Immigration News from August 23, 2021

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

Yes, Section 1326 is racist in its origin and application. Yes, Federal Judge Miranda Du spelled that out in her opinion, and struck down the law. While it’s highly unlikely that her ruling will survive on appeal to the 9th Circuit, much less the current Supreme Court, her ruling is still important. (The Nation)

“For a judge to find a law in violation of the Equal Protection Clause—to find it essentially “too racist” to be constitutional—the victim of the law has to show one of two things. They have to prove that the law, as applied, treats one race fundamentally differently and worse than others (lawyers call this “disparate impact”), or they have to show that Congress passed the law with the intent to racially discriminate.

“Judge Du found that Section 1326—which makes it a felony for people to return to the United States after being denied admission or deported—failed both tests with regard to Latinx immigrants….

“Du found that this biased impact was exactly what Congress intended when it passed the law. Section 1326 was first passed as part of the 1929 ‘Undesirable Aliens Act’ and, as if the name weren’t enough to tip you off to the racism, Judge Du has officially confirmed that Congress had impermissible racial bias when passing that act.”

Immigrant workers produce 75 percent of the nation’s agricultural production. They are, by any definition, essential workers. They also endure low wages, often brutally hard working conditions, a housing crisis, and health issues. The undocumented workers among them are at even higher risk. (Cronkite News)

“As the sun beats down on a family farm in McFarland, California, immigrant workers duck under a leafy canopy of cotton-candy grapes for a moment of relief. It’s 5:56 a.m., and temperatures are quickly rising.

“Draped in cotton from fingers to toes, with only their eyes exposed to the sun, the workers plant, pick and prune six days a week, row after dusty row, year after year. Norteño music beats a country tune in the background as they talk with each other over breakfast tacos….

“Immigrants take the riskiest jobs, are paid low wages and have been the most vulnerable to health complications throughout the pandemic, while often not qualifying for the government benefits handed out to other Americans….

“‘If this country really respected and really was cognizant of their compensation for the most essential … workers … you can’t help but think, how much better would my parents be off?’ Lepe asked. ‘Paying a few extra cents at the grocery store for people to have dignified lives is a price that we should all be willing to pay.’” 

Esmeralda Tovar-Mora has lived in the United States since she was two years old. She is one of about 700,000 people living in the temporary and precarious status called DACA—temporarily allowed to work, temporarily protected from deportation, required to renew status every two years (and pay a renewal fee of $495), and with no path to permanent residence or citizenship, no security for the future. (Tucson Sentinel)

“When Esmeralda Tovar-Mora, a 24-year-old in Kansas, realized that she would not get her work permit in time, she prepared her husband and 5-year-old daughter for the worst — deportation….

“Tovar-Mora has managed to renew her DACA permit every two years but there have been moments where she wasn’t sure she would make it home to her husband and daughter. After the administration issued a memorandum revoking the expansion of DACA in 2017, Tovar-Mora prepared a ‘deportation plan.’…

“’We are the doctors, the nurses, the teachers, the spouses, the mothers and fathers embedded into our communities,’ Tovar-Mora said. ‘I think it’s enough to say that we’re not just essential during a global pandemic.’” 

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, www.tcdailyplanet.net, 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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