Protesting immigration policies, from Fort Snelling to DC

In local news, nore than a hundred people organized by the Poor People’s Campaign and Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee protested deportation at the Whipple Federal Building near Fort Snelling this morning, with 18 arrested for civil disobedience.

On the national scene, the big immigration story continued to be the Republican “civil war” over immigration, which escalated to a level that had House Speaker Paul Ryan using language like “gee whiz” and “gosh,” and even “crap,” which, according to Nevada Republican Mark Amodei, is “pretty blue language” for Ryan.

In other news:

  • Refugees at risk
  • Anguish over ICE taking children from parents on the border
  • Promises, promises, but few waivers to Trump’s Muslim ban
  • And more

18 arrested in deportation protest on Blue Line (Star Tribune, 5/22/18)

“A dozen people sat on the tracks, blocking the train, near the Whipple Federal Building at Fort Snelling, and after they were arrested, six more sat down, and were likewise taken into custody, all on two misdemeanor charges of interference with transit and trespassing.

About 130 people in all were involved in the peaceful civil disobedience, organized by the Poor People’s Campaign and Minnesota Immigration Rights Action Committee, both of which are demanding an end to deportations. Four of the arrested were ministers, three of them from Unitarian congregations.

Republican “Civil War”

To quell growing rebellion, House leaders promise action on immigration in June (NPR, 5/22/18) Ryan said they are trying to “find where the consensus sweet spot is.”

“I can guarantee you a discharge petition will not make law, so what’s the point?” the speaker said.

To a growing number of lawmakers, the point is that inaction on immigration is worse than taking tough votes in an election year. Retiring Pennsylvania GOP Rep. Ryan Costello signed the petition and said good policy isn’t nullified just because it has support from Democrats.

Ryan vents frustration over GOP infighting over immigration (AP via KRQE, 5/22/18)

A frustrated Speaker Paul Ryan chided House Republicans for election-season infighting over immigration that sank the party’s farm bill last week, participants in a closed-door meeting said Tuesday. Leaders said they will schedule a late- June showdown over immigration, an issue that has divided the GOP for years.

“I think he said ‘gee whiz’ and ‘gosh’ and used the word ‘crap’ once,” Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., said of Ryan’s remarks to his colleagues. “For Paul Ryan, ‘crap’ is pretty blue language.

In conference, Ryan urges members to unite in the midst of immigration civil war (CNN, 5/22/18)

Ryan’s message comes as moderates in the House are few as five votes away from forcing a vote on an package of immigration bills using a procedural maneuver known as a discharge petition.

“It’s an effort that leaders for weeks have been trying to dissuade members from supporting and a threat that led conservatives Friday to block a farm bill as leverage to get their own vote on a conservative immigration proposal. Rep. Jeff Denham, a Republican from California who’s pushing the petition, told reporters that he expected there would be more signatures Tuesday, as moderate aides warn that the faction has grown frustrated with leadership’s lack of action….

Pushed on whether a few procedural tactics could be used to finally get an outcome, [Majority Deputy Whip Patrick] McHenry said “there is no fairy dust in Congress, therefore we have no immigration bill.


Refugees at risk

As US. shrinks refugee operations, new arrivals in Kansas town lose a lifeline (Reuters, 5/22/18)

“Through all the confusing experiences since they arrived in February, Htoo, his wife Htoo Say and their 2-year-old child had been guided by a refugee center run by the non-profit International Rescue Committee (IRC), one of nine designated resettlement agencies in the country. Now, on an overcast March morning, staff members were eager to help him land a job quickly.

“They were up against a deadline: in September the office will close, leaving Htoo and other recent refugees in the area without a key source of support as they start their new lives….

“Across the United States this year, two dozen resettlement offices, which are partially funded by the federal government, will be shuttered. Dozens more are being downsized.”

Canada granting refugee status to fewer illegal border crossers (Reuters, 5/22/18)

“More than 27,000 asylum seekers have walked across the Canada-U.S. border since President Donald Trump took office, some of whom have told Reuters they left the United States because of Trump’s policies and rhetoric toward immigrants.

“The influx has strained Canada’s backlogged system for assisting people seeking refugee status, leaving aid agencies scrambling to meet growing demand for housing and social services.”

This Salvadoran woman is at the center of the Attorney General’s asylum crackdown (NPR, 5/22/18)

“She fled to the U.S. four years ago, after enduring more than a decade of domestic abuse in her home country, and requested asylum here.

“Now Sessions has personally intervened in her case, questioning whether she and other crime victims deserve protection and a path to American citizenship….

“The violence started around 1999,” Ms. A.B. said. He hit her with beer bottles, she said, and held a gun to her head.

“I remember when I was pregnant with my second child, he beat me a lot,” she said, fighting back tears. “He threatened to hang me from the roof. And I got down and covered my stomach, and he started kicking me in the back.”

When her children were older, Ms. A.B. moved to another part of El Salvador. But her husband found her, she says, and raped her.

“El Salvador is a small place,” she said. “I used to go to the police, but they didn’t do anything.”   

And in other news

Anguish at Southwest border as more immigrant children are separated from parents (NBC, 5/22/18)

One of my lawyers came back from meeting his new client at the jail — and this is a very experienced criminal defense lawyer — who was shaken by the experience of talking to a parent whose child was literally ripped from their arms,” said Maureen Franco, a federal public defender for the Western District of Texas….

A woman identified as Ms. G said in an April 23 affidavit that she was separated from her blind 6-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son after crossing at Nogales, Arizona, where the family requested asylum. Her children are living in a shelter more than an hour away from where she’s being held….

““They are saying either you take your kid back and live in danger and don’t try to save your kid’s life by claiming your right to asylum, or insist on applying for asylum where we are going to separate you from your child and endanger your child,” said Michelle Brané, director of immigration policy at the Women’s Refugee Commission, a research and advocacy organization.

Coveted exemptions from Trump’s travel ban remain elusive for citizens of Muslim-majority countries (Washington Post, 5/22/18)

“President Trump’s travel ban prevented Mohammed Al-Awadhi’s Yemeni wife from joining him in Arkansas, but he was certain she would qualify for a waiver: She has a serious heart condition, she’s married to a law-abiding U.S. citizen and the rejection of her visa would tear apart their marriage and leave her in a nation ravaged by war and famine.

“But Al-Awadhi has become increasingly skeptical that the Trump administration is applying its waiver standards to those who qualify. Five months after the travel ban went into effect, immigration advocates say the waivers — permission for certain citizens from the prohibited countries to travel to the U.S. based on special circumstances — have been nearly impossible to get….

“I wake up every day, go into the hospital, treat people, take care of people, relieve people’s suffering and illness and take care of their loved ones, and I’m remembering how my wife is suffering,” Al-Awadhi said. “It’s heartbreaking. I honestly feel like I failed her.”

Trump works to cut high-skilled visas in NAFTA deal (McClatchy, 5/21/18) Wait: Is that what he means by implementing merit-based immigration?

“The Trump administration is working to slash the number of visas granted to Canadian and Mexican professionals as part of ongoing NAFTA negotiations among the three countries.”

‘Mayor Libby Schaaf Act’ could imprison officials who disclose ICE sweeps (San Francisco Chronicle, 5/21/18) Iowa’s virulently anti-immigrant Congress member, Steve King, is at it again.

“Sanctuary city policies are legal policies,” Schaaf said. “Part of the beauty of American democracy is that there is a balance between local, state and federal power. I know a lot more about what makes my community safe than a congressman from Iowa.”

Federal judges in Boston are often sharply critical of ICE tactics (Boston Globe, 5/21/18)

In January, Chief US District Judge Patti B. Saris likened a group of Indonesian Christians facing possible deportation by the Trump administration to Jewish refugees trying to escape the Nazis. In April, Judge Indira Talwani rebuked ICE for arresting a Chinese national outside the courtroom after she had been placed on probation for fraud….

In December, Judge Leo T. Sorokin ordered the release of a Yale University-educated Kenyan national who had been detained for nearly a year.

“In a biting memorandum, Sorokin blasted the Department of Homeland Security’s “repeated errors,” which he said suggested “negligence, incompetence, or bad faith on the part of the agency.”

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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