Targeting teens and other immigration stories – July 25, 2017

Wall mural Nogales McIntosh

Border wall mural, photo by Jonathan McIntosh, used under Creative Commons license

ICE is targeting undocumented teens in at least two separate initiatives, according to internal memos first reported by Reuters and a separate report from a disillusioned ICE agent.

The Reuters report describes a four-day push that began on Sunday, focusing on teens who are in some kind of gang database. As described, the databases are both unreliable and over-inclusive, but that won’t stop the arrests and deportations.

The ICE agent who spoke to Jonathan Blitzer at The New Yorker over a period of months described many reasons for being disillusioned with changes in ICE practices and attitudes since January. He finally decided to allow Blitzer to write about their conversations when ICE began a push to arrest “unaccompanied minors” as they turn 18 – the children who fled Central America in recent years and have been living with familie around the country.

Also of note in today’s immigration news round-up: three stories from Minnesota, an article about U.S. corporate consultants directing refugee policy in Germany, and updates on the Texas tragedy.

U.S. immigration raids to target teenaged suspected gang members (Reuters, 7/21/17) The “suspected” comes from inclusion in gang databases, which are notoriously inaccurate and over-inclusive.

“The raids are set to begin on Sunday and continue through Wednesday, according to an internal memo seen by Reuters. The teenagers targeted will be 16- and 17-years-old.”

Immigration raids to target teens suspected of gang membership (PBS NewsHour, 7/22/17)

“I think that was probably the most striking thing that I saw on that list, was hanging out in these places that are notorious for gang activity. I mean, that could be a schoolyard. That could be right outside of your public school. That could be a parking lot of a grocery store where your family would frequent. I mean, for a lot of people, there’s really no way to get around that. And as I was told, there are a lot of people who — particularly those who have fled violence in places like El Salvador, with the notorious MS13 gang, that has strong roots in the United States, a lot of times, those people come here, live in communities of other El Salvadorians, with people with strong ties with that gang and they have no choice but to get a tattoo, or their lives could be threatened….

“But the bottom-line is that these aren’t legal definitions of what makes someone a gang member and that’s not even illegal to be a gang member. But at this point, ICE, U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, can really write the rules over whoever they want to target because it is already a crime to be in the United States illegally. And so, therefore, they can come up with different categories of who they want to target that really isn’t based on U.S. Criminal Code in any way.”

A Veteran ICE Agent, Disillusioned With the Trump Era, Speaks Out (New Yorker, 7/24/17)

“The agent’s decision to allow me to write about our conversations came after learning that ICE was making a push, beginning this week, to arrest young undocumented immigrants who were part of a large wave of unaccompanied minors who crossed the border in recent years and who, until now, had been allowed to live in the U.S. Rather than detaining these young people, the government had placed them in the care of families around the country. Most of them are trying to lead new lives as American transplants, going to school and working. ICE now plans to pursue those who have turned eighteen since crossing the border, and who, as a result, qualify for detention as legal adults. “I don’t see the point in it,” the agent said. “The plan is to take them back into custody, and then figure it out. I don’t understand it. We’re doing it because we can, and it bothers the hell out of me.”

Minnesota immigration news

Willmar mayor asking for public to support man facing deportation (West Central Tribune, 7/21/17)

“Calvin said he didn’t want to get into the illegal immigration issue. Instead he wanted to focus on the personal effect Siu’s situation, and the situation of many like him, could have.

“My concern is the breaking down of the fabric of our community and of our families,” Calvin said.

“Siu is a husband and father of four children, and is sole provider of his family. Calvin said it is important for families and communities to have good father figures.

“It concerns me greatly when a father is removed from the home,” Calvin said.”

Human Rights Advocates Respond to Discrimination Lawsuit Against St. Paul Schools (KSTP, 7/24/17)

“By not giving options, we really take away that ability for kids to rebound and to effectively learn and to move on to good outcomes educationally and as adults,” McKenzie said. “When a major district like St. Paul makes a decision to shift its educational strategies, that can impact children very dramatically. Those kids don’t get those years back.”

“McKenzie said in their research, individualize instruction and resource allocation seem to work best for children who are struggling to learn the language and keep up in school.”

After attack in Coon Rapids, Asma Jama found support from an unlikely source (NPR, 7/21/17) Listen to the Story Corps account of Asma Jama and the sister of the woman who attacked Jama with a beer mug in a Coon Rapids Applebee’s.

“After what happened in the restaurant, Jama says she doesn’t feel like she can speak Swahili in public anymore.

“I realized I don’t belong,” Jama says. “I have to prove myself every single day and it makes me feel like I had to give up a lot of who I was.”

And in other immigration news

How McKinsey quietly shaped Europe’s response to the refugee crisis (Washington Post, 7/24/17) And you thought government policy was made by governments, not corporate consultants – not any longer.

“Germany did what governments increasingly do when facing apparently unmanageable problems. It called in multinational management consulting firms, including New York-based giant McKinsey & Co., to streamline its asylum procedures.

“Germany has paid McKinsey 29.3 million euros, the equivalent of nearly $34 million, for work with the federal migration office that began in October 2015 and continues to this day. The office also brought in two Europe-based firms, Roland Berger and Ernst & Young. …

“Experts in international law said the German case illustrates risks associated with McKinsey’s input. Today, asylum decisions handed down by the federal migration office come faster but are leaving an increasing number of migrants with fewer rights, above all the right to family reunification, triggering hundreds of thousands of appeals that have created a new backlog — not in asylum centers, but in German courts.”

SJC rules against ICE in blockbuster Massachusetts immigration case (Boston Herald, 7/24/17) Like many federal courts, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that holding people solely on the basis of a federal immigration detainer warrant is unconstitutional.

Malloy: Immigration officials ‘stupid, but not that stupid’ (Connecticut Post, 7/21/17)

“Gov. Dannel P. Malloy doubts that federal immigration officials will confront a Norwalk woman who sought sanctuary in a church rather than get deported to her native Guatemala.

“They’re stupid but not that stupid,” Malloy told reporters in the Capitol less than 24 hours after meeting with Nury Chavarria in a New Haven pentecostal church on the night she was supposed to be flown back to Central America.”

Fallbrook Father, DACA Candidate Detained by Border Officials, Released  (NBC San Diego, 7/22/17) He was held for four days – then released. He says he still does not feel safe.

“Mario Figueroa, the young father of a 10-month-old girl, was detained by Border Patrol agents on Tuesday in Temecula on his way to work, and scheduled for deportation the following Tuesday.

“The father was first brought to the U.S. from Guatemala when he was just three-years-old. Because the family was not granted asylum, Figueroa’s attorney said, his name was put on a removal order. …

“It has been 18 years since Figueroa arrived in the U.S. Figueroa did not obtain legal status in the country and his paperwork for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is currently being processed, his wife said.”

Opinion: What Is America to Me? (New York Times, 7/22/17) A volunteer English language teacher reflects on her experience with immigrant students.

These Haitians Found Refuge From Earthquakes, Cholera, and Poverty. Now Trump Plans to Send Them Back. (Mother Jones, 7/24/17)

“Seven years after the earthquake, about 55,000 people remain in the displacement camps that sprang up in the immediate aftermath. Others live in tent cities along the Dominica Republic border after an immigration ruling forced out tens of thousands of Haitians and their descendants.

“The hardships facing those still in Haiti further complicate the return of others who had been in the United States. Carlene, who asked only to be identified by her first name because her future plans could include coming to live or work in the United States unlawfully, says there simply isn’t enough room for a huge influx of returnees. “In areas where there are a lot of people, sometimes five or six people live in one room,” the 35-year-old woman who lives in Port-au-Prince told me.”

Judge refuses to remove block on Trump sanctuary city order (Reuters, 7/20/17)

“U.S. District Judge William Orrick III in San Francisco ruled that a recent memo from the Justice Department that appeared to narrow the scope of Trump’s executive order on sanctuary cities did not remove the need for a court-ordered injunction.”

The Mothers Being Deported by Trump (The New Yorker, 7/22/17)

“We’re sharing one trend that conflicts with Trump’s rhetorical focus on immigrants who “are criminal and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers.” In fact, his Administration’s agents are targeting, in large numbers, individuals for whom public-safety justifications for removal don’t apply. This includes a considerable number of women who have no criminal records and who are either the primary caretakers of young children, or the primary family breadwinners, or both. Four such cases are presented here.”

Continuing coverage of Texas immigrant deaths in tractor trailer

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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