Not so much sanctuary here and other immigration articles – June 6, 2017

Sanctuary CityA man was stopped by police while driving his child to daycare, and asked to prove his legal status. A woman was questioned by police about her immigration status while waiting for her sister in front of a post office. Ibrahim Hirsi reports: For undocumented immigrants, the ‘sanctuary city’ of Minneapolis doesn’t feel much like a sanctuary (MinnPost, 6/5/17)

“In recent months, undocumented residents — including those with no violent criminal record and those waiting for court processing — have been bracing for increased activity by ICE in both the Twin Cities metro area and in communities in Greater Minnesota, said John Keller, the executive director of the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota.

“We’re beginning to hear of an increased presence of ICE officers in the court system, waiting for people while they’re in the middle of some part of their court process,” said Keller. “We’re hearing of interactions even with people who are checking in with probation officers.”

Rising deportations to Somalia raise concerns in Minnesota (Star Tribune, 6/4/17)

“Eight months into the fiscal year, deportations to Somalia have already outpaced last year’s record-setting numbers. Nationally, more than 260 people were deported to Somalia since October — mostly Somalis who sought asylum unsuccessfully, but also some permanent U.S. residents with criminal convictions….

“Attorneys such as Harun are fielding more questions about the deportations, even from green card holders and citizens. The increase in removals, among other factors, has spurred a rise in illegal crossings into Canada by Somali asylum seekers.”

Lawmakers baffled that immigration is getting short shrift in Washington (Washington Post, 6/2/17) Why are they baffled? Congress has danced around immigration for decades, never coming close to passing comprehensive immigration reform. Meanwhile, the lines for even family reunification visas get longer, asylum seekers continue to be turned away, and immigration court backlogs stretch for years.

Trump’s latest tweets will probably hurt efforts to restore travel ban (Washington Post, 6/5/17)

“President Trump on Monday derided the revised travel ban as a “watered down” version of the first and criticized his own Justice Department’s handling of the case — potentially hurting the administration’s defense of the ban as the legal battle over it reaches a critical new stage.

“Trump in a tweet called the new ban “politically correct,” ignoring the fact that he himself signed the executive order replacing the first ban with a revised version that targeted six, rather than seven, Muslim-majority countries and that blocked the issuance of new visas rather than revoking current ones.”

Woman’s death alarms Canadians over more refugees crossing MN border (MPR, 6/2/17)

“Rita Chahal runs the Manitoba Interfaith Immigration Council, the largest refugee settlement organization in Manitoba. Most years, she said, her organization worked with about 60 asylum seekers who crossed the border from the U.S.

“Since January alone, we’ve seen almost 600 people crossing the border,” she said. “That’s just the ones who come to our door.”

Woman who died near Canadian border lived in U.S. on expired visa (MPR, 6/2/17)

“Mavis Otuteye, 57, came to the U.S. from Ghana in 2003 on a tourist visa. U.S. Customs Public Affairs Officer Kris Grogan said that visa lasted three years and when it expired in 2006, she stayed.

“If she had tried to go to Canada through a legal port of entry she likely would have been turned away, because the Safe Third Country agreement between Canada and the U.S. requires refugees to claim asylum in the country where they first arrive.”

Actions Needed to Reduce Case Backlog and Address Long-Standing Management and Operational Challenges (U.S. Government Accountability Office, 6/1/17) A report from the GAO cited a years-long and increasing backlog of immigration cases in recommending 11 changes in a 153-page report.

“In particular, according to data EOIR reported in its Fiscal Year 2016 Statistics Yearbook, the number of pending cases before its immigration courts grew by 58 percent from fiscal years 2012 through 2016 to a backlog of more than 500,000 cases pending at the start of fiscal year 2017. 3 As a result, some respondents’ cases may take years to resolve

Living on the fence: A father’s immigration battle has no long-term solution (KSFY, 6/1/17) KSFY goes to the Sioux Falls immigration office with Jacobo Gabriel for his June 1 check-in. Gabriel fled Guatemala when he was 16 and has lived in Worthington for 24 years. He works, owns property, and has a family – his wife and four children. Since he was not granted asylum, he has no legal status and must rely on the goodwill of U.S. immigration officials to extend his stay each time he checks in. Each time he checks in, he knows that he could be detained on the spot and deported. On June 1, ICE told him he could wait three months for his next check-in.

“It’s put the family in turmoil, having to make this decision,” Gabriel’s attorney, Kathy Klos said.

She says it’s because Gabriel won’t be bringing them with him to Guatemala.

“There’s such high levels of violence that are occurring. So many young children especially, are fleeing that very violence right now, kind of like Jacobo did you know, when he was 16,” Klos explained.

This Dreamer Works For The Politicians Who Will Decide Her Fate In The U.S. (Huffington Post, 5/13/17)

“The Senate cashier who rang up Sessions that day was a 26-year-old mother of three from El Salvador, Ana Gomez Ramirez. She is a so-called Dreamer: a young immigrant who came to the country as an undocumented child. She recognized Sessions and knew how he felt about people like her who had entered the country illegally. The soft-spoken Gomez Ramirez greeted him with a hello. Sessions politely asked her how she was doing.

“He was nice,” Gomez Ramirez recalled after a recent shift. “Even though he doesn’t want us here.”

Foreign-born doctors, many in underserved areas, are worried about their jobs (Washington Post, 6/3/17)

“Just a few months ago, the future appeared promising and certain for Sunil Sreekumar Nair. A British citizen, he was completing a residency in internal medicine at a Brooklyn hospital and had accepted a job in a hospital near Fort Smith, Ark., a rural area with a severe shortage of doctors.

“Then the Trump administration announced that it was suspending the 15-day expedited process to obtain an H-1B visa, a program that allows U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign-born workers in specialty fields such as medicine and information technology. Now Nair may not receive his visa for at least eight months, long after he is supposed to show up for his new job in Arkansas.”

Foreign doctors filling shortages, communities who need them uncertain amid visa changes (ABC News, 6/1/17)

“A few months ago, Almatmed Abdelsalam was busy looking for a home for his family of four in the modestly-sized city of Macon, Georgia, eager to settle down after securing a job as a physician.”

Macon is one of many areas that have a serious doctor shortage, and seek foreign doctors to fill positions. But on April 3, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services halted fast-track processing of visas for these doctors.

“Now, with only 30 days left to obtain new visas, Abdelsalam and nearly a thousand other foreign doctors are racing against the clock, wondering whether they will have a place in the U.S. And the hospitals and communities are also waiting, uncertain if the physicians they need will arrive at all.”

Another Immigrant Has Died In ICE Custody And Critics Worry It’s Just The Beginning (Buzzfeed, 6/2/17)

“Vicente Caceres-Maradiaga, 46, died Wednesday night from acute coronary syndrome as he was being transferred to a hospital from a private detention center in Adelanto, California. He is the ninth person to die in the custody of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) this fiscal year, which started Oct. 1. That compares to 10 deaths for all of fiscal year 2016.”

Why Police Chiefs Oppose Texas’s New Anti-Immigrant Bill (The New Yorker, 6/2/17) Police chiefs and sheriffs spoke out against the bill while it was being debated. They see a downturn in immigrant reports of crime, attributed to crime victims’ fear of deportation.

Losing Gloria (California Sunday Magazine, 6/1/17) One more long, well-reported, heart-breaking story about a mother’s deportation and the children left behind.

‘Baby Jail’ Bills Die a Slow Death (American Immigration Council, 6/1/17)

“As the legislative session in Texas drew to a close on Monday, immigration advocates around the country celebrated the death of the “baby jails” bill—a measure that would have licensed Texas family detention centers as “child-care facilities.” Senate Bill 1018 was the latest attempt to lower state standards so that private prisons could legally detain asylum-seeking children for many weeks or months on end….

“The corrupt financial motivation behind this legislation appears to be clear. The bill, which passed the Texas Senate but failed to hit the Texas House floor in time before receiving a vote, was written by a lobbyist for GEO Group, Inc., the nation’s second-largest private prison corporation.”

How Many People Overstay Their Visas? Not Even the Government Knows (American Immigration Council, 6/1/17)

“ICE is currently working through a backlog of more than 1.2 million cases involving people who may (or may not) have overstayed their visas.”

Immigration and Customs Enforcement Continues to Inhibit Asylum Seekers’ Legal Access and Invite Litigation (American Immigration Council, 6/1/17)

“Recently, for example, ICE barred a full-time legal assistant with the Dilley Pro Bono Project (DPBP) from entering the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas. In response to DPBP’s request that ICE reinstate the legal assistant, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) claimed she had inappropriately facilitated a telephonic mental health evaluation of a client. In fact, the legal assistant had facilitated this evaluation to avert the imminent deportation of a client and her child, and the evaluation proved critical to establish their eligibility for protection in the United States.”

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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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