Private prison profit forecasts and other immigration news – August 11, 2017

prison bars

Photo by Michael Coghlan, used under Creative Commons license

Private prison companies are saying that Trump’s immigration crackdown is looking good for business (Business Insider, 8/9/17)

“The US’s two largest for-profit prison companies, CoreCivic and GEO Group, said in separate earnings calls this week that the companies expect to see significant business from the federal government in the near future due to the Trump administration’s immigration policies.”

While expressing regret that arrests at the border are down, both companies emphasized that there are more arrests and longer prison stays for immigrants in the rest of the country.

“Longer detention lengths are more lucrative for the companies, as the Department of Homeland Security pays approximately $126 per day for each detainee. As of 2016, 65% of ICE detainees were housed in private, for-profit facilities.”

While Some Communities Become Sanctuaries, Others Are Happy to Help With Trump’s Immigration Crackdown (FiveThirtyEight, 8/10/17) Declaring sanctuary might cost a city federal funds, but signing up to enforce federal immigration laws could turn a profit.

“Sixty communities now have active 287(g) agreements, which is nearly twice as many as a year ago, according to ICE…

“Sheriff Clint McRae of Walker County, Texas, told The Huntsville Item in April that he wouldn’t participate in the 287(g) program if he couldn’t reach one of these additional agreements with ICE.

“What that does is it helps us generate additional revenue,” McRae told the paper. “It’s more of a business-type of agreement.”

And in other immigration news

Where Americans stand on immigration (CBS, 8/9/17) They think immigration levels should stay as they are, they oppose the border wall, they don’t want an English language requirement.

“Forty-six percent of Americans prefer the U.S. give priority to immigrants based on education, job skills and work experience, while 44 percent think those with family members here should be given priority.

“When the CBS News poll last asked this question in 2013, nearly six in 10 thought priority should be given based on education and work skills.”

Fact Checker: President Trump’s claim that low-skilled immigration placed ‘substantial pressure’ on U.S. workers (Washington Post, 8/10/17) Overall – the claim is not substantiated by the evidence. Immigrants are a net positive for the economy. A zero-to-slight negative effect on wages may happen to “certain subgroups of native workers: high school dropouts, teenagers, low-skilled African American workers, and low-skilled Hispanics (immigrants and native-born), especially those with poor English skills.” Moreover, it is inaccurate to call immigrants low-skilled:

“Low-skilled immigration increased sharply after 1970, but leveled off by the mid-2000s. New immigrants to the United States are more highly educated than native-born Americans, and the overall population of low-skilled immigrants has remained stable, according to researchers from Brookings Institution and the Libertarian think tank Cato Institute.”

Minnesotan who witnessed Khmer Rouge terror hopes for justice (MPR, 8/9/17)  Now a mechanical engineer living in St. Paul, Sova Niev is telling a Cambodian court the story of her family’s suffering in Cambodia in 1979, when her parents and a brother were killed and she ran across minefields to escape into Thailand.

“She lived in public housing with other refugees when she first came to Minnesota and recalls waking up once to her home being vandalized. She worked hard to learn English to gain more opportunities, and eventually went to the University of Minnesota Duluth, where she graduated with an engineering degree in 2011.”

Does this look like a crime to you? (City Pages, 8/9/17) In January, Mike Madden went to the airport to protest the Muslim ban.

“It was 3 o’clock by the time his wife, Gail, dropped him at the airport. Finding no demonstrators in sight, Madden staged a one-man protest, walking up and down the baggage claim carrying a chest-sized sign. “MUSLIMS WELCOME,” it read.

“Some arriving passengers nodded. The rest looked through him. As he passed by a group of East African airport workers, two made eye contact, mouthing the words “Thank you.”…

“In the annals of crime, no caper sounds less exciting than The Man Who Wanted a Ride Home from His Wife. It’s a little more interesting than it first appears.”

U.S. Hispanic population growth has leveled off (Pew Research Center, 8/3/17) While Hispanics “account for more of the nation’s overall population growth than any other race or ethnicity,” the growth rate has leveled off at two percent. Asian population growth stands at three percent, with overall annual U.S. population rate holding steady at 0.7% for the past six years.

Unpredictable and Brutal ICE Raids Are Allowing Trump to Rule by Fear (In These Times, 8/8/17)

“The President’s latest cabinet shuffle may seem chaotic, but even if executive agencies are paralyzed, immigration authorities’ ruthless assaults on communities continues apace. General John Kelly’s tenure at Homeland Security lasted long enough to crank up U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) deportation machine, scrap the few safeguards for due process granted under the previous administration and pave the way for even harsher crackdowns under his successor.”

Commentary: Trump’s immigration vision isn’t the Reagan way (Chicago Tribune, 8/9/17)

” In that address in 1980, Reagan embraced the poem, declaring, “It is fitting that . . . we meet beside the waters of New York harbor, with the eyes of Miss Liberty on our gathering and . . . the words of the poet whose lines are inscribed at her feet. . . . Through this ‘Golden Door,’ under the gaze of that ‘Mother of Exiles,’ have come millions of men and women, who first stepped foot on American soil right there, on Ellis Island, so close to the Statue of Liberty. . . . They helped to build that magnificent city across the river. They spread across the land building other cities and towns and incredibly productive farms. . . . They brought with them courage, ambition and the values of family, neighborhood, work, peace and freedom.”

California Crops Rot as Immigration Crackdown Creates Farmworker Shortage (Fortune, 8/8/17)

“Farmers say they’re having trouble hiring enough people to work during harvest season, causing some crops to rot before they can be picked. Already, the situation has triggered losses of more than $13 million in two California counties alone, according to NBC News.

“The ongoing battle about U.S. immigration policies is blamed for the shortage.”

Border wall hits close to home (Washington Post, 8/9/17) Five fascinating stories.

” The Washington Post sat down with five Hispanic members of the House who have at least one parent who immigrated to the United States. The lawmakers spoke candidly about their experiences as first-generation Americans, their encounters with immigration officials and their parents’ paths toward assimilation.”

Reuniting families has driven U.S. immigration. What would ending that mean for Californians?  (Sacramento Bee, 8/10/17)

“A Forbes analysis notes that Canada lets in 10 times more family member immigrants proportional to its population than the U.S. would under Trump’s favored plan.

“Vindi said he’s worried about his 75-year-old parents back in India, who he believes will be better off living with their sons in the U.S. in old age. Following his own advice to clients, he applied earlier this year to become an American citizen, afraid that otherwise the RAISE Act might preclude him from moving his parents to the U.S. even on a temporary basis. He has his interview next month.

“If we’re not able to bring our parents here, it would be devastating,” he said. “I think that’s the draconian part of what Trump’s proposing.”

Yuba City father detained for deportation during regular ICE check-in (Sacramento Bee, 8/9/17)  and Undocumented immigrant back home from ICE detention, but faces deportation in 3 months (Sacramento Bee, 8/9/17)

“Singh has been doing ICE check-ins for years, but said immigration authorities told him that “it’s now a new administration so now everything is changed,” he said Wednesday at his Yuba City home.

“Singh said he has no criminal record. His wife, Kate Singh, is a U.S. citizen. The couple married in 2011 and have two young sons, ages 5 and 3.”

Building Success: This Is How Immigration, Entrepreneurship And Education Connect (Forbes, 8/19/17)

“According to Entrepreneur Magazine, more than 40% of businesses on the U.S. Fortune 500 List are launched by immigrants or by children of immigrants.”

Trump’s Immigration Agenda Makes a Fundamental Miscalculation (The Atlantic, 8/10/17)

“The Social Security trustees estimate the number of seniors will grow from 48 million now to 86 million in 2050. Under the current immigration laws, the Pew Research Center projects the working-age population will increase through 2065 by nearly as much, about 30 million. Pew estimates that immigrants, who tend to be younger, and their descendants will provide the vast majority of that increase. But if legal immigration is halved, Pew projects virtually no growth in the workforce.

“That means roughly the same number of workers would need to support nearly 80 percent more seniors. That’s a recipe either for unsustainable tax increases or big benefit cuts in the Social Security and Medicare programs indispensable to Trump’s base.”

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Grandma Myrtle and other immigration news – August 10, 2017

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Would any of us be here today under Trump’s immigration proposal? (Villager Publishing, 8/9/17) Bill Holen writes from Colorado:

” My grandmother, Myrtle, born of Swedish parents who spoke no English, came to America with little money. Only a strong Swedish work ethic and a will to succeed brought them to northern Minnesota to acquire a land grant to establish a successful farming business. That farm still exists today.

“My grandmother did not speak English until she was 13. She gave birth to two daughters, both of whom served in World War II, as did several of her brothers. Several of her grandchildren served in Korea and Vietnam, one of whom died in Vietnam. When Myrtle finally died at 99, she left behind her Swedish Bible, which she read every night.

“Trump’s proposal would have refused her parents and I would not be writing this column today.”

Deportation orders up under Trump, fewer prevail in immigration court (Washington Post, 8/9/17) In the first six months of the Trump administration, immigration court orders to leave the country were up by 31 percent over the same time period in 2016, totaling 57,069. Only 16,058 individuals got positive rulings, down 20.7 percent from 2016.

“But officials did not say how many of the orders were issued in absentia, meaning to immigrants who did not attend their hearings and therefore could not immediately be deported.

“The Washington Post reported last week that thousands of immigrants, some seeking protection from violence in their homelands, have missed their court dates in recent years, often because they did not know about them or were afraid to show up.”

But wait … 

ANALYSIS: How does Trump’s newest deportation report compare to Obama’s? (NPR, 8/9/17)

“Early indications would suggest that even though there is a marked increase between the 2017 data and data from the last few years under the Obama administration, the Trump numbers are lower than 2012, 2011, 2010 and 2009 under Obama….

“In addition, if you take EOIR data from 2009-2011, the monthly averages for Obama were actually higher in all categories than the 2017 Trump numbers from the DOJ….

“But for 2013–2016, the Obama monthly averages were lower than the current Trump ones. “

Immigration Raids Are Sweeping Up More People Who Weren’t Targets (Time,8/9/17)

“In a four-day operation at the end of July, ICE arrested 650 people. Of those, 457 weren’t targets of the raid. In other words, a full 70% of the immigrants swept up in this operation were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time….

“I know that a lot of my colleagues are getting clients who literally are pastors, or people that qualify for DACA but they just happened to be visiting a family member when ICE was there, so they just got swept up,” he said.

Legal Group Files Complaint About Georgia Immigration Judges (U.S. News, 8/9/17) The Southern Poverty Law Center sent a letter to the Executive Office of Immigration Review.

“The letter says immigration judges at the Stewart Detention Center routinely violate due process rights, have made comments that indicate prejudice against immigrant detainees and failed to show the necessary patience, dignity and courtesy.?

Jailing Immigrants Means Money and Jobs for Poor Areas. Is This Deal Humane? (KQED, 8/2/17)

“Inside his cell in the Yuba County Jail, Rafael was vomiting again, too weak and dizzy to stand. He is HIV-positive and has hepatitis C. Without treatment, the two can be a deadly combination. But Rafael, 27, had not been treated for hepatitis C in six months, his medical records show….

“Yuba County is among about 200 U.S. cities and counties that hold ICE detainees in local jails and private prisons under multimillion-dollar contracts with the federal government. Nationally, an average of 37,706 people a day are locked up, facing deportation. That’s 17 percent more than in fiscal year 2016, according to ICE data….

“Conditions at the jail have been notorious for so long that the county has been under court order to improve them for 38 years.”

‘I can have you killed’: Afghan woman fears husband after US denies asylum (The Guardian, 8/9/17) Shakila Zareen’s asylum application was approved after her husband shot her in the face in 2012 – but on June 23, USCIS reversed the decision, leaving her stranded in India, where her husband, who is associated with the Taliban, still threatens her.

“She woke up in a hospital the next morning after miraculously surviving the shooting and a gruelling seven-hour drive to Kabul. She traced her fingers over her bandaged face and realized that half of it was missing. Someone told her she had miscarried; she hadn’t even known she was pregnant. She was 16 years old….

“It’s very easy for them to come to India,” she said of tormentors. “They threatened me that India is only a step away, and that they can find and kill me any time.”

In El Paso, Mother of Young Cancer Patient Gets Six-Month Stay of Removal from ICE (NPR, 8/8/17) Apparently the attention brought to her case by news media and social media was enough to get a temporary stay of removal.

“Maria De Loera was facing possible deportation but news that her eight-year-old Alia Escobedo had battled cancer twice got local and online attention over the past few days. According to CBS 4, Escobedo was back in the hospital after her fights with lung and bone cancer. De Loera told CBS 4 that “she applied for political asylum in 2014, after her husband was killed in Juarez.” It was during this time that her daughter became sick.

“Asylum was eventually denied but the family was granted a stay of deportation twice because of Alia’s condition,” CBS 4 said in a report over the weekend. “Until this year when their request for renewal was denied.”

Bernalillo County commission votes against rolling back immigrant-friendly resolution (New Mexico Political Report, 8/9/17)

“The Bernalillo County Commission reiterated its commitment to being an immigrant-friendly community. On Tuesday night, commissioners voted 4-1 against a provision that would have rolled back that status.”

 

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Editorials, a quiz, and other immigration news – August 9, 2017

IMG_3330Newspapers from Los Angeles to New York to Mankato and Minneapolis disagree with the Trump-Republican anti-immigration legislation. They lead today’s news report, which also includes an article from Willmar about immigrant businesses there.

Do you know if you would qualify for a visa under Trump’s plan? Time magazine has a quiz to count your points and assess your “merit.” Full disclosure: With a score of only 18 points, I wouldn’t even get a place in line. Continue reading

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Canada, Mexico, death on the border, and other immigration news – August 8, 2017

Caution migrants wikipedia

California road sign, from Wikipedia, public domain.

The first articles in today’s summary focus on the impact of U.S. immigration policies in driving migrants to Mexico and Canada, and also on the increasing deaths on the U.S. border this year, even while border crossings decline.

A Flawed Asylum System in Mexico, Strained Further by U.S. Changes (New York Times, 8/5/17)

“As the Trump administration pushes forward with its plans to harden the southwest borderMexico has found itself under pressure to take in an increasing number of asylum seekers making their way north from Central America, many of them fleeing gang violence.

“But immigrants’ advocates say Mexico’s asylum system and its ability to protect migrants have not kept pace with these demands, impeding access for many migrants to the safety they deserve and the refugee status they may be entitled to.”

“Mexico has drastically increased its capacity to detain and deport migrants, but it has not given the same priority to, nor treated with the same urgency, the need to develop mechanisms for investigating crimes against them,” the Washington Office on Latin America, a research group, said in a report last month. “Impunity for crimes against migrants in Mexico is at alarming levels.”

Montreal’s Olympic Stadium used to house surge in asylum seekers crossing from U.S. (CBC, 8/2/17) Many are Haitians threatened with deportation in the United States after their Temporary Protected Status ends in January 2018.

“We’ve never seen this before,” said Francine Dupuis, spokesperson for PRAIDA, the provincial government organization that helps claimants in their first months. …

“Though official numbers have not been released by the federal government, Dupuis estimates 1,174 asylum seekers crossed into Quebec in July. In comparison, PRAIDA helped 180 people in July 2016”.

Death on the Border: Summer 2017, Fatalities are Up (ImmigrationProf blog, 8/4/17) Border crossings are down, but fatalities are up – 232 deaths in the first seven months of 2017, compared to 204 in the same period last year.

Migrant deaths at US-Mexico border increase 17% this year, UN finds (The Guardian, 8/5/17)

“More people have died crossing the border from Mexico to the US in the first seven months of 2017 compared to the year before, even though significantly fewer people seem to be attempting the journey, according to the United Nation’s migration agency.”

That Republican immigration proposal

Letters to the Editor: These stories would not be possible under the Trump-endorsed immigration bill (Washington Post, 8/4/17)

“In the early 1900s, my grandmother Frances Draskovic was living in a dirt-floor hovel in what is now Croatia. At 16, alone, illiterate and unable to speak any language but Croatian and with a ticket purchased by cousins in the United States, she boarded a steamer bound for New York.

“She was met by Croatians who put her on a train to northern Minnesota. In her box lunch was a banana, which she ate after watching another passenger peel and eat one. She had only experienced fresh fruit as one orange once a year, shared (including the peel) with her siblings.”

Trump triggers debate on impact of immigrants (The Hill, 8/5/17) Researchers contradict Republican assertions about immigrants lowering wages for U.S. workers.

“One meta-study on immigration, released last year by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, put a variety of economists and demographers in one room to look for consensus on their research. While some things remained controversial among the panel, the experts found agreement in several areas.

“Those experts broadly agreed that immigration improves the economy for the native population, even on the per-person level.

“There’s no disagreement. I don’t think you’ll find an economist or demographer that doesn’t think immigration increases the size of the pie going to natives,” said Rutgers Economics Professor Jennifer Hunt, a former Labor Department Chief Economist and one of the committee members that worked on the Academies’ report.

How the White House’s Immigration Reforms Might Backfire (The Atlantic, 8/7/17)

“The White House wants to revisit the 1965 Immigration Act, which opened America’s doors wide to immigrants of color and produced the most sweeping demographic transformation of the country in its history.

“Critics of the proposal see it as a thinly veiled effort to constrict the flow of nonwhite groups to the United States. The alt-right leader Richard Spencer, welcoming such a development, told HuffPost the bill “sounds awesome.”

Fed’s Kashkari says cutting immigration will reduce growth (CNBC, 8/7/17)

“Do we want economic growth, or not? That’s what it comes down to,” Kashkari said at the Rotary Club of Downtown Sioux Falls, South Dakota, responding to a question from a Rotary Club member. Sioux Falls, he said, has embraced immigration, and other towns would do well to do the same.”

Proposal to limit legal immigration ripples through Somali families in San Diego (Los Angeles Times, 8/7/17) One person after another described their fears for relatives left behind.

“What he’s telling us is we’re not welcome here,” said Said Osman Abiyow, 34, president of the Somali Bantu Assn. of America, an aid organization he founded after arriving in 2003. “This is not what America stands for around the world, where it has a great reputation as a place of freedom and peace.”

“Like many others in the room, Abiyow has relatives in Somalia he would like one day to bring to the United States. Now a U.S. citizen, he’s hoping his sister can join him. But he said she’s been caught up in the ban the administration put in place for newcomers from six predominantly Muslim countries (Somalia, Sudan, Libya, Iran, Syria and Yemen). He doesn’t know when she might be allowed to come.”

“If the proposed changes go through, maybe never.”

The Real History of American Immigration (Politico, 8/7/17) This historical overview of immigration is organized around rebuttal of Stephen Miller’s inaccurate statements.

“If we’re going to have a discussion about immigration, we should be honest about our collective history. Today’s immigrants look a lot like yesterday’s. They resemble my great-grandparents, who came to the United States without a word of English or a practical skill, but full of grit, ambition and pragmatic hope. That’s very much an American story, and it has to be part of the current conversation.”

In Minnesota news

‘Come see who we are:’ Community members urge hope after Islamic center blast (MPR, 8/7/17) A gathering of thanks to the community is set for Tuesday evening.

“The Islamic center sits on about 10 acres of land near Interstate 494 and Portland Avenue. It’s been at that location for six years, after relocating from the Como neighborhood in St. Paul. Of the more than 70 mosques in Minnesota, its considered by many to be the busiest, and by some estimates the largest. Friday prayers are attended by hundreds of men and women. On the weekends, children pack community rooms to study the Quran. Parents learn how to buy homes or secure business loans. Future imams are also trained inside classrooms.

“The center’s executive director, Mohamed Omar, said they also welcome people from the Latino community.

“They come Sundays, they come to play soccer in our fields,” said Omar. “Every time you come, day, or night, there is activity going on.”

To win the fight for driver’s licenses, Minnesota’s Black and Asian undocumented voices need to be at the table too (TC Daily Planet, 8/7/17)

“According to a 2016 report, the Pew Research Center estimates that the majority of undocumented immigrants hail from nations other than Mexico, with an increase from sub-saharan Africa, Asia, and central America since 2009. These new immigrants are Black, they are Asians, and they have not been the voices that hold the dominant narrative surrounding the issues that affect undocumented immigrants.”

Hope shines through stories of Asian-American immigrants in Minnesota (Star Tribune, 8/7/17)

“Three years in the making, Mu Performing Arts’ Immigrant Journey Project was created through a collaboration by five community partner organizations, puppet master Masanari Kawahara and dozens of Asian-American immigrants. Over several workshops, participants shared their stories while learning to make and handle puppets. Those narratives were shaped into a play made up of nearly 20 short scenes.”

DACA news

Even Though There Are Legal Threats to DACA, There Is Reason to be Hopeful (National Immigration Law Center, 8/4/17) NILC article lists possible outcomes of pending legal challenges.

“While these legal threats to DACA raise concerns, there is also plenty of reason to be hopeful. For one thing, several bipartisan bills have recently been introduced to provide a permanent legislative solution for DACA recipients. In truth, they aren’t likely to pass and, if they did, they would probably come with unwanted changes to immigration enforcement policy. However, they do show that there’s broad bipartisan support for DACA recipients, which means that any decision to end DACA would be very politically unpopular.”

States Have Already Passed Almost Twice as Many Immigration Laws as Last Year (New York Times, 8/7/17) States supported and opposed sanctuary, refugees, and driver’s licenses or other identification for undocumented immigrants, as well as passing laws having to do with budgets and law enforcement and legal services.

A storm is brewing for DACA this September (CNN, 8/7/17) If the Trump administration fails to defend DACA, will Congress act on the Dream Act?

“There are likely enough Republicans who would support such bills with Democrats to pass them — but the question remains what they would get in return to placate the part of the Republican base who would decry even allowing a vote on the bills by leadership. And Democrats would also have to agree to the asking price for a compromise, which may be equally tough for their base to swallow.

“The Trump administration has also already said it would be “likely” to oppose the Dream Act, according to a briefing with legislative director Marc Short.”

And in other immigration news

Trump administration moves to make tougher U.S. visa vetting permanent (Reuters, 8/3/17)

“The Trump administration moved on Thursday to make permanent a new questionnaire that asks some U.S. visa applicants to provide their social media handles and detailed biographical and travel history, according to a public notice.

“The questionnaire was rolled out in May as part of an effort to tighten vetting of would-be visitors to the United States, and asks for all prior passport numbers, five years’ worth of social media handles, email addresses and phone numbers and 15 years of biographical information including addresses, employment and travel history. (See: bit.ly/2v0qsR2)”

Poor immigrants are the least likely group to use welfare, despite Trump’s claims (Vox, 8/4/17) Republicans touting the anti-immigrant RAISE Act say immigrants drain public services. That’s not true.

“But the idea that immigrants come to America to live off the government is wrong. The vast majority of new immigrants are not eligible for welfare. Even green card holders must wait for years to get most benefits. The United States already rejects applications from potential immigrants who could end up on government assistance — people who aren’t financially stable can’t even get tourist visas. And research shows that poor, uneducated immigrants are the least likely group to use welfare.”

DHS may not have capacity to hire 15,000 officers Trump promised (Cronkite News via Arizona PBS, 8/4/17)

“Those were the findings of a DHS Inspector General’s report reviewing Trump’s January executive orders calling for 5,000 new Border Patrol agents and 10,000 Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers.

“Neither CBP nor ICE could provide complete data to support the operational need or deployment strategies for the additional 15,000 agents and officers they were directed to hire,” said the report that was released late last week.”

Amnesty International USA: Three-Year-Old Boy Freed After More Than 16 Months in Immigration Detention (NPR, 8/7/17)

“The young boy, whom Amnesty identified as Josué, had been detained in Berks with his 28-year-old mother Teresa. According to the Amnesty release, Teresa “fled kidnapping threats and physical and sexual assault in Honduras before arriving in the U.S. seeking asylum,” while Josué “has spent over half his life in detention, learning to walk and talk in confinement.”

Deported (The Mountain Mail News, 8/4/17) Eight German students who arrived in California to spend four weeks with host families were deported instead.

“The debacle left the students exhausted and resulted from immigration officials applying regulations differently than they had in the past, said Salida resident Susan Masterson, who has coordinated the exchange program, Rocky Mountain Language Adventure, since 2012.

“The students applied for and received traveler visa waivers to participate in the exchange program, just as other German students in the program have for the past five years.”

 

 

 

 

 

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Minnesota immigration news, Sessions’ latest on sanctuary, and other immigration news – August 7, 2017

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Minnesota yard sign, January 2017

An attack on a mosque in Bloomington, a visit to a sanctuary church in St. Paul, and an imminent deportation top Minnesota’s immigration news, highlighted in the first section below.

In the second section: Sessions targeted sanctuary cities again, sending letters to several cities, which appear to condition federal assistance on agreeing to help immigration officials seize jail inmates. One question in the letter: whether the city gives 48 hours notice before an immigrant inmate is released from jail.

Several cities say the letters miss their mark. Some say they have never adopted sanctuary policies; others that they have no jails. Though city police departments seek federal law enforcement grants, jails often fall under county jurisdiction. Locally, for example, the Minneapolis police department has no jurisdiction over Hennepin County jail policies. In its letter to cities, the Department of Justice appears to be confused about jail jurisdiction. Continue reading

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Bombast, bullying and other immigration news – August 4, 2017

The most-read immigration story of the day had to be revelations about Trump’s January phone calls to Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. The transcripts obtained by the Washington Post reveal a boorish bully, who demands his own way on immigration and trade issues, because failure to get what he promised in the campaign will make him “look like a dope.” The transcripts make clear that his immigration policy is entirely driven by politics, not principles.

Criticism of the Republican immigration bill mounted on the day after it was unveiled. The National Immigration Law Center called it “cruel and un-American,” and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities said it “completely misses the target” on immigration reform. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham tweeted that the Raise Act would be “devastating to SC economy which relies on this immigrant work force.”

Continue reading

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Financially stable, well-educated, English speakers prioritized over families, refugees, “huddled masses yearning to breathe free” – August 3, 2017

img_2530The immigration legislation sponsored by two Republican Senators and endorsed by Trump calls for a leaner and much meaner immigration policy, including:

  • cutting legal immigration by half;
  • giving high priority to immigrants who speak English, have higher education and employment qualifications, and have money – this is called “merit-based;”
  • giving low priority to family members and family reunification;
  • permanently lowering refuge admissions to 50,000 a year.

Democrats, immigrant advocacy groups, business organizations, and even Republicans don’t like the Raise Act, according to Bloomberg News:

“The ideas offered by Cotton and Perdue have so far gotten little traction among their colleagues. Some lawmakers — including Republicans — argue that low-skilled laborers help stimulate the economy, particularly in sectors like construction and agriculture. They point to decreasing unemployment rates as evidence that on the whole, Americans are able to find the work they want.

“I fear this proposal will not only hurt our agriculture, tourism and service economy in South Carolina, it incentivizes more illegal immigration as positions go unfilled,” Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican, said in a statement.”

As the Los Angeles Times points out, the “merit-based” system favoring people who speak English, have money, and have more education and job skills is a stark contrast to the current system:

“The current U.S. immigration system favors uniting family members with relatives already in the country and was built on the premise that any person, regardless of what language they speak, how much education or money they have, can seek to come to the United States.”

Chances for passage of the Raise Act look slim at this time, but passage isn’t really the point of its introduction or of the August 2 press conferences and endorsement by Trump. Rather, after a string of defeats, this bill offers another chance for Trump to whip up support in his base with the immigrant bashing that has worked so well for him in the past. Continue reading

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