Some days, this blog seems just too hard to write. Today is one of those days. In Ohio, ICE has denied an appeal by the caretaker and father figure of a six-year-old paraplegic boy. He will be deported. In Washington, the Trump administration has ended Temporary Protected Status for almost 200,000 Salvadorans, 88 percent of whom are working, one-third of whom own their own homes, most of whom have lived in this country for 20 years, two-thirds of whom have U.S. citizen children. Doesn’t matter. They have until September 8, 2019 to leave their home communities to return to one of the world’s most violent countries.
Meanwhile, Congress sputters on, unable or unwilling to protect the Dreamers. Trump’s demands grow more outrageous every day. Perhaps the USA Today headline says it best: Trump: DACA will be ‘terrific’ if Democrats back his own immigration plans
DACA and Dream Act stories
At Least 1,900 Immigrants Were Rejected Because of Mail Problems (New York Times, 1/5/18)
“As Congress debates the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, which is set to expire on March 5, the rejected applicants have been scrambling to overcome the government’s error. Many have already lost their work permits, causing a cascade of consequences….
“A spokesman for the immigration agency, Steve Blando, said that the agency has given people 33 days to resubmit their renewal forms, but would not make the applications a priority. Nor would the agency extend their current permits to cover any gaps, or even make the permit, when received, retroactive.”
Opinion: Trump’s disgraceful use of ‘dreamers’ as a bargaining chip (Washington Post, 1/4/18)
“After all of President Trump’s bluster about his “great love” for “dreamers,” brought to this country as children through no fault of their own, it turns out he’s content to use them as leverage in a high-stakes game of political horse-trading. Mr. Trump seems willing to strip them of jobs, security and homes unless Democrats buckle on a range of Republican immigration priorities, including an even longer-standing object of the president’s ardor: a beautiful border wall.”
Pair of lawmakers unveil bipartisan DACA plan (CNN, 1/8/17) It’s hard to count the number of DACA plans and fixes proposed. The latest comes from Reps. Will Hurd, a Texas Republican, and Pete Aguilar, a California Democrat and whip for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus,
Inside the faltering Dreamer talks (Politico, 1/5/18)
“The White House had not provided details to a bipartisan group of key senators on what border security and immigration restrictions they wanted in return for helping Dreamers, according to the negotiators, despite a mid-December pledge to do so. The administration did offer some information to a small group of senators before a closely-watched meeting Thursday, but it’s unclear how widely those details were shared, even with lawmakers actively working on the issue. The proposal includes $18 billion for a “border wall system,” according to a GOP official familiar with the document.”
Trump, GOP congratulate selves for immigration meeting four months into DACA crisis (Huffington Post, 1/4/18)
“Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who is involved in bipartisan negotiations, didn’t attend Thursday’s meeting at the White House for that very reason.
“I have no interest in attending any more Republican-only meetings on DACA,” Flake told reporters. “It’s counterproductive. This has to be a bipartisan bill.”
White House Immigration Demands Imperil Bipartisan Talks (New York Times, 1/5/18)
“The White House on Friday presented Congress with an expansive list of hard-line immigration measures, including an $18 billion request to build a wall at the Mexican border, that President Trump is demanding in exchange for protecting young undocumented immigrants.
“The request, which totals $33 billion over a period of 10 years for border security measures including the wall, could jeopardize bipartisan talks aimed at getting an immigration deal. Among the items on Mr. Trump’s immigration wish-list: money to hire 10,000 additional immigration officers, tougher laws for those seeking asylum, and denial of federal grants to so-called “sanctuary cities.” https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/05/us/politics/trump-republicans-immigration-spending.html
Trump administration seeks $18bn from Congress for Mexico border wall (The Guardian, 1/5/18) The money would go for a few hundred more miles of walls, and for thousands of additional border patrol and other immigration personnel.
Immigrants have kept Minnesota population fairly stable over the past 15 years, almost balancing an outflow of U.S.-born residents. This year, Minnesota actually gained in both domestic and international migration, with a net population increase of 52,000. That’s good news for Minnesota’s economy, Minnesota employers, and may point the way to keeping Minnesota’s current eight seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.
After a 15-year exodus, why are people suddenly moving to Minnesota? (Pioneer Press, 1/3/18) Minnesota has been losing population every year, until 2017.
“But the Census Bureau last month said Minnesota gained an estimated 7,941 residents through domestic migration for the year ending July 1.
“Combined with 16,460 from international net migration and 27,379 from natural growth (births minus deaths), Minnesota’s population last year grew by nearly 52,000 — roughly the size of Edina — to 5,576,606.”
More people are moving to Minnesota after 15-year exodus (Albert Lea Tribune, 1/7/18)
“The numbers offer hope for employers that Minnesota’s labor force could grow faster than expected.
“I sure hope that it’s a turning point and not a one-time blip in the data,” said Steve Hine, labor market information director for the state’s Department of Employment and Economic Development.”
Meanwhile, in New Brighton, residents of a trailer park report threats by the manager to call immigration over a variety of disagreements. Minnesota’s Department of Human Rights say that complaints of discrimination against immigrants are increasing.
Immigration arrests blamed on brouhaha at New Brighton trailer park (Star Tribune, 1/7/18)
“In a complaint to the Department of Human Rights alleging discrimination based on national origin, resident Sandra Gonzaga Perez says the manager made repeated threats about calling immigration authorities. The complaint says that after someone stuck nails in Florio’s tire, she told Perez’s young daughter, “If I find out one of you Mexicans did this, I am going to call Immigration.”
“Another resident, Mireya Ortiz, said immigration officers stopped her four days after an argument with Florio, but she showed them her legal work permit and was not arrested. Residents say eight other tenants, former residents and a visiting relative were detained.”
And in other news
Op-Ed: Changes to Family-Based Immigration Attack Bedrock Values (Lexis Nexis Legal Newsroom, 1/4/18)
“Since LBJ signed the modern Immigration and Nationality Act in 1965, family unity and family reunification have been the bedrock and cornerstones of our immigration policy — and rightly so, as they reflect core American values. …
“Family-based immigration has had a profoundly beneficial effect on American life in every realm: economic, cultural and social. All of us can count relatives, friends, neighbors and co-workers who are American “success stories” because they were sponsored for green cards by family members.”
New Documents Underscore Problems of ‘Social Media Vetting’ of Immigrants (ACLU, 1/3/18) Latest revelations: social media information on immigrants, including their contacts and conversations with people residing in the United States, will be retained by the government for as long as their immigration files are open—at least years, sometimes decades. Pilot programs show no useful information from social media vetting.
Born in the U.S.A. and working in the fields – what gives? (Los Angeles Times, 1/4/18)
“Del Bosque said he’ll hire anyone who shows up ready to work. But that rarely means someone born in the U.S.
“Americans will say, ‘You can’t pay me enough to do this kind of work,’” Del Bosque said. “They won’t do it. They’ll look for something easier.”…
“In California, farm wages increased 13% from 2010 to 2015, according to a Los Angeles Times analysis of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Some farmers have resorted to giving field laborers benefits such as 401(k) plans, health insurance and even subsidized housing.
“But they’ve still struggled to recruit enough workers.”
Sessions Refers Administrative Closure Question to Himself” in Lexis Nexis Newsroom, (Lexis Nexis Legal Newsroom1/5/18) Links to underlying case of Matter of Castro Tum, and summarizes: “The Attorney General referred the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals to himself for review of issues relating to the authority to administratively close immigration proceedings, ordering that the case be stayed during the pendency of his review.”
Sessions takes aim at judges’ handling of immigration cases (ABC News, 1/5/18)
“Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Friday launched a review of a little-known but widely used practice of immigration judges closing cases without decisions, potentially putting hundreds of thousands of people in greater legal limbo….
“Immigration judges are employees of the Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review, giving the attorney general broad oversight powers even as they assert independence. Sessions, a former U.S. senator from Alabama and immigration hardliner, signaled last month that he planned to be heavily involved in setting policies aimed at reducing a court backlog of 650,000 cases and deciding cases more quickly, and Friday’s announcement was a step in that direction….
“Sessions intervened Friday in the case of Reynaldo Castro-Tum, who came to the country as a child in 2014 from Guatemala, to launch a review that may affect every judge.” http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/sessions-takes-aim-judges-handling-immigration-cases-52158205
Nativists Can’t Back Up Their Claims on Immigration and Crime (Immigration Impact, 1/3/18)
“[S]ince some undocumented immigrants are in fact serious criminals, nativists argue that we would have fewer criminals in the United States if we had fewer undocumented immigrants. Yet the same reasoning applies to any social group. If we had fewer white people, or short people, or blonds in this country, then there would be fewer serious criminals as well since some criminals are white, and some are short, and some are blond. Missing from this argument is the fact that immigrants commit crimes at a much lower rate than the native-born.”