News stories from across the state make it clear that immigrants are welcomed and valued across the state, despite the loud opposition of a small segment of anti-immigrant voices.
NOTE: 10-year-old Rosa Maria Hernandez is still held by immigration authorities. For more information on her status and on how to demand her release so she can go to her post-surgery doctor’s appointment, go to this ACLU page.
Minnesota immigration news
Residents rise up against white supremacists (Eden Prairie News, 10/26/17) Residents responded to white supremacist Twitter posts of a banner reading “You will not replace us. End immigration now! Identity Evropa,” hanging on the Minnesota River Bluffs LRT Regional Trail pedestrian bridge over U.S. Highway 212 near Eden Prairie’s Miller Park. The banner had disappeared by the time police and Eden Prairie residents responded.
“‘We’ve been trying to have a presence in Eden Prairie where we’re we’re trying to have the community stand against hate and racism and xenophobia,’ said an Eden Prairie resident who is one of the group’s members and has asked for her name to be withdrawn from this story after receiving unwanted online attention.
‘Part of the community’: Experts, students share DACA experience at film viewing (Mankato Free Press, 10/26/17)
“Speakers said Thursday night’s event was crucial to educate more people about DACA recipients and what the program means for Latinos in the area.
“It’s nice having them here and sharing what we feel,” Domingo-Sanchez said. “The majority of (the audience) was white, and so they may not understand that worry that we go through. So it’s there, and they know and can speak about it.”
“Clark Goldenrod, the policy analyst of the Minnesota Budget Project, said the estimated 9,000 foreign-born residents who call the region home have become an important part of the area’s economy. About 70 percent of those residents, for example, are participating in the workforce — a rate that compares to the overall workforce participation of native-born Americans in the region. “They’re filling important roles in the St. Cloud economy,” Goldenrod said. “Minnesota is increasingly relying on immigrant workers to fill critical roles in our workforce.”
“Many of the foreign-born residents in the area have high levels of formal education, Goldenrod said, and have jobs in a variety of occupations. For example, about a third of them work in production and transportation, while a quarter hold management positions.”
Evansville immigration case one of thousands in Minnesota (Echo Press, 10/27/17)
“As Julio Estrada Escobar sits in custody awaiting a ruling of his immigration status, there are more than 6,000 other immigration cases pending in Minnesota in the Executive Office of Immigration Review ….
“Gail Montenegro, a regional public information officer with the Executive Office for Immigration Review, said there are actually 6,215 pending cases for the Bloomington Immigration Court. Five years ago, at this time of year, there were only 3,190 pending cases. The number of cases have nearly doubled in five years.
“’Julio is not a flight risk, he’s not a violent person and he’s not danger to society. I continuously hear how everyone in the community (where he lives) loves Julio and praises his work ethic and dedication to his family and neighbors,’ Nielson said. ‘Unfortunately, the federal government currently feels it is worth spending tax dollars to hold him in detention rather than let him be with his family and neighbors while his case works its way through the system.’”
Wesley to host presentation on refugee resettlement and immigration Nov. 2 (Winona Daily News, 10/27/17) 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017 at Wesley United Methodist Church, 114 W. Broadway, Winona.
“Presenting will be Kristina Hammell from the Catholic Charities Rochester office of Refugee Resettlement. Zina Jadooa, a former Iraqi refugee and now staff member will present as well. Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement Program’s mission is to meet the needs of newly arrived refugees by providing one on-one-case management to guide them on their new journey and empower them in their new life.”
Minn. nonprofits raise alarm about feds’ interest in more immigration detention beds (Star Tribune, 10/26/17)
“A recent Star Tribune analysis showed a marked increase in immigration detentions at five Minnesota county jails that contract with ICE, leading some of them to send local inmates to other counties or increase the number of inmates jailed two to a cell. Immigration arrests out of ICE’s St. Paul office, which also covers the Dakotas, Nebraska and Iowa, were up 78 percent through June of this year compared with the same period in 2016, based on ICE data….
“According to the local nonprofits, about a fifth of detained immigrants in the state have a lawyer. Data show that those who have representation are much more likely to prevail in their cases. ‘This is why we do this work and why we are so passionate about making pro bono representation a part of the conversation,’ said John Keller, executive director at the Immigrant Law Center.”
“The Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights, the Immigrant Law Center and the American Civil Liberties Union were among several organizations that signed a letter to ICE objecting to the plans. They say people in detention are already underrepresented and deprived of legal counsel and due process.
“’Expanding detention capacity is only going to further erode people’s access to lawyers,’ said Michele Garnett McKenzie, deputy director of the Advocates for Human Rights. ‘There is just not enough help out there for people, and these are critical, life-changing decisions people are being forced to make in front of a judge, or even face to face with an immigration officer.’”
And in other news
Sen. Kamala Harris says she won’t back bill to keep government open without a plan for ‘Dreamers’ (Los Angeles Times, 10/25/17)
“I will not vote for an end-of-year spending bill until we are clear about what we are going to do to protect and take care of our DACA young people in this country,” Harris said. “Each day in the life of these young people is a very long time, and we’ve got to stop playing politics with their lives.”
The U.S. and Mexico want to slow migration from Central America. Will mass deportations help? (Los Angeles Times, 10/27/17) While Trump has asked Congress to cut spending for Central America, has ended a program that allowed minors to apply for asylum from within their countries, and may end TPS for Salvadorans and Hondurans, the Trump administration and Mexico have also planned to collaborate on programs to improve Central American economies and security.
“Mass deportations could be seriously disruptive the small, poor countries of Central America, said Eric Olson, an expert on the region at the nonpartisan Wilson Center think tank in Washington. It was the large-scale deportation of MS-13 gang members to El Salvador beginning in the 1990s, he said, that helped turn the country into one of the most murderous on earth.”
As It Makes More Arrests, ICE Looks For More Detention Centers (NPR, 10/26/17)
“Immigrations and Customs Enforcement is considering sites near four cities where it has offices: Chicago, Detroit, Salt Lake City and St. Paul, Minn. Last month, the agency put out a similar request to identify a possible detention site in South Texas….
“The U.S. has an immigration court backlog of more than 600,000 cases — or more than 2,000 pending cases for every immigration judge. That means those who are arrested for being in the country illegally could sit in ICE’s detention centers for years before they are deported.”
U.S. judge bars Pentagon from blocking citizenship applications by immigrant recruits (Washington Post, 10/26/17) The judge called DOD actions “arbitrary and capricious.”
“A federal judge has ordered the Defense Department not to block fast-tracked citizenship applications that it promised to about 2,000 foreign-born U.S. Army Reserve soldiers under their enlistment contracts.
“The order Wednesday came in an ongoing lawsuit over the department’s year-old effort to kill a program designed to attract foreign-born military recruits who possess medical or language skills urgently needed in U.S. military operations. In exchange for serving, those recruits were promised a quicker route to citizenship.”
Immigrant Ankle Monitors: Unfair Practice or Humane Service? (Voice of America, 10/27/17)
“Libre by Nexus is able to give the bonding company financial guarantees so rather than the full amount, the detainee pays a bond premium of typically 10 to 15 percent of the face value of the bond to the bondsman.
“Once the bond payment is met, immigrants must still wait while their cases, usually requests for asylum, make their way through the backlogged immigration courts. But they can leave jail as long as they are equipped with a GPS device and are willing to pay the monthly fees.
“Jose must pay $420 a month to rent the monitor. He must also pay off the bond payment and interest in monthly installments. He needs to make about $1,420 every month to cover all fees.”
Senate Committee Holds Hearing on Nominee to Head Border Enforcement Agency (American Immigration Council, 10/24/17)
“[Acting Commissioner Kevin] McAleenan has been a member of CBP leadership in various forms since 2006, serving as the port director for Los Angeles International Airport and then as acting Assistant Commissioner of CBP’s Office of Field Operations that oversees CBP’s 329 ports of entry. McAllenan became Deputy Commissioner in 2014 and held the number two spot in CBP until being named acting Commissioner in early 2017….
“Francis Cissna was recently confirmed and is now leading U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) which in charge of adjudicating and issuing most immigration-related requests into the United States.
“Kirstjen Nielsen was nominated to be the next DHS Secretary after serving as General Kelly’s chief of staff when he was Secretary of DHS.“
New USCIS Policy Creates Obstacles for Employers and Foreign Workers (American Immigration Council, 10/26/17)
“For more than 13 years, USCIS followed a commonsense policy when deciding whether to grant foreign workers the opportunity to extend their employment-based nonimmigrant status. Under the former approach, a USCIS officer could defer to an earlier petition approval if the same employer was filing an extension petition for the same worker and there was no change in circumstances since the first approval.
“Doing away with this more efficient process will impact extensions of employment-based nonimmigrant visa status, such as H-1B, L-1 and O-1. Under the new policy, USCIS officers will essentially be redetermining every petition extension anew.”
Lawsuit says asylum seekers improperly detained in crackdown (Minnesota Lawyer, 10/27/17)
“The civil liberties lawyers say people who came to the U.S. seeking asylum were once routinely granted parole, meaning they could stay out of jail while their applications were considered. But they say the practice of awarding parole to asylum seekers began declining during the Obama administration and all but ended in the Trump administration.
“‘The harsh truth is that asylum seekers who have fled danger in their home countries are left to languish in American detention without any real opportunity for release,’ said Mariko Hirose, litigation director at the refugee assistance project.”
Immigrants make up a smaller share of the U.S. population than they did 100 years ago (ImmigrationProf blog, 10/28/17) Immigrants are 13.5 percent of U.S. population today, compared to 14.7 percent in 1910.