Virtual and physical walls trigger resistance

Wall mural Nogales McIntosh

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

Recent moves by Attorney General Jeff Sessions threaten refugees, particularly women who are victims of domestic violence. The exact shape of his new policies remains somewhat secret, but the clear thrust is cutting down on refugee admissions and eligibility. With wide authority over immigration courts and judges, he can reshape policy without the need for Congressional involvement or public debate.

The ACLU filed a lawsuit challenging another policy decision: the Trump administration’s cancellation of TPS for Haitians and Hondurans. While DHS has authority to make taht decision, the lawsuit challenges alleges racist intent and violation of due process.

Today (Tuesday), Trump plans to visit the prototypes of a physical border wall. That will play well with his base, but might not be such good news for Republican Congressional candidates in California, where the visit may increase resistance to the administration and Republicans.

Resistance across the country takes many forms. Pro Publica and Univision are teaming up to help people monitor ICE activity.

In other news: Hmong women’s advocates, immigrant teachers, and individual immigrant stories from Cambodia, California, Boston, and Minnesota.

Trump administration moves to reshape who qualifies for asylum (NPR, 3/12/18) Who do they want to leave out? Advocates fear the administration targets include victims of domestic violence.

“People like Aracely Martinez, who fled to the U.S. from Honduras and got asylum with help from the Tahirih Center for Justice, a nonprofit that supports immigrant women fleeing from violence.

“My ex’s family wanted to kill me,” she said through a translator. Martinez was pregnant when the father of two of her children killed their kids and shot her in the head before killing himself.

“She moved to another part of Honduras. But his family found her and threatened to kill her.

“I’d like to see women getting help the way I was helped,” Martinez said. “I finally feel safe in this country.”

Trump’s ‘shithole’ remark comes back to haunt him in new immigration lawsuit (TPM, 3/11/18) The ACLU is suing the Trump administration on behalf of Salvadoran and Haitian immigrants with Temporary Protected Status.

Lawyers on the case tell TPM that the immigrant parents, many of whom have lived in the U.S. for decades, are challenging the abrupt cancelation of their status as arbitrary and a violation of their right to due process. They are also arguing, citing President Trump’s infamous “shithole” comment and other disparaging remarks about immigrants, that the administration’s decision was unconstitutionally based on racial animus.”

Trump’s California border wall visit puts state’s Republicans in a bind (The Guardian, 3/11/18)

He’s gaining cheap applause outside California at the cost of real seats in California. It’s not a good trade,” said Jack Pitney, a Claremont McKenna University political scientist and former GOP congressional aide.

“California is a convenient Republican punching bag. But punching bags don’t like getting punched. Trump’s presence [here] will remind voters in swing districts about what they have come to loathe in the Republican party. His visit will motivate turnout among Hispanic voters and anger progressive white voters. There’s no way his presence will be a plus to candidates in difficult races.

Have you seen ICE or Border Patrol in your community? Tell us. (Pro Publica, 3/11/18)

“ProPublica and Univision News want to learn more about where ICE and CBP are conducting operations, and how they are affecting you. Has an immigration enforcement action impacted you or someone you know? Have you changed a habit or stopped going somewhere because of ICE or CBP activities? Tell us.

“A note about our commitment to your privacy: ProPublica and Univision News are gathering these stories for the purposes of our reporting, and will not voluntarily share your information with third parties without your express permission.”

And in other news

Hmong women’s advocates see opportunity in momentum of MeToo movement (Star Tribune, 3/10/18) Somali and Latina women also speak out in this article.

“When Sia Her spoke out about domestic abuse and sexual assault in the Hmong community two years ago, she faced instant backlash. One voice-mail message called her a “traitor to her people.”

“Hmong women’s advocates like Her publicly tackled issues of sexual misconduct long before the national MeToo conversation gained traction last fall. But they say the movement has lent new momentum to their cause.”

The immigrant teachers coming to U.S. schools under Trump’s nose (Sydney Herald, 3/10/18) They’re mostly Filipino, mostly going to the toughest classrooms, and often exploited.

“Anna Joy Mariano’s first few months on the job have been tough.

“As a special needs teacher at El Gabilan Elementary School in California’s Salinas City, she has had chairs and desks thrown at her and grappled with severe behavioural issues in her classroom.

“Then there were the stresses of moving from the Philippines, where she had 16 years’ experience as a teacher specialising in handicapped children, to pursue the new job opportunity in the United States. She left her family behind, bunked with other teachers in a foreign country and moved between two Californian cities as school resources shifted….

“In 2009, Universal Placement International, which hired 350 teachers in Louisiana, was sued for charging teachers $US16,000 and then keeping them in virtual servitude, taking some wages and threatening to deport them if they complained.”

Individual stories

Deported and sticking out: ‘This ain’t home. America’s my home’ (New York Times, 3/11/18)

Mr. Hin’s palate is American. His vernacular, slang from the streets of Stockton, Calif., is American.

“And his family’s experience is all too American. His older sister was at school in Stockton in 1989 when a man sprayed gunfire on the schoolyard. Five children ages 6 to 9, all of Cambodian or Vietnamese heritage, were killed. Nearly 30 others, including Mr. Hin’s sister, were injured. The killer had repeatedly spewed hatred of Asian immigrants….

“But Mr. Hin, 33, isn’t American. Born in a Thai refugee camp, he came to the United States as a baby. His parents, refugees fleeing genocide in Cambodia, never claimed citizenship for their son, even though he was entitled to it. Until he was jailed at age 18 for auto theft, Mr. Hin had no idea he was only a legal permanent resident.

Hin was deported to a country he didn’t know, where he couldn’t even speak the language, after serving time for auto theft. Posy Chheng, convicted of murder at age 14, served 17 years, then lived a law-abiding life for 5 years.

“Posy Chheng was deported last May, just a couple weeks after his son was born. His wife grew up in Minnesota farm country and knew nothing about the American secret bombing campaign in Cambodia or the ensuing reign of terror unleashed by the Khmer Rouge.

‘I was blindsided.’ How a routine immigration interview turned into an arrest (Boston Globe, 3/11/18)

“At first, the conversation with the two immigration officials was friendly.

“They said they believed her marriage to an American citizen was genuine, Lilian Calderon Jimenez recalled. Her application to become a permanent resident was cleared to move forward.

“They even chatted about sports, teasing her over her love for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Calderon said….

“Minutes later on that January morning, Calderon, a 30-year-old waitress, was in handcuffs, sobbing. …

“Calderon, who was brought to the United States illegally when she was 3, would spend nearly a month in a Boston jail, while her husband, her immigration attorney, and lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union fought for her release.”

Woman’s immigration arrest in California draws criticism (Washington Post, 3/9/18) A viral video shows agents pulling the woman away from her crying daughters on the street.

“The woman’s attorney, Andres Moreno II, said agents left the daughters — ages 17, 15 and 12 — alone on the street. The children, all U.S. citizens, are now living with family in the San Diego area.

“Morales-Luna, 36, is a single mother who came to the U.S. from Mexico when she was 15 years old, Moreno said.”

‘Please don’t deport our professor’ (Chronicle of Higher Education, 3/11/18) Augsburg students and faculty stand up for professor under threat.

“[Augsburg University President Paul] Pribbenow said he “never imagined that it would be our mild-mannered English professor who would be the one that would attract this kind of attention.”…

“In a little over a day, it had received more than 7,500 signatures. He also was among the crowd of supporters who protested in front of the ICE building.

“Faculty members like Sarah Combellick-Bidney also helped spread the word. She sent a press release to anyone who would listen. The chair of the English department, Robert J. Cowgill, also spoke up. If not for people like them, Pribbenow said, administrators would not have known Wanyama was potentially facing deportation….

“He’s not the kind of man who would demonstrate for himself. In fact, he is not the type of person that would be comfortable at the center of this storm,” Cowgill said. “He is very modest and unassuming.”


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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