January 13, 2020:
Boston immigration court approved 58% of asylum requests (CommonWealth) – Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse released data on 178,858 asylum requests at 59 courts across the country from fiscal 2014 through the fiscal year 2019. The data shows that during this period the Boston immigration court approved 58% of asylum cases during the six-year period. One New England-based immigration lawyer attributed these high asylum approval ratings to the “professionalism and diversity” of Boston judges and the fact that “more applicants in Boston tend to have attorneys.” Of the Boston judges included in the data set, asylum approval rates varied greatly with Judge O’Sullivan ruling in favor of asylum seekers 74% of the time while two of his colleagues approved just 26% and 25% of asylum requests. Rates in other parts of the country continue to be devastatingly high with the Atlanta court denying 97% of applicants and the Las Vegas court denying 93% of applicants.
January 6, 2020:
At Boston Immigration Court, ICE Must Now Justify Detaining Noncitizens – Reversing Decades of Precedent (The Intercept) – A ruling from a June 2019 court case won by the ACLU came into effect on December 13, shifting the burden of proof in the Boston immigration court proceedings from the immigrant to the ICE lawyers. The ACLU has been monitoring the effects of this new policy and said that early evidence shows more people are getting bonds rather than being detained and that the bonds appear to be lower than they previously were. Proving to a judge that their clients were not a flight risk or a danger to society was difficult for immigration lawyers as they only had one chance to present a complete criminal record to the judge, and if any documentation was missing their clients would often be detained. Thanks to the new ruling it now falls to ICE lawyers to prove that the defendant is a danger to society or a flight risk in order to detain them. This ruling only applies to the Boston immigration court, but as the court covers almost all New England immigration cases it will still help hundreds of immigrants remain with their families for the duration of their immigration cases.
Newly released records point to evidence that Boston student information was shared with immigration agency (The Boston Globe) – Documents recently released by the Lawyers for Civil Rights indicate the Boston city agencies shared information about Boston Public School students with a Boston intelligence-sharing network that included an agent from the Department of Homeland Security. This is documented to have happened over 100 times between 2014 and 2018, contradicting previous statements by school officials saying that student data had been shared with officials only one time. The Boston Regional Intelligence Center (BRIC) is partially funded by Homeland Security, the parent organization of both Border and Customs Enforcement and ICE, and at least one Homeland Security analyst had access to the information shared with BRIC. There are at least two instances where incident reports released by the school were used against students in their deportation cases. Boston Public Schools changed its policy on sharing incident reports in 2018 after concerns were raised by civil rights groups.
Stories to Watch in 2020
Here is a list of ongoing state and national immigration stories compiled by WBUR to keep an eye on in the new year.
Safe communities Act & Driver’s licenses
If passed the Safe Communities Act would limit interaction between local police and ICE, prevent local law enforcement from performing the duties of ICE agents, and prohibit law enforcement from asking about immigration status.
The issue to watch:
Governor Charlie Baker has said that he would likely veto the measure if it passes through the State legislature. He also opposes a bill that would allow undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses.
Status for haiti, honduras, and El salvador
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) allows people whose home countries have been devastated by natural disasters or civil unrest to temporarily live and work in the United States.
The issue to watch:
In 2017 the Trump administration announced they would be terminating TPS for nationals of several countries claiming that conditions had improved enough for immigrants to return home. In 2019 a federal judge in California temporarily blocked the administration from ending TPS causing the Department of Homeland Security to extend TPS benefits to immigrants from Haiti, Honduras, and El Salvador until January 4, 2021. A decision from the California court is expected to come in 2020 and will affect many of the estimated 12,000 TPS holders living and working in Massachusetts.
DACA at the supreme court
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is an Obama-era program that gives people brought to the U.S. by their parents without authorization limited and temporary protections from deportation. DACA has protected 800,000 immigrants nationally and given them the ability to study and work in the U.S.
The issue to watch:
In 2017 the Trump administration announced they were ending DACA with then-Attorney General Sessions arguing Obama overextended his executive authority by enacting the program. As the legal challenges to this decision have been heard, federal appeals judges have ruled that ending DACA requires both an explanation and a cost-benefit analysis from the Trump administration, due to the extensive implications of ending the program. One challenge made it up to the Supreme Court in November and a decision is expected in spring 2020.
December 24, 2019:
Reform the au pair program: Foreign childcare workers deserve the same labor protections as other domestic workers (The Boston Globe) – A federal appeals court in Massachusetts has ruled that au pairs who come to the US on the J-1 cultural exchange visas are protected under the same workplace laws as domestic employees. This ruling means au pairs in Massachusetts will be entitled to minimum wage and overtime pay as well as limiting the deductions that can be made to their pay for room and board. These protections will help to close the loopholes that have left au pairs vulnerable to exploitation in the past and allow the program to function as the cultural exchange and international goodwill program it was meant to be.
December 21, 2019:
ICE reopening long-closed deportation cases against Dreamers (CNN) – Three states have seen ICE petitioning immigration courts to reopen previously closed deportation cases against DACA recipients. Since October DACA recipients in Arizona, Nevada, and Missouri have had their deportation records reopened despite having minor criminal records or no criminal record at all. ICE has confirmed to CNN that they are planning to reopen the deportation cases against all DACA recipients whose cases were closed due to their DACA status. ICE spokeswoman Paige Hughes said that ICE is required to reopen around 350,000 previously closed cases by a May 2018 decision of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
December 19, 2019:
Mayor Walsh signs Boston Trust Act amendments into law (Sampan.org) – Following its unanimous approval by the Boston City Council, Mayor Walsh signed an updated version of the 2014 Boston Trust Act into law this week. The new additions to the legislation come in response to the harsher immigration policies and fearful environment for immigrants that have come about under the Trump administration. The amendments clarify the role of the Boston Police Department in relation to ICE and the detention and deportation of immigrants in order to restore the trust between the BPD and Boston’s immigrant community. Per the new amendments, BPD officers will not ask anyone about their immigration status, share information with ICE, make arrests based only on ICE warrants, transfer detainees to ICE custody, or perform any functions of federal immigration officers. While the BPD will still work with the Homeland Security Investigations division of ICE on matters of public safety they will not work with ICE on any civil immigration enforcement issues.
December 17, 2019:
UN urges ‘reboot’ of refugee response as millions uprooted (Boston 25 News) – At the first Global Refugee Forum this week the United Nations has urged all people, countries, and businesses to “reboot” their response to the refugee crisis. Filippo Grandi, The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees told those in attendance that there are 25 million refugees in need of assistance as he called for a “broad alliance” of “governments, business, development institutions, the aid community, sports organizations, and others.” The forum, co-hosted by many of the largest hosts of refugees highlighted that nine of the ten countries that have accepted the most refugees are low or middle income and are deserving of greater support from the global community than they have been given. Tensions arose between several countries during the conference and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stating that no one has supported his proposals to remove oil wells and use the land for refugee services and homes as “they need oil more” than refugees.
December 14, 2019:
Immigration Tent Courts at Border Raise Due-Process Concerns (The Wall Street Journal) – The Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols now require migrants at the southern border to remain in Mexico while awaiting a decision from the immigration courts. Immigration tent courts have been set up at several border points for immigrants to have their cases heard in court however due-process concerns have been raised about these courts by immigration-rights advocates and the judges union. Judges video call into these courtrooms which the judges union has argued inhibits their ability to make fair judgments and determine an applicant’s credibility. Forcing applicants to remain in Mexico inhibits their access to lawyers which greatly decreases their chances of being granted legal status. Of the 47,313 cases filed between January and September of this year, only 11 applicants were granted legal status and allowed into the U.S.
December 3, 2019:
How McKinsey Helped the Trump Administration Carry Out Its Immigration Policies (The New York Times) – The McKinsey & Company consulting firm was originally hired by the Obama administration to help reorganize ICE, but under the Trump administration they have been working on finding ways to cut costs within the department. McKinsey suggested cutting spending on food for migrants, medical care and supervision for those being held in ICE detention centers and searched for ways to speed up deportation. Some of the recommendations given by McKinsey were so extreme they made even long-time ICE agents uncomfortable as concerns were raised over the human cost of budget cuts and the lack of due-process in speeding up deportation.
December 2, 2019:
Here’s Why Becoming A U.S. Citizen Just Got More Difficult (WBUR) – According to Melanie Torres, the director of programs and operations for Project Citizenship, the biggest barrier immigrants face in the naturalization process is cost. Previously, the federal government waived the $725 citizenship application fee for migrants who could prove they received welfare benefits from the state or federal government such as food stamps or Medicaid. On December 9th the requirements for this waiver will change and require a tax transcript which Torres says will be “nearly impossible” for many of their clients. While 40% of applicants were able to use the fee waiver in 2017, Torres expects this number to decrease due to the new regulations as the elderly who don’t file taxes, people who are claimed as dependents and those living in informal households are unable to obtain the required tax transcript.
November 22, 2019:
Cassellius Wants New State Funding For Boston To ‘Go To Kids’ (WGBH) – On Friday, the Superintendent of Boston Schools Brenda Cassellius announced that she wants “every single dollar” of new funding the district is set to receive from Massachusetts’ new education funding bill to go directly to helping students. The bill, which has been passed by the state legislature and sent to Governor Baker to sign, gives an additional $1.6 billion in funding over the next seven years to specifically serve students who are falling behind. The funds will be used to help students from low-income families, special needs students, and immigrant students who are still learning English. Cassellius said that she wants to use the funds to help build up support systems within the Boston school system for children and their families such as hiring social workers and counselors.
November 21, 2019
Advocated Challenge Trump Administration Plan To Let States And Towns Block Refugees (WGBH) – Three refugee resettlement agencies have filed a lawsuit challenging an executive order President Trump signed in September which would give state and local authorities the power to prevent refugee resettlement in their communities. The organizations argue that the order violates federal law as Congress has not given states the power to veto the decisions of the resettlement agencies tasked by the federal government with resettling refugees once they’ve been accepted into the country. While no states have tried to use this power to block refugees yet there are several who have tried to block or delay resettlements in the past even though it has been found that refugees have brought in $63 billion more than they have cost the government over the last ten years. If states are allowed to block resettlement, the refugee backlog will grow even larger and refugees will be forced to remain in camps for longer than they already have been.
November 13, 2019:
Supreme Court May Side With Trump On ‘DREAMers’ (WGBH) – On Tuesday the Supreme Court’s conservative majority indicated that it made side with Trump and allow his administration to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). This would revoke temporary deportation protection, work eligibility, and school eligibility for nearly 700,000 young people who were brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents. Three federal appeals courts have decided against the Trump administration arguing that a stronger rationale was needed to revoke a policy that so many people and businesses rely upon.
November 6, 2019:
Business owners make their case for the Safe Communities Act (MIRA Coalition) – Three business owners who are members of the Massachusetts Business Immigration Coalition (MBIC) participated in a panel at the State House as part of a legislative briefing in which they voiced their support for the Safe Communities Act. The three owners discussed the “climate of fear” that affects their immigrant workers, whether they have legal status or not. One owner discussed how his company struggles to find enough workers, and that the 40-50% of his employees who are foreign-born are “absolutely key to [the company’s] existence.” All three discussed how this “climate of fear” causes more harm as many immigrants are afraid to go to the doctor, report safety issues at work, or consult legal counsel which harms both the immigrants themselves and the businesses that employ them.
November 1, 2019:
Amid hiring shortage, MilliporeSigma draws in workers with ESL classes (Boston Business Journal) – MilliporeSigma, a life science company based in Burlington MA. that works to advance health care and treatments, has started offering ESL classes at its location in Danvers. In the three years the program has been running they have seen an increase in both job applications and employee retention for that location.
October 28, 2019:
Boston Police Had a One-Man ‘Task Force’ That Helped ICE Track Down Immigrants, Emails Show (Vice News) – Documents obtained by the ACLU of Massachusetts revealed a collaboration between ICE agents and some of the cities police officers including “task force officer” Gregory Gallagher. The documents showed that Gallagher helped ICE find and arrest undocumented immigrants and that ICE would request police reports on immigrants and asked Gallagher to detain immigrants until ICE could pick them up, a practice which has been illegal in Boston since the Trust Act was passed in 2014. In response to this Mayor Walsh, whose office had already been investigating the relationship between Boston P.D. and ICE, said he does not expect the partnership between the two agencies to end. Boston P.D. has reassigned Gallagher to a new position.
October 23, 2019:
House Democrats Unveil Bill To Protect Climate Refugees (Huffington Post) – House Democrats are set to introduce the Climate Displaced Persons Act which would create a new program to accept at least 50,000 refugees who have been displaced due to the effects of climate change. This federal program would be separate from the US’s existing refugee program and allow for a new path to legal status in the US, however it seems unlikely to pass under the Trump presidency, due to the current administration’s rejection of climate science and recent cuts to the refugee cap. This new legislation would require the White House to collect data on extreme weather events and subsequent displacements and submit annual reports to Congress. With an average of 24 million people being displaced each year by catastrophic weather events, this program would give those already coming to America from Central America, North Africa, and the Middle East due to droughts and hurricane destruction.
October 22, 2019:
Accusing Trump Of Racial Animus, Liberians Facing Deportation Are Fighting To Stay (WGBH) – Of the 2,000 Liberians living in the Worcester Massachusetts area, an estimated 100 of them came to the U.S. as part of the Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) program which gave temporary status to Liberians fleeing their country due to the incredible violence of the civil wars which claimed more than 300,000 lives. For the 4,000 Liberians still living in the U.S. under DED, the program offers no path to citizenship and was recently terminated by President Trump, requiring all DED participants to leave the country by March 2020. Momolu Bongay and 14 other Liberians dependent on DED have challenged this decision in court claiming that the program is not ending because it is safe for them to return to Liberia as Trump claims, but rather that it is being ended as part of Trump’s discriminatory anti-immigrant agenda.
October 14, 2019:
Study: Undocumented immigrants don’t tank home prices (Boston Agent Magazine) – A recent study conducted by Clever Real Estate has shown that immigrants, regardless of their legal status, account for a 14 cent increase in metro area home values per immigrant. Their data, gathered from the Pew Research Center and the US departments of Justice and Homeland Security, shows that undocumented immigrants commit crimes at the same rate as the national average and legal immigrants commit are 91% less likely to commit crimes than natural-born US citizens.
October 11, 2019:
A victory for American values on ‘public charge’ – but the fight continues (MIRA Coalition) – U.S. District Court Judge George B. Daniels has issued a temporary injunction halting the White House’s “public charge” rule which would allow immigration officials to deny visas and green cards to any immigrants who could require public assistance for health, food, or housing programs. If it is allowed to continue, the law would seriously hinder working class immigration and family-based migration. The new rule would require immigrants to earn at least 125% of the federal poverty line and in Massachusetts 27% of non-citizens currently fall below this line. Judge Daniels’ ruling prevents this new rule from taking effect on October 15, as it was scheduled to, as he found that the immigration advocacy groups contesting the rule would likely be victorious in their suit against the Trump administration.
October 7, 2019:
Trump’s order will deny visas to immigrants who lack health-care coverage (The Washington Post) – In an effort to curb “chain migration” the White House announced that they will begin denying visas to immigrants who would be a financial burden on the U.S. healthcare system. Under this new policy those wishing to immigrate to the U.S. must prove that they will be covered by medical insurance or have the funds to pay their own medical bills within 30 days of their arrival. These rules will not affect immigrants already in the U.S. or those coming on work visas or as refugees.
October 1, 2019:
New Trump administration refugee limits will strike close to home for some in Massachusetts (The Boston Globe) – Senator Ed Markey has co-sponsored new legislation to increase the refugee cap to 125,000 following the Trump administration’s decreased cap of 18,000 which went into effect October 1. The US legacy of accepting the most refugees globally is coming to and end with the new restrictions limiting acceptance of those fleeing military and humanitarian crises. Lynn resident Tresor Alin Nahimana arrived in the US after fleeing violence in his home country, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and leaving Turkey with hopes of finding a better job in the US to support his growing family. His hopes of meeting his newborn son and being reunited with his family have been put on hold due to the new harsher immigration laws.
September 26, 2019:
US sets a refugee cap of 18,00 for next year — a new historic low (CNN) – The Trump administration will be decreasing the refugee cap from 30,000 to 18,000 for the 2020 fiscal year which begins October 1, 2019. Lower refugee admissions have already forced all nine refugee resettlement agencies to close down offices or pause programs, harming the current system that aids refugees in immigration and resettlement. The refugee cap has not been this low in decades, with the cap set at 110,000 just three years ago under President Obama.
September 22, 2019:
Leaders gather to boost immigrant workforce: Diversity can fuel economic growth (The Boston Globe) – TripAdvisor hosted the Supporting our Global Workforce forum at their Needham headquarters where Representative Kennedy spoke along with Eva Millona, the executive director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition and Tom O’Brien, the co-chair of the Massachusetts Business Immigration Coalition. All of the speeches foregrounded the importance of immigrants in Massachusetts, “where they make up 18 percent of the workforce and have founded 58 percent of Fortune 500 companies based in the state.” More than 12,000 Massachusetts residents could be affected by the possible removal of the Temporary Protected Status policy, and Rep. Kennedy implored business owners to be vocal about their need for immigrant workers and the economic benefit they bring to both businesses and the state.
September 12, 2019:
Supreme Court allows broad enforcement of asylum limits (Boston Herald) – The block on the Trump administration policy denying asylum to those who pass through another country before reaching the U.S. without applying for asylum has been temporarily lifted by the Supreme Court. These new guidelines reverse decades of U.S. policy practices and will remain in effect until the outcome of the court case is decided.
September 7, 2019:
Officials discuss slashing refugee cap (Boston Herald) – Officials in the Trump administration will meet next week to discuss further decreasing the refugee cap ahead of the October 1 deadline. The current cap is 30,000 with 28,501 refugees being admitted this year and last budget year the cap was 45,000 with only 22,491 admitted, which is one-fourth the number allowed to enter two years ago.
December 26, 2018:
Trump says he will wait ‘whatever it takes’ to get border wall money as shutdown drags on (NBC) – After Saturday’s government shutdown, President Trump has expressed he will wait for a positive decision to fund $5 billion for the proposed border wall. This unwillingness to budge indicates a continued shutdown of the government, with little hope of overriding a presidential veto.
December 25, 2018:
Customs and Border Protection announces changes after second child dies in custody (NBC News) – The second child this month has died in government custody on Christmas Day. The causes of this death are still unknown, but he had been submitted to the hospital for “signs of potential illness.” As a result, Border Patrol has announced it will now conduct “secondary medical checks” on all children.
DreamWorks’ Netflix Series ‘3Below’ Tackles Immigration Like No Other Kids Show (Collider) – Read about Netflix’s new series “3Below” and how it subtly and effectively tackles the topic of immigration.
December 20, 2018:
Migrants must wait in Mexico during immigration proceedings under Trump policy (Politico) – The Trump administration has required that those awaiting their asylum hearings must remain in Mexico. This rule was made in an effort to prevent immigrants from “disappearing” into the United States. The Mexican government appears to be cooperating with this policy, but the policy is also expected to meet legal challenges within the United States.
December 7, 2018:
Denmark plans to isolate ‘unwanted’ migrants on remote island (CNN) – Denmark’s growing anti-immigration policies have faced backlash, and the most recent push to house migrants on a remote island have resulted in protest. The island would be for migrants who have been denied asylum in Denmark but cannot be returned home for various reasons such as threats to their lives. The intent of housing them on these uninhabitable islands is, as Danish immigration minister Inger Støjberg states, to make them feel unwanted in Denmark.
November 27, 2018:
How a march at the US-Mexico border descended into tear gas and chaos (Vox) – At the Southern Border, a few people threw rocks at Border Patrol agents and they responded with rubber bullets and tear gas. This Vox article details the scene at the border and what went down leading to the chaos.
November 20, 2018:
US judge bars Trump administration from enforcing asylum ban (CNBC) – In response to the Trump Administration’s plan to refuse asylum to immigrants who cross the southern border illegally, U.S. District Judge Jon S. Tigar issued a temporary restraining order on those actions.
November 19, 2018:
A Functional Immigration System Would Look Nothing Like America’s (The Atlantic) – This Atlantic article contrasts immigration systems in the United States, Britain, and Denmark with the systems in countries like New Zealand and Sweden. Author Anna Boucher states, “The thing that people forget is that a lot of partners of skilled migrants are family migrants, but they’re also skilled, and over time, family migration also contribute to the economy.”
November 13, 2018:
This year saw the most people in immigration detention since 2001 (CNN) – Since ICE’s immigration detentions beginning in 2001, 2018 has seen the highest average of people held in custody each day. Fiscal year 2018 has averaged more than 42,000 people in custody each day, compared to the previously high record in 2017 of 38,000.
November 11, 2018:
5 things to know about new acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker (The Hill) –This article profiles the new Attorney General Matthew Whitaker and his support for the Trump administration’s past policies, including hardline immigration policies.
November 9, 2018:
ACLU goes to court to challenge Trump’s new asylum ban (USA Today) – The ACLU challenges Trump’s asylum ban that would make it illegal to enter the US outside of the official points of entry. They argue the Attorney General and President cannot override the immigration laws put in place by Congress established in 1965 that says anyone arriving in the US “whether or not at designated ports of arrival” is allowed to apply for asylum. Asylum is an international protection granted to those expressing fear of persecution based on their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership of a particular social group. Senator Bob Menendez states that this policy would create “a bottleneck at ports of entry, which will effectively shut the door on vulnerable individuals seeking asylum…I refuse to stand by as this administration continues to systematically undermine asylum and refugee protection.”
November 8, 2018:
Trump administration tightens immigration rules as caravans continue to push for U.S. border (The Washington Post) – The Trump administration introduced new restrictions to migration in response to the caravan at the US-Mexican border. The restrictions would include marking it illegal to enter the country between official ports of entry. This restriction is set to face legal challenges, as under international human rights law and US laws, asylum protection is extended to anyone reaching the US and expressing a fear of persecution. How they enter the country is irrelevant to their asylum claims and protection. These restrictions aim to funnel all asylum seekers to ports of entry to orderly process their claims, but US customs officers have been greatly limiting those whose claims they process.
October 29, 2018:
Trump accused of stoking immigration fears by sending 5,200 troops to border (The Guardian) – President Trump is set to deploy more than 5,200 US troops to the US-Mexican border. By contrast, around 2,000 US troops are deployed in Syria to fight the Islamic State. The President’s announcement comes just days before the midterm elections.
October 23, 2018:
Migrant caravan: What happens if it reaches the U.S. Border? (CBS News) – The largest known caravan during the Trump administration is heading towards the US Border. The last time a big migrant caravan reached the border was at the beginning of the Trump administration, yet this caravan arrived before the administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy and family separation. Jason Silverstein at CBS predicts two governmental outcomes: sluggish bureaucracy or hard-line enforcement.
October 21, 2018:
Trump Uses Immigration Attack to Energize Midterm Voters (Bloomberg) – As midterm elections approach, President Trump uses immigration as a talking point to incite midterm voting. While this topic helped propel him to the presidency, taking the same approach has the potential to backfire with voters. He has continued to tout his “zero-tolerance” policy which previously led to family separation and while his statement are intended to motivate his base, they have the potential to remind others of his least popular policies. Additionally, the Kaiser Family Foundation poll revealed that only 15 percent of registered voters said immigration would be the most important issue in midterm elections.
October 20, 2018:
Trump blasts Democratic ‘obstructionists’ for weak border security as a vast migrant caravan tries to reach the US (CNN) – President Trump took to twitter to address immigration in response to a recent migrant caravan of around 3,000 immigrants attempting to enter the Mexican border;
If the Democrats would stop being obstructionists and come together, we could write up and agree to new immigration law in less than one hour. Look at the needless pain and suffering that they are causing. Look at the horrors taking place on the Border. Chuck & Nancy, call me!
In his tweet, the President calls out Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California). With the midterm elections approaching, Trump has ramped up his discussion of the border crisis.
ICE Appears to End Use of Federal Prisons for Immigrant Detainees (NPR) – Currently, only three ICE detainees remain in the five federal prisons that controversially held immigrants, yet ICE has the power to resort back to holding detainees in federal prisons until June 2019. The detainees left the prisons through being granted bail, deportation, or transfer to civil detention facilities. By placing detainees in federal prisons, ICE has blurred the lines between criminal convictions and immigration, and the ACLU is working to file a lawsuit to keep detainees out of various prisons. Fewer detainees will not prevent ICE from holding individuals, though, as they are instead creating more facilities to hold detainees at the southern border.
October 18, 2018:
‘I live in fear’: under Trump, life for America’s immigrants can change in a flash (The Guardian) – Instead of prioritizing criminals for removal, the Trump administration has encouraged ICE to crackdown on undocumented immigrants in the US, causing them to live in constant fear of deportation. By arresting people such the 10-year-old with cerebral palsy last year, the administration and ICE aim to send the message that everybody is at risk of deportation. In 2017, there was a 125% increase from the year prior in the numbers arrested by ICE who had no criminal convictions.
October 14, 2018:
The only lawyer in town: a lonesome figure stands up for immigrants (The Guardian) – The Guardian spotlights defense attorney Marty Rosenbluth who lives in the small town of Lumpkin, Georgia and provides legal service to the town’s immigrant detainees free of charge. In Lumpkin between 2007 and 2012, less than 6% of detainees had access to a lawyer who could represent them, and the national average for those years was also drastically low at 14%. Rosenbluth talks of the recurring issues regarding immigrant’s rights in the detention centers, his history with law and non-profit work, and why he moved to Lumpkin to help those without representation.
October 8, 2018:
With Kavanaugh, Supreme Court to decide pending cases affecting more than 1 million immigrants (USA Today) – As newly appointed Supreme Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh takes the bench, he may soon face many decisions regarding immigration. Some of the decisions involve terminating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), Temporary Protected Status (TPS), sanctuary cities, zero tolerance, and the 2020 Census citizenship question. The first case he is set to hear on Wednesday, October 10, is Nielsen v. Preap, a case that determines which immigrants can be detained without bond.
Further Reading: A High-Stakes Immigration Case Hits the Supreme Court (The Atlantic) – The Atlantic takes a further look into Nielsen v. Preap, the first Supreme Court case Judge Kavanaugh will hear.
October 4, 2018:
Federal judge blocks Trump from deporting hundreds of thousands of immigrants under TPS (USA Today) – US District Judge Edward Chen ruled to temporarily halt Trump’s efforts to deport an estimated 240,000 immigrants from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan who had been granted permission to stay in the States under the Temporary Protected Status program (TPS). The Trump administration argues TPS has been extended for too long and those countries are now safe to send immigrants back. Chen ruled that in the administration’s attempts to deport those immigrants and end TPS, they violated the Equal Protection Clause and did not follow the right federal rule-making guidelines.
October 3, 2018:
ICE and USCIS Coordinating Arrests of Immigrants During Marriage Interviews (Fortune) – ICE has been using marriage interviews of couples composed of one immigrant and one US citizen to arrest immigrants who have pending deportation orders against them and who are seeking a provisional waiver. For married immigrants, these interviews are part of the routine process for gaining US residency. USCIS has reportedly been alerting ICE when immigrants with pending deportations show up for their interviews. ACLU attorney Matt Segal argued that this practice of arrests are illegal and referred to U.S. District Judge Mark Wolf’s ruling that ICE “may not order the removal of an alien pursuing a provisional waiver solely on the basis that he or she is subject to a final order of removal.”
September 30, 2018:
US yogurt billionaire’s solution to immigration: ‘Humanity first’ (CNN) – Kurdish immigrant from Turkey, Hamdi Ulukaya, drew criticism for hiring immigrants and refugees to work at his yogurt empire Chobani in 2010. Currently, around 30 percent of his employees are immigrants or refugees, and their experiences along with his own have caused him to be acutely aware of their fears during the current presidential administration. His non-profit Tent has worked to improve the lives of refugees by encouraging companies to hire and/or help refugees.
September 27, 2018:
Trump’s latest immigration proposal is a looming public health crisis (The Washington Post) – As the Trump administration proposes to deny green cards to immigrants on various social programs such as Medicaid and food stamps, immigrants are at a higher likelihood of not enrolling in or withdrawing from these programs. This could lead to serious health outcomes, particularly for pregnant and breastfeeding women, infants, and children. It also has the potential to lead to increased poverty. This opinion article by demographer Goleen Samari asserts the following: “Public-health recognizes that anti-immigrant policies are forms of racism that are antithetical to valuing health for all. These policies endanger and lead to premature mortality among large portions of the population and do nothing to keep Americans safe.”
Gov. Jerry Brown Vetoes Bill Barring Immigration Arrests (CBS Sacramento) – Governor Jerry Brown of California recently vetoed two bills. The first allowed anyone, regardless of immigration status, to be on state boards and commissions in California. The second bill would have stopped ICE from arresting undocumented immigrants inside courthouses.
September 26, 2018:
Funding The Immigration Crackdown At An ‘Unsustainable Rate’ (NPR) – ICE Air, the ICE airline that deports undocumented immigrants from the US, costs the government a large and unsustainable amount that has resulted in the relocation of funds from the Coast Guard, FEMA, and more. The Trump administration will soon be unable to rely on those re-allocated funds and will need new money from Congress if they wish to keep up current deportation numbers, build the border wall, and continue detainment at the border.
September 24, 2018:
Trump is proposing a regulation that could change the face of legal immigration – by restricting low-income immigrants (Vox) – The Trump administration is expected to release a regulation which would restrict immigrants from applying for green cards because they have preexisting conditions or not enough money to support their families. Any immigrants on government programs such as Medicaid or food stamps could be rejected on those claims. This regulation has the potential to cause immigrants in the US to stop using those social services out of fear, as had been the result from the 1996 welfare reform law when public benefits were similarly restricted. On Monday, October 1, the administration is set to publish the draft in the Federal Register, making it open for public comment.
September 22, 2018:
‘I Don’t Know What To Do.’ Immigrant Parents Face Tougher Rules to Get Children Back (TIME) – This TIME article documents the struggles of undocumented parents and relatives in the US attempting to gain custody of their children who crossed the border and are now being detained by the government. Currently, there are more than 12,000 children in government custody, and adults must submit fingerprints and undergo background checks if they wish to regain custody. As this information is shared with ICE, undocumented parents and relatives are being arrested for their immigration status.
September 21, 2018:
Finding homes for immigrant kids is hard. Trump’s making it harder by arresting their relatives. (Vox) – As unaccompanied minors enter the US to find undocumented immigrant relatives, ICE is using them to arrest those relatives who attempt to take custody of them. It was found that 70 percent of those arrested were charged with “simple immigration violations,” not for serious criminal offenses. This action by ICE will result in parents and guardians not stepping up to claim custody of the unaccompanied minors for fear of being arrested.
Head of U.S. immigration judges’ union denounces Trump quota plan (Reuters) – The Justice Department announced that immigration judges must meet a quota for how many cases they complete. President of the National Association of Immigration Judges Ashley Tabaddor denounced this plan as one that “compromises the integrity of the court,” as it has the potential to sacrifice the justice system for judges’ jobs. The plan was set by the Trump administration in the hopes of speeding up the immigration process.
Yale Study Finds Twice as Many Undocumented Immigrants as Previous estimates (Yale Insights) – A recent Yale study finds that past estimates of the number of undocumented immigrants in the United States could be only half of the actual number; instead of the estimated 11.3 million, this Yale study estimates 16.7 to 22.1 million. The study further assessed undocumented immigrant populations from 1990 until 2016, but makes it clear that we’re not experiencing a sudden influx now—past estimates have just been counted poorly. These higher numbers of undocumented immigrants help the argument for immigration in two ways. First, is with crime rates, as those opposing immigration point to serious crimes committed by undocumented immigrants. If there are double the amount of undocumented immigrants in the country and the same amount of crimes committed, the crime rate is actually much lower than originally thought. Second is the idea that undocumented immigrants are taking jobs. The study argues that if there are double the amount of immigrants in the same amount of jobs, they are taking proportionally fewer jobs from Americans than is argued by immigration opponents.
Mexico’s next president could be on a collision course with Trump over immigration (The Washington Post) – While Mexico’s incoming president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has expressed wanting a productive relationship with the Trump administration, his interests appear to clash with the US President when it comes to immigration. During his campaign, Obrador acknowledged Mexico’s arrests and deportations of migrants as “dirty work” done for the United States. He instead appears to see migrants as those “fleeing violence and misery” instead of criminals—a view that the Trump administration does not share.
September 19, 2018:
A Guatemalan Village Tells The Story of Immigration To The U.S. (NPR) – This NPR article focuses on members of a Guatemalan Village and their stories on immigration to the United States. Individuals recognize the dangers of immigrating and the risk of being deported, yet believe the ways in which they are suffering in Guatemala are far worse than those risks. Grandparents’ opinions on staying in Guatemala greatly contrast a younger population eager to take the risk and leave for America.
September 17, 2018:
Four in 10 think British culture is undermined by multiculturalism (The Guardian) – A two year study of the UK population shows that a large minority believe that multiculturalism is damaging Britain. The study also found that around half of the population want low-skilled migrant numbers reduced in Britain. Those living in large cities tended to be more positive about immigration as opposed to those living in rural communities.
September 16, 2018:
American Democracy Is in Crisis (The Atlantic) – Hillary Clinton writes a piece for The Atlantic calling President Trump and his administration out on the values it has failed to uphold in government;
The message he sends by his lack of concern and respect for some Americans is unmistakable. He is saying that some of us don’t belong, that all people are not created equal, and that some are not endowed by their Creator with the same inalienable rights as others…He is as much a symptom as a cause of what ails us.
September 15, 2018:
‘Dear America,’ Writes A Pulitzer-Winning Journalist – And Undocumented Immigrant (NPR) – This NPR article highlights the new memoir by journalist Jose Antonio Vargas documenting growing up as an undocumented immigrant in America.
September 14, 2018:
Pew Research Center: Facts on U.S. Immigrants, 2016
September 12, 2018:
Repeating anti-immigrant screeds doesn’t make them true (The Washington Post) – Jennifer Rubin’s opinion piece takes a close look at immigration’s beneficial effects on a nation’s economy through both skilled migration and low-skilled migration. She argues immigration is even a cost effective way to boost the economy when she states, “…you don’t have to make huge public expenditures or raise taxes; one only need reaffirm the American dream and welcome those who want to work.”
September 10, 2018:
Sessions criticizes immigrants’ attorneys before immigration judges (CNN) – Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who is responsible for hiring and instructing judges under the legal system for immigrants, warned judges of “fake claims” made by immigrants and immigration lawyers. There is concern over Sessions’ comments, as the immigration legal system is designed to be a fair and unbiased process. Ashley Tabaddor of the National Association of Immigration Judges stated, “We have never really seen the level of explicit and deep sort of scrutiny and use of the court consistent with the executive branch’s political policies.”
Does immigration strengthen or undermine tolerance? (The Economist) – Author Denzel Chung denounces the two-dimensional perspective of immigrants as those that merely strengthen a nation’s economy, and instead pushes for recognizing immigrants as whole individuals whose new perspectives and cultures should be understood and celebrated.
September 9, 2018:
America’s System for Resettling Refugees is Collapsing (The Atlantic) – In response to the Trump administration’s continuing reduction of refugee resettlements, resettlement agencies have closed down many offices. As more skilled workers get laid off, there is an increased risk in a collapsing infrastructure that will have trouble rebounding if the next administration decides to increase resettlement numbers. It was only after the attacks on September 11th that admissions were similar to as they are today, yet the Bush administration continued to maintain a cap of 70,000 despite these attacks and resulting xenophobia. By comparison, the Trump administration has capped resettlement at 45,000, and has resettled 20,000 with only 30 days left in the fiscal year.
September 6, 2018:
Take a look at the Massachusetts Primary Election Results here.
Trump Administration Plans to Detain Immigrant Children Longer, Defying Court Agreement (TIME) – The Department of Homeland Security announced that it would end the Flores agreement, which requires the government to detain children for no longer than 20 days. This announcement may bring the agreement back to the Supreme Court.
September 5, 2018:
This Immigration Lawyer Says the Government Has Taken Dozens of Legal U.S. Passports From His Clients (Elle) – Immigration officials are currently revoking passports already issued to US citizens and blocking US citizens from re-entering the country. The State Department claims it is revoking citizenship due to birth certificate fraud, a claim based on an instance in which several midwives issued fake birth certificates to Mexico-born babies during the George W. Bush administration. This has resulted in immigrants born by midwives being accused of possessing false birth certificates by immigration officials, and being denied entrance to the US or having their citizenship revoked if they cannot prove valid citizenship. These actions by the Trump administration has resulted in an ACLU lawsuit.
ICE is using an alternative to immigrant detention. But it’s inhumane. (The Washington Post) – As a cost effective alternative to detaining parents at the border, ICE has begun using GPS ankle monitors in order to keep track of those awaiting their court decisions. Yet, while they provide more freedom for these immigrants, there have been many reports of pain and hospitalization as a result of these monitors. Additionally, there is concern over this invasion of privacy, as little is known about how ICE uses this data and how long it’s stored for. Finally, while one would expect the amount of immigrants detained to decrease as ankle monitor use increases, that is not the case. Instead, the detention numbers have increased, which leads to questions of if these monitors are really being used to increase the number of immigrants the government can track. Instead of these devices, ICE has many alternatives at its disposal including allowing lower bail, humanitarian parole, and community-based case-management services.
September 4, 2018:
How Trump Nominee Brett Kavanaugh Could Threaten Undocumented Children’s Education (TIME) – In the 5-4 decision of Plyler v. Doe in 1982, the Supreme Court rejected a law that pushed for a school’s right to ban undocumented students on the basis that it punished children for their parents’ choices. Last spring, the Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos created waves with her remark that schools should be able to report undocumented students to ICE. As Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, replaces a much more neutral Kennedy the Plyler decision has serious potential to be overturned.
Vito, Trump and Donald Trump: How US Immigration Policies Fed Off the Image of the Self-Made Man (The Platform) – Writer and researcher Natalia Pinazza takes a look at how pop culture through characters such as Vito Corleone have contributed to the idea of suffering and struggling as inherent to an immigrants’ life in America. She mockingly questions the American system when she writes, “This myth justifies the marginalisation and suffering of many who should be able to ‘fit’ and ‘adapt’ to succeed in the current system. After all, why should public policies change when the success of integration lies in the hands of the individual and not the state?” She instead argues that America should not be placing the responsibility of failure on immigrants.
September 2, 2018:
The US-Mexico trade deal leaves out one important group: immigrants (The Guardian) – A US-Mexico trade deal was recently reached between the two countries that has the potential to help small businesses. Unfortunately, it fails to address the projected lower numbers of low-skilled workers, as unemployment remains low and immigration laws continue to be tightened by the current administration.
September 1, 2018:
Top immigration official lost job over anti-Muslim posts on Facebook: report (The Hill) – A U.S. Army director was offered a position with the USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services) but now will not take the position due to discovered anti-Muslim Facebook posts.
August 29, 2018:
160 People Arrested by Immigration Agents in Texas Workplace Raid (TIME) – 160 workers were arrested by ICE after a tip that the Texas company Long Trail Trailers had been hiring undocumented immigrants. ICE plans to interview all those arrested to determine who will get released and who will stay in their custody.
August 24, 2018:
‘It’s more relevant than ever’ – photo exhibition puts focus on immigration (The Guardian) – Photography exhibit “Photoville” in Brooklyn, New York returns for its seventh year on September 13th, and this year many of the exhibits focus on immigration and the US-Mexican border. Visit this article to read about the specific art exhibits displayed.
August 23, 2018:
The way forward on immigration to the West (The Economist) – The Economist takes a look at the positive effects of immigration on a state’s economy with the right government policies. It acknowledges underlying fears people from the US to Hungary to Sweden have over integrating migrants into their systems, and makes suggestions as to what policies produce the most economic satisfaction and security.
Assimilation Nation (Aljazeera) – People and Power presents a 25 minute documentary focusing on refugees as they relocate from the Middle East and Africa to European cities. The episodes focus on immigrants’ experiences assimilating in nations like Germany, which has settled more refugees and migrants than any other European country.
August 20, 2018:
Defense attorneys challenge judges over Trump immigration policies (The Guardian) – The Guardian takes a look at defense attorneys as they attempt to navigate a legal system that coerces undocumented immigrants into pleading guilty. These lawyers must answer the question of whether or not their client’s guilty plea of illegally entering the US was “knowing and voluntary.” The Catch-22 they face of telling the truth, while also being loyal to their client, is blamed on the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy and “Operation Streamline.” Exhausted, traumatized, and hungry migrants who have been arrested at the border are rushed through a 45 minute discussion with a lawyer and then have the chance to either plead guilty or innocent. Many attorneys have clashed with judges, as they believe that Operation Streamline forces immigrants into an involuntary guilty plea due to the limited time immigrants have to comprehend the consequences of such a plea.
Opinion: The Immigrant Grandparents America Needs (NYT) – This opinion article focuses on the effects that ending family-based migration would have on immigrant families around the country, particularly when it comes to banning grandparents from migrating with their families to the United States. Authors Stacy Torres and Xuemei Cao argue the necessity of immigrant grandparents in providing free caregiving as parents work during the day. They additionally insist that grandparents are helpful for families to preserve their home country’s culture and traditions, and that the concept of “family” should not be restricted, as the Trump administration argues, but instead broadened. Without extended family, children will be deprived of a close and familiar network essential to their development. They conclude, “The Republican plans to restrict family-based migration won’t help Americans — they will hurt Americans, by depriving many of our youngest citizens of the social, psychological and economic benefits of strong extended family ties.”
Video: GOP Rep. Steve Stivers on the US immigration split (CNBC) – This short video features the House GOP campaign chief advocating for an increase in legal immigration of individuals in high-tech fields, as well as providing work visas for foreign students who have been educated and trained at US universities.
To save asylum seekers we must save our immigration courts (The Hill) – This opinion article by Gregory Chen takes a look at immigrants attempting to navigate the immigration court system in order to avoid being deported back to countries where they face violence and abuse. As Attorney General Jeff Sessions continues to assert his power over the immigration courts and prevent immigrants from obtaining citizenship, Chen argues that something must be done to fundamentally change how the courts operate. He writes, “To guarantee fundamental fairness and due process in every case, the immigration courts cannot operate under the control of the agency that is responsible for the prosecution and enforcement of immigration cases.”
In the Arts: Logic “One day” ft Ryan Tedder (Variety)
American rapper “Logic” uses his new song to highlight immigration, family separation, and racism in America today. Watch the music video here, as well as his MTV Video Music Awards performance where he sang alongside hundreds of immigrant children and parents displaying the message, “We are all human beings.”
August 18, 2018:
How Trump is cracking down on legal immigrants – and how they are fighting back (The Guardian) – As a result of a proposal that makes it harder for legal immigrants who have used particular social programs to obtain green cards, immigrants around the country are fighting back against the administration. This article looks at the gridlock in Washington over the past weeks and moves that have been made by pro-immigration legal advocates to stop the administration from passing further laws.
August 17, 2018:
U.S. attorney general issues order to speed up immigrant deportations (Reuters) – U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions told US immigration judges to postpone cases only “for good cause shown” in an attempt to increase the rate of immigrant deportations. This “good cause” is determined by an immigrant’s likelihood of success in appealing for asylum or visa to remain in the US.
August 15, 2018:
President Trump’s unwavering immigrant supporters: Small-business owners (CNBC) – This article takes a look at how small-business owners have reacted to the immigration debate, in contrast to the high population of Democrats and independents who now see immigration as the most important issue at the moment. CNBC’s answer: they don’t see it as a primary issue in relation to tax and trade policy changes.
August 13, 2018:
Stephen Miller’s Uncle Calls Him An ‘Immigration Hypocrite’ in a New Column (TIME) – Stephen Miller has become a controversial figure in the Trump administration as one of the main architects for recent immigration policies like the travel ban and family separation. On Monday, August 13th, Miller’s uncle, David S. Glosser, wrote a Politico article calling out his nephew as an ‘Immigration Hypocrite,’ citing the family’s Jewish refugee roots.
August 12, 2018:
‘Hell no’: counter protesters outnumber white supremacists at White House rally (The Guardian) – One year ago, the 2017 “Unite the Right” white supremacist rally in Charlottesville resulted in the death of counter protester Heather Heyer. This year’s follow-up rally by the same group of white nationalist was greatly outnumbered by counter protesters and ended long before the scheduled end time. In response, President Trump tweeted:
The riots in Charlottesville a year ago resulted in senseless death and division. We must come together as a nation. I condemn all types of racism and acts of violence. Peace to ALL Americans!
After the 2017 rally, Trump’s comments created controversy when he repeatedly failed to condemn the white supremacists and their actions.
Further Reading: Read about former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s statements following the one-year anniversary of the Charlottesville rally here.
August 10, 2018:
First Lady’s Parents Become U.S. Citizens Thanks to ‘Chain Migration’ (NPR) – On Thursday, August 9th, First Lady Melania Trump’s parents obtained US Citizenship through the same family-based immigration program that President Trump has previously denounced. The President had tweeted on September 15, 2017: “CHAIN MIGRATION cannot be allowed to be part of any legislation on Immigration!” He additionally pushed for an end to family-based immigration on the basis that it allowed those coming to the US to bring with them as many relatives as they please.
August 8, 2018:
DACA is in a state of legal limbo. Now a Texas judge might rule to kill it. (Vox) – This Vox article explores the dangers that DACA-protected immigrants face, as federal judges decide on critical cases in upcoming weeks. A federal judge in DC ruled on August 3rd against the Trump administration’s plan to end DACA and also ruled to begin accepting new applications. The DC federal judge has allowed for the order to be delayed until August 23rd. Meanwhile, a federal judge in Texas is set to decide on a case brought forward by a group of historically red states pushing for an end to DACA. Between two conflicting decisions from judges, the Supreme Court often acts as the deciding force, and Vox predicts it is likely that the Supreme Court will be asked to issue an emergency opinion on the Texas judge’s ruling. Depending on the makeup of the Court when the decision is made, an anti-DACA ruling could win against the pro-DACA rulings. At the moment, though, a decision is unlikely to be reached, as the Court is split ideologically 4-4 due to Judge Kennedy’s retirement.
August 7, 2018:
Now the Trump administration wants to limit citizenship for legal immigrants (NBC) – In the next weeks, the Trump administration plans to issue a proposal making it hard for immigrants who have used certain welfare programs to become US citizens. This would limit the amount of immigrants given legal citizenship status. It is also predicted that 2018 will see a 20 percent decrease in green cards granted to immigrants. NBC takes a closer look into those affected by tightened citizenship granting as well as others pushing back against these rules.
Forget the wall already, it’s time for the U.S. to have open borders (USA Today) – This opinion article was written by Jeffrey Miron, Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Economics at Harvard University and Director of Economic Studies at the Cato Institute. He argues the case for open borders in aiding the economy and abolishing the legal issues the current US government is facing.
How Immigration Reform Could Help An Aging, Indebted America (Forbes) –Immigration lawyer, author, and former UN correspondent Andy J. Semotiuk takes an economic look at how closing our borders to immigration will fail to help an aging America.
August 3, 2018:
Judge calls Trump administration family reunification efforts ‘unacceptable’ (NBC) – As of Friday, August 3rd, the Trump administration has yet to reunify 572 children still in the government’s custody. It was also reported that the parents of 410 children were likely deported prior to reunification, and have still not been located. US District Judge Dana Sabraw threatened to issue an order to force the government to provide information to the ACLU before August 10th.
July 30, 2018:
Trump praises Italy’s immigration policies at meeting with Conte (Reuters) – President Trump met with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte in Washington on Monday and congratulated his firm stance on border immigration. In the past years, Italy has experienced an influx of more than 650,000 migrants, and under Conte and other right-leaning leadership, the country has closed its southern ports and reduced its migrant numbers.
Further Reading: Italy’s Voters Aren’t Anti-Immigration—But Their Government Is (The Atlantic) – Explore this article from The Atlantic that discusses the Italian political divide between the nationalist leaders and the Italian population, particularly with regards to immigration.
July 29, 2018:
TWITTER: @realDonaldTrump, July 29 at 4:58 AM, on immigrants and immigration laws
Please understand, there are consequences when people cross our Border illegally, whether they have children or not – and many are just using children for their own sinister purposes. Congress must act on fixing the DUMBEST & WORST immigration laws anywhere in the world! Vote “R”
Fixing Flores agreement is the only solution to immigrant separation and detention (USA Today) – This opinion article by Republican Senators Chuck Grassley, Thom Tillis, and Ted Cruz calls for an amendment to the Flores agreement, which is a settlement that prevents the government from detaining children for longer than twenty days. While the senators agree that the part of Flores that provides a minimum care standard for children should be enforced, they believe the twenty day deadline should be disregarded for family units.
July 27, 2018:
Trump plans to rescind work permits for spouses of immigrants on H-1B visas (The Guardian) – H4 visas are typically given to spouses or children of H-1B visa holders (high-skilled foreign workers) when they move to the US, and during the Obama administration, H4 visa holders could finally be granted US work permits. Unfortunately, this “H4EAD” policy is at risk of being removed under the Trump administration, which would put tens of thousands of immigrants out of work and would force mainly women back to their homes. President Trump has additionally criticized the H-1B visa program because according to the President, it takes jobs away from Americans and puts those jobs in the hands of immigrants. Those pushing back on the Trump administration’s agenda have joined the “Save H4EADs” campaign.
July 26, 2018:
Today’s the deadline to reunite separated families (CNN) – The court-ordered deadline to reunite all families separated at the border is today (July 26), and the government has reunited a significant portion of parents it deems “eligible” for reunification. Parents might be considered “ineligible” for reasons such as having a criminal record or being currently missing. Additionally, 900 parents have been issued a final order to leave the country, which forces those parents to choose between bringing their children with them or leaving them in the United States.
July 23, 2018:
Birthright citizenship, explained: why some on the right want to end it, and what they get wrong (Vox) – This Vox article discusses the 14th amendment, which ensures citizenship to any person born on US soil, and how it has been challenged by the rhetoric of President Trump and prominent administration members like Michael Anton. The debate over birthright citizenship is not new, but has more recently been brought to light through Anton’s opinion piece on ending birthright citizenship. Those sharing Anton’s opinion argue the 14th amendment should not apply to those born to undocumented immigrants. Vox further discusses the role racism has played in attempting to determine citizenship:
…debates about immigration slip imperceptibly between debates about law and debates about culture – and how debates about culture are often heard or intended as debates about race…There was never a period during which citizenship at birth was limited on a race-blind basis. Where there have been restrictions, those restrictions have been racial.
Additionally, Vox points to three ways in which birthright citizenship could be altered by the Trump administration: by passing a constitutional amendment to override the 14th amendment, by passing a bill to clarify who deserves citizenship, or by signing an executive order. While all possible options, each action would pose challenges for the Trump administration and would inevitably result in immense push back from the opposition.
July 22, 2018:
“Immigrants are the Backbone of this Country”: Why Female Millennials’ Views on Immigration Could Doom the G.O.P. in November (Vanity Fair) – The Hive, theSkimm, and SurveyMonkey take a look at millennials’ outlook on immigration, focusing specifically on the views of millennial women. The companies’ survey of millennials discovered gender to play a greater role in predicting millennials’ immigration outlook than political party affiliation. While immigration is not exclusively a gender-related issue, the survey found that 40 percent of millennial men and 24 percent of women approve of the current administration’s immigration policy. Read the Vanity Fair article to learn more millennial survey statistics.
July 19, 2018:
Facing deadline, government reunified 364 of 2,500-plus migrant children (NBC) – NBC News provides an update to the government’s continued efforts to reunite families by the court-ordered June 26th deadline. With only one more week until the deadline, the government announced that it had reunified 364 of more than 2,500 children separated at the border. Almost half of eligible parents are in danger of being removed from the country after they are reunited with their children, leaving parents the choice of either leaving with their children or placing their children in the care of US nonprofits and child services.
July 17, 2018:
Amid A Hispanic Boom, Conflicting Feelings On Immigration (NPR) – A survey conducted by the research firm, Ipsos, found that immigration is viewed as “the most worrying” issue to Americans. This article dives deeper into this study while highlighting the town of Galax, Virginia, with its growing Hispanic population and divided views on immigration.
July 15, 2018:
Donald Trump praises team of immigrants for winning World Cup for France days after calling immigration ‘very negative’ (Newsweek) – President Trump congratulated the French team after winning the World Cup on Sunday, yet 19 out of the 23 players are immigrants or children of immigrants to France. This praise comes as ironic after the President publicly stated just days prior that immigration is bad for European cultures.
France’s World Cup is a victory for immigrants everywhere (CNN) – CNN takes a closer look at the French team after their victory in the World Cup, highlighting the immigrant roots of the majority of the team. Fifteen players for France have African roots, which is of particular significance due to the discrimination people of color and African immigrants face in France.
July 13, 2018:
Trump: Immigration is ‘changing the culture’ of Europe (CNN) – The President made statements on Friday about how immigration is negatively changing the cultures of European nations. He stated, “I know it is politically not necessarily correct to say that, but I will say it and I will say it loud.” Trump faced backlash on these comments, particularly when his own grandfather had emigrated as an unaccompanied minor from Germany. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) commented, “The fact that…he cannot understand that he himself is the beneficiary of the type of immigration that he now continuously criticizes it is pretty amazing.”
July 11, 2018:
TWITTER: @realDonaldTrump, July 11 at 9:41 AM, on immigration laws
Democrats in Congress must no longer Obstruct – vote to fix our terrible Immigration Laws now. I am watching what is going on from Europe – it would be soooo simple to fix. Judges run the system and illegals and traffickers know how it works. They are just using children!
Government falls short of deadline to reunite kids, families (CBS) – After the U.S. District Judge set a 14-day deadline for reuniting kids under the age of five with their families, the government fell short of the deadline, saying it discovered parents with serious criminal histories, failed DNA tests, and more. The second deadline is set for July 26 to reunite upwards of 2,000 older children.
Further Reading: HHS reunites 57 of 103 migrant children in its custody (Healthcare Finance News) – This article provides statistics for how many children under the age of five have or have not been reunited with their families as well as reasons for not placing the children back in the care of the adults with whom they traveled.
July 9, 2018:
All about President Trump’s Supreme Court nomination: Brett Kavanaugh – President Trump’s Supreme Court nomination, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, was announced on Monday, July 9. Kavanaugh is predicted to be a much stronger conservative vote than his predecessor, Justice Anthony Kennedy, with the ability to weaken abortion rights, strengthen capital punishment, and more. Kavanaugh was a law clerk for Justice Kennedy, co-wrote the report impeaching President Clinton, and worked under the Bush administration for five years. Kavanaugh now awaits a decision by the Republican-dominated Senate to be confirmed as a Supreme Court judge. While he only needs 51 votes to be confirmed, the decision will depend upon a few crucial votes, including two Republican female Senators: Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Susan Collins (R-ME).
- Who is Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s Supreme Court nominee? (PBS) – Take a look at PBS News Hour’s brief biography on Brett Kavanaugh and his history with the justice system.
- Will Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh deliver the change conservatives crave? (USA Today) – Reporter Richard Wolf looks into potential changes that Kavanaugh could bring to the court, highlighting abortion rights, gun control, and executive power.
- Dear Senate: Don’t forget to ask Kavanaugh about immigration (CNN) – This CNN article takes a look at past Supreme Court immigration decisions and how they could potentially be either overturned or upheld with Kavanaugh.
July 7, 2018:
What to know about Trump’s Supreme Court pick so far (The Hill) – As President Trump finalizes his Supreme Court pick, which is set to be announced Monday, July 9 at 9:00 pm, the names rumored to be on his shortlist include Brett Kavanaugh, Raymond Kethledge, Thomas Hardiman, and Amy Coney Barrett. Barrett as a female judge is of particular importance, as she is very religious and conservative, yet might appear less conservative with regards to women’s rights and health care. Her relatively young age (46) would allow her to be an influential justice for many decades.
July 6, 2018:
Reuniting families isn’t enough: A case for holistic immigration reform (The Hill) –Opinion writer, Matthew Soerens, argues that the major reason we have used discretion in the past when it comes to enforcing immigration laws was due to exorbitant costs, both socially and fiscally. Soerens’s solution is as follows:
Rather than ignoring the 11 million immigrants present unlawfully in the country, we should adopt an earned legalization process: admit to having violated the law, pay an appropriate fine and submit to a background check. Those with serious criminal convictions would be deported, but the majority would be able to earn permanent legal status and eventual citizenship… We should exempt those seeking asylum from the legal definition of improper entry, regardless of how they arrive… Most importantly, we should expand the U.S. refugee resettlement program, which allows those who fear persecution to register and be vetted abroad, then enter safely on an airplane.
TWITTER: @WhiteHouse, July 6 at 12:27 PM, on abolishing ICE
Abolishing ICE would mean:
- eliminating the agency that deports aliens that pose a terrorist threat to the United States
- more dangerous illegal drugs flowing into our communities
- allowing dangerous criminal aliens to remain in American communities
Face-checking President Trump’s numbers on the ‘human toll of illegal immigrants’ (The Washington Post) – The Washington Post fact-checks President Trump’s statistics with regards to the criminal actions of immigrants in the US, concluding that Trump misused the 2011 government report on immigrant criminal activity in four ways: (1) He combined data for both undocumented and legal immigrants, claiming those numbers reflect crimes committed by solely undocumented immigrants. (2) Instead of using the conviction statistics, he used the arrest statistics. (3) He failed to provide context to the numbers, leading to the assumption that immigrants committed more crime relative to the general population than they actually did. (4) He cited a made-up statistic by Rep. Steve King in 2006. With these broad and poorly represented numbers, President Trump allows his followers to falsely conclude how much crime was committed by undocumented immigrants. Click on the article to read more about the Washington Post’s investigation and specific statistics.
July 5, 2018:
Activists Arrested At Statue of Liberty After Protesting Trump’s Immigration Policies (NPR) – On Wednesday, July 4, two protest parties were arrested after demonstrating against recent immigration policies at the Statue of Liberty. The first protest was by the activist group Rise and Resist calling for the abolishment of ICE. Members of the group were arrested after hanging a banner at the monument. The second protest was done by one of the group’s members, Therese Okoumou, who climbed the base of the statue. Okoumou herself is an immigrant from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and claimed to be protesting “the situation of ‘the children in Texas.’” The Statue of Liberty has specific significance to immigration, as indicated by the sonnet on the statue’s plaque that welcomes those who come to America seeking freedom. Nearby Ellis Island was a processing center for millions of immigrants in the early twentieth century.
No immigrant kids from separated families have been reunited with parents yet, says Trump health chief Alex Azar (CNBC) – The Trump administration’s Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar reports that none of the approximately 3,000 children separated from their families have been reunited. The US Health and Human Services Department is working to perform background checks on immigrants to make sure they’re safe parents, and also to confirm they are actually the children’s parents. The department has until Tuesday, July 10, to start reuniting the families.
Why the U.S. needs more legal immigration, not less (MSNBC) – This MSNBC video takes an economic look at the Trump administration’s argument that an influx of immigrants results in less jobs for native workers. Ali Velshi (MSNBC reporter) and Jared Bernstein (Economic Policy Advisor to Vice President Joe Biden) compare the 6.7 million open jobs with the 6.4 million available workers, particularly at a time when the US fertility rate is dropping and the working age population is projected to fall significantly over the next decades. Because of these numbers, the report argues more legal immigration is necessary, yet the Trump administration has focused more on xenophobia and myths to craft their anti-immigration agenda and avoid the economic facts of immigration’s benefits.
July 3, 2018:
NPR Politics Podcast: Weekly Roundup – NPR takes a look at four possible Supreme Court nomination candidates and which leaders of the Senate might or might not vote in favor of President Trump’s choice. The podcast additionally look at what the “Abolish ICE” slogan really means. NPR differentiates between ICE and the other agencies that are responsible for separating families and patrolling the border, and notes how the President is using the “Abolish ICE” slogan to argue that all Democrats resent law and order. Listen to the podcast to learn more.
Illegal vs. Undocumented: A Debate
“Illegal” Immigrant = Advocates for reform see this term as dehumanizing, often used by those against immigration reform
“Undocumented” Immigrant = The preferred term used by advocates for reform (such as RW!), often seen as too politically correct by those against immigration reform
Read more about the debate from a 2013 NPR article here.
July 1, 2018:
Leftist Wins Mexico Presidency in Landslide With Mandate to Reshape Nation (NYT) – Leftist leader Andrés Manuel López Obrador won the Mexican presidency on Sunday, July 1. President Trump congratulated Obrador through a tweet from @realDonaldTrump. The New York Times draws parallel between the personalities of Obrador and Trump, as well as their shared suspicion of the media and fearlessness in calling out enemies. While the future of Mexico-US relations is unclear, the Times predicts there will be pressure on Obrador to “take a less conciliatory line with his American counterpart.”
June 30, 2018:
Thousands protest Trump immigration policies across U.S. (CBS) – Hundreds of thousands protested in more than 700 cities across the US on Saturday, June 30, under the “Families Belong Together” campaign organized by the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, Move On, and other organizations. Demands included an end to family separation, family detention, and Session’s “zero tolerance” policies. Protests include those performed near Trump’s golf course in New Jersey where he spent the weekend. This article further highlights various marches around the country.
Further Reading: Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) calls for the US to replace ICE with “something that reflects our morality” during protests in Boston on Saturday, June 30. Read more about her speech here.
TWITTER: @realDonaldTrump, June 30 at 12:17 PM, on the immigration bill
I never pushed the Republicans in the House to vote for the Immigration Bill, either GOODLATTE 1 or 2, because it could never have gotten enough Democrats as long as there is the 60 vote threshold. I released many prior to the vote knowing we need more Republicans to win in Nov.
Then again at 12:26 PM
Either we need to elect more Republicans in November or Republicans must end the ridiculous 60 vote, or Filibuster, rule – or better yet, do both. Cryin’ Chuck would do it on day one, but we’ll never give him the chance. Some great legislation awaits – be smart!
TWITTER: @realDonaldTrump, June 30 at 12:44 PM, on immigration laws
When people come into our Country illegally, we must IMMEDIATELY escort them back out without going through years of legal maneuvering. Our laws are the dumbest anywhere in the world. Republicans want Strong Borders and no Crime. Dems want Open Borders and are weak on Crime!
June 29, 2018:
Trump Administration: Migrant Families Can Be Detained for More than 20 Days (NPR) – In response to a judge in California setting a 30 day deadline for reuniting separated families, the Justice Department responded arguing that instead of separating families, migrant families will instead be detained together. The Justice Department has done so knowing it will be violating the 20 day time limit set by the Flores agreement. This 1997 court decision made it illegal for the government to detain children for more than 20 days, but this time limit is being brought into question by the Trump administration. President Trump recently signed an executive order to end the family separation policy. The Trump administration now faces the hurdle of the 20 day time limit for holding the children with their families.
Further Reading: Flores agreement: Trump’s executive order to end family separation might run afoul of 1997 court ruling (Vox) – This Vox article provides background on the Flores agreement and its role in complicating the Trump administration’s handling of family separation and immigrant detention.
June 28, 2018:
Agents Seek to Dissolve ICE in Immigration Policy Backlash (NYT) – Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) investigators are concerned that Trump’s crackdown on undocumented immigrants has reduced their effectiveness in stopping security threats and transnational criminal organizations. Instead of focusing on disrupting major crimes, such as human smuggling and drug trafficking, ICE officers have begun an aggressive offense against undocumented immigrants, often for minor offenses.
June 27, 2018:
TWITTER: @realDonaldTrump, June 27 at 5:39 AM, on the proposed bill just hours before it was voted down by the House
HOUSE REPUBLICANS SHOULD PASS THE STRONG BUT FAIR IMMIGRATION BILL, KNOWN AS GOODLATTE II*, IN THEIR AFTERNOON VOTE TODAY, EVEN THOUGH THE DEMS WON’T LET IT PASS IN THE SENATE. PASSAGE WILL SHOW THAT WE WANT STRONG BORDERS & SECURITY WHILE THE DEMS WANT OPEN BORDERS = CRIME. WIN!
*Goodlatte II = What Trump titled the second “compromise” hardline conservative immigration bill that was introduced by Bob Goodlatte (R-VA). This bill would limit the amount of immigrants the US allows and would also extend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The bill failed to pass on Wednesday, June 25. Read more about it here.
Republican-leadership backed immigration bill goes down in flames (CNN) – On Wednesday, June 27, the GOP-proposed immigration bill failed to pass. This was expected, yet it failed to a much larger extent than anticipated with a 121-301 vote, and had less support than an even more conservative bill that failed the week prior. The President’s mixed messages as to whether or not he would sign the bill if it were to pass led many conservatives to not vote for it. Trump’s tweet on Wednesday just hours before the vote, encouraging members to support the bill, further confused the House as to his agenda.
Anthony Kennedy retiring from Supreme Court (CNBC) – Justice Kennedy announced plans to step down at the end of July, providing Trump an opportunity to alter the Supreme Court for decades to come. Despite being a member of the Republican party nominated by President Reagan and sworn into the Court in 1988, Kennedy was often a swing vote. There is serious concern over Trump’s Supreme Court nomination, as he or she will have the power to sway the Court in a far more conservative direction for future decades.
- Justice Kennedy May Soon Find Himself Disappointed And His Legacy Undermined – This NPR article highlights Kennedy’s decisive power as a swing vote. The court is likely to lose the possibility of a swing vote with Trump’s anticipated nomination.
- On Twitter, @realDonaldTrump announced he will be making his Supreme Court Justice nomination on Monday, July 9th. View the tweet here.
TWITTER: @realDonaldTrump, June 27 at 8:24 PM, on ICE
In recent days we have heard shameless attacks on our courageous law enforcement officers. Extremist Democrat politicians have called for the complete elimination of ICE. Leftwing Activists are trying to block ICE officers from doing their jobs and publicly posting their…home addresses – putting these selfless public servants in harm’s way. These radical protesters want ANARCHY – but the only response they will find from our government is LAW AND ORDER!
June 26, 2018:
Supreme Court upholds Trump travel ban (The Washington Post) – On Tuesday, June 26, the Supreme Court ruled to uphold Trump’s travel ban, which bars those traveling from various majority-Muslim countries for the protection of the US. This 5 to 4 decision bans travelers from 8 countries, six of which are Muslim-majority countries: Syria, Libya, Iran, Yemen, Chad, Somalia, North Korea, and Venezuela. The dissent by Sotomayor points to Trump’s bias against Muslims, including his past tweets and statements, and she argues that the ban sends the message that certain minority religious groups are outsiders in this country. She compares this decision by SCOTUS to the past decision in Korematsu v. United States of upholding the Japanese-American detention during World War II.
FACEBOOK: Elizabeth Warren took to Facebook on June 26 at 2:30 PM to share her horrifying experience visiting the McAllen, Texas immigrant processing center on Sunday, June 24. Read her account here.
June 25, 2018:
House Republicans Face Another Week of Fighting Over Immigration (NPR) – House Republicans continue to fight to vote on a new immigration bill negotiated between conservatives, moderates, GOP, and the White House. House Speaker Paul Ryan believes that this bill, if passed, has the highest chance of being signed into law by President Trump. The Republican party is having difficulties uniting around the bill, as many conservatives believe the party should keep pushing for their original hard-line immigration bill instead.
Massachusetts immigration officers will again make arrests at appointments (7 News Boston) – Massachusetts ICE officers are required to arrest immigrants living in the country illegally when they show up in government offices for appointments, such as appointments to secure legal status.
June 24, 2018:
Trump advocates depriving undocumented immigrants of due process rights (The Washington Post) – Trump argues that those crossing the border illegally should be deported immediately “with no Judges or Court Cases.” Over the past week, Trump’s tweets have continued to bounce between denouncing the current immigration laws, and touting them as necessary for protecting Americans from external threats. Read more about Trump’s fluctuating tweets here.
June 22, 2018:
Trump’s immigration reversal creates its own chaos (CNN) – Confusion results from Trump’s decision to sign the executive order meant to prevent children from being separated at the border. Since it does not include any action for those 2,300 children who have already been separated from their families, Trump is facing backlash from those concerned over the future of those children.
June 21, 2018:
House Republican leaders delay vote on immigration bill until next week in the face of opposition (The Washington Post) – On June 21, house leaders postponed the vote on the proposed immigration bill* — which takes a less hard-line approach than the original Republican-proposed bill — in the hopes of gaining more support for preventing its passage. The bill would allocate $25 billion for the border wall, and open up for a pathway to citizenship and for keeping families together at the border.
*Goodlatte I = The first proposed “compromise” conservative immigration bill introduced by Bob Goodlatte (R-VA). This bill failed to pass on Thursday, June 21. Read more about it here.
TIME Magazine’s “Welcome to America” Cover image released (CNN) – See above image.
June 20, 2018:
Trump retreats on Separating Families, but Thousands May Remain Apart (NYT) – Trump signed an executive order to end separating families at the border. Instead, he plans to detain parents and children together. This order fails to address the 2,300 children already separated from their families.
CALL TO ACTION: Nationwide protests planned against Trump’s family separation policy set for June 30, 2018. Read about it here.
Boston Protests on June 30th – ACLU of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy (MIRA) Coalition are amongst organizations coordinating demonstrations outside of the State House. They are calling on legislators to pass the Safe Communities Amendment, which would restrict local law enforcement’s ability to cooperate with federal immigration authorities. This amendment is currently under threat of being vetoed by MA Governor Charlie Baker (R). RSVP to the event here.
Video: The Trump Administration’s wildly contradictory statement on family separation – The Washington Post stitched together videos showcasing how the Trump administration’s changed their stance on immigrant family separation (14 times in one week!).
June 15, 2018:
While You Weren’t Looking: 5 important immigration stories from the week you probably missed (Mic) – This article sums up the past week on recent developments for immigration in the United States. Here’s an overview:
- Jeff Sessions’s Decision on US Asylum Eligibility: Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that he will no longer process asylum claims for people who cite gang violence and domestic abuse as their reason for fleeing their home countries, as such abuse should be considered “private violence.” He argues that the U.S. shouldn’t be responsible for granting asylum because the country the immigrant comes from is unable to protect its citizens. This “overturns a precedent set during the Obama administration that allowed more women to claim credible fears of domestic abuse and will make it harder for such arguments to prevail in immigration courts” (The New York Times).
Further Reading: Immigration Law Professor Weighs in on US Asylum Eligibility Decision (NPR) – Law professor Jan Ting agrees with Sessions’s interpretation of the existing asylum law. He cites the vagueness of the law, and argues that it’s about finding a balance between protect the people that the statute is meant to protect on the one hand, while not opening “the doors so wide open that you lose political support for that concept.” The law has come to protect a limited and discrete number of people, and professor Ting argues that it’s difficult to make exceptions for some people and not others when there are a multitude of issues in the world that threaten human beings.
- The US will begin to proactively investigate naturalized US citizens, looking for misrepresentations on their citizenship applications to determine whether or not they should be stripped of their citizen status. Immigration advocates are concerned that citizens who have made innocent mistakes on their applications could get swept up in the process without the resources to fight back in court.
- The US is looking into housing immigrant children who have been separated from their parents at the border in tent camps.
- A breastfeeding immigrant mother had her baby ripped away from her at the border.
Further Mayor Walsh signs Boston Trust Act amendments into law: Conservative Religious Leaders are Denouncing Trump’s Immigration Policy (NYT) – Conservative religious leaders value the family unit, and Trump’s policy of separating children from their families at the border runs counter to those beliefs. This is particularly problematic for the Trump administration because these leaders were amongst those who helped Trump build his base and who have been supporters of his previous policies.
- A father commits suicide after being separated from his family at the border.