Immigration News from September 10-11, 2021

9/11 affected everything in the country—including immigration, which was temporarily shut down, and immigrants. The anti-Muslim, anti-Arab racism that boiled over after 9/11 brought a new generation of activists to fight for immigration reform. DACA was one of their wins, but the battle continues. (Los Angeles Times)

“Ali-Reza Torabi was a sixth-grader in San Diego when two planes slammed into the Twin Towers in New York on Sept. 11, 2001. 

“Torabi was living in the country without documentation after moving to the United States from Iran with his mother and brother six years before. The attacks would divide his life into two distinct parts: ‘There was pre-9/11 life and post-9/11 life,’ he recalled.

“His father, a baker and construction worker in Shiraz, had been trying to join the family after his visa application was initially rejected pre-9/11. After 9/11, Torabi said, that became “nearly impossible,” and his dad would eventually give up hope of joining his family. They haven’t seen one another in 26 years.

“Following the attacks, Torabi remembers classmates hurling racist slurs at him because of his Middle Eastern ethnicity….

“Cristina Jiménez, the co-founder and former executive director of United We Dream, a youth-led immigrant rights group, and fellow New Yorker, also recalls members of the community becoming ‘caught up in the deportation pipeline’ after 9/11.

“’Many of us in the immigrant youth movement became involved because we increasingly experienced targeting and deportation by [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] agents and by local police, and we got activated to defend people from deportation.'”

Many undocumented immigrants joined in the cleanup and rebuilding after 9/11. Some are still seeking medical care for the damages they suffered and asking for resident status because of their service. (AP)

“Franklin Anchahua cleared thick layers of dust in offices, apartments and even in a chapel in lower Manhattan for weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks. 

“At first, he treated his heartburn and acid reflux with herbs his mother would send from Peru. He avoided available health programs because he lives illegally in the U.S. and feared deportation. 

“Until the discomfort was too much.

“’It was awful. I needed medical treatment, a specialist. I also had breathing problems,’ said Anchahua, 50, who sought care for the first time at Bellevue Hospital in 2011….

“Hired informally by cleaning companies, [undocumented workers] cleared debris, asbestos and dust inside lower Manhattan buildings for months without adequate protective gear. Some are struggling to cope with how the disaster transformed their lives, saying they are also treated for anxiety, depression and post traumatic disorder.”

And in other news

Laura Yuen hopes for a future for her sons where “all Asian American boys could see themselves on a magazine cover, in a Marvel movie, or in a bathroom mirror, as beautiful, brave, desirable and strong, and not think twice about it.” In the meantime–she’s glad that Shang-Chi is out there. (Star Tribune)

“But now with the new Marvel movie “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” I have hopes that we are turning a corner in how Asian American men are seen in film and beyond. As a community, we celebrate this moment….

“If you are white, you may not know the feeling of never seeing yourself play the hero. …

“[S]eeing Asian American superheroes who aren’t going to be pushed around is important at a time when anti-Asian hate is resurfacing and many are terrified of a wave of attacks targeting women and elders, Stopera said.

While taking long walks with his mom during the pandemic, he has found himself clenching his fist, ready to fight back if a stranger were to start something. So “Shang-Chi” is much more than a movie.

“”It’s like a life preserver when we’ve been treading water,’ he said.” 

Now is the time for Congress to create a path to citizenship—for Dreamers, for essential workers, for TPS holders. But first, they have to convince the Senate parliamentarian to approve the path to citizenship legislation as part of the budget package. (CBS)

“Congressional officials said they could receive a decision from the Senate parliamentarian as early as next week. If the first bid is not successful, Ruiz said Democrats will present a new case to the parliamentarian to vouch for the legalization program’s inclusion.

“Even if the parliamentarian signs off, the Democrats’ legalization proposal is unlikely to garner any support from congressional Republicans, who have denounced it as ‘amnesty.'” 

And from Erie, PA, one more story of immigrants boosting a community’s population and economy. (GoErie.com)

“Bhutanese refugees make up the largest group of refugees in the Erie community. In fact, four of the five largest groups of refugees to settle in Erie County in recent years share a common distinction: They all hail from an Asian country.

“So it comes as no surprise to Dylanna Grasinger, executive director of the International Institute of Erie, that Erie’s Asian population more than doubled over the last decade, from 3,077 in 2010 to 6,380 last year, according to the 2020 U.S. Census.

“‘We’ve got a lot of the population who are homeowners at this point, several business owners, professionals, kids in college,’ Grasinger said. ‘Erie’s been very welcoming to this particular group and I think they’ve been very successful because of it.'” 

“Mixed status household” means a family in which members have different immigration statuses, with U.S. citizens, legal permanent residents or temporary visa holders, and at least one undocumented individual. (The Hill)

“More than 10 million U.S. citizens share a household with an undocumented immigrant, according to a new analysisof Census Bureau data by immigration advocacy group FWD.us.

“Nearly half of those U.S. citizens, 4.9 million, are children who have at least one undocumented parent.

“The report shows the extent to which undocumented immigrants are integrated in their communities, with 22 million people living in mixed status households.”  

Temporary Protected Status is extended to December 31, 2022 for El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, and Sudan.(Reuters)

“The United States will extend deportation relief and work permits for more than 300,000 Salvadorans, Hondurans and other immigrants in the United States and enrolled in a program known as Temporary Protected Status (TPS)…

“The “extension ensures continued compliance with various court orders issued by federal district courts,” the announcement from USCIS said. Current beneficiaries under the TPS designations do not need to pay a fee or file any application to maintain their TPS and have their TPS-related documentation automatically extended through the designated period.”

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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