From border wall to St. Cloud

Wall mural Nogales McIntosh

Border wall mural, photo by Jonathan McIntosh, used under Creative Commons license

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto canceled a planned trip to DC after a telephone conversation with Donald Trump on Tuesday. Trump expected the Mexican president to endorse Trump’s border wall proposal and promise to pay for it: a position only Trump could imagine is reasonable.  According to the Washington Post report

“One Mexican official said Trump “lost his temper.” But U.S. officials described him instead as being frustrated and exasperated, saying Trump believed it was unreasonable for Peña Nieto to expect him to back off his crowd-pleasing campaign promise of forcing Mexico to pay for the wall.”

That phone call came before Trump’s speech to CPAC, in which he called immigrants poisonous snakes, which Mexicans (and a few others) also found offensive. That would be the same CPAC convention in which someone who spoke about the beauty of a naturalization ceremony was booed.  

Meanwhile in Minnesota, community organizations and the St. Cloud Police Department arrived at a new Community Policing Agreement, replacing a 2005 agreement, and agreed to an annual review of the agreement.

A small but vocal group continues to oppose refugee resettlement in St. Cloud. State Demographer Susan Brower responded to their most recent public event, countering arguments that poverty is a reason to stop refugee resettlement.

Links to both St. Cloud stories, along with other immigration stories from across the country, below.

St. Cloud immigration news

How the 2005 and 2018 St. Cloud community policing agreements are different (St. Cloud Times, 2/22/18)

The St. Cloud Police Department and community organizations signed a new Community Policing Agreement Thursday afternoon, the first revamp since its creation in 2005….

“The new agreement addresses the idea that public safety, not immigration violations, is the primary concern of the St. Cloud police department. ” 

State demographer offers some context on Somali refugee poverty numbers (St. Cloud Times, 2/24/18) After an anti-immigrant, anti-refugee group sponsored a presentation calling for a moratorium on refugees because of poverty, state demographer Susan Brower responded, noting that the Somali population is much younger than the overall state population, and that affects workforce participation and poverty levels.

“The percentage in the labor force for men matches Somalis and non-Somalis in Minnesota, at 84 percent,” Brower said.

“For women, you see a kind of leveling out of labor force participation during the child-bearing years,”

“More young women are out of the labor force when they have children,” she said. That’s true of all groups because it’s expensive to have kids and work.”

And in other immigration news

Millions of jobs are still missing. Don’t blame immigrants or food stamps. (Washington Post, 2/22/18) At least half the decline in working population is attributable to an aging population. The rest? Multiple causes, carefully detailed.

“In a draft paper released by the National Bureau for Economic Research this week, Abraham and Kearney find that trade with China and the rise of robots are to blame for millions of the missing jobs.

“Other popular scapegoats, such as immigration, food stamps and Obamacare, did not even move the needle.”

A New Jersey lawyer and DACA recipient (NPR, 2/22/18)

“I can say there’s a lot of sleepless nights and a lot of just worry in general. And I know that’s a common feeling amongst DREAMers. It’s hard to plan out your life, essentially. It’s hard to figure out what you want to do – something as simple as in buying a car. Is it a smart move for me to buy a car considering I’m – you know, my DACA expires in six months at this point? If – I was just recently married. Do I buy a house? And can – is this a smart move to take out a mortgage? Even when you talk about just, you know, general having babies or having kids, is that a smart move considering my DACA expires in six months? It leaves a lot of uncertainty facing immigrants in general because we – it’s hard to plan out, you know, what’s going to happen and live a meaningful and successful life when you can’t really gauge where you exactly stand. And that does lead to a lot of anxiety, a lot of distress, amongst DREAMers.”

By the time ICE arrested Syed Jamal, he was low on options with immigration law (Kansas City Star, 2/25/18)

“Now 30 years into his American journey, Jamal — a father of three U.S.-born children — is facing a different kind of ethnic confrontation: an immigration crackdown that threatens to break up his family….

“Here’s a cold truth: Immigration law is complicated and stringent. Just one slip can make lawful immigrants illegal. And Jamal had a few slips dating back more than a decade.”

Oakland Mayor Warns Immigration Arrests Could Hit Bay Area Sunday (KQED, 2/24/18)

“I know that Oakland is a city of law-abiding immigrants and families who deserve to live free from the constant threat of arrest and deportation,” Schaaf said in the written statement released Saturday night. “I believe it is my duty and moral obligation as Mayor to give those families fair warning when that threat appears imminent.”

Opinion: Immigration Curbs will Weaken Social Security (Forbes, 2/21/18)

A new study by my Urban Institute colleagues Damir Cosic and Rich Johnson finds that just one proposal—a Senate bill to reduce the number of permanent residency visas (green cards)– would increase unfunded Social Security obligations by $1.5 trillion, or 13 percent, over the next 75 years. In the nearer term, it would accelerate by one year the date by which the Social Security trust fund is projected to be depleted—from 2034 to 2033….

“All else equal, fewer workers means less payroll tax revenue equals a bigger Social Security shortfall. Although the number of retirees would also fall, lost tax revenue from barring immigrant workers would exceed the decline in benefits paid to those workers in retirement.”

Three Qs: Somali artist/performer Ifra Mansour’s Arb exhibit conveys the refugee experience (Chanhassen Villager, 2//18)

What’s it like to be forced to flee from your home? What is it like to experience a suspended sense of place? Artist and performer Ifrah Mansour hopes to impart that sense of groundlessness through her installation at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.

New charges filed against No More Deaths volunteer (Tucson Sentinel, 2/19/18)

“Warren is one nine volunteers for the humanitarian aid group who have been charged by federal officials for leaving water and food in the Ajo corridor last summer.

This included four volunteers who were cited after they told federal officials that they were searching for three people lost in the wilderness, as well as five others, who were charged for entering the wildlife refugee without proper permits, driving a vehicle in the wilderness, and abandonment of property for leaving food, water and toiletry items in the desert.”

How migrant workers took on Ben & Jerry’s – and won a historic agreement (Guardian, 2/25/18)

Vermont’s cows must be milked every twelve hours, 365 days a year, or they will die. And unlike other kinds of farms, dairy farmers are prohibited from using legal guest workers because, until now, the H-2A guest worker program has been limited to seasonal farm workers while dairy farmers need help year-round. (A bill to change that was introduced in October and is working its way through the House and Senate.) So undocumented dairy workers and the Vermont dairy industry are inextricably bound together….

Then, on 3 October, came a sweet, hard-won victory. Ben & Jerry’s finally signed the Milk with Dignity agreement, giving dairy workers in their supply chain a full day off each week, Vermont minimum wage ($10 per hour), at least eight hours between shifts, and a guarantee that housing will include a real bed (not straw piles), electricity, and clean running water.

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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