Immigration news from October 5, 2017

Jacobo and children

Jacobo and his family in Worthington

I’m on vacation, so this post offers little commentary, just links to some important articles, first from Minnesota and then the national news. In Minnesota, the lead story for me is that ICE has forced Jacobo Gabriel Tomas, a resident of Worthington for almost 25 years, to leave his family, his home, his job, his church, and his community – and to return to the violence-wracked country he fled as a 16-year-old.

In Minnesota

Jacobo Gabriel-Tomas forced to leave family, community in Worthington (ILCM, 10/5/17)

“Jacobo is the kind of person we should welcome to legal residence and citizenship, not someone who should be sent to an uncertain future in a country he has not seen since he was a child,” said ILCM Executive Director John Keller. “If he does not deserve leniency and exercise of discretion, who in the world does?

“The cruel impact of this decision on Jacobo and his family and community demonstrates the need for reform of a broken immigration system. There is neither sense nor justice in ripping apart a family and expelling a productive, contributing member of our community.”

Farming runs in the family at La Sureña (ILCM, 9/17) “Hard work doesn’t scare us away,” says Cira Paz Valbuena, whose family raises food at La Sureña farm in Austin.  

Africa Fashions Brought Home to Mankato (Mankato Free Press, 9/3017)

“The store just opened in June and is a one of a kind. Mankato has a handful of African Grocery stores and Halal Markets but to obtain African clothing and home décor you had to drive to Minneapolis where shops like that are in abundance….

“[Owner Habiba] Ahmed has come a long way from when she first arrived in the United States after her family fled to Kenya from war-torn Somalia. She seized on the opportunity to move to Minnesota in 2004 but had to leave her family behind. She arrived in Waseca without speaking a word of English.

29 Winners in Knight Arts Challenge; Midnimo  residency at Cedar canceled over visa delay (MinnPost, 10/6/17) Trump’s Muslim ban hits home, barring London-based Somali musician Aar Maanta from his third scheduled residency at the Cedar.

The first laid the groundwork for the Midnimo program, which began in 2014 and features Somali artists from Minnesota and around the world. Midnimo – Somali for “unity” – builds understanding of Somali culture, revives and preserves Somalia’s musical traditions, and fosters social connections between generations and cultures. All good things.

“But not good enough for the travel ban.”

Clout of Somali-American Voters Increases in Minneapolis Elections (Star Tribune, 9/30/17) Because … immigrants assimilate and become citizens. And that’s a good thing.

National news

Internal Emails Show ICE Agents Struggling to Substantiate Trump’s Lies About Immigrants (The Intercept, 10/4/17) This story comes from February emails that The Intercept got through a FOIA request – the following stories come from last week’s raids, showing that the pattern of politicization and propaganda continues.

Many arrested in recent immigration sweep are not violent offenders (Immigration Prof blog, 10/1/17)  

“ A list provided by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement shows more than 300 of those arrested had previous criminal convictions. By far the most common conviction was driving under the influence. The 86 DUI convictions, when combined with those with other traffic offenses, accounted for nearly a third of the crimes tabulated by ICE.”

State Democrats blast ICE raid targeting sanctuary cities (Boston Globe, 9/29/17)

“Let’s be clear: this decision was about going after Massachusetts cities and towns that President Trump doesn’t like,” [U.S. Senator Elizabeth] Warren said in a statement. “Instead of respecting local law enforcement decisions about the best way to protect their communities and Massachusetts court decisions enforcing state law, President Trump is using immigration police to try to force his bigoted, anti-immigration agenda on our state. It won’t work.”

50 Arrested in Massachusetts Amid Federal Immigration Sweep (WBUR, 9/29/17)

“This is what we do on a daily basis,” said Matthew Albence, with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). “This just happened to be a concerted effort to target those locations where we don’t get the cooperation from those agencies. We need to put additional resources into these locations to make these arrests.”…

“Attempts to bully state and local law enforcement into violating the constitution is no way to build cooperation between local, state, and federal government,” Carol Rose, the ACLU of Massachusetts’ executive director, said in the statement.

Supreme Court debates long detentions for immigrants facing deportation (Washington Post, 10/2/17) Jennings v. Rodriguez was set for rehearing after justices failed to reach a decision last term. Now new Justice Neil Gorsuch could be the tie-breaker.

“At issue for the court is whether immigrants slated for deportation have the right to a bail hearing and possible release after six months if they are not a flight risk and pose no danger to the public….

“Justice Stephen G. Breyer noted that even a criminal suspect accused of “triple ax murders” is entitled to a bail hearing. “That to me is a little odd,” Breyer said, his voice rising.

“Without time limits, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said, noncitizens languish in detention centers, sometimes for years. “That’s lawlessness,” she said.”

ICE issues plan to detain 1,000 more immigrants in Texas (Reveal, 9/28/17)

The contract would mean more good news for the private prison industry, which has rebounded quickly under President Donald Trump. A year ago, the federal government seemed poised to end deals with the private prison industry’s biggest players, after federal inspectors noted safety concerns in their facilities.

“In the three months following Trump’s election, stocks in The GEO Group Inc. and CoreCivic went up 98 and 140 percent, respectively, signaling investors’ expectations that the government would do more business with the companies soon.”

ICE violates its own policy by locking up pregnant women, complaint alleges (Reveal, 9/26/17) The complaint was filed by a group of organizations including  Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, American Immigration Council, Women’s Refugee Commission and ACLU,

The complaint details the cases of nine pregnant women detained by ICE for as long as three months. Some learned they were pregnant while in ICE custody, after being raped on their journey from Central America. One woman miscarried while in detention. Most are recent arrivals in the United States, but one woman had been living in Mississippi since 2015, under ICE supervision with an ankle monitor, before she was rearrested and detained in Karnes City.”



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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