The Dream Act, reintroduced in a 2017 version by Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), faces an uphill battle, but it maybe the only positive immigration legislation with any chance of passing in this Republican-controlled, basically anti-immigrant Congress. If it passes, the Dream Act would offer a safe and permanent way forward for approximately 800,000 young people who now have only DACA protection.
DACA – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – offers temporary work permits and temporary protection from deportation to people who arrived in the United States as children and have grown up in this country. That protection is threatened by 10 Republican state attorneys general, who say they will sue to end DACA if the president does not act by September 5 to phase out the program.
No one knows what Trump will do. Twenty state attorneys general have sent him a letter asking him to “maintain and defend” DACA. They point out that ending DACA would have a high cost “for America, the economy, and for these young people.”
Dream Act and DACA Comparison (NILC, 7/21/17) Useful information – table with side-by-side comparison of 2010 Dream Act, DACA, and just-introduced 2017 Dream Act
Democratic state AGs urge Trump to keep DACA, say it has boosted economy (Washington Post, 7/21/17) Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson joins 19 others in urging Trump to keep DACA – that’s twice as many attorneys general speaking out in support, compared to those demanding an end to DACA. (Text of letter here.)
And, if you haven’t already bookmarked this page, here’s the New York Times presentation of the stories of individual Dreamers.
ICE Detains Norther Virginia Pastor (NBC, 7/21/17) He has no criminal record.
“Gutierrez came to the U.S. from Peru in 2002 with a visa to play music. Sicha, who is a U.S. citizen, became pregnant and he stayed to help care for their family.”
Opinion: Trump’s about to deport Pastor Antonio Velasquez. We’re saved. (Arizona Republic, 7/21/17) Another pastor – with no criminal record, and 27 years of residence in the United States.
“As for the rest of us, we see a 45-year-old man who came here 27 years ago and proceeded to build a decent life, with a wife and three young children.
“A man who fled for his life in the midst of his home country’s long civil war, trusting in the Lord and in the goodness of this nation to give him safe harbor.
“We see an evangelical pastor who organizes youth soccer leagues in the hope of keeping kids from getting involved with drugs and gangs.”
A Deportation at M.I.T. and New Risks for the Undocumented (The New Yorker, 7/20/17) Like so many others, Francisco Rodriguez has faithfully kept his immigration office appointments each year, with year-to-year temporary work permits but no possible route to legalization. Then came Trump – and this year he was arrested at the office, taken to jail, and is awaiting deportation.
“Rodriguez, who is forty-three, has lived in this country for a decade. For the past five years, he has worked as a custodian at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he belongs to a labor union. He pays taxes and runs a carpet-cleaning business on the side. He is married, with two children, and his wife is pregnant with a third. Prior to his current incarceration, he wrote, he had never been arrested for any crime.
“Rodriguez is from El Salvador, where he worked at an engineering firm, but he left the country in 2006, fearing for his life, after gangsters murdered one of his colleagues.”
Death in Texas
Death toll in San Antonio ‘human trafficking’ truck rises to nine (The Guardian, 7/23/17)
“At least nine people died after being crammed into a sweltering tractor-trailer found parked outside a Walmart in the midsummer Texas heat, authorities said on Sunday as they described an immigrant-smuggling attempt gone wrong.
“The driver was arrested and nearly 20 others rescued from the rig were hospitalized in dire condition, many with extreme dehydration and heatstroke, officials said….
“Based on initial interviews with survivors of the weekend tragedy, more than 100 people may have been packed into the back of the 18-wheeler at some point in its journey, ICE acting director Thomas Homan said. Thirty-nine were inside when rescuers arrived and the rest were believed to have escaped or hitched rides to their next destination, officials said….
“US Border Patrol has reported at least four truck seizures this month in and around Laredo, Texas. On 7 July, agents found 72 people crammed into a truck with no means of escape, the agency said. They were from Mexico, Ecuador, Guatemala and El Salvador.”
Texas tragedy: Nine dead after police find a truck at a WalMart: a ‘horrific’ case of suspected smuggling (Washington Post, 7/23/17)
“They had been transported inside “a refrigeration truck with no refrigeration,” he told CNN. “If they were to spend another night in that environment, you’d have 38 people who would not have survived.”
“As it was, Hood said, 30 were hospitalized — 17 in critical condition. Of those who suffered heatstrokes, “a lot of them are going to have some irreversible brain damage,” he said.”
And in other immigration news
Minnesota grandparents feel love after travel ban is revised (Star Tribune, 7/21/17)
“Revised #travelban will #keepamericasafe frm my 97yo #Iranian grandma &her radical belief that all meals need a glass of sherry &a cigarette,” tweeted @yasminradjy.
“On Wednesday, the Supreme Court wisely left intact a U.S. District Court opinion from Hawaii that temporarily exempts Nana and Poppy and other relatives from the ban, sending the case to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
“The federal district court clarified for the country what almost every grandchild, niece and extended family member has long known: that grandmothers, aunts and other family members are invaluable members of our families and communities, and should be treated as such,” said Karen Tumlin, legal director of the National Immigration Law Center.”
“The event is a celebration for children who derived citizenship through their parents. Some of the children received citizenship through adoption, while others gained citizenship through immigrant parents who are naturalized citizens….
“The children came from 12 different countries, including Somalia, Kenya, Cameroon, Ecuador, Guatemala, South Africa, Vietnam, Canada, Thailand, Korea, Ethiopia and Uganda.”
Trump’s immigration crackdown is stressing out deployed U.S. troops (Slate, 7/21/17)
“Parole in place” reprieves, known inside the military as PIP, are meant to keep deployed service members focused by easing any worry about the safety of undocumented spouses and immediate family back home. Defense officials say the program is crucial to alleviating unrelated stress on the battlefield by allowing troops’ family members to live in the U.S. without fear of being deported and to apply for a green card without having to leave the country.
“But as immigration arrests spike under the Trump administration’s promised crackdown on people in the country illegally, immigration lawyers have begun warning their military clients that they can no longer rely on the PIP program.”
Chicago Immigrant Defense Fund Helps Hundreds (WBEZ, 7/17/17) The city of Chicago allocated a million dollars to start an immigrant defense fund – and it’s working.
Opinion: Deporting people made Central America’s gangs. More deportation won’t help. (Washington Post, 7/20/17) Remember the Reagan administration and U.S. involvement in wars in Central America?
“Sessions is right that MS-13 is violent and that it is transnational in reach, with a presence stretching from the streets and brutal, overcrowded prisons of El Salvador, across Central America and Mexico, to Los Angeles and the D.C. area. But his insistence that an immigration crackdown will keep Americans safe is either a lie or an expression of ignorance. In reality, it is U.S. foreign policy and the very sort of deportation policies Sessions embraces that have created the “horrific violence” and “lawlessness” he expresses concern about, and there’s no reason to believe that continuing these policies will do anything other than cause more harm.”
The Poet Bao Phi on Creating A Guidebook for Young Asian Americans (NPR Code Switch, 7/20/17)
“I feel like the book is one, me writing in resistance against the erasure of Asian-Americans — Vietnamese-Americans in particular — but also as, I guess, a marker of the life of my parents, my family, people like me that often don’t reach any type of visibility in this country.”
5 facts about Latinos and education (Pew Research, 7/20/17) One of the facts:
“Over the past decade, the Hispanic high school dropout rate has dropped dramatically. The rate reached a new low in 2014, dropping from 32% in 2000 to 12% in 2014 among those ages 18 to 24. This helped lower the national dropout rate from 12% to 7% over the same time period – also a new low. Even so, the Hispanic dropout rate remains higher than that of blacks (7%), whites (5%) and Asians (1%).”
Photos: Karen refugees get a taste of Minnesota fishing in DNR clinic (Pioneer Press, 7/20/17)
Youth from the Karen Community and some of their family members learned about one of Minnesota’s favorite pastimes – fishing — during a clinic put on by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Wednesday at St. Paul’s Lake Phalen.
Rapper Anik Khan: ‘I’m absolutely telling the refugee story’ (The Guardian, 7/21/17)
“Rapper Anik Khan’s SoundCloud page features a telling line above his contact email. “Curry chicken meets collard greens,” it reads, a neat nod to his two identities. When Khan was four he moved from the relative wealth of Bangladesh(three-storey apartment, driver) to Queens, the largest of New York’s five boroughs, and – along with his parents and three sisters – shared a one-bedroom apartment in a low-income housing block. His father – a poet and political speaker – had shlepped his family halfway across the world to give his kids a better education (“The definition of unconditional love,” Khan says), while taking a job as a cab driver.”
“Immigration law was not on Gov. Greg Abbott’s special session call, but that has not stopped conversation about repealing the legislation.”
“In a letter to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and CoreCivic, the private prison company that runs the facility, the legal advocacy group says the scarcity of attorney visitation rooms at Stewart Detention Center is causing unreasonable delays.
“Attorneys have been unable to get to speak with their clients because they were kept waiting in the waiting room and their clients’ moment in court came and went while the attorney was still outside,” SPLC attorney Lisa Graybill said.”
Riding with ICE: ‘We’re trying to do the right thing’ (NPR, 7/20/17)
“Immigrant advocates say ICE agents are fearmongering and arresting people who only broke the law to come to the U.S. for a better life. The agents say they’re misunderstood and that they simply want to enforce the law….
“ICE arrests of noncriminals have increased dramatically. In Dallas, those arrests more than tripled, from 249 to more than 814.”
“For years, his golf clubs and resorts on the East Coast have relied on hiring foreign workers to serve patrons during the summer months (in New York) and the winter months (in Florida).
“On Thursday, the Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, said it wanted to hire 15 housekeepers for $10.33 an hour; 20 cooks for $13.34 an hour; and 35 servers for $11.88 an hour. The Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Florida, was asking for six cooks to hire for $13.34 per hour.”
Sicilian mayor moves to block far-right plan to disrupt migrant rescues (The Guardian, 7/20/17)
“Enzo Bianco, the mayor of Catania, has urged authorities in the port city on the island’s east coast to deny docking rights to C-Star, a 40-metre vessel hired by Generation Identity, a movement made up of young, anti-Islam and anti-immigration activists from across Europe, for its sea mission to stop migrants entering Europe from Libya.”