Immigration News from September 9, 2021

Worthington storefront shows the community’s diversity.

Soom Chandaswang came from Laos to Worthington, starting first grade 30 years ago. Modeste Zinzindohoue, from Benin, arrived in Austin 10 years ago—now he’s part of a community of 500 immigrants from Benin, drawn by the promise of peaceful small-town living. Worthington, Austin, Willmar: stories of immigrant contributions to rural Minnesota abound, and Sahan Journal does a great job at reporting them.

“Soom Chandaswang remembers the first day she walked into her first-grade class in Worthington and realized she was the only student of color. Her family had just moved from Laos. This was 30 years ago and, at the time, there were probably 10 Asian families in the area, according to Chandaswang.

“’Now it’s the opposite,’ she said. ‘You go into a classroom now and the majority are the minorities.’…

“Minnesota’s small cities are becoming more diverse. According to the 2020 U.S. Census, over the last decade, Nobles County, with its county seat of Worthington, experienced the state’s largest increase in people of color. In 2010, the county’s population was two-thirds white, but in 2020, its residents were 43 percent people of color. The census results show that the nation as a whole is diversifying, but some counties in southern Minnesota are ahead of the curve….

“‘There’s a feeling of similarity to home in that many people are from small towns in their birth countries, so they like the small-town feel and are used to agricultural settings,’ [ILCM attorney Sara] Karki explained.” 

And in other news

Economists have joined the chorus of voices calling for a path to citizenship through budget reconciliation. (CNN)

“The more than 50 economists, including former President Barack Obama’s top economic adviser Jason Furman, cited research and studies underscoring their analysis that immigration revisions would increase wages and productivity across the US economy, including creating jobs and lifting families out of poverty. 

“The letter adds to the growing chorus of immigrant advocates and Democratic lawmakers who want to prove that including immigration revisions in any budget reconciliation legislation would have budgetary effects and as a result should be included in the final version of the bill.”

The Biden administration will comply with the Supreme Court order to restart Trump’s Remain-in-Mexico program, despite its strong opposition to the program. (CBS)

“During an interview this week with ‘CBS Evening News’ anchor and managing editor Norah O’Donnell, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said he opposed the Remain in Mexico policy, citing ‘very poignant and powerful pictures’ of migrants’ living conditions.

“‘The Matamoros camp where we saw individuals living in squalor who don’t have the ability to work, where the conditions are inhumane,’ Mayorkas said. ‘We just saw the camp in Reynosa similarly situated. It is not in the best interests of individuals who are seeking humanitarian relief under United States law.’

“Despite these comments — which echo President Biden’s own statements about Remain in Mexico — Mayorkas said he is ‘obliged’ to revive the Trump administration policy due to the court order from August. ‘We’re planning to implement the program while we litigate the ruling,’ he added.”

Did you know that ICE hires private police to make immigration arrests? That should be illegal–and a federal judge in California just ordered that a lawsuit challenging the practice can proceed..(Reuters)

“Solano, who is represented by the American Civil Liberties Union and Munger, Tolles & Olson, says that since 2016 ICE has illegally farmed out its power to make arrests to London-based G4S, which regularly subjects detained immigrants in California to “burdensome and lengthy voyages” with limited access to food, water and toilets….

“Solano’s lawyers say nothing in the Immigration and Nationality Act allows ICE to contract out the power to make arrests to private entities such as G4S, which currently has a contract with the agency that runs through July 31, 2023. Solano is seeking to represent a class of all individuals in custody at California prisons and who are the subject of an ICE detainer request.

“CE in a June motion to dismiss argued that the lawsuit is moot because the agency in March reaffirmed an April 2018 notice stating that only immigration officers can facilitate custody transfers.”

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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