Hurricane Harvey, defending DACA, pardon for Arpaio, and other immigration news – August 28, 2017

ACLU Dream Act

August was once a slow month for news, and weekends were even slower. No more: this weekend’s immigration related headline’s include ICE’s bizarre responses to Hurricane Harvey, the growing drumbeat of stories predicting Trump action on DACA, and Trump’s pardon of Joe Arpaio, which the Arizona Republic called “a sign of pure contempt for every American who believes in justice, human dignity and the rule of law.”

Defending DACA means more than reading about it. Call your Senators and Representative and tell them you want to see strong statements and action in support of DACA and Dreamers.

I know that’s not enough – we STILL need comprehensive immigration reform, but that’s not going to happen in this Congress. Let’s at least speak up for Dreamers, and ask Congress to give them the protection that even Republican voters say they support. 

Hurricane Harvey

Fear of deportation could keep Texans from evacuating for Harvey – and Trump is making it worse (Vox, 8/25/17) The Border Patrol said it would keep its immigration checkpoints open throughout the evacuation. The state of Texas said it will not check people’s immigration status at shelters. ICE said that the Border Patrol will not conduct any “non-criminal” enforcement at evacuation centers. Even if people find that reassuring, they would first have to get to the centers.

“The successful evacuation of large areas of Texas in preparation for Hurricane Harvey, which is expected to make landfall early Saturday morning and could cause devastating amounts of damage, depends on Texans putting their lives in the hands of the government. A White House statement issued Friday urged residents to “heed the advice and orders of their local and State officials”; the president’s homeland security adviser, Tom Bossert, said that “now is not the time to lose faith in government institutions.”…

“Customs and Border Protection will continue to operate roadside checkpoints within 100 miles of the US-Mexico border during the evacuation. They’ll only close a checkpoint if it’s in the hurricane’s path and the highway it’s on is closing.”

Stranded Immigrants Find Shelter from Hurricane Harvey (Rivard Report, 8/26/17)

” After learning of the situation, members of the Interfaith Welcome Coalition called city officials and other nonprofit organizations for help. Assistant City Manager Maria Villagomez said the City contacted representatives of a local church and asked them to open their doors not only for the immigrant families, but for the homeless. As of Friday afternoon, 150 people, including the immigrants, received shelter inside the church.”

ICE Left 50 Immigrant Women And Kids Stranded At A Bus Station Before Hurricane Harvey Struck (Buzzfeed, 8/27/17)

” Federal immigration authorities left about 50 immigrant women and children, most of them asylum-seekers from Central America, stranded at a downtown San Antonio bus station after service was canceled Friday due to Hurricane Harvey.

“Barbie Hurtado, a community organizer with RAICES, a nonprofit that provides legal aid to immigrant families, said Democratic Rep. Lloyd Doggett, who represents San Antonio, had called immigration enforcement officials the day before to tell them not to drop families off.”

“Knowing that, they just dropped them off,” Hurtado said. “These are women and children who have been released from family detention with no money, cell phones, and don’t speak English.”

Defending DACA

Trump May Be Making Good on One of His Harshest Campaign Promises on Immigration—Soon (The Nation, 8/25/17)

“DACA was the key immigration victory of the Obama era, and was one of Trump’s prime targets for dissolution when he was on the campaign trail. For the last eight months, Trump has left the program in place. But, according to recent reports from Axios and The Washington Post, the Trump administration is considering changes to the program, seeking to head off a deadline set by a group of conservative attorneys general who have threatened to challenge the program’s legality—unless the federal government dismantles it first.”

DHS reviewing status of Obama’s deferred-action program for illegal immigrants (Washington Post, 8/24/17)

“If Trump decides to end the successful DACA program, it would signal that he has decided to appeal to the white supremacists in his base rather than to courageously lead in this moment,” Marilena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, said Thursday. “He would be betraying the young immigrants he reassured did not have anything to worry about and claimed to have a ‘heart’ for.”

DACA, explained: why Donald Trump holds the fate of a generation of immigrants in his hands (Vox,8/25/17)

“DACA was designed to help the stereotypical “DREAMers” — immigrants who’d been raised in the US and were either on their way to college or already college graduates. It’s only available for immigrants who’ve been in the US since 2007 and arrived before they were 16; who were 30 or younger as of June 2012; who are in high school or have a high school diploma (or a GED); and who have a mostly clean criminal record.

“Those criteria still encompass a population of some 1.5 million people. And in the five years that DACA has existed, more than 780,000 people have taken up the Obama, and now Trump, administration on its offer of protection….

“DACA wasn’t a legalization program — technically speaking, immigrants who are “DACAmented” are lawfully present in the US, but don’t have legal status.

“It’s an important policy distinction. Having DACA doesn’t give immigrants any path to becoming legal permanent residents or citizens. Still, being lawfully present means that they’re able to get drivers’ licenses even in states that don’t usually allow unauthorized immigrants to drive legally.”

GOP lawmakers urge Trump to keep protections for ‘Dreamers’ (The Hill, 8/24/17)

“Children brought to the United States at a young age did not have a choice in the matter,” the lawmakers wrote. “Such cases require careful and thoughtful analysis about what is in the best interests of our country.”

“We strongly support your commitment to deporting those who have broken our laws, and we believe the resources that might be directed towards targeting those with DACA status would be better spent on targeting criminals.”

“The letter released Thursday was signed by Reps. Dan Donovan (N.Y.), Carlos Curbelo (Fla.), David Valadao (Calif.), Jeff Denham (Calif.), Don Bacon (Neb.) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Fla.).”

Pardon for Arpaio

Our View: Donald Trump just resurrected Joe Arpaio from irrelevance (Arizona Republic, 8/25/17)

“While America was talking about tearing down monuments that offend historically oppressed people, Donald Trump effectively erected yet another one.

“His pardon of Joe Arpaio elevated the disgraced former Maricopa County sheriff to monument status among the immigration hardliners and nationalists in Trump’s base.

“This erases any doubt about whether Trump meant to empower them after the violence in Charlottesville….

“The pardon was a sign of pure contempt for every American who believes in justice, human dignity and the rule of law.”

Why does Donald Trump like Sheriff Joe Arpaio? (The New Yorker, 8/26/17) Don’t know the details about the racist name-calling, the arbitrary punishment of Latino prisoners, the open defiance of court orders, the orders to deputies to follow the wife of a judge who ruled against him, the harassment of journalists, the outspoken birtherism? Read this article.

“Trump probably also likes Arpaio because the former sheriff represents in miniature what the President would like to be more maximally—a successful American authoritarian.”

Trump pardons former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, convicted of contempt of court for violating Latinos’ rights (Los Angeles Times, 8/26/17)

“During his trial, Arpaio was found guilty of ignoring a federal court’s order to cease patrols that racially profiled Latinos and stopped them on suspicion they were in the country illegally.

“In November, Arpaio lost his bid for a seventh term after a race in which his hard-line record was a top issue.”

Trump asked Sessions about closing case against Arpaio, an ally since ‘birtherism’ (Washington Post, 8/26/17) Trump pardoned Arpaio without consulting the Justice Department or going through the regular review process. There was never any doubt that he would do so:

“The president asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions whether it would be possible for the government to drop the criminal case against Arpaio, but was advised that would be inappropriate, according to three people with knowledge of the conversation.

“After talking with Sessions, Trump decided to let the case go to trial, and if Arpaio was convicted, he could grant clemency.”

Joe Arpaio and Donald Trump have a lot in common (News Day blog, 8/25/17) Full disclosure: this is my blog post on the pardon, including extensive background information on Arpaio.

And in other immigration news

Henry Jimenez: Proud Son of Two Who Were Undocumented Immigrants (Turtle Road blog, 8/25/17)  Great story of executive director of Minnesota Council on Latino Affairs.

“My ideology began at the young age of five or six, watching my dad come home late, greasy, smelly and tired and sometimes not even making it to the dinner table, passing out on the couch from working multiple jobs. He was bailing alfalfa. He learned how to fix the farm machinery and eventually he realized that truck drivers made more money, so he became a truck driver. On the weekends he fixed cars in the neighborhood and did lawn work. He was always working. My mom cleaned houses, took care of kids. Now my mom works in a hotel in Las Vegas cleaning rooms. We never starved. We had a place and food. I am always thankful to them for that. But even as a kid I would think, how is it that they work so hard and we have so little?”

Trudeau forced to backtrack on open invitation to refugees (The Guardian, 8/24/17)

“As Canadians officials scramble to process and house the new arrivals – turning Montreal’s Olympic stadium into a temporary welcome centre, deploying the military to set up a 500-person camp at the border and setting up a temporary tent city in a small Ontario city – Trudeau has set out to tone down the welcoming image his government has cultivated since taking power.

“For someone to successfully seek asylum it’s not about economic migration,” Trudeau told reporters this week. “It’s about vulnerability, exposure to torture or death, or being stateless people. If they are seeking asylum we’ll evaluate them on the basis of what it is to be a refugee or asylum seeker.”

Food Insecurity Second Most-Cited Cause of Migration from Central to North America (International Organization for Migration, 8/25/17) A new study shows poverty and unemployment first, followed by food insecurity.

“Without human rights, there is no social inclusion nor democracy nor societies in peace,” said Nestor Mendez, OAS Assistant Secretary General, at the opening of the event. “When millions of our fellow citizens are hungry, when the benefits of development do not reach everyone, when wealth is only shared by some, we cannot ensure a democratic path for our region,” said Mendez.

Whose Country ‘Tis of Thee? (NPR, 8/25/17) Latino USA looks at stories of belonging and home, and what happens when those things get called into question.

ICE to Outsource Data Collection on 500,000 Immigrants (ImmigrationProf blog, 8/25/17)

“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is looking for help from the private sector to gather and analyze a massive amount of data on 500,000 unauthorized immigrants a month – including their phone numbers, places of employment, insurance claims and payday loans….

“The “continuous monitoring and alert system” described in ICE’s request would combine real-time information on jail bookings and FBI numbers with other records that a person generates in everyday life, including car registrations, credit history and wire transfers.”

A Federal Judge Put Hundreds of Immigrants Behind Bars While Her Husband Invested in Private Prisons (Mother Jones, 8/24/17)

“Reade, a former federal prosecutor and state judge, was appointed to the federal district court by President George W. Bush in 2003. At that time, her husband, Michael Figenshaw, owned stock in the Corrections Corporation of America and Wackenhut Corrections Corporation as part of his retirement account. Now known as CoreCivic and GEO Group, respectively, these are the country’s largest prison companies, operating nearly 150 facilities and housing 150,000 inmates. Reade’s husband sold his prison stocks in February 2011, when they were collectively worth between $30,000 and $100,000, according to Reade’s financial disclosure documents, which list value ranges and not specific amounts. Between January 2003 and February 2011, CCA’s stock price went up by about 434 percent; GEO’s rose 642 percent.”

Soviet-Era Program Gives Even Unoppressed Immigrants an Edge (New York Times, 8/26/17)

“Normally, someone seeking better prospects in the United States would wait several years to be admitted. But Ms. Davydyuk, her husband, their seven children and a daughter-in-law arrived here in Vancouver in May just two years after applying. They joined a growing number of Ukrainians who have streamed into the United States in recent months even as the country has closed the door on other refugees.

“What distinguishes the Davydyuks, who are Pentecostal, from other immigrants is a program created nearly three decades ago to benefit those who suffered from religious persecution in the Soviet Union, where the Communist Party hounded religious groups it could not control.”

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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