What you see is not necessarily true and other immigration articles – August 2, 2017

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When Johan Slattavik posted this photo to a Facebook page for an anti-immigrant group in Norway, people saw scary Muslim women wearing burqas. The Washington Post reported: 

“For many members of the group, which is called “Fedrelandet viktigst” or “Fatherland first,” the image encapsulated the problems Norway was facing after an influx of Muslim immigrants in the past few years.”

Actually  – these are bus seats, not people. And that highlights the impact that preconceived ideas have in the immigration debate. Does it matter whether immigrants are Muslim or Christian? Whether they come from Germany or Ireland or Mexico? Whether our immigration laws began with racist Chinese exclusion acts and continued to reflect prejudices against various groups?

The first three articles in today’s summary focus on immigration policies, prejudices, and values. 

Opinion: What’s in a name? Sessions’ harsh immigration language jibes with his policy (The Hill, 8/1/17) He calls them “illegal aliens,” a term as inaccurate as it is offensive.

“It might surprise some people to know that simply being in this country without authorization is not a crime. ‘As a general rule, it is not a crime for a removable alien to remain in the U.S.,’ wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy for the majority in the Supreme Court case Arizona v. U.S. (2012).

“This has also been affirmed by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, when it noted in 2006 that ‘Mere illegal presence in the U.S. is a civil, not criminal, violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act, and subsequent deportation and associated administrative processes are civil proceedings.’…

“Using the “I-word” only further inflames the tensions around the immigration issue, making any chance of constructive dialogue more difficult.”

A radical new approach to the immigration “problem”: Beyond left and right, Trumpism and neoliberalism — Part one (Salon, 7/30/17) A lengthy and wide-ranging indictment of immigration laws, reviewing their racist roots from the very beginning, and analyzing each successive wave of immigration law “reform.”

“The contemporary manifestation of the immigration crisis, in full flow now for more than 20 years, is better understood as a moral panic rather than a typical policy problem amenable to rational solutions. The moral panic over immigration we have witnessed in this country for so long is really a rechanneling of economic anxiety, stemming from the crisis of globalization, toward the vulnerable bodies of immigrants, since we as a nation have felt ourselves helpless to do anything about globalization.”

Why churches still matter in immigration reform (Christian Century, 7/31/17)

“For years the debate has been about policy or politics. But for the majority of Americans, immigration is about culture and values. At the National Immigration Forum, we find that people’s first questions about immigration are: Is my culture going to change? Are my values going to change? Is my neighborhood going to change? We have to understand the cultural debate.”

And in other immigration news

U.S. citizen, held by immigration for three years, denied compensation by appeals court (NPR, 8/1/17) The two-year statute of limitations on false imprisonment claims expired while he was still in ICE custody, without an attorney.

“Davino Watson told the immigration officers he was a U.S. citizen. He told jail officials he was a U.S. citizen. He told a judge. He repeated it again and again.

“There’s no right to a court-appointed attorney in immigration court. Watson, who was 23 and didn’t have a high school diploma when he entered ICE custody, didn’t have a lawyer of his own. So he hand-wrote a letter to immigration officers, attaching his father’s naturalization certificate, and kept repeating his status to anyone who would listen.

“Still, Immigration and Customs Enforcement kept Watson imprisoned as a deportable alien for nearly 3 1/2 years.”

San Francisco Police Chief Statement on Sanctuary Cities (ImmigrationProf blog, 7/31/17) Text of Chief William Scott’s 7/5 statement emphasizes his commitment and his department’s commitment to sanctuary city concept.

“And this letter was signed by myself, Sheriff Vicki Hennessey of the San Francisco Sheriffs Department, and Mayor Ed Lee. I think that that in and of itself summarizes our passion and our commitment to our city being a Sanctuary City to protect the rights of all residents and to enhance our public safety as it relates to this issue.”

Court releases October calendar (SCOTUS blog, 7/31/17) And three immigration cases are high on that agenda, with the travel ban argument set for October 10:

“The headliner in the October calendar is the litigation over Trump’s March 6 executive order, which put a freeze on both new visas for travelers from six predominantly Muslim countries (Iran, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Syria and Yemen) and the admission of refugees into the United States.

Even earlier, on October 2:

“[The Court will hear] a reargument of Sessions v. Dimaya, in which the justices will again consider whether the Immigration and Nationality Act’s definition of “crime of violence” – for which a noncitizen can be deported from the United States – is so ambiguous that it violates the Constitution’s bar on vague criminal laws. On October 3, the justices will hear oral argument for a second time in Jennings v. Rodriguez, in which they are considering whether immigrants who are detained have a right to appear in front of an immigration judge and seek their release after making payments to guarantee that they will appear at later proceedings in the same case. The court had only eight members when it heard oral argument in these cases for the first time; its late-June order setting the cases for a second round of oral argument suggests that the eight justices attempted to reach an agreement but were ultimately deadlocked, making the court’s newest justice, Neil Gorsuch, the key vote.”

ICE shows up to apartment complex looking for undocumented Hayward man, arrests two others instead (San Jose Mercury News, 7/29 and 7/31/17) Both have lived in the United States for more than 10 years.

“Then early Thursday, ICE agents arrived at the Rainbow Apartments on Harris Road in Hayward allegedly looking to detain an undocumented immigrant who lives at the complex. Instead, they arrested two neighbors, according to the men’s families.

“Antonio Valenzuela, 34, and Jose Salgado, 42, both undocumented immigrants with American-born children, were leaving the area at about 6 a.m. for work when they were trailed by ICE agents and stopped separately a short distance from the complex, according to their wives.”

Fact Checker: President Trump’s claim that illegal immigration went up under past administrations (Washington Post, 8/1/17)

“Southwest border apprehensions have steadily declined since their peak at more than 1.6 million people in fiscal 2000. There have been temporary spikes since 2000 — most recently, there was an uptick in apprehensions of Central American unaccompanied children and their families in 2016, after a significant drop in 2015. The fiscal 2016 annual apprehensions are back down to early-1970s levels.

“So Trump is incorrect that “under past administrations, the border didn’t go down, it went up,” and that “the border was a tremendous problem” before his administration.”

Homeland Security to Waive Environmental Rules on Border Wall Projects (NPR, 8/1/17)

“The Department of Homeland Security announced Tuesday that it will use its authority to bypass environmental laws and other regulations to “ensure the expeditious construction of barriers and roads” near the U.S.-Mexico border south of San Diego.”

Call for 15,000 more border agents raises concern with Homeland Security’s internal watchdog (Dallas Morning News, 8/1/17) Among the key findings in the internal report:

  • Hiring 15,000 new agents and officers would require about 1.25 million applicants.
  • Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement have not created “an effective workforce deployment strategy” and “could not provide complete data to support the operational need or deployment strategies for the additional officers — especially given the drop in apprehensions.”
  • Both agencies struggle to find qualified workers, but Border Patrol officials express an additional concern: They’re losing applicants to their sister agency, ICE, because of its better pay and duty locations, and lack of a polygraph requirement.

Who will replace Kelly at Homeland Security? (Politico, 8/1/17)

“Texas Rep. Michael McCaul, the Republican chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, emerging as a leading candidate.

“Other potential picks include Thomas Homan, acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, who accompanied Trump on Air Force One on Friday, and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, an outspoken opponent of illegal immigration who is helping to lead the president’s controversial commission on alleged voter fraud.”

Politico says McCaul backs all of Trump’s (anti)-immigration agenda, including the wall, though the hometown Dallas Morning News (below) differs. Some speculate that Trump might try to move Sessions from Justice to DHS, but most find that unlikely. And as for the acting DHS Secretary Elaine Duke, one insider says no:

“[You] couldn’t meet a nicer person who has nurtured and managed that department for three different presidents,” Kayyem said. “Trump doesn’t want nice.”

Austin congressman McCaul could be in line to lead Homeland Security, but border wall views may be problem (Dallas Morning News, 8/1/17)

“[The] Austin Republican’s recent policy takes on the border wall, Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, and even the recent White House communications team shake-up may not endear him to Trump. And McCaul’s views on  immigration may not be enough to satisfy border hawks.”

Helping Greater Minnesota grow (University of Minnesota, 8/1/17)

“A report Allen authored earlier this year determined that attracting more immigrants is key to growing Minnesota’s labor force.

“But Allen says an influx of immigrants to a community not only can create a financial strain on government services like education, it can create a social strain that shows up in the attitudes articulated by longtime residents.

“We need to understand better how to create welcoming communities … while maintaining community cohesion,” he says.


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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