Any good news is worth highlighting – today’s good news comes from Illinois:
Rauner signs immigration, automatic voter registration bills into law (Chicago Tribune, 8/28/17) Republican Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed new legislation protecting immigrants.
“Known as the Trust Act, the new law would prohibit state and local police in Illinois from arresting or detaining a person solely because of their immigration status, or based on a federal immigration detainer. The law would, however, allow law enforcement officials to hold someone if a judge has issued a warrant.
“This was not an easy bill to pass, let’s be clear,” Rauner said, praising the bill as “a very reasonable, decent outcome.”
Hurricane Harvey, Texas, and undocumented immigrants
For Houston’s many undocumented immigrants, storm is just the latest challenge (Washington Post, 8/28/17)
“Houston is the fourth-largest city in the United States and one of the most diverse. Its metropolitan area, which includes the city and surrounding suburbs, has the third-largest unauthorized immigrant population in the country, about 575,000 people, according to a report this year by the Pew Research Center. Unauthorized immigrants made up 8.7 percent of the metro area’s population as of 2014, more than double the national average.”
On Friday, Texas SB4 takes effect, outlawing sanctuary cities and telling police to help ICE.
“As concerned as everyone is about the hurricane, we have another disaster that’s heading our way, led by the government, led by Trump,” said [Oscar Hernandez, a community organizer with United We Dream in Houston], 29, who came to the United States from Puebla, Mexico, when he was 2 years old.
” Eduardo Canales, director of the South Texas Human Rights Center, said the state is at risk of losing much-needed low-wage workers — cleaners, cooks, carpenters and landscapers — who because of the crackdown may not stick around to help Texas communities recover from the storm.”
Are Texas Shelters Safe for Immigrants Fleeing Hurricane Harvey? (The Intercept, 8/28/17)
“The best news for undocumented immigrants in need of shelter, meanwhile, may be that shelters tend not to be run by the government. “Most shelters are managed by local communities, the Red Cross, and other voluntary agencies,” FEMA noted in its statement, and the Red Cross will not request identification from people seeking to stay at its shelters.
“Texas Gov. Greg Abbott also said on Friday that people seeking shelter would not be asked to present identification.”
The Intercept noted that ICE’s statement about enforcement during the hurricane was much more vague than statements issued in 2012 and 2016 for hurricanes Matthew and Isaac.
“If ICE does try to step in, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said he’d represent those swept up himself.
“There is absolutely no reason why anyone should not call [for help]. And I and others will be the first ones to stand up with you,” Turner, who is an attorney, told reporters on Monday. “If someone comes and they require help and then for some reason tries to deport them, I will represent them myself.”
And in other immigration news
Trump’s Immigration Crackdown is Making New Homes More Expensive (Bloomberg, 8/28/17)
“A high-end home builder who supported President Donald Trump last year, Brown said the president’s immigration policies have dried up the already stretched supply of Hispanic-dominated framing labor. That has driven up home prices by slowing the supply of new houses as well as raising the cost of building them. A 3,000-square-foot house that cost $9,750 to frame even late last year now costs $18,000, he said, while last year’s six-month supply of homes in the construction pipeline is down by half.”
How ICE Uses Secret Police Databases to Arrest Immigrants (The Marshall Project, 8/28/17) Many individuals identified as gang members have no affiliation and don’t even know theya re on the list.
“Local police departments have long shared their gang intelligence with federal immigration authorities. But the feds may be using that information more now as Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrests have increased nearly 40 percent from last year. Critics of gang databases say that because of the loose criteria used to identify potential members, people with no gang affiliation are likely to be swept up in raids meant for serious criminals. Several recent lawsuits have been filed by immigrants who say they were wrongly identified as gang members and detained by ICE as a result….
“The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in August over the evidence (or lack thereof) that ICE is relying on in Suffolk County, New York, to identify high school students as gang members. Law enforcement has labeled the plaintiffs members or associates of the MS-13 gang for doing things like wearing an El Salvador soccer jersey, being observed in the presence of other alleged gang members or writing El Salvadoran area codes in their notebooks. “
Opinion: The Trump administration’s stealth attack on legal immigration (Washington Post, 8/28/17) An immigration policy analyst at the Cato Institute describes the tactic:
“The Trump administration is quietly throwing up new obstacles for legal immigrants: increasing the load of paperwork for immigration applications by double, triple or more.
“The new forms have complex and vague questions, which will result in mistakes with devastating consequences and will cost immigrants thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees to complete.”
Trump expected to decide soon on fate of young immigrants (Chicago Tribune, 8/28/17)
“Advocates on both sides of the issue are bracing for the possibility that Trump will halt the issuance of new work permits under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program, a move that would effectively phase out a program that gave hundreds of thousands of young people a reprieve from deportation and the ability to work legally in the U.S….
“‘Every time we think there’s a line this president won’t cross, he’s crossing it,’ [immigration attorney Sergio] Garcia said.”
‘Dreamer’ Plan That Aided 800,000 Immigrants Is Threatened (New York Times, 8/27/17)
“Since attacking DACA on the campaign trail, President Trump has pledged to keep the program alive, calling recipients, also known as Dreamers, “absolutely incredible kids” who deserve compassion. But in recent days, key players in his administration have advised Mr. Trump to wind down the program, and his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, has informed him he considers it unconstitutional and cannot defend it in court, according to people familiar with the discussions who insisted on anonymity to describe private deliberations. While the White House has declined to comment on the fate of DACA, several officials and people briefed on the discussions now say the president is on the brink of ending it, although they note that Mr. Trump often changes his mind.”
Minnesota’s first Swedish-born politician elected to statewide office was an avid recruiter, too (Star Tribune, 8/26/17)
“Mattson created a state immigration board in 1866 and served as its secretary. Four years later, he became the state’s first Swedish-born politician elected to statewide office. Between stints as secretary of state, he sandwiched five years with his family wooing would-be Minnesotans in Sweden — not to mention a couple of years as the U.S. consul general in Kolkata, India.”