Changing the Focus to Facts and Hope

IMG_3765As chaos in DC deepens, we seem to bounce from one awful report to the next. Besides what actually happens (e.g., Trump saying the special counsel investigation was treasonous), rumors and speculation accelerate. Will Trump nominate attack dog Stephen Miller as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security? As director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)? As “immigration czar,” whatever that is? Or will it be former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach? Or maybe Julie Kirchner, the former executive director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform? Will Trump reinstate family separation or close legal ports of entry or end asylum processing or take other completely illegal actions?

Reading and hearing the torrent of hateful nonsense spewed by Trump and Company makes it tempting to speculate endlessly on Trump’s next move and to despair over the future of the country and constitution.

I know. I’ve been there. Sometimes daily.

I also know that neither speculation nor despair helps me or the country. I need to pay less attention to the Trum-ery and focus instead on facts, and then on trying to convey facts to others. I need to work on building solidarity rather than division, on taking positive actions, however small, to build the muscle of resistance. Continue reading

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Central America: Staying and Leaving

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Images: Courtesy of Front Line Defenders, https://www.frontlinedefenders.org

Human rights defenders in Guatemala are under attack, the Maryknoll Office of Global Concerns said in an appeal for solidarity last week, citing 391 reported attacks against human rights defenders, including 26 killings and 147 cases of criminalization in 2018.

Two of those threatened by the current Guatemalan government are Maryknoll affiliates in Guatemala. These human rights defenders have been targeted because of their defense of the country’s Constitutional Court. This is one more chapter in the ongoing saga of human rights violations in Guatemala. (Here’s a link to the Maryknoll call to action, related to this specific case.)

These defenders have not fled the country to seek asylum. If they do, they will not be welcomed by the United States, which no longer welcomes any asylum seekers. (“This country is full,” the current U.S. president insisted at the border, calling for an end to all asylum and the abolition of the immigration court system and all judges.)

“Congress has to act,” Trump said. “They have to get rid of catch and release, chain migration, visa lottery, they have to get rid of the whole asylum system because it doesn’t work, and frankly, we should get rid of judges.”

Despite the physical and legal barriers thrown up against them, asylum seekers and economic migrants continue to head north from Central America. Continue reading

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“Getting Tougher:” Chaos Continues

 

White House

After withdrawing his nomination of Ron Vitiello for the head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and forcing the resignation of Department of HOmeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, Trump continued his rampage through the ranks of his own hand-picked security and immigration officials. Continue reading

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The Apprentice: Immigration Edition

Trump caricature by DonkeyHotey

Trump caricature by DonkeyHotey, used under Creative Commons license

Remember the television “reality” show that Trump hosted for 14 years? Each episode ended in the mock corporate boardroom meeting, with Trump eliminating another contestant  with his trademark “You’re fired!” He liked the TV reality show format so well that he seems to be using it as a model for running the country. This week: goodbye to Ron Vitiello, Kirstjen Nielsen, and a threat of getting rid of all the judges. Continue reading

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Help Wanted: Immigrant Workers Desperately Needed

organized, educated, here to stay

Two stories highlight the U.S. economy’s need for more, not fewer, immigrant workers. The New York Times reports on shortages of workers in building trades and agriculture, while MinnPost highlights the growing need for more healthcare workers.  

Immigrant workers fill growing needs across the economic spectrum, from high-tech workers in Silicon Valley to personal care attendants making it possible for elderly U.S. citizens to age in place in their own homes. According to the New York Times article, housing starts have more than doubled since 2009, but the number of workers has not  kept pace. Immigrants are one-in four construction workers, and nearly half of those in plastering, roofing, and hanging drywall. Continue reading

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Twice as Many Border Patrol Agents, Far Fewer Arrests: What Kind of Crisis is This?

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NOTE: These immigration updates will be shorter and less frequent over the next two weeks, as my eyes recover from surgery.

In 2000, the Border Patrol had 8,580 agents and apprehended more than 1.6 million people on the southern border .Border Patrol staffing increased, year after year, to a high of 18,000+ in 2011 under President Obama. Arrests at the border decreased during the same period of time. Continue reading

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Increase Cooperation, Stop All Aid, Close the Border, Jail the Children: Say What?

trump cuts aid to 3 Mexican countries

This  Sunday morning  Fox News chyron makes about as much sense as any of the administration’s immigration policies. 

You might have thought the administration’s immigration policy was already off the rails, but this weekend brought a new low.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen traveled to Central America last week and, on Wednesday, announced an agreement with leaders of Central American countries, tweeting “I’m pleased to announce the U.S. & our Northern Triangle allies have reached a HISTORIC agreement to confront the root causes of the crisis on our border.”

Then Trump declared that he is cutting off all aid to Central American countries. Continue reading

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