Minnesota immigration news, Sessions’ latest on sanctuary, and other immigration news – August 7, 2017

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Minnesota yard sign, January 2017

An attack on a mosque in Bloomington, a visit to a sanctuary church in St. Paul, and an imminent deportation top Minnesota’s immigration news, highlighted in the first section below.

In the second section: Sessions targeted sanctuary cities again, sending letters to several cities, which appear to condition federal assistance on agreeing to help immigration officials seize jail inmates. One question in the letter: whether the city gives 48 hours notice before an immigrant inmate is released from jail.

Several cities say the letters miss their mark. Some say they have never adopted sanctuary policies; others that they have no jails. Though city police departments seek federal law enforcement grants, jails often fall under county jurisdiction. Locally, for example, the Minneapolis police department has no jurisdiction over Hennepin County jail policies. In its letter to cities, the Department of Justice appears to be confused about jail jurisdiction.

Minnesota immigration news

FBI: ‘Destructive device’ caused blast at Bloomington Islamic center (Star Tribune, 8/5/17) Early morning worshippers said an explosive device was thrown through a window by someone in a pickup that drove past.

“We came to this country for the same reason everyone else came here: freedom to worship,” Abdalrahman said. “And that freedom is under threat. Every other American should be insulted by this.”

Additional coverage:

Rosario: When it comes to sanctuary, it boils down to faith for these folks (Pioneer Press, 8/3/17) Ruben Rosario visits a sanctuary church in St. Paul:

” I found Ann Gilligan, whose now-grown kids attended the church’s grade school years ago, putting up curtains in the children’s room during my guided tour. The registered nurse/interior designer sent out an SOS email for quality items that could be donated to furnish what parishioners have christened the “Holy Family Apartment.” The name refers to Joseph, Mary and Jesus, who sought refuge in Egypt, as well as a reminder that they were denied a room at the inn.”

Deportation imminent for St. Paul father ensnared in Trump crackdown (Pioneer Press, 8/3/17) Rudy Lopez Vasquez has only traffic tickets on his record – but he is now scheduled for deportation. He fled from gang attacks in Guatemala in 2005. His lawyer says the government made serious mistakes in his case for more than a decade, beginning with processing the then-17-year-old as an adult, failing to proceed on his asylum claim, and sending him written notices in Spanish, though he spoke only Mam, a Mayan indigenous language.

“Failing to understand his situation, he neglected to provide an address where the government could send notice of a court hearing. The following year, unbeknownst to him, an immigration court in Texas tagged him with a removal order in absentia.”

Real immigrant stories, told with puppets (MPR, 8/4/17) Mu Performing Arts premiered Immigrant Journey Project at Steppingstone Theater on August 4.

“He wanted to work with local immigrants to tell their stories, and even have them involved in the final production. That meant driving them back and forth to rehearsals, finding interpreters and providing meals.

“Really if you want to engage with a community, [if] you really want to tell authentic stories, you have to change your process,” Reyes said. “You can’t force them into a system that has left them out for so long. You need to adjust to make sure that they’re comfortable, that they’re actually a part of it.”

New Vision Foundation aims to inspire Minnesota’s young African immigrants to become tech innovators (MinnPost, 8/4/17)

“We want our kids and our community not just to be consumers of technology, but creators of technology,” he said. “Right now we’re only consumers; we’re not on the table designing or creating the future Twitter.”

“But for now, the 2-year-old organization’s focus is on introducing young people to the growing jobs in the tech industry, which in recent decades has become a crucial driver of economic growth and source of employment.”

Appleton MN wants you to sign petition asking Trump to lock up criminal aliens at private prison (Bluestem Prairie blog, 8/2/17) (There’s also an article in City Pages, quoting extensively from Bluestem Prairie –Appleton wants private prison reopened to house Trump’s ‘criminal aliens’ ) Bluestem Prairie reports that the city of Appleton MN has launched a Change.org petition asking the Federal Bureau of Prisons to

“give a grant to those poor paupers at CoreCivic (the for-profit, human-traffickers formerly known as Corrections Corporation of America) so that they may lock up criminal aliens at the long-shuttered Prairie Correctional Facility in Appleton.”

Appleton says the city and region need the jobs that the private prison would provide. But, notes Bluestem Prairie, that doesn’t quite ring right either:

According to the Federal Reserve, the unemployment rate in Swift County was 3.4 percent in May 2017. A map of unemployment by counties at Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) reveals that with the exception of Renville County, unemployment is under 4 percent throughout counties near Appleton.

Sanctuary cities under confused attack

Attorney general threatens to punish Stockton, San Bernardino, and other ‘sanctuary cities’ (Los Angeles Times, 8/4/17)

“In another move to pressure cities into cooperating with immigration enforcement, the U.S. Department of Justice threatened Thursday to withhold crime-fighting help from four cities — including two in California — if they refuse to help federal agents target jail inmates suspected of being in the country illegally.

“But the decision to publicly question San Bernardino and Stockton as well as Baltimore and Albuquerque appeared poorly thought out. Perplexed officials in all four cities said they do not operate any jails. In two, officials said they have no sanctuary policies.”

Chicago to sue Trump administration over funding threat (The Hill, 8/4/17)

“Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) plans to push back against the Trump administration’s policy withholding public safety grant money from so-called sanctuary cities by filing a federal lawsuit claiming it is illegal for the federal government to take such action.”

More on the RAISE Act

Opinion: Based on the immigration system he endorsed, Trump would not get a green card (Washington Post, 8/4/17)

Trump’s total: 18. To be eligible to join the applicant pool of those trying for a points-based immigrant visa, you need a minimum score of 30…

” Even so, not everyone who met that threshold would get in. Roughly the top 70,000 scorers would be selected, when you factor in spouses and dependents they get to bring along. “

The RAISE Act: Dramatic Changes to Family Immigration, Less So for the Employment-Based System (Migration Policy Institute, 8/17)

” Our analysis suggests the family-based cuts would fall hardest on U.S. residents seeking to bring in relatives from a small number of countries, with disproportionate effects for India and Vietnam, among others. And while much attention has focused on the points system and the sponsors’ promise of “merit-based” immigration, in reality the legislation would change employment-based immigration less than some might anticipate, as this analysis will explain.”

‘Cheap slaves'” Trump, immigration and the ugly history of the Chinese Exclusion Act (Washington Post, 8/4/17)

” Trump was careful to add that minority workers have been among those “hit hardest” by unfettered immigration. But there is a racially charged history to the idea that immigrant workers depress American wages, an argument that led to the country’s first immigration restriction law: the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.”

And in other immigration news

6 immigrants talk about the anxiety of living in Trump’s America (Vox, 8/4/17)

” I think it’s affecting me [on] a personal level. I think it’s impossible for us who are new immigrants to feel detached. We are starting to realize that democracy is actually something very fragile. I didn’t realize that two years ago.”

Officials say immigration agents showed up at labor dispute hearings. California wants them out. (Los Angeles Times, 8/2/17) State officials say the immigration agents have come to at least two hearing locations, and have reiterated state policy: No immigration agents maybe admitted to any Labor Commission offices or waiting rooms unless they have a warrant signed by a judge. They suspect that employers who are the subject of worker pay claims tipped off the immigration agents, as only the worker and employer know the time and place of the hearing.

“About 35,000 workers a year file claims for back pay, Su said. Many of those complaints come from people in industries that are heavily dependent on immigrants, such as garment manufacturing, car washing and trucking.

“Parts of those industries thrive underground, finding all sorts of ways to underpay workers….

“[A Labor Commission official] said 58 workers have reported immigration-related threats from bosses to her office so far this year, compared with 14 in all of 2016.”

Texas Police Say “Show Me Your Papers” Law is Damaging Public Safety – Before Even Taking Effect (The Intercept, 8/3/17)

“[Houston police officer Jesus] Robles himself is a Mexican immigrant whose mother swam across the Rio Grande with him in her arms. She was granted amnesty under Ronald Reagan, allowing Robles to eventually gain citizenship two decades later. Now he says undocumented residents who used to seek his help are alarmed by a Texas law that will let police check the immigration status of anyone they detain.

“These are the people who would become afraid to call us or be witnesses to crimes,” Robles said, gesturing toward the vendor, adding that even legal immigrants avoid contact with police in order to protect undocumented family members or friends….

“In April, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo announced that before SB4 had even passed, HPD saw a nearly 43 percent decrease in the number of Hispanic victims reporting rape, even as rapes reported by non-Hispanics increased by 8 percent.”

The Person Sitting Next to You on a Plane Could Be Getting Deported (NPR, 8/4/17)

“An ICE spokeswoman said asking people to buy their own plane tickets when they’re getting deported is normal and has been going on for years. But ICE does not keep statistics on what percentage of deportations are people buying their own plane tickets.”

If You Can’t Afford a Lawyer, One Won’t Be Appointed to You (NPR, 8/4/17)

“But unlike people in prison, immigrants in detention do not have the right to get legal representation provided by the government. So without public defenders, they’re left to navigate a pretty confusing system on their own.”

Immigrants do not need to speak English before they arrive (The Economist, 8/3/17)

“Rather than refusing to learn English, today’s immigrants actually abandon their first language much more readily than previous generations. …

“Today the typical pattern is that the arriving generation speaks little English, or learns it imperfectly; the first children born in America are bilingual, but English-dominant, and their children hardly speak the heritage language. This is as true of Hispanics as it is of speakers of smaller languages—and all without a lecture from the White House.”

What’s Wrong With Airport Face Recognition? (ACLU, 8/4/17) It targets everyone, including U.S. citizens; the technology is flawed, with a 4% error rate; it’s unnecessary and being implemented without Congressional action or oversight; and the potential for invasion of privacy is huge.

Civil rights groups sue State over visas (The Hill, 8/4/17) They are suing on behalf of diversity lottery winners from the six targeted countries.

“Though Trump’s travel ban is slated to expire on Sept. 24, the groups said it is “highly doubtful” the lottery winners from these countries will be able to have their visa applications reconsidered and issued in time.

“And if their visas are not issued by September 30, 2017, their slot in the diversity visa program will expire and they will need to reenter the lottery—with a vanishingly small chance of winning a second time,” the groups argued.

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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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