United We Dream head wins MacArthur ‘genius’ grant and other immigration news – October 12, 2017

Good news! Congratulations to Cristina Jiménez Moreta, co-founder and executive director of United We Dream. Cristina was chosen as one of 24 people to receive the MacArthur ‘genius’ award. She came to the United States as an undocumented child, grew up here, worked hard in advocacy for DACA, and is still working for immigrants and for the DREAM Act.

In addition to Cristina, the Washington Post observes:

“The new class also includes a striking number of fellows whose work is tied to themes of global migration, the experiences of marginalized people and cultural drift across borders.

“In addition to Jiménez Moreta, grants were awarded to Jason De León, 40, a University of Michigan anthropologist who uses forensic science and archaeological methods to study the journeys of migrants from Latin America to the United States; Sunil Amrith, 38, a Harvard historian studying migration and the consequences of colonization in South and Southeast Asia; and Greg Asbed, 54, of Florida, who has worked to improve working conditions for migrant farmhands.”

MacArthur fellowships

Meet Cristina, a former undocumented immigrant who just received a MacArthur ‘genius’ award (Think Progress, 10/11/17)

Given Jiménez Moreta’s involvement in the DACA efforts, the path she took to become a MacArthur “genius” makes a strong case against Trump’s treatment of undocumented immigrants.”

MacArthur ‘genius grant’ award winners step into the spotlight: ‘Is this really happening?’ (Washington Post, 10/11/17) Among this year’s class: Cristina Jiménez Moreta, co-founder and executive director of United We Dream.

“When the call first came, Cristina Jiménez Moreta didn’t pick up. She was working from her apartment in Queens, another busy day in a busy month, and didn’t recognize the number.

“But then came a text message from a representative of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. She took notice: As the co-founder and executive director of United We Dream, a Washington-based advocacy group that helped put the cause of young undocumented immigrants on the national radar, Jiménez Moreta was eager to take what just might be a we want to help call.”

MacArthur Fellow Cristina Jiménez Moreta Speaks About Her Efforts to Protect Undocumented Youth (The Washingtonian, 10/11/17)

Though the political time is different now, what we share with young people is the fact that we have created change already, we have created change in the past, and that’s why this moment needs all of us, to continue to defend our communities and create change.  

“The courage and the hope of young people is there, and we are safer and more powerful and more protected if we are in community.”

Anthropologist Jason de León Awarded  MacArthur ‘Genius’ Grant (NPR, 10/11/17)

“NPR’s Kelly McEvers talks with anthropologist Jason de Leon, who was awarded a MacArthur fellowship in recognition of his work which shines a light on the human toll of U.S. immigration policies. His Undocumented Migration Project involves collecting artifacts left behind by migrants living and dead, from the Sonoran Desert.”

Travel ban ruling

Justices end Fourth Circuit travel ban challenge (SCOTUSblog, 10/10/17)

“If the justices are indeed waiting for the 120-day suspension of the refugee program to expire on October 24, there may not be any action on the Hawaii case in the Supreme Court until then. However, litigation challenging the September 24 proclamation could be well under way in the lower courts by that point. Attorneys in both Trump v. Hawaii and Trump v. IRAP have sought to amend their original complaints (here and here) to challenge the new proclamation, while another group – the Council on American-Islamic Relations – has filed its own challenge.”

Supreme Court dismisses 1 of 2 challenges to Trump travel ban (The Hill, 10/10/17)

“The court said the case the International Refugee Assistance Project brought against the ban is now moot since Trump’s order banning nationals from six majority-Muslim countries expired on Sept. 24….

“The court has not yet ruled on whether to ultimately hear the other challenge to the ban, which was brought by the state of Hawaii. That case also challenges the part of Trump’s ban halting the U.S. refugee resettlement program for 120 days. That provision does not expire until Oct. 24.”

Supreme Court dismisses case against Trump’s expired travel ban (Washington Post, 1010/17)

In the one-paragraph order, the court said that because Trump’s executive order “expired by its own terms” on Sept. 24, “the appeal no longer presents a ‘live case or controversy.’ ”

And in other news:

Minnesota county jails do brisk business with immigration authorities (Star Tribune, 10/11/17) Those would be Freeborn, Sherburne, Carver, Nobles and Ramsey county jails.

The five Minnesota jails that house immigration detainees have seen those populations grow markedly in 2017 amid the Trump administration’s tighter enforcement. Through August of this year, the five jails together housed an average of 577 immigration inmates per month, after averaging about 360 detainees per month over the past two years. Meanwhile, even as deportations nationally slowed, their pace increased out of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s St. Paul office….

“The increase in ICE detentions has boosted revenue for the sheriff’s offices that contract with the agency; the offices charge ICE $70 to $90 per inmate per day. In comparison, the Minnesota Department of Corrections reimburses county jails a daily rate of $55 to house inmates.

DHS explores changing immigration system without Congress (CNN, 10/11/17)

The department has been examining a range of subtle modifications to immigration policies that could have major consequences, including limiting protections for unaccompanied minors who come to the US illegally, expanding the use of speedy deportation proceedings, and tightening visa programs in ways that could limit legal immigration to the US, according to multiple sources familiar with the plans….

“If the wait time for naturalizations increases by three months, USCIS can naturalize 25% fewer people per year, which would mean millions of people over a four-year period,” said Leon Fresco, an immigration attorney and former Obama administration DOJ official. “Even without a policy change, the administration (can accomplish) dramatic reductions to legal immigration through increases in processing times and taking a hawkish approach to finding reasons for denials of immigration applications.”

Presidential supporters: We are okay with an immigration deal (Christian Science Monitor, 10/11/17)

“In more than 15 interviews, nearly all Trump supporters said they were fine with the president negotiating with Democrats – either on immigration, or generally. They viewed the outreach as part of his deal-making persona, and a necessary part of governing – particularly when he is getting so little help from his own party.”

Immigrant shielded from deportation by Philadelphia church walks free (New York Times, 10/11/17)

Mr. Flores took sanctuary last November at the Arch Street United Methodist Church, one day before he was supposed to report for deportation back to Mexico. He had been living in the United States on and off since 1997, and had been caught nine times trying to cross the border illegally, immigration officials said. Mr. Flores said he had compelling reasons for doing so: A longtime partner, Alma Lopez, their two sons, and Ms. Lopez’s teenage daughter, whom he considers his stepdaughter, all lived in the United States. Mr. Flores supported them by working as an arborist.”

Immigrant built a life, a family in Charlotte for 17 years. Now she’s being deported. (Charlotte Observer, 10/11/17) Work permit + clean criminal record + family + community = zero, in ICE’s arithmetic.

“Norma Contreras dutifully reported Sept. 21 to Charlotte’s office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which ICE required the undocumented immigrant to do as she fought to stay in the U.S.

“Contreras’ minister husband and her three children, a Charlotte family for 17 years, haven’t seen her since. Contreras is being held in Georgia awaiting deportation to her native Honduras.”


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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