Talking back to Trump

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Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and immigration advocate and Dreamer Juan Escalante talk back to President Trump in two eloquent opinion articles linked below. Schaaf says she will continue to “call out this administration’s anti-immigrant fearmongering for what it is: a racist lie.” Escalante dismisses Trump apologists’ attempt to explain away his “animals, not people” rhetoric, noting that “Trump has consistently dehumanized immigrants as a group,” and that this is reflected in actions as well as words.

In other news:

  • Debunking Fox News allegations about ‘suitcases full of cash’ and Somali day-care
  • Republicans fighting with each other over immigration
  • Deporting a citizen in Minnesota, worksite raids, gang membership allegations by ICE, asylum for Venezuelans, zero tolerance overwhelming border courts

Talking back to Trump

No, Mr. President, I am not obstructing justice (Washington Post, 5/18/18) Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf fights back.

“As mayor, it’s my duty to protect my residents — especially when our most vulnerable are unjustly attacked. As a leader, it’s my duty to call out this administration’s anti-immigrant fearmongering for what it is: a racist lie.”

It’s not just rhetoric: Trump’s policies treat immigrants like me as ‘animals’ (Vox, 5/19/18) Juan Escalante explains:

“I’m an immigration advocate and a recipient of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy. I’ve been following the Trump administration’s words and actions closely on immigration issues because my future depends on it. The “animals” comments are nothing new: Trump has consistently dehumanized immigrants as a group, comparing all of us to rapists and gang members from the earliest days of his campaign….

“[W]hether Trump meant MS-13 gang members or immigrants as a whole doesn’t really matter: In his eyes, and in the directives that have shaped his policies, they are one and the same. Equating these groups is impacting real lives — Trump officials do it in their rhetoric, and they do it in their policies.”

‘Suitcases full of cash’?

‘Suitcases full of cash’: the story behind the story (News Day blog, 5/20/18) After Fox News smeared Minnesota Somalis in a report based on anonymous sources and rumors, the Star Tribune, MPR and the Pioneer Press debunked the story. A press conference by Somali leaders and others pointed out that years ago, the U.S. government forbade U.S. banks from sending money to informal banking systems in Somalia. That left Somali-Americans with no way to send money to relatives desperate for help—except by sending cash.

“Some people want to talk about ‘suitcases full of cash’, then let us talk about them,” said Abdiaziz Sugule, president of the Somali American Money Services Association (SAMSA), which represents Minnesota’s Money Services Businesses (MSBs) for Minnesotan Somalis. “To be clear – they are not, nor have ever been a secret, they are registered with the government and easy to track. But the more fundamental truth is we don’t want them.  It is dangerous for us, and risky for the money that we are trying to send to our loved ones.”

Additional coverage of this story:

Republicans fighting each other over immigration

Republican moderates and the “Freedom Caucus” are locked in battle with each other and with House leadership over immigration. At issue: a discharge petition, ‘Queen of the Hill’ opportunities for voting on immigration, the farm bill, Dreamers, and the anti-immigrant Goodlatte bill.

A House debate over immigration just killed the farm bill—for now (Vox, 5/18/18) The farm bill, up for its every-five-years renewal, already had problems. Then it got tangled up in the immigration debate, with both Republican DACA proponents and the anti-all-immigrants right wing of the party somehow making the farm bill vote a fight over immigration.

Immigration a fraught issue for GOP as mid-terms approach (Denver Post, 5/20/18)

“Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., a leader of the moderates, said his group would try to write a bill that would let young “Dreamer” immigrants in the U.S. illegally stay permanently — a position anathema to conservatives — and toughen border security.

“A moderate immigration package “disavows what the last election was about and what the majority of the American people want, and the people in this body know it,” said Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa. He’s a member of the hard-right House Freedom Caucus, many of whose members opposed the farm bill.”

In other news

With birth date in dispute, Twin Cities man faces deportation while insisting he’s an American (Star Tribune, 5/2/0/18)

“The U.S. government wants to deport Ali Abdalla to Somalia. The hurdle? The Twin Cities man insists he is an American.

“The case hinges on a simple but disputed biographical detail: Abdalla’s birth date.”

ICE worksite raids are back. Here’s what we know about them. (Urban Institute, 5/9/18) A reminder of lessons from a 2010 report, updated.

  • Worksite raids offer a look at how ICE actually implements humanitarian guidelines.
  • Families affected by detention and deportation need more than short-term legal support.
  • Large-scale enforcement actions create a culture of fear and stress that have significant health impacts.
  • Worksite raids can devastate small town economies.
  • Worksite raids can uncover abuses that give immigrants a path to legal residency, but hurried processing denies them this chance.

Swept up in the sweep: the impact of gang allegations on immigrant New Yorkers (NY Immigration Council, 5/16/18) “Through an extensive field study, the report shows how Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), with other federal agencies and law enforcement, uses arbitrary methods to profile immigrant youth of color to allege gang affiliation.” PDF of full report here.

“The problem is that the threat of MS-13 is purposely exaggerated to manipulate support for unfettered immigration enforcement in the name of gang-policing, without addressing the effectiveness of such policies or their devastating consequences—the large-scale detention and deportation of Latinx individuals. All empirical evidence shows that MS-13 on Long Island lacks basic organization and coordination. And while MS-13 is undoubtedly violent, the gang is not, by far, responsible for the majority of crimes committed on Long Island or, more broadly, in New York. The Trump administration has created and exploited public fear of MS-13 to further the Administration’s own anti-immigrant agenda.”

As Trump tightens asylum rules, thousands of Venezuelans find a warm welcome in Miami (Washington Post, 5/15/18)

“They are, in general, whiter, wealthier and far more likely to have legal representation, an advantage that significantly boosts their chances of being allowed to stay, statistics show. And they have the backing of South Florida politicians, especially Cuban American lawmakers who view them as natural allies in a regional struggle against Latin American leftism.”

New ‘zero tolerance’ immigration crackdown fills border courts (Los Angeles Times, 5/18/18)

“We have always been one of the busiest courts in the nation,” said McAllen Assistant Federal Public Defender Miguel “Andy” Nogueras. “Now it’s ridiculous.”

“Of the 92 migrants, 65 had no criminal records. Ten were parents, all separated from their children. Most were from Mexico and Central America…”


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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