all.

“We have asked the Governor to explore every last piece of executive power afforded to him to protect the community. We look forward to the Governor honoring his commitment to continue to meet with the immigrant community directly. It is time that the state of Minnesota holds a higher standard when it comes to the treatment of immigrants. We hope that this new agreement will create a Minnesota that is not only immigrant-friendly but greets new and present immigrants with radical hospitality. Let our efforts and organizing over the past two weeks and beyond be a lesson for future public leaders that we are ready to fight for our families until the very end. …

“Not only did the Governor take away his own power by signing the bill which includes anti-immigrant language, he has taken away the authority from any future Governor in Minnesota to do this change through administrative rulemaking. …Any efforts to obtain driver’s licenses for undocumented Minnesotans will now have to go through the legislative process, a painful process that has rendered the issue as ammunition for each major political party to either target us or leave us with empty promises session after session, election after election.

“We continue on with the struggle, as it is our duty to love and protect one another. In the words of our beloved Senator Paul Wellstone, ‘We all do better when we all do better.’ Minnesota, stand with us to fulfill this prophecy.”

Groups call off boycott of DFL fundraiser (MPR, 6/2/17)

“The boycott was over legislation DFL Gov. Mark Dayton signed into law this week which includes a strict ban on the state issuing driver’s licenses to immigrants who are living in the country illegally.

“The groups, including ISAIAH and SEIU local 26, issued a statement Friday afternoon saying in part, “We have held negotiations with the governor and have come to some agreements we know are necessary to keep our families safe. We have asked the governor to explore every last piece of executive power afforded to him to protect the community. We look forward to the governor honoring his commitment to continue to meet with the immigrant community directly.”

Trump appeals travel ban ruling to Supreme Court

The Trump administration appealed the Fourth Circuit decision striking down Trump’s travel ban to the U.S. Supreme Court. Under normal timing, the Supreme Court would decide whether to hear the case at all, and neither the decision nor actual arguments on the case would happen until after the Court’s summer recess.

Nothing is normal now. The Trump administration is asking not only for review, but also for

  1. an expedited decision on review before the Court recesses for its summer break;
  2. an order staying the Fourth Circuit ruling until after the review is heard;
  3. another order staying the Hawaii District Court ruling on the executive order, even though the Trump appeal of that ruling has not yet been decided by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

If the Supreme Court granted every single request, the travel ban would go back into effect — but the executive order set the term of the travel ban at 90 days. So it would expire before the Court returned from its summer recess.

If this all sounds kind of crazy — well, yeah. It is.

And in other news

In Minneapolis’ Longfellow neighborhood, a restaurateur looks to build a Ramadan tradition (MinnPost, 6/2/17) Ruhel Islam is an immigrant from Bangladesh, who gives back to the community every single day.

“If we all do our part, the world will be a better place,” he said.

“That simple mantra has been the driving force behind Islam’s restaurant, Gandhi Mahal, a popular Indian and Bangladeshi restaurant in Minneapolis’ Longfellow neighborhood. But it’s also why Islam has received attention for his charitable works — like supporting and growing locally sourced food and building a community room in the neighborhood that anyone can use to host events.”

Minnesota transit cop who asked man’s immigration status still working as officer  (NBC, 6/2/17) Ariel Vences-Lopez is scheduled to be deported on June 6, according to his attorney.

“Officer Lamers was not terminated by the Metro Transit for any policy violation,”[Sean Gormley, executive director of Law Enforcement Labor Services] said. “In fact, Officer Lamers resigned on his own accord, in part to try to spare Metro Transit from further scrutiny. He regrets the attention this issue has brought to his fellow officers at Metro Transit.”

“Lamers, who was working part-time as a transit officer, is still a full-time officer “in good standing” at the New Hope Police Department, Gormley added.”

Traveling abroad in the Trump era? For some legal residents, not so fast (Los Angeles Times, 6/3/17) Travel agencies serving many immigrants report drastically reduced travel. Legal residents fear being not being allowed to re-enter the United States if they travel.

The construction worker put off his trip in the spring. Then he nixed thoughts of traveling during the summer. He hasn’t visited El Salvador since September — a drought, to him, from family and friends.

Then there was a mistake from his past that he feared could now come back to haunt him: a DUI arrest nearly 15 years ago.

Even though the Orange resident has traveled and never been bothered or delayed by immigration officials, he worries the next time will be different.

“Honestly, I’m scared that I won’t be let back in,” Lima said.

‘We Were Used, Abused, and Exploited’ (Politico, 6/1/17)

“Victims of immigrant crime say they were taken advantage of by Trump and a nonprofit group backing him.”

A simple way to resist the Trump anti-immigrant agenda? Refuse to pay for it. (National Immigration Law Center, 6/1/17)

“More militarized immigration agents on our streets will only make our communities less safe and increase the levels of terror that already exist. In just the first few months of the Trump presidency, his policies’ chilling effects have led to a decline in the number of women reporting sexual assault and domestic violence and to an increased generalized fear of the police among Latinos. Furthermore, the Trump budget encourages increased collaboration between DHS and local law enforcement. Our communities are safer when all residents can feel safe interacting with their local police officers.”

For Minnesota’s immigrants, where they come from can have an influence on what jobs they do (MinnPost, 6/2/17)

“Nigerians and immigrants from parts of Asia often come to Minnesota with skills in medical professions and tech, said Concordia’s  Corrie. As a result, they often find jobs in these areas.

“For immigrant groups that, on average, come with less education,  jobs that do not require specialized skills, such as in manufacturing, are more readily available.

“Another major determinant of the jobs immigrants work is social networks. In tight-knit immigrant communities, news of jobs often travels by word-of-mouth.”

‘Dreamers’ Make Final Push for Financial Aid Legislation (Hartford Courant, 5/31/17)

“According to the [Connecticut] legislature’s nonpartisan fiscal office, opening up institutional financial aid to undocumented students wouldn’t cost the state any additional money. Rather, existing funds would be spread out among a larger population.”

Texas Immigration Law Spells Big Shift in Republican Strategy (Moyers & Company, 6/1/17)

“SB-4 is part of a bigger story about Texas Republicans’ efforts to wrest control from local governments. In its analysis of the recently concluded session, The Texas Tribune named local control as one of the biggest losers. Citing examples including state Republicans’ attacks on local nondiscrimination ordinances, state attacks to vote down texting-while-driving bans, and a “bathroom bill” regulating which bathrooms transgender individuals can legally use, in addition to SB-4, The Tribune wrote that conservatives’ tune has changed since “some of the biggest local governments in Texas have been doing things that Republican leaders don’t like.”…

“Texas Republicans have been on the cutting edge of their national party’s political and ideological front, so their latest about-face on local-versus-state and state-versus-national control may be a signal of what may be in store in other Republican-dominated states and in Trump’s Washington.”

Desired for their labor, rejected as neighbors. Farmworkers in California face hostile communities (Los Angeles Times, 6/2/17) Employers are required to provide housing for temporary farm workers on H-2A visas.

“When neighbors in the southern San Luis Obispo County town of 17,000 saw bunks being moved into one of the newly constructed houses, anger erupted. Meetings were held, fingers were pointed and death threats were hurled at the Frances.

“On April 6, 2016, flames devoured one of the unfinished homes, not yet wired for electricity. Investigators almost immediately concluded it was arson….

“Increasingly fond of locally grown produce, Californians are far less enthusiastic about locally housed farmworkers. They have deployed lawsuits, hastily written regulations — and, apparently, the torch — to segregate thousands of seasonal workers to seedy roadside hotels and crowded housing in cities where affordable shelter is already limited.”

ICE transfers transgender detainees to New Mexico (The NM Political Report, 6/2/17)

“ICE transferred the dozen or so women in early May to Cibola County Detention Center in Milan from a similar facility in Santa Ana, California, where ICE made its first dedicated transgender module.”

California Assembly Okays Protection Against Workplace Raids (AP via U.S. News, 6/1/17)

“The California Assembly on Wednesday passed and sent to the Senate a bill prohibiting employers from letting immigration agents enter worksites or view employee files without a warrant or subpoena.”

For unauthorized immigrants, U visas offer lifeline (Asbury Park Press, 5/31/17)

“The U visa, created as part of the federal Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act in 2000, is a temporary visa granted to victims of certain crimes who cooperate with law enforcement. The program was designed to help law enforcement prosecute cases of domestic violence, human trafficking and other violent crimes with help from immigrants, regardless of their status. …

“The visa gives eligible applicants authorization to work in the U.S. for four years and provides them other benefits, including the chance to apply for a green card after three years and the chance to renew their U visa.”

Fears of deportation are making people want to become citizens (ABC5 News, 5/31/17)

“There is a lot of fear of deportation from people because of changes in administration and talks about changing laws for residents and possible people who might be deemed as criminals,” Youcupicio said.

Black, undocumented and fighting to survive (Huffington Post 5/2/17) Post from UndocuBlack Network (UBN), a grassroots advocacy organization for undocumented Black immigrants….

“There are approximately 565,000 Black undocumented immigrants across the country who are erased from the (non-black) Latinx-dominated immigration conversation despite being disproportionately targeted by both the criminal justice and immigration systems. The racial profiling, tougher sentencing, and mass incarceration of Black people makes it so we are detained and deported at disproportionately higher rates than non-Black immigrants.”

Celebrate the Diversity That Unites Us (International Organization for Migration, 6/17) Did you know June is Immigrant Heritage Month?

Immigrant Heritage Month (ImmigrationProf blog, 6/2/17)

“Despite what seems to be an inhospitable climate towards foreigners, immigrants undoubtedly remain part of the American identity. The United States has more immigrants than any other country in the world with an estimated 46 million people born outside the country.”

New Brain Gain: Rising Human Capital among Recent Immigrants to the United States (Migration Policy Institute, 5/17) Fact sheet analyzes trends in immigration, education.

“Most notably, 48 percent of recently arrived immigrants to the United States (those coming between 2011 and 2015) were college graduates—compared to just 27 percent of arrivals a quarter-century earlier.”

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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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