The war in Ukraine touches Minnesota farms in many ways, including higher prices for wheat and some other commodities. Workers on the Untiedt Vegetable Farm have a more personal connection: for years, Ukrainians have come as temporary farm workers on H-2A visas. Untiedt Vegetable Farm, located near Waverly, sells produce to Kowalski’s and Cub grocery stores in the Twin Cities, and at some market stands.
[Star Tribune] “Inna Zhemchuzhkyna, 40, arrived at the farm this spring from Kharkiv, a city in eastern Ukraine under siege by Russian attacks. She wiped away tears as she recounted — speaking via translation by one of the other women — spending nights hiding with her family underground in a parking garage while Russian missiles pounded overhead.
“‘Eventually we ran out of food,’ she said.
“On March 6, desperate and hungry, she and her 13-year-old daughter and husband boarded a crowded train to Poland. …
“Like the others, Zhemchuzhkyna wants to return home by the end of the year. But there is little for her in Kharkiv now.”
And in other news
Got a family recipe for chicken soup? Open Arms is looking for ethnic recipes to better serve the diverse communities that need its help with meals.
[Sahan Journal] “Open Arms is accepting recipe submissions for its culturally specific meal project until September 5, and is offering $200 for each accepted recipe. While the project is focusing on the Hmong, East African, and Latino communities, submissions from other cultural traditions are also welcome. …
“Open Arms now serves clients with a wider range of qualifying diagnoses—today, in addition to serving people living with HIV/AIDS, it offers meals to clients with multiple sclerosis, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS), end-stage renal disease, and congestive heart failure. It also offers assistance to those affected by COVID-19.”
With Texas and Arizona continuing to send busloads of immigrants to Washington, DC, local NGOs and volunteers have reached the limit of what they can do to help. But is the National Guard the right response?
[Washington Post] “’We need space, and we need the federal government to be involved,’ [DC Mayor Muriel] Bowser said at the end of a news conference on a separate topic, calling the busloads of migrants seeking U.S. asylum who have been arriving at Union Station ‘a humanitarian crisis that we expect to escalate.’
“Several aid groups assisting the migrants denounced the request as seeking to ‘militarize’ a problem that should provoke a more humanitarian response in a region increasingly made up of immigrants. …
“The burden of assisting the more than 4,000 migrants who have come to D.C. since then has fallen on local aid groups — many of them staffed by volunteers — who have met the migrants at Union Station and helped them find temporary shelter or assisted them with plans to reach their final destinations in other parts of the country as they await asylum court dates.”
Now that the CHIPS Act has passed, the United States is on the way to greater security in manufacturing its own essential microchips—but it will need immigrant workers to do the jobs.
[Politico] “But even as Biden signs into law more than $52 billion in “incentives” designed to lure chipmakers to the U.S., an unusual alliance of industry lobbyists, hard-core China hawks and science advocates says the president’s dream lacks a key ingredient — a small yet critical core of high-skilled workers. It’s a politically troubling irony: To achieve the long-sought goal of returning high-end manufacturing to the United States, the country must, paradoxically, attract more foreign workers. …
“From electrical engineering to computer science, the U.S. currently does not produce enough doctorates and master’s degrees in the science, technology, engineering and math fields who can go on to work in U.S.-based microchip plants. Decades of declining investments in STEM education means the U.S. now produces fewer native-born recipients of advanced STEM degrees than most of its international rivals.
“Foreign nationals, including many educated in the U.S., have traditionally filled that gap. But a bewildering and anachronistic immigration system, historic backlogs in visa processing and rising anti-immigrant sentiment have combined to choke off the flow of foreign STEM talent precisely when a fresh surge is needed.”
Despite Biden campaign rhetoric and pledges, there’s more border wall coming.
[AP] “The Biden administration on Thursday authorized completion of the Trump-funded U.S.-Mexico border wall in an open area of southern Arizona near Yuma that has become one of the busiest corridors for illegal crossings. …
“The Border Patrol Yuma sector has quickly emerged as the third busiest of nine sectors along the border, with much of the traffic funneling through the Morelos Dam. Migrants arrive in the small town of Algodones and walk unencumbered across a concrete ledge on the dam to U.S. soil, where they wait for Border Patrol agents to take them into custody.”
An immigration attorney says that Title 42 bars to immigrants must end and the asylum system can and must be revamped so that the United States complies with our own laws, international agreements, and common human decency.
[The Hill] “The United States has successfully managed ebbs and flows of asylum seekers for decades. There’s a system in place to manage an influx — and regardless of how hard immigration lawyers like me fight for them to stay, many will lose their case and be deported. Even so, we must let people try. It’s not only the right thing to do, it’s also guaranteed under international and domestic law. We signed a 1967 protocol to the U.N. Refugee Convention to protect the rights of refugees, and we have adopted it and codified it into U.S. asylum law. Right now, we’re violating those obligations. The longer we do, the weaker American rule of law looks to our global partners.
“We must immediately reinstate due process for asylum seekers. And once this happens, we must work to make the system more equitable and faster. For example, a recent rule that allows asylum officers of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to decide asylum cases on the merits rather than make them wait to see an immigration judge is a good first step. We should also hire more immigration judges to process cases more quickly. Right now, over 1.8 million cases are pending in immigration courts. In some immigration courts like Los Angeles and Houston, applicants must wait over three years to see a judge.”