Immigration News from September 17, 2021

Welcoming refugees is not only a moral imperative, but an economic decision. That is also true of creating a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who already live in the United States. Immigrants and refugees make a large economic contribution to the country, far in excess of costs of resettlement.

From the Council of Economic Advisors: a blog post outlining the economic benefits of extending a path to citizenship. 

“Critically, permanent legal status would allow these currently unauthorized immigrants to pursue and accept jobs for which their skills are well-suited, rather than being restricted to particular sectors of the economy, such as agriculture, construction, and leisure and hospitality, where employers often do not insist on legal status and where wages are lower on average. …

“In addition to employment opportunities, evidence from prior legalizations in the United States and in other countries suggests that legalization also encourages immigrants to improve their language skills, induces them to complete additional education and training, and improves their health outcomes, all of which make them more productive members of society….

“Allowing currently unauthorized workers to engage fully in the labor force would not only benefit the immigrants and their families, but society as a whole.” 

Afghan immigrants can contribute a lot to the economy–if they are not shunted aside into low-paying, precarious work. (NPR)

“HSU: Krause-Vilmar is CEO of Upwardly Global. It’s a nonprofit that helps refugees with professional skills find jobs. Often what they need most is help presenting their experience in ways that make them more marketable to U.S. employers. She says many of the Afghans who make it here are college graduates. They’re lawyers, engineers, accountants. And yet, according to one survey, about half end up driving for Uber, Lyft or Amazon.

“KRAUSE-VILMAR: It’s a missed opportunity for our country. That’s talent we’re leaving at the table. We have 2.4 million mid-scale job openings in our major markets right now. These are individuals that are coming with the skills that we need.”

Tech companies, and many other businesses, are contributing to organizations to help Afghan resettlement. They can also look to refugees for needed talent as new employees. (CBS)

“Lodin said she’d like to see the tech sector help Afghan refugees in the long run through job placement programs and career development workshops. ‘Support from the tech sector is important because they are supposed to be the innovators, the game changers, and that is what refugees need right now,’ Lodin said.

“She explained that Afghan refugees arriving with college degrees and fluency in English don’t want to rely on government welfare. ‘People that were working professionals in Afghanistan, to come here and not have a professional job hurts a lot,’ Lodin said. ‘It’s the same cycle of refugees coming to America that are doctors and professors and they can’t find professional work.'”

Minnesota stories

Nancy Munguizi identifies as “Ugandan/Liberian, first-generation non-binary/trans American immigrant documentary photographer, multidisciplinary artist, and storyteller.” Their new book—The Letter Formally Known As Q: Voices From Minnesota’s Queer Immigrant Community— features photographs of queer, immigrant Minnesotans, who tell their own stories in the book. (Sahan Journal)

“In addition to  local writer and organizer Aegor] Ray, these five include Ngowo Nasah of Cameroon, a web designer, photographed laughing and embracing with her wife and child; Nekessa Opoti of Kenya, a cofounder of the Black Immigrant Collective, discussing growing up in her family’s “little paradise” next to Lake Victoria; Andrea Valdes Valdes of Mexico, a graphic designer, on the fluidity of identity and the joy that comes from her two best friends and her cat; and New York native and scholar Qui Alexander, bundled up in a red parka, on his family’s journey from Puerto Rico, and how his Blackness informs his queerness.”

And in other news

QAnon conspiracy promoters film families on the border and then lie about them. In one example, they filmed children sleeping in their parents’ arms, and then insisted in a voiceover that the children had been sedated and were being trafficked. (Los Angeles Times)

“Polaris, a nonprofit that runs the National Human Trafficking Hotline, has warned that false claims about trafficking ‘can spin out of control and mislead well-meaning people.’ The hotline has been overwhelmed with false reports; disinformation harms real victims by diverting resources. These lies also help violent extremists recruit well-meaning people.

“Polaris’ chief technology officer, Anjana Rajan, told me, ‘Disinformation about human trafficking serves as a gateway narrative to radicalize susceptible audiences on every platform and encourage them to perform acts of violence and potentially terrorism.'” 

Migrants walking to the United States from South America travel through the Darien Gap from Colombia into Panama, a dangerous journey that takes about a week. (AP)

“While trekking through the lawless jungle known as the Darien Gap, migrants face the risks of being swept away by rivers, assaulted by armed groups or getting lost in the rainforest. Yet thousands of families are making the journey, hoping for a new life….

“The Darien Gap has long been used by migrants from Cuba and Haiti, who find it almost impossible to fly to Mexico or the U.S. due to visa restrictions. Migrants from African and Asian countries, facing similar problems, have also made the trek after first reaching South America….

“According to Panama’s National Immigration Service, 45,000 migrants crossed the Darien Gap in the first seven months of this year and registered with authorities, including 12,000 children.”

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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