The Undocumented Worker Who Made Trump’s Bed

immigrant rights are worker rights 2006

Victorina Morales is speaking out about her years working at the Trump National Golf Club in New Jersey, both before and after he became president. She described supervisors fully aware of the undocumented status of employees and even helping them to get false papers. Though she knows it will probably cost her job, she is speaking out because she is “tired of the abuse, the insults, the way he talks about us when he knows that we are here helping him make money,”

“During more than five years as a housekeeper at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., Victorina Morales has made Donald J. Trump’s bed, cleaned his toilet and dusted his crystal golf trophies. When he visited as president, she was directed to wear a pin in the shape of the American flag adorned with a Secret Service logo.

“Because of the “outstanding” support she has provided during Mr. Trump’s visits, Ms. Morales in July was given a certificate from the White House Communications Agency inscribed with her name.

“Quite an achievement for an undocumented immigrant housekeeper.”

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A “New Moral Imagination” for U.S. Immigration Policy

#StandOnEveryCorner in St. Paul

#StandOnEveryCorner in St. Paul

U.S. Representative, immigrant, and naturalized citizen Pramila Jayapal writes eloquently about the “new moral imagination” needed to fix our broken immigration system:

“Now it’s more important than ever that Democrats—and any remaining willing Republicans—recapture America’s moral imagination on immigration. Our job is to tell the truth about immigration instead of cowering before falsehoods. Anti-immigrant forces would have us believe that our laws work and that undocumented immigrants prefer to live in the shadows, where they can “game the system” and benefit unfairly from the generosity of taxpayers. The worst thing about this narrative is not that it’s absolutely false, but that it obscures the deep, common desire that all of us—aspiring Americans and those already here—have for one simple thing: an updated, orderly, and effective process for people to come to America, stay, and work here.

“As long as we accept the Trump administration’s rhetoric on immigration and try to merely gain small victories against a harsh, restrictionist policy, we will lose—politically, economically, and, most importantly, morally. Instead, we must disperse the fog of lies and scapegoating and make clear that a sensible, humane system of immigration laws is best for everyone….

“It is critical that Americans understand that there currently is no orderly, functioning process for people to come to America.”

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Eyes on the Children:

HHS tent city Tornillo

Last week, people around the world watched twin girls running from tear gas at the U.S. border. They became, at least for one news cycle, the face of immigrant children, but they are not the only children suffering from U.S. immigration enforcement. Almost six million U.S. citizen children live in fear that an immigrant parent will be picked up by ICE and deported. Thousands of children remain in immigration detention centers in the United States. Some wait for court hearings, others for placement with a family member—and many wait for months and months. .

The tent city in Tornillo, Texas is the largest juvenile immigration jail, holding about 2,300 young immigrants, and building capacity to hold even more. They have no school, little contact with the outside, and no one on the inside is allowed to talk about what goes on in the tent city jail. Continue reading

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Immigrant Stories: Roxsana, Samuel, Maria, Javier, Wilder, and more

Caution migrants wikipedia

California road sign, from Wikipedia, public domain.

Roxsana Hernandez Rodriguez left Honduras seeking refuge in the United States because of persecution because she is transgender. U.S. immigration officials put her in detention, where she was severely beaten. She also developed severe vomiting and diarrhea, but did not receive medical attention for days.  By the time she was finally transferred to a hospital, it was too late—she died in the country where she had sought safety. Continue reading

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Minnesota Immigration News, From Babies to Bankers

All are welcome here 1

Minnesota’s babies and children are increasingly diverse, which means a growth in the population of Dual Language Learners at early childhood, preschool, and elementary education levels. A new study from the Migration Policy Institute looks at the population of DLL children in Minnesota and the implications for Early Childhood Education. Continue reading

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‘Tenemos Que Esperar’


Two descriptions of the situation of asylum seekers south of the U.S. border stand out in today’s news. The first comes from the San Diego Union Tribune:

“Members of the migrant caravan who have entered a version of immigration purgatory in Tijuana repeat the same phrase when talking about what will happen to them next — tenemos que esperar.

“The phrase has two possible translations — We have to wait. We have to hope. Both are applicable to the uncertainty facing those who trekked hundreds of miles and are now staring across a border at a goal that has shifted from theory to reality.”

The second description is a clear, comprehensive explanation from the New York Times of “why there’s no clear end to chaos.” Chaos encompasses not only Sunday’s turmoil at the border but also the situation of thousands inside the makeshift shelter of a Tijuana sports stadium complex, “a temporary and potentially unsanitary city of very tired-looking people, many with rattling coughs (especially children) and a swirling rumor mill that keeps everyone on edge. Continue reading

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Trumpty Dumpty, Border and Wall

humpty dumpty short

On Sunday, a few hundred people from the Central American caravan marched to the border and were met by Mexican police and U.S. tear gas. Despite extensive, real-time coverage, the next day’s politics told wildly disparate stories. While Democrats saw photos and videos of barefoot, crying children, choking from tear gas, Republicans saw an uncontrollable mob and further evidence of a crisis on the border. Despite photo and video evidence, Trump said mothers and children were not tear gassed. Fox News talked about war on the border and invaders and storming the border, and dismissed the tear gas as insignificant:

“It’s literally water, pepper, with a small amount of alcohol for evaporation purposes,” Border Patrol Foundation president Rob Colburn said in an interview with Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy. “It’s natural. You could actually put it on your nachos and eat it.”

Crisis on the border. Invasion. Nachos with a side of pepper spray. Build that wall. 

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.” [Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass,  chapter 6, p. 205 (1934). First published in 1872.]

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