The first articles in today’s summary focus on the impact of U.S. immigration policies in driving migrants to Mexico and Canada, and also on the increasing deaths on the U.S. border this year, even while border crossings decline.
A Flawed Asylum System in Mexico, Strained Further by U.S. Changes (New York Times, 8/5/17)
“As the Trump administration pushes forward with its plans to harden the southwest border, Mexico has found itself under pressure to take in an increasing number of asylum seekers making their way north from Central America, many of them fleeing gang violence.
“But immigrants’ advocates say Mexico’s asylum system and its ability to protect migrants have not kept pace with these demands, impeding access for many migrants to the safety they deserve and the refugee status they may be entitled to.”
“Mexico has drastically increased its capacity to detain and deport migrants, but it has not given the same priority to, nor treated with the same urgency, the need to develop mechanisms for investigating crimes against them,” the Washington Office on Latin America, a research group, said in a report last month. “Impunity for crimes against migrants in Mexico is at alarming levels.”
Montreal’s Olympic Stadium used to house surge in asylum seekers crossing from U.S. (CBC, 8/2/17) Many are Haitians threatened with deportation in the United States after their Temporary Protected Status ends in January 2018.
“We’ve never seen this before,” said Francine Dupuis, spokesperson for PRAIDA, the provincial government organization that helps claimants in their first months. …
“Though official numbers have not been released by the federal government, Dupuis estimates 1,174 asylum seekers crossed into Quebec in July. In comparison, PRAIDA helped 180 people in July 2016”.
Death on the Border: Summer 2017, Fatalities are Up (ImmigrationProf blog, 8/4/17) Border crossings are down, but fatalities are up – 232 deaths in the first seven months of 2017, compared to 204 in the same period last year.
Migrant deaths at US-Mexico border increase 17% this year, UN finds (The Guardian, 8/5/17)
“More people have died crossing the border from Mexico to the US in the first seven months of 2017 compared to the year before, even though significantly fewer people seem to be attempting the journey, according to the United Nation’s migration agency.”
That Republican immigration proposal
Letters to the Editor: These stories would not be possible under the Trump-endorsed immigration bill (Washington Post, 8/4/17)
“In the early 1900s, my grandmother Frances Draskovic was living in a dirt-floor hovel in what is now Croatia. At 16, alone, illiterate and unable to speak any language but Croatian and with a ticket purchased by cousins in the United States, she boarded a steamer bound for New York.
“She was met by Croatians who put her on a train to northern Minnesota. In her box lunch was a banana, which she ate after watching another passenger peel and eat one. She had only experienced fresh fruit as one orange once a year, shared (including the peel) with her siblings.”
Trump triggers debate on impact of immigrants (The Hill, 8/5/17) Researchers contradict Republican assertions about immigrants lowering wages for U.S. workers.
“One meta-study on immigration, released last year by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, put a variety of economists and demographers in one room to look for consensus on their research. While some things remained controversial among the panel, the experts found agreement in several areas.
“Those experts broadly agreed that immigration improves the economy for the native population, even on the per-person level.
“There’s no disagreement. I don’t think you’ll find an economist or demographer that doesn’t think immigration increases the size of the pie going to natives,” said Rutgers Economics Professor Jennifer Hunt, a former Labor Department Chief Economist and one of the committee members that worked on the Academies’ report.
How the White House’s Immigration Reforms Might Backfire (The Atlantic, 8/7/17)
“The White House wants to revisit the 1965 Immigration Act, which opened America’s doors wide to immigrants of color and produced the most sweeping demographic transformation of the country in its history.
“Critics of the proposal see it as a thinly veiled effort to constrict the flow of nonwhite groups to the United States. The alt-right leader Richard Spencer, welcoming such a development, told HuffPost the bill “sounds awesome.”
Fed’s Kashkari says cutting immigration will reduce growth (CNBC, 8/7/17)
“Do we want economic growth, or not? That’s what it comes down to,” Kashkari said at the Rotary Club of Downtown Sioux Falls, South Dakota, responding to a question from a Rotary Club member. Sioux Falls, he said, has embraced immigration, and other towns would do well to do the same.”
Proposal to limit legal immigration ripples through Somali families in San Diego (Los Angeles Times, 8/7/17) One person after another described their fears for relatives left behind.
“What he’s telling us is we’re not welcome here,” said Said Osman Abiyow, 34, president of the Somali Bantu Assn. of America, an aid organization he founded after arriving in 2003. “This is not what America stands for around the world, where it has a great reputation as a place of freedom and peace.”
“Like many others in the room, Abiyow has relatives in Somalia he would like one day to bring to the United States. Now a U.S. citizen, he’s hoping his sister can join him. But he said she’s been caught up in the ban the administration put in place for newcomers from six predominantly Muslim countries (Somalia, Sudan, Libya, Iran, Syria and Yemen). He doesn’t know when she might be allowed to come.”
“If the proposed changes go through, maybe never.”
The Real History of American Immigration (Politico, 8/7/17) This historical overview of immigration is organized around rebuttal of Stephen Miller’s inaccurate statements.
“If we’re going to have a discussion about immigration, we should be honest about our collective history. Today’s immigrants look a lot like yesterday’s. They resemble my great-grandparents, who came to the United States without a word of English or a practical skill, but full of grit, ambition and pragmatic hope. That’s very much an American story, and it has to be part of the current conversation.”
In Minnesota news
‘Come see who we are:’ Community members urge hope after Islamic center blast (MPR, 8/7/17) A gathering of thanks to the community is set for Tuesday evening.
“The Islamic center sits on about 10 acres of land near Interstate 494 and Portland Avenue. It’s been at that location for six years, after relocating from the Como neighborhood in St. Paul. Of the more than 70 mosques in Minnesota, its considered by many to be the busiest, and by some estimates the largest. Friday prayers are attended by hundreds of men and women. On the weekends, children pack community rooms to study the Quran. Parents learn how to buy homes or secure business loans. Future imams are also trained inside classrooms.
“The center’s executive director, Mohamed Omar, said they also welcome people from the Latino community.
“They come Sundays, they come to play soccer in our fields,” said Omar. “Every time you come, day, or night, there is activity going on.”
“According to a 2016 report, the Pew Research Center estimates that the majority of undocumented immigrants hail from nations other than Mexico, with an increase from sub-saharan Africa, Asia, and central America since 2009. These new immigrants are Black, they are Asians, and they have not been the voices that hold the dominant narrative surrounding the issues that affect undocumented immigrants.”
Hope shines through stories of Asian-American immigrants in Minnesota (Star Tribune, 8/7/17)
“Three years in the making, Mu Performing Arts’ Immigrant Journey Project was created through a collaboration by five community partner organizations, puppet master Masanari Kawahara and dozens of Asian-American immigrants. Over several workshops, participants shared their stories while learning to make and handle puppets. Those narratives were shaped into a play made up of nearly 20 short scenes.”
Even Though There Are Legal Threats to DACA, There Is Reason to be Hopeful (National Immigration Law Center, 8/4/17) NILC article lists possible outcomes of pending legal challenges.
“While these legal threats to DACA raise concerns, there is also plenty of reason to be hopeful. For one thing, several bipartisan bills have recently been introduced to provide a permanent legislative solution for DACA recipients. In truth, they aren’t likely to pass and, if they did, they would probably come with unwanted changes to immigration enforcement policy. However, they do show that there’s broad bipartisan support for DACA recipients, which means that any decision to end DACA would be very politically unpopular.”
States Have Already Passed Almost Twice as Many Immigration Laws as Last Year (New York Times, 8/7/17) States supported and opposed sanctuary, refugees, and driver’s licenses or other identification for undocumented immigrants, as well as passing laws having to do with budgets and law enforcement and legal services.
A storm is brewing for DACA this September (CNN, 8/7/17) If the Trump administration fails to defend DACA, will Congress act on the Dream Act?
“There are likely enough Republicans who would support such bills with Democrats to pass them — but the question remains what they would get in return to placate the part of the Republican base who would decry even allowing a vote on the bills by leadership. And Democrats would also have to agree to the asking price for a compromise, which may be equally tough for their base to swallow.
“The Trump administration has also already said it would be “likely” to oppose the Dream Act, according to a briefing with legislative director Marc Short.”
And in other immigration news
Trump administration moves to make tougher U.S. visa vetting permanent (Reuters, 8/3/17)
“The Trump administration moved on Thursday to make permanent a new questionnaire that asks some U.S. visa applicants to provide their social media handles and detailed biographical and travel history, according to a public notice.
“The questionnaire was rolled out in May as part of an effort to tighten vetting of would-be visitors to the United States, and asks for all prior passport numbers, five years’ worth of social media handles, email addresses and phone numbers and 15 years of biographical information including addresses, employment and travel history. (See: bit.ly/2v0qsR2)”
Poor immigrants are the least likely group to use welfare, despite Trump’s claims (Vox, 8/4/17) Republicans touting the anti-immigrant RAISE Act say immigrants drain public services. That’s not true.
“But the idea that immigrants come to America to live off the government is wrong. The vast majority of new immigrants are not eligible for welfare. Even green card holders must wait for years to get most benefits. The United States already rejects applications from potential immigrants who could end up on government assistance — people who aren’t financially stable can’t even get tourist visas. And research shows that poor, uneducated immigrants are the least likely group to use welfare.”
DHS may not have capacity to hire 15,000 officers Trump promised (Cronkite News via Arizona PBS, 8/4/17)
“Those were the findings of a DHS Inspector General’s report reviewing Trump’s January executive orders calling for 5,000 new Border Patrol agents and 10,000 Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers.
“Neither CBP nor ICE could provide complete data to support the operational need or deployment strategies for the additional 15,000 agents and officers they were directed to hire,” said the report that was released late last week.”
“The young boy, whom Amnesty identified as Josué, had been detained in Berks with his 28-year-old mother Teresa. According to the Amnesty release, Teresa “fled kidnapping threats and physical and sexual assault in Honduras before arriving in the U.S. seeking asylum,” while Josué “has spent over half his life in detention, learning to walk and talk in confinement.”
Deported (The Mountain Mail News, 8/4/17) Eight German students who arrived in California to spend four weeks with host families were deported instead.
“The debacle left the students exhausted and resulted from immigration officials applying regulations differently than they had in the past, said Salida resident Susan Masterson, who has coordinated the exchange program, Rocky Mountain Language Adventure, since 2012.
“The students applied for and received traveler visa waivers to participate in the exchange program, just as other German students in the program have for the past five years.”