Bigots in high places and other immigration news


As if racist immigration policies at home are not bad enough, now the United States has nominated an anti-Muslim conspiracy theory advocate to serve as director general of the U.N. International Organization for Migration. Along with a plan to monitor USCIS employees to make sure they are not soft on immigrants, recent moves confirm the accuracy of The Nation’s conclusion about immigration policy: For Trump, cruelty is the point.

Other news: Liberian DED, a new immigration sweep in California, and even some good news.

Latest policy moves

Trump pick for UN migration job shared tweets warning of creeping Sharia, pushed fringe view of Islam (CNN, 3/15/18) The history goes back a long way, but continues through January.

“Ken Isaacs has an extensive history of sharing anti-Muslim sentiment. Isaacs pushed a conspiratorial view of Islam and promoted the fringe views from prominent anti-Muslim activists, the review shows.

“The State Department last month nominated Isaacs to serve as director general of the United Nations’ International Organization for Migration, a 169-member organization whose mission it is to promote “humane and orderly migration” through assistance to both governments and migrants. The organization is actively involved in resettling refugees, a hot button issue in Europe and the US as large populations of migrants, many of them Muslim, have fled from the war torn regions of Iraq and Syria….

“In June, the UN group’s members will hold a vote on Isaacs’ appointment. He must receive support of two-thirds of its members to get elected.

“It has been a long-standing practice for members to elect the US-chosen candidate.”

For Trump, cruelty is the point (The Nation, 3/15/18)

Without needing to change any laws, the White House has used the threat of gang violence and the need to protect national security as pretexts for draconian immigration policies. Yet the real aim has always been something else: to inflict maximum suffering as a means of pushing out unwanted newcomers as well as those whose extended presence in the country may threaten white supremacy….

“The message is clear and it’s being received: Immigrant families will have terrible choices imposed on them.”

ICE’s own figures show most immigrants in detention pose no danger to public (Splinter, 3/16/18)

“U.S. immigration officials last year classified 51% of the 39,000 immigrants in detention as posing no risk and no threat to the public, according to a new report based on official government data….

“The figures also show the “guaranteed minimum” number of detainees that various detention centers are supposed to jail….

“Still, the White House has requested an additional $1.2 billion in the upcoming budget to increase detention capacity to 48,000 detainees per day.

U.S. appears ready to cut work permits for immigrants’ spouses (MPR, 3/15/18)

“The H-4 EAD program is available only to spouses of H-1B visa holders who’ve already been approved for green cards. Not all dependent H-4 visa recipients are eligible to work, but they can live legally in the United States while they wait for their spouses’ green cards to come through.

“The waiting could take years, even decades, due to a complex immigration system that has created backlogs in different categories for immigrants from different countries. Indian immigrants typically wait more than a decade.”

U.S. Immigration agency to more closely monitor caseworkers, documents show (Washington Post, 3/16/18)

“The federal agency that runs the U.S. immigration system is creating an internal division to more rigorously police its own caseworkers, a move possibly aimed at those who may be too lenient with applicants seeking residency or citizenship, according to staffers and internal documents obtained by The Washington Post.”

Liberian Deferred Enforced Departure

Paulsen, Minn. colleagues request Trump extend protection for Liberians (Ripon Advance, 3/16/18)

“Our state of Minnesota has one of the largest Liberian populations in the country. Many of them have been in our state for decades, and they are an important part of our communities, where they serve as business owners, teachers, and health care workers,” wrote Rep. Paulsen in a recent bipartisan, bicameral letter sent to the president that also was signed by Democratic U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith and Democratic U.S. Reps. from Minnesota Keith Ellison, Tim Walz, Rick Nolan, Betty McCollum and Collin Peterson.”

Local Liberians rally to salvage detention protection program (Star Tribune, 3/16/18)

We all live in fear,” said Christina Wilson, a north metro DED recipient. “We don’t know what will happen after the 31st.”

“Wilson came to Minnesota to visit a sister living here in 2000, as civil unrest gripped Liberia. Her asylum application was rejected even as three siblings were accepted. But Wilson qualified for Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, a reprieve program opened to Liberians in 1991 and again in 1999, when the brutal conflict there flared up anew.

In other news

ICE arrests 115 in large San Diego sweep (Los Angeles Times, 3/17/18) The sweep began on the same day as Trump’s visit to California, continuing the federal offensive against California for its sanctuary state policies. An ICE spokesperson said the operation was “routine,” and that “we don’t conduct raids or sweeps.”

Anti-immigrant ads aimed at techworkers running on public transit (Buzzfeed, 3/16/18) Ads are running on BART in California.

“The campaign was paid for by Progressives for Immigration Reform, a DC-based group designated as “anti-immigrant” by the Southern Poverty Law Center (a civil rights nonprofit) in 2010.

“The ads say cheap foreign labor has made US tech workers seem “expensive, undeserving, and expendable.” They advocate for laws requiring tech companies to hire US workers instead.”

GOP immigration bill stirs tension among Hispanic conservatives (The Hill, 3/18/18)

Five of the eleven invited guests didn’t show up, including Omar Franco of the Latino Coalition, who said he would never have attended an event for legislation he strongly opposes. He said listing his name made it seem like he supports Goodlatte’s legislation.

“I simply RSVP’d to an event and I was shocked and surprised to be put up as a supporter of a bill I haven’t even read,” said Franco, a Republican lobbyist and former chief of staff to Rep. Mario Diaz Balart (R-Fla.).”

See the 20+ immigration activists arrested under Trump (NPR, 3/16/18) The Trump administration denies that it is targeting immigration activists. NPR assembles the stories of 20 immigration activists from Vermont to Washington State.

Some (sort of) good news

Salvadoran woman who alleged abuse leaves immigration center in Texas (Washington Post, 3/17/18)

“Laura Monterrosa-Flores was released late Friday from the T. Don Hutto Residential Center outside Austin, where she had been held for months, Grassroots Leadership organizer Bethany Carson said. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, which had sued on Monterrosa-Flores’s behalf, said Saturday that the Department of Homeland Security agreed to release her under deferred action, which provides individuals temporary relief from deportation.”

Immigrant held in San Diego reunited with child months after separation by feds (AP via San Diego Union Tribune, 3/17/18)

“A Congolese mother has been reunited with her 7-year-old daughter months after they crossed the California-Mexico border seeking asylum and were separated by the U.S. government, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer said Saturday.

“The daughter had been placed in a Chicago facility while the mother was held in San Diego, about 2,000 miles away, after they entered the U.S. in November and turned themselves in to U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers. The mother was released from detention earlier this month.”

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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