Great immigrant stories and other immigration news

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Halima Adan (left) and Mai Neng Moua (right)

Halima Aden, a young Muslim woman from St. Cloud became a star model and glamorous cover girl, wearing a hijab. Mai Neng Moua, after beginning life in a refugee camp, is now a successful Minnesota immigration attorney and chair of Twin Cities World Refugee Day – where you can go on Sunday to learn more refugee stories.

More good news today:

Halima Aden and the beauty of Minnesota (Twin Cities Agenda, 7/12/17)

“Halima Aden’s story is one of lore, a classic tale of the American Dream: Born into a Kenyan refugee camp in 1997 before moving with her family to the unfamiliar culture of St. Cloud, Minnesota at the age of 6, Aden is now enjoying a modelling contract inked with IMG Models (and all the fashion shows, campaigns, runways, and growing number of fans, followers, and fame, that come with it).

Rags to riches. A girl who came here with next to nothing now a hot commodity of the fashion world….

“She’s living the dream: A girl from small town Minnesota who made it big.

“And she’s doing these things in the way that she wants, dressed in the way she wants and that best represents her. Expressing her faith and her history and herself. You know, the American way.”

Born in a Thai refugee camp, she’s now a Twin Cities attorney (MPR, 7/13/17) Mai Neng Moua worked day and night – literally – to get where she is now. Besides being an immigration attorney, she’s chairing Twin Cities World Refugee Day – Sunday, July 16, 1-5 p.m. at Loring Park.

“A lot of it is just trying to get to a safe place, because you’re just running for your life. And that’s really what it is … Our [Hmong refugee] story is of fleeing the jungle, of hiding, of having to drug kids with opium so they don’t cry in the middle of the night and give away the location.”

“Moua arrived in Minnesota in July 1982. She’s now 35. Reflecting on her early years, she said her family faced racism and name-calling. Her home and her parents’ cars were routinely vandalized….

“Now, in her role as an immigration attorney, she represents other refugees, many of whom fled from South or Central America, Southeast Asia or East Africa.”

The Schools Transforming Immigrant Education (The Atlantic, 7/13/17) Schools for immigrants offer grade-level academic content to English Language Learners, and make language learning a shared responsibility in all classes.

“Data suggest the targeted approach is working: Students in these schools outshine their English-language-learner counterparts in traditional high schools.

“But the growth hasn’t been without controversy. While supporters look at these models as a way to close the achievement gap for a vulnerable student population, some critics liken the separate learning environments to segregation practices of old. The schools have also raised questions in some communities about focusing too many resources on immigrant children when the test scores and graduation rates of native-born students of color also lag behind those of their white peers.”

Afghan Girls Robotics Team Allowed to Enter U.S. for Competition (NPR, 7/13/17) They were denied visas (as was the team from Gambia), but after extensive publicity about the visa denials, the Trump administration decided to let both teams in.

Immigration judge releases man detained after light-rail confrontation (Star Tribune, 7/13/17)

“Judge Ryan Wood set a $5,000 bond and postponed the case of Ariel Vences-Lopez, who is seeking a special visa for victims of crime who cooperate with law enforcement. Vences-Lopez is a Mexican citizen and construction worker who had crossed the border illegally in 2012.

“Vences-Lopez’ case drew international attention in May after a fellow light-rail passenger posted a video of an officer asking him if he was in the country illegally during a fare check. The encounter garnered about 1.5 million views online and led Metro Transit to weigh a new policy that would bar officers from inquiring about passengers’ immigration status in most cases.”

And in other immigration news

California lawmakers move to protect undocumented workers (New American Media, 7/13/17) The bill, which would offer protection to workers, is under consideration by the California legislature.

“Under the Immigrant Worker Protection Act, AB 450 (David Chiu, D-San Francisco), employers would be required to ask for a warrant before they allow immigration enforcement agents onto the worksite. They would not be able to hand over any private information about workers, such as social security numbers, without a subpoena.”

Witnesses push immigration reform, mechanization at Ag committee hearing (Agri-Pulse, 7/12/17) Among the immigration concerns: strong opposition to mandatory E-Verify.

“Witnesses and lawmakers at a House Agriculture Committee hearing today showed broad support for immigration reform and mechanization research to address labor shortages faced by specialty crop producers.

“Consumer demand is increasing but natural resources remain fixed and the labor supply is shrinking,” said Rep. Collin Peterson, the panel’s ranking Democrat. Peterson represents Minnesota, a state that produces large amounts of specialty crops like apples, pumpkins, strawberries and sweet corn.”

Trump’s incredible, shrinking border wall (The Atlantic, 7/13/17) So – one more stupid-as-hell campaign promise bites the dust.

“‘It’s a 2,000 mile border, but you don’t need 2,000 miles of wall because you have a lot of natural barriers. You have mountains. You have some rivers that are violent and vicious. You have some areas that are so far away that you don’t really have people crossing. So you don’t need that. But you’ll need anywhere from 700 to 900 miles,’ he told reporters on Thursday.

“In fact, that’s a good description of what’s already along the southern border.”

Republicans’ Obamacare repeal bill would bar some immigrants from buying insurance on the exchanges (Washington Post, 7/12/17)

“Hundreds of thousands of immigrants could be locked out of the health insurance marketplaces if the Senate’s new health-care bill becomes law.

“Buried among the bill’s provisions that roll back the Medicaid expansion and lower marketplace subsidies is a shift in eligibility requirements. Rather than all legal immigrants being able to receive tax credits and buy coverage in the marketplace like under the Affordable Care Act, the new bill — aside from a few, narrow exceptions — allows only permanent residents and people who immigrated for humanitarian reasons to participate.”


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,, 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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