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Preview: The Politics of Immigration

The Politics of Immigration

Updated: 2018-02-16T16:03:07.034-05:00


Book Review: The Politics of Immigration


This book offers illuminating context on immigration issues. It also provides useful talking points, facts and figures for chatting up anti-immigrant co-workers.

(image) By Eve Ottenberg, Labor Notes
February 15, 2018
After Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials terrorized undocumented workers by raiding 7-Elevens nationwide last month, and with 800,000 federal workers’ jobs on temporary shutdown over the status of the Dreamers, now’s a good time to take a look at how U.S. immigration policies affect the workplace.[...]

Read the full review:

Trump’s Plan Flops in Senate--Despite Bizarre DHS Press Release


Efforts to protect the younger immigrants known as Dreamers collapsed in the Senate today as three competing amendments failedto get the 60 votes needed to avoid a filibuster. President Trump had made it clear that he would veto two bipartisan compromise amendments if they passed, and predictably these both failed—the McCain-Coons amendment 52-47 and the Schumer-Rounds-Collins amendment 54-45. But the biggest failure was the Grassley amendment, which incorporated the White House’s own restrictionist positions. This went down in a 39-60 vote, with 10 Republican senators opposing their president’s plan.After today’s impasse in the Senate it seems unlikely that the political class will produce any legislation to protect the Dreamers from deportation, much less any rational reform of the immigration system.DHS head Kirstjen Nielsen. Photo: AP/Alex BrandonEarlier in the day the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) made an unusual move for a government agency: it issued a press release ferociously attacking the Schumer-Rounds-Collins amendment.“The DHS press release is over the top,” Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) responded. “It’s poisonous. I think it’s ridiculous, and I’ve long since stopped paying attention to them.” But we should pay attention, because the DHS release shows a lot about the dishonest and authoritarian thinking of the people who enforce U.S. immigration laws.Here is a sampling of what makes the release “poisonous” and “ridiculous.”DHS misrepresents provisions on enforcement. DHS claims the amendment has a “ ‘priorities’ scheme that ensures that DHS can only remove criminal aliens, national security threats and those who arrive AFTER June 30, 2018 creating a massive surge at the border for the next four months” [punctuation in the original].In reality, the text of the compromise amendment requires the DHS to “prioritize available enforcement resources” to immigrants convicted of several categories of crimes and to undocumented immigrants who arrive here after June 2018. In other words, it doesn’t stop detentions and deportations of non-criminal immigrants; it just deprioritizes them, codifying the policy in place during the last years of the Obama administration. Thousands of non-criminal immigrants were deported then—and no, there wasn’t “a massive surge at the border.”DHS makes outlandish claims about “chain migration.” The press release says Dreamers granted legal status by the bipartisan amendment “would then be able to bring over all of extended families through chain migration, who in turn could bring in their foreign relatives, potentially increasing the legalized population of aliens to 10 million.”The claim here is that since naturalized citizens sponsor an average of 3.5 relatives for immigration visas, 2 or 3 million newly legalized Dreamers would eventually sponsor another 7 to 10 million relatives. But what relatives would they sponsor? The amendment bars Dreamers from sponsoring their parents for citizenship. Couldn’t they sponsor their children or siblings? Of course, but remember that by definition the Dreamers have lived here since childhood. Their siblings would probably be either citizens or Dreamers themselves, and the Dreamers’ own children would almost all be natural-born U.S. citizens. So the Dreamers would have very few relatives they could sponsor, certainly not 7 to 10 million.When the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analyzed a more generous DREAM Act in December, it estimatedthat the legalized Dreamers would only end up sponsoring about 80,000 relatives by the end of the first 10 years. DHS claims the amendment leaves “loopholes” that “create a dramatic pull factor for illegal immigration.”These aren’t “loopholes,” and there’s no evidence they produce a significant pull factor. One is the bipartisan William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008. It is true that tens of thousands of unaccompanied children fleeing violence i[...]

Elvira Arellano: Learn from our own history!


The only way we can stop the deportations now is to demonstrate, to commit mass civil disobedience, over and over again. Sanctuary in churches must become militant mass sanctuary in the streets. It is also the only way we will get the turn out to win elections.

Hay que Sacar las Lecciones de Nuestra Propia Historia

Por Elvira Arellano
13 de febrero, 2018
(English version follows below)
Esta semana, los demócratas van a pelear a favor de DACA en el Congreso. El problema es que han abandonado precisamente las cosas que les hubiesen hecho posible lograr hasta una muy pequeña victoria. Por un tiempecito, los demócratas escuchaban a los residentes de sus estados y distritos y a los “soñadores” que sitiaron sus oficinas. Lo que se exigía era totalmente claro: Queremos un proyecto de ley “Dream” (sueño) completamente limpio, y no apoyaremos un acuerdo sobre el presupuesto hasta semejante proyecto haya sido aprobado. Los demócratas se mantuvieron firmes durante un solo voto en el Senado, se cerró el gobierno durante todo un fin de semana, y luego se dieron por vencidos.[…]

Learn from our own history!

By Elvira Arellano
February 13, 2018
The Democrats are going into fight for DACA this week. The problem is that they have given up the things they needed to get even a small victory. Democrats had listened for a while to the people in their districts and the young dreamers that surrounded their offices. The demand was clear: we want a clean bill and we won’t vote for a budget agreement to keep the government open unless a clean bill has passed. They held firm for one vote in the Senate, shut down the government over one week-end – and then folded.[…]

Lea el artículo completo/read the full article:.

Senate Set to Debate Immigration--as Resistance Picks Up


Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has scheduled as much as two weeks’ worth of openMitch McConnell. Photo: AP/J. Scott Applewhitedebate on immigration policy starting tonight. No one seems to know what he’s up to, but it’s hard to imagine that anything good will come out of this. Most Republicans seem to be pushing some version of the hardline position taken by the White House (presumably written by far-right policy adviser Stephen Miller), while we can expect the Democrats to offer a centrist compromise.Meanwhile, a lot of things are happening on the ground, with politicians and judges apparently responding to pressure from the grassroots. Several federal judges have temporarily blocked the deportation of specific immigrants or groups of immigrants, and a lawsuit charging that ICE unconstitutionally targets activists has forced ICE to stay the deportation of New York-based activist Ravi Ragbir at least until March 15. In Los Angeles a federal judge ruled that local authorities violated the Constitution when they honored detainers from ICE. If the ruling is upheld by higher courts, it would justify the policies of so-called “sanctuary cities.” Meanwhile, ICE is now officially claiming that its agents have the right to detain immigrants inside courthouses.—TPOI editor[We can expect the Senate debate to produce a whole catalog of absurd misrepresentations of immigration policies. We’ll be trying to point up some of the most ridiculous through occasional tweets. Follow us at @Immigration_QA.]McConnell’s immigration gambleThe Senate majority leader is unleashing a free-for-all debate over Dreamers — and his endgame is a mystery.By Seung Min Kim and Burgess Everett, PoliticoFebruary 12, 2018Mitch McConnell is taking the reins of an immigration debate that may prompt a fix for “Dreamers” — or quickly spiral out of control.[…]Read the full article: So Fast on Deportations, Judges Tell Immigration AgencyBy Liz Robbins, New York TimesFebruary 9, 2018 For a year, immigration agents have been enforcing the Trump administration’s orders to deport noncitizens at full speed with but one roadblock: the federal courts.[…]Read the full article: Ragbir: Immigrant Leaders Are Surveilled & Targeted for Speaking Out About Trump’s Deportations                        Democracy Now!February 12, 2018On Friday, a federal judge stayed the deportation of New York City immigrant rights leader Ravi Ragbir, after he filed a free speech lawsuit arguing immigration officials unconstitutionally used their power to suppress political dissent by targeting outspoken activists for surveillance and deportation. The judge stayed the deportation only one day before Ravi Ragbir was scheduled to be deported. He has now been ordered to check in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement on March 15. For more, we speak with Ravi Ragbir, executive director of the New Sanctuary Coalition.[…]Watch the segment or read the transcript federal judge rules that a key tool in Trump's immigration crackdown effort is illegalBy Joel Rubin, Los Angeles TimesFebruary 9, 2018 A federal judge in Los Angeles has ruled that police departments violate the Constitution if they detain inmates at the request of immigration agents, marking the latest legal setback for the Trump administration's plans to identify and deport immigrants in the country illegally.[…]Read the full article: Issues Guidance on Enforcement at CourthousesBy Immigration ProfFebruary 11, 2018Despite the many objec[...]

The Politics of Immigration: Questions and Answers - book review


The Politics of Immigration gives supporters of migrants the ammunition to answer back any anti-immigration argument, finds Orlando Hill

(image) By Orlando Hill, Counterfire
February 8, 2018
“I’m not against immigrants. I’m against illegal ones. The idea of open borders is a fantasy. Let’s face it. Our country is already too full. We must put a limit on how many can come in. We simply can’t afford it. They’ll put too much pressure on our already squeezed public finance. It’s a simple case of supply and demand. Wages will fall if you increase the supply of workers.”

Who hasn’t heard such statements in our workplace, pubs or family meals? You disagree with them, but you might not have the facts or arguments to back up your opinion, so you keep quiet to avoid a shouting match and to keep the peace.

That’s where this book comes in handy.[…]

Read the full review:

Getting Real About John Kelly


General John Kelly. Photo: Susan Walsh/APAt last mainstream reporters have started reporting about the real General John Kelly.What finally did Trump’s chief of staff in was the revelationthat he'd shielded former White House staff secretary Rob Porter despite credible allegations of domestic violence from Porter’s two ex-wives. This followed bizarre episodes like Kelly’s rewriting of U.S. history and his lies about an African-American Congress member. But his record during the half-year he headed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) should have alerted observers to the man’s true character long before he moved to the White House.Wasn’t it a problem that as DHS secretary he floated ideas for systematically separating child asylum seekers from their parents, and for deploying the National Guard in immigration raids? In March the administration suggested funding expanded immigration enforcement by gutting the Coast Guard, FEMA and the TSA, parts of the government that sometimes may actually help protect people. If Kelly objected to this bizarre plan, he didn’t say so. In April he suggested that Congress members who criticized his department’s immigration raids should change the immigration laws or else “shut up.” And why did reporters and editorial writers think the Trump team chose Kelly for the post? A general headed immigration operations in the 1950s, and the result was “Operation Wetback.” (See this,along with a correction.)With all this information against Kelly, media like the New York Times still managed to write that the man was “sensible.” Now that we know otherwise, the Times still isn’t quite admitting to a mistake. In an articlenoting that “Mr. Kelly has drawn a string of unwelcome headlines,” Timesreporters Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman explain that “[w]hen he took the White House job last summer, [Kelly] was seen by many as a mature figure who could impose order on a chaotic building.”Who were the “many” who saw Kelly this way? Not the immigrants who'd been swept up in his immigration raids.[...]

Ravi's Deportation Has Been Delayed!


Rally in Foley Square, outside New York Federal Building, Saturday, February 10, 9 am!

By New Sanctuary Coalition
February 9, 2018
This is a turning point - now more than ever we need to ramp up pressure to stop ALL deportations.

Great news today! Ravi is temporarily safe from deportation, thanks to a lawsuit just filed against ICE for targeting immigrant rights leaders in violation of the first amendment.

With this momentum, it’s more important than ever that we all join Ravi for a huge “You Can’t Deport a Movement” rally for the countless thousands of immigrants facing deportation every day. Join us in Foley Square next to ICE’s offices at 26 Federal Plaza tomorrow morning at 9am.

Today, Ravi, together with a group of organizations including the New Sanctuary Coalition, charged in federal court in New York that Immigration and Customs Enforcement has been targeting Ravi and many other activists across the country in order to illegally silence them and “sweep away all opposition” in violation of the First Amendment right to free speech.

Ravi now has a temporary stay—he cannot be deported while the court is considering the lawsuit’s demand for a preliminary injunction stopping ICE’s unconstitutional behavior. (Read more on The Intercept or the official press release here.)

This is a critical moment for our cause, and we need to rally tomorrow — Saturday morning — to show ICE we won't go away until ALL deportations are stopped.

We see now what a big difference our resistance can make. Now let’s leverage the momentum and the worldwide attention we’ve harnessed. Let’s show ICE they can’t terrorize, harass or deport any immigrants. They cannot deport our movement!

It‘s an important time in history! Get your signs ready. Invite your friends! On the day that they would have deported Ravi if they could have, let’s make noise and show ICE we won't stop until the attacks on our communities stop.

In solidarity,
New Sanctuary Coalition

The Latest Nonsense About Immigration—a Quick Guide


By David L. Wilson, MR OnlineFebruary 7, 2018’ve seen and heard a lot about immigration in the past few weeks, and a good deal of it has been out-and-out nonsense. Many journalists and politicians simply don’t understand U.S. immigration policy, some consciously lie about it, and a few, like Donald Trump, manage not to understand and at the same time consciously lie.Here’s a list of some of the immigration absurdities now circulating in the media and in the political class.1. We have a big problem called “chain immigration.” People who say this are actually talking about the family-based visa system established by the 1965 immigration reform. The term “chain migration” refers to an age-old process of people settling in a new country and then sending for friends and relatives. Many or most European Americans got here through this kind of migration. So why do conservatives call family-based immigration “chain migration”? Simple: they claim to support family values, so they don’t want us to notice that they’re opposing a program that favors family reunification.2. Family-based immigration means “a single immigrant can bring in virtually unlimited numbers of distant relatives.” Most people don’t live long enough to create anything like the migration “chain” we find in President Trump’s rants and rightwing TV ads. It’s true that a naturalized U.S. citizen can sponsor green cards for a spouse, for parents, and for minor children, but the process involves many bureaucratic hurdles and delays. To sponsor other close relatives, such as siblings and adult children, the citizen confronts a labyrinth of quotas and restrictions, with delays stretching into decades for people of certain nationalities. Green card holders face even stricter limitations and greater hurdles.In January Trump claimed that terrorism suspect Sayfullo Saipov brought in “22 people through the chain.” PolitiFact calculates that the 29-year-old Saipov, a green card holder since 2010, could only have done this by somehow “fathering more than 20 kids before he left Uzbekistan.”3. We also have a good visa program called “merit-based immigration.”  Currently the U.S. government makes immigration visas available for some people with special skills or employment opportunities; these visas are capped at 140,000 a year, including the applicants’ spouses and minor children. Conservatives generally like this program, but after years of charging that immigrants are “taking our jobs,” they’re naturally uncomfortable with the program’s usual name, “employment-based immigration.” So in the past decade they’ve been trying to rebrand it as “merit-based immigration.”4. This program brings us people who “will contribute to our society and who will love and respect our country.” Republicans are trying to reorientthe employment-based visa program towards admitting immigrants with advanced degrees in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. This probably does contribute to our society, but the Republicans’ real interest is the new workers’ ability to benefit U.S. corporations. Recruiting these immigrants gives U.S. companies a technological edge; creates a “brain drain” for the immigrants’ home countries, often U.S. economic rivals like China and South Korea; and compensates for the shortage of qualified U.S.-born workers caused by the failures of our own underfunded education system.5. Current immigration laws have “deadly loopholes” which allow “criminals to break into our country.” This is a reference to the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, which George W. Bush signed into law in 2008. The act was intended to protect unaccompanied minors arriving at the U[...]

Important Op-Ed: “Trump is going after immigration activists like me. Will you be next?”


(image) Tania Unzueta Carrasco, USA Today
February 7, 2018
The Trump administration is targeting people who speak out and organize against its policies. I know. Members of my organization are being targeted. Members of my family could be next.

I am an immigrant rights organizer with temporary legal status under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and I have been tracking how the federal government has been targeting my peers across the country. As I prepare to defend myself and my family against potential prosecution and deportation, I see this increasingly overt retribution as a warning sign that the right to political dissent is under threat for every person in the United States.[…]

Read the full article:

Update 2/5/18: Immigration News You May Have Missed


Recent Polls, DACA/TPS Fallout, MS-13 Solution, Border DeathsPolls show Americans are closer to Democrats than Donald Trump on immigrationAmericans want to help DREAMers, don’t want a wall, and don’t want to cut immigration levels.By Dylan Matthews, VoxFebruary 5, 2018…[O]n the big questions, the prevailing public sentiment is reasonably clear: People want relief for DREAMers. They don’t want a border wall. And they want immigration levels kept constant or increased, not lowered. It’s totally in line with public sentiment for Democrats and pro-immigration Republicans in Congress to insist on a deal that helps DREAMers without building a wall or cracking down on immigration.[…]Read the full article: DACA in Limbo, Teachers Protected by the Program Gird for the WorstBy Erica L. Green, New York TimesFebruary 1, 2018Karen Reyes spends her days teaching a group of deaf toddlers at Lucy Read Pre-Kindergarten School in Austin, Tex., how to understand a world they cannot hear.[…]Read the full article: Immigrants Are Pushed Out, Who Will Care for the Elderly?By Paula Span, New York TimesFebruary 2, 2018[…]But because her helper is an undocumented immigrant from Mexico, both women increasingly fear that she’ll be detained and deported. (I’m withholding their names for that reason.)[…]Read the full article: Gang Members Offer Advice on How to Combat MS-13By Jonathan Blitzer, New YorkerJanuary 30, 2018U.S. authorities often portray MS-13, which started in this country in the nineteen-eighties, as a massive criminal enterprise reminiscent of the Mexican drug cartels. That vastly overstates the gang’s power, but, in some ways, undersells it, too.[…]Read the full article: on the Border: Trump Border Patrol Crackdown Shines Light On Rising Number Of Migrant DeathsBy Immigration ProfFebruary 2, 2018NPR reports that the recent arrest of an activist from the group No More Deaths is highlighting the rising number of people who die crossing the U.S.-Mexico border and the challenges that humanitarian workers confront when they try to help. At least 7,209 people have died while illegally crossing the southwestern border over the past 20 years, according to U.S. Border Patrol data, but an investigation by USA Today finds official statistics underestimate the number of deaths. The number is much higher because, for the most part, federal authorities' casualty count does not include people whose remains are recovered by local authorities.[…]Read the full post:[...]

Immigration’s Border-Enforcement Myth


Border art: image from JR, the artist
In truth, undocumented migration is not an aberration of “normal” immigration. It is the inevitable result of any general policy of immigration restriction.

By Mae Ngai, New York Times
January 28, 2018
Congress has about another month before Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the Obama-era program that protects young undocumented immigrants from deportation (and which President Trump terminated in September), officially comes to an end. It remains to be seen whether Congress will legalize these so-called Dreamers, and what concessions will be made in return. But this much is certain: Any deal will include appropriations for enhanced border enforcement.

We’ve been here before. The last major immigration reform bill, the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which was signed by President Ronald Reagan, legalized nearly three million undocumented immigrants in exchange for increased enforcement along the United States-Mexico border.[…]

Read the full article:

“Ravi Ragbir Is Coming Home—for Now.”


Update, 1/30/18: Today's Democracy Now! features an excellent discussion with Ravi Ragbir, his wife Amy Gottlieb, and his lead attorney, Alina Dax. Watch at: and Ragbir Was Freed by the Movement He Helped BuildWhile it was a judge who ordered Ragbir released, it was immigration rights activists who brought him home.By Jake Offenhartz, The NationJanuary 29, 2018Ravi Ragbir is coming home—for now.  On Monday, United States District Judge Katherine Forrest ruled that the “the government has acted wrongly” and with “unnecessary cruelty” in detaining the well-known immigrant advocate during a routine check-in earlier this month, and ordered his immediate release from a correctional facility in Orange County, New York. Noting that, “there is, and ought to be in this great country, the freedom to say goodbye,” Forrest repeatedly condemned the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency’s actions. “This abrupt and by all accounts unnecessary detention, a step in the direction of deportation, was wrong,” she declared.[…]Read the full article: Entitled to ‘Freedom to Say Goodbye,’ Judge RulesBy Liz Robbins, New York TimesJanuary 29, 2018In an impassioned rebuke of the Trump administration’s immigration practices, a Federal District Court judge in Manhattan Monday ordered the immediate release of the immigrant rights activist Ravi Ragbir, calling his abrupt detention on Jan. 11 unconstitutional and cruel.Mr. Ragbir, a native of Trinidad and Tobago who has been ordered to leave the country by immigration officials, should have been entitled to “the freedom to say goodbye,” as Judge Katherine B. Forrest, of the United States District Court of the Southern District of New York, put it in her opinion.[…]Read the full article:[...]

TPS Termination: What It Means for Haitians and Hondurans


\The media focus on Trump’s DACA termination shouldn’t distract us from the ongoing threat to  more than 400,000 immigrants with Temporary Protected Status (TPS). So far, the administration has announced end dates for Haitian, Nicaraguan, Salvadoran, and Sudanese TPS recipients, and Hondurans are afraid they’ll be next. Haitian groups are trying to get public attention for the suffering the policy will inflict on survivors of Haiti’s 2010 earthquake. Hondurans, meanwhile, are watching the violent suppression of protests as a U.S.-backed president takes office; international observers refused to certify his highly questionable election last November.—TPOI editorMaica’s StoryBy Haitian Women for Haitian RefugeesTo Whom It May Concern:  My name is Maica and I immigrated from Haiti after the deadlyearthquake in 2010. There I was buried under a building for six days and was presumed dead. My eleven year old little brother and my aunt died right next to me, and both decomposed on top of me during the six days that I was there. When they finally unearthed me, although my little brother had died, I managed to survive. After battling an infection that couldn’t be treated, I had to have both of my legs amputated. Luckily I was flown to New York where I was hospitalized for many months and had many, many surgeries.Here, I was helped by many strangers who became my family over the years. I was blessed enough to get a scholarship to a lovely prestigious high school. I was able to graduate and go to college. Over the years, I was helped by the Haitian Women for Haitian Refugees (HWHR), an organization that responds to the needs of Haitian refugees and immigrants, for which I am a volunteer. During my schooling, I volunteered for several other organizations such as The Epiphany Soup Kitchen, Surgeons of Hope and Methodist Hospital. I was also able to work at my high school’s summer camp, the Salvation Army and Goodwill. Then I attended nursing school for three years where I got my Associate in Nursing Sciences.[…]Read the full statement: fierce protest, Honduras inaugurates a president accused of stealing the electionBetween Nov. 29 and Dec. 31, at least 30 people were killed, 232 wounded and 1,085 detained, according to the Committee of the Families of the Disappeared in Honduras, a human rights group.By Kate Linthicum, Los Angeles TimesJanuary 27, 2018Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez was sworn in for a second term Saturday amid violent clashes between police and protesters who insist Hernandez was not legitimately elected.Soldiers and riot police fired tear gas and set up barricades to block thousands of demonstrators from marching to Tegucigalpa's National Stadium, where Hernandez was presented with the blue-and-white sash of office in an elaborate morning ceremony.[…]Read the full article: Orlando Hernandez inauguration in Honduras. Photo: Eduardo Verdugo/AP[...]

Legislators Question Detentions of Immigrant Activists


Press conference, New York Federal Building. Photo: Murad AwawdehA number of local politicians held a press conference in front of the Federal Building in Lower Manhattan today focusing on the detention of immigrant rights activists such as New York residents Jean Montrevil and Ravi Ragbir. So far, thirty-three members of Congress have signed on to a letter questioning the detentions, and speakers were often quite passionate: Rep. Yvette Clarke denounced the building behind her as “the headquarters of the Gestapo of the United States of America.” In response to reporters’ questions, several members of Congress spoke out against New York police actions supporting federal immigration agents; they said local politicians are meeting with Mayor Bill de Blasio to discuss the issue.Still, the Congress members were vague about how much they might be willing to compromise with Republican hardliners to get legal status for DACA recipients—although Rep. Nydia Velázquez did dismiss the White House’s new immigration proposal as “a ransom note” using the Dreamers as “hostages.” There was no discussion of the administration’s termination of TPS programs or of strategies for longterm immigration reform. So we’ll have to wait and see how well the politicians’ actions match their rhetoric.—TPOI editorStatement: Velázquez, Crowley Call on ICE to End Targeting of Immigrant ActivistsBy Justice for RaviJanuary 27, 2018(New York, New York) —Flanked by community leaders and immigration rights activists, Reps. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY), Joe Crowley (D-NY), Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, and members of the New York City Congressional delegation called today for a meeting with the Secretary of Homeland Security and the acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement to discuss the agency’s recent targeting of immigrant activists for detainment and deportation.Outside of local ICE headquarters, the Members of Congress highlighted four cases of community leaders who were recently detained after speaking out against the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant policies.  This includes Ravi Ragbir, a prominent New York City activist, who was detained by ICE in January.[…]Read the full article: the letter: a video of the press conference: ReportBy Tequila Minsky, The VillagerJanuary 25, 2018After being detained during a routine check-in at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement officeRavi Ragbir. Photo: Tequila Minsky  at Broadway and Worth St. on Jan. 11, immigrant-rights activist Ravi Ragbir was promptly flown down to the Krome Detention Center in Miami. There, Ragbir, the executive director of the Judson Church-based New Sanctuary Coalition, was poised to be deported back to Trinidad. Ragbir’s lawyers quickly filed an appeal to block his deportation and also return him to the New York area.  In Miami detention, Ragbir spent Martin Luther King Day with fellow immigrant activist and New Sanctuary Coalition co-founder Jean Montrevil, who was deported to Haiti the following day.[…]Read the full article:[...]

What Part of “Illegal” Doesn’t Donald Trump Understand?


Could Trump get perp-walked out of 1600 Pennsylvani Avenue?Poor Stephen Miller. On January 25 he finally got to present his full anti-immigrant program as the nonnegotiable position of the U.S. executive branch—and suddenly his spot in the limelight was stolen by a New York Times report that yes, Donald Trump really had tried to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller. People like Miller love the word “illegal,” at least when applied to people with dark skin. They fail to notice the irony that they are working for a man whose whole career has been based on breaking or circumventing laws—a career that started with violations of anti-discrimination laws and may end with an effort to get around the special counsel statute. So if 11 million people should be deported for “unlawful presence” in the U.S., what should we do about Donald Trump’s unlawful presence in the White House?—TPOI editorThe immigration deal Trump’s White House is floating, explained1.8 million immigrants could ultimately get access to citizenship — but the White House wants big cuts to family-based immigration in return.By Dara Lind, VoxJanuary 25, 2018The Trump administration is finally playing ball on immigration.On Wednesday, it announced it would release a “framework” for a bill it hoped to see pass Congress. On Thursday, details of that framework leaked to several news outlets, including NBC and the Daily Beast.Those reports say that the administration is willing to allow 1.8 million unauthorized immigrants who came to the country as children to become legal residents and ultimately apply for US citizenship — including the 690,000 beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, as well as others who would have been eligible for DACA but did not apply — in exchange for a $25 billion fund for its wall on the US/Mexico border; reallocating slots currently given to immigrants via the diversity visa lottery on the basis of “merit”; and preventing people from sponsoring their parents, adult children, or siblings to immigrate to the US.[…]Read the full article: Ordered Mueller Fired, but Backed Off When White House Counsel Threatened to QuitBy Michael S. Schmidt and Maggie Haberman, New York TimesJanuary 25, 2018WASHINGTON — President Trump ordered the firing last June of Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel overseeing the Russia investigation, according to four people told of the matter, but ultimately backed down after the White House counsel threatened to resign rather than carry out the directive.The West Wing confrontation marks the first time Mr. Trump is known to have tried to fire the special counsel. Mr. Mueller learned about the episode in recent months as his investigators interviewed current and former senior White House officials in his inquiry into whether the president obstructed justice.[…]Read the full article:[...]

More on the Immigration Police State


Two-thirds of the population lives in the government's 100-mile border zone. Graphic: ACLUBorder Patrol Checking Papers of Greyhound Passengers in FloridaMost Americans are unaware that two-thirds of the U.S. population – about 200 million people – live within the 100-mile border zone where Border Patrol is authorized to conduct enforcement operations, according to the ACLU.By Anna Núñez, America's VoiceJanuary 24, 2018A video of Border Patrol agents boarding a Greyhound bus asking people to show them their papers has garnered over 2.5 million views on Facebook according to the Florida Immigration Coalition (FLIC).Last Friday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents boarded a Greyhound bus in Fort Lauderdale to question passengers about their immigration papers. “They asked for documentation and it had to be specifically U.S. identification or a passport with a stamp of entrance,” passenger Raquel Quesada told a local CBS affiliate.Passengers were shocked that their citizenship would be questioned and proof of citizenship was being asked during a routine trip between Florida cities. FLIC shared a video on Twitter (provided by an anonymous passenger) of a Jamaican woman in her 60s, later identified as “Beverly,” who was removed from the bus by Border Patrol agents. She had come to the country legally with a visitor’s visa and had just met her granddaughter for the first time, said her daughter-in-law in a posted statement by FLIC. Additional video here and here shows the grandmother being detained by CBP.[…]Read the full article: ICE’s Aggressive Targeting of Immigrant Rights ActivistsBy Justice for RaviJanuary 24, 2018Community Organizations Across the U.S. Join Together To Condemn the Recent Actions of ICE and Demand the Department of Homeland Security Reverse the Agency’s Unlawful OperationsNew York, NY:  Over 1,800 community organizations, immigrant rights groups, faith-based organizations, immigrant rights lawyers, professors, and community supporters from 50 states have submitted a letter to the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen condemning the targeting of leaders in the movement for immigrant rights in the United States. The letter calls for the immediate release of Ravi Ragbir and Eliseo Jurado Fernandez from immigration detention, the return of Jean Montrevil from Haiti, and a halt to the effort to deport Maru Mora-Villalpando, all immigrant rights leaders who have been targeted for deportation in recent weeks.[…]Read the full posting” the letter:[...]

Racist Immigration Policies Didn’t Start With Trump


These two articles detail the ways in which racism has always been a crucial element in U.S. immigration policy. Paul A. Kramer’s New York Times op-ed is especially noteworthy for asking “to what extent are the countries of the global north implicated in forces that prevent people in the global south from surviving and thriving where they are” and “[i]n what ways do restrictive immigration policies heighten the exploitation of workers”—questions rarely brought up in the corporate media. And he emphasizes that ruling elites exploit racial divisioins in the population to maintain their own power.—TPOI editor  Trump’s Anti-Immigrant Racism Represents an American TraditionBy Paul A. Kramer, New York TimesJanuary 22, 2018President Trump has inspired widespread outrage and disgust with his crude, racist disparagement of Haiti, El Salvador and African nations and the predominantly black and brown immigrants from these places.As horrifying as this remark was, his groundbreaking transparency provides an opportunity. Racism has long fueled United States immigration exclusions and restrictions, but these days it’s rare to hear rhetoric that openly reflects this reality, providing us a chance to delve into its roots and implications.[…]Read the full article: 1920, Jews, Italians, Irish and Greeks Were the People From ‘Shithole’ CountriesBy Alan Singer, HuffPostJanuary 15, 2018Last week Donald Trump called for blocking immigrants from “shithole” countries, setting off a wave of domestic and international condemnation. Despite reports by eyewitnesses including Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, a Democrat, and Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, a Republican, Trump denied insulting Haitians, Central Americans, and Africans. He also repeatedly denies that he is a racist. Representative Mia Love, a Republican and the only Haitian American in Congress, accepted the truth of the reports, called Trump’s behavior unacceptable, and demanded an apology.[…]Read the full article:[...]

Activists—and Even Some Pundits—React to #SchumerSellout


It’s not the first time the Democrats have failed the Dreamers. In 2009-2010 the party controlled the Congress and the White House, but supposed “master strategist” Chuck Schumer held off on promoting the DREAM Act in the hopes of getting a comprehensive immigration reform. That didn’t work. The Democrats finally held a vote on the bill in December, but the effort flopped when five Democratic senators nixed it. So there’s a reason immigrant youths don't trust the Democrats.—TPOI editorUnited We Dream’s Cristina Jiménez. Photo: Reed Saxon/APLiberals livid after deal to end shutdownActivist groups were angry at how the negotiations turned out, with some calling it '#SchumerSellout.'By Elana Schor, PoliticoJanuary 22, 2018Liberal activists are furious with Democratic senators after most of them agreed to reopen the federal government without a firm path to shielding young immigrants from deportation.As the third day of the shutdown dawned, liberal advocates and immigration groups fired off a joint statement blasting as “unacceptable” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s offer merely to hold a vote on immigration — with no promises for action from the House or White House — in exchange for Democratic votes to reopen the government. But three hours later, Democratic senators agreed to just those terms — sparking anger on the left.[…]Read the full article: Democrats’ Vote to End Shutdown Infuriates Some on the LeftBy Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns, New York TimesJanuary 22, 2018WASHINGTON — The decision by Senate Democrats to end the government shutdown on Monday in exchange for a promised immigration vote enraged liberals, who accused the lawmakers of betrayal and threatened to mount primaries against some of the Democrats who voted yes.Regardless of what happens in the Senate, progressive and immigrant advocacy groups said House Republican leaders will never take up a bill that would offer legal status to young undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children without excruciating concessions on other immigration issues. They accused Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, and moderate Democratic senators of capitulating to protect senators up for re-election in November in Republican-leaning states.[…]Read the full article: Sells Out the ResistanceBy Michelle Goldberg, New York TimesJanuary 22, 2018This weekend, more than one million people took to the streets nationwide for the first anniversary of the Women’s March. Though not nearly as big as the protests a year ago, it was still a larger public manifestation than anything the Tea Party ever managed. And though the demonstration was meant as a rebuke to Donald Trump, one central demand was that Congress stand up for the young undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers, who were brought to the country as children. They now face deportation because Trump has moved to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, an Obama-era program protecting them.The energy of the progressive grass roots should be seen as a valuable resource for Democrats. If Donald Trump’s election taught us anything beyond the salience of white nationalism among our fellow citizens, it’s that passion matters, and that people respond when they see a leader who is willing to champion them even when it’s risky. That’s why it was so infuriating to see the Senate De[...]

‘Dreamers’ could give US economy – and even American workers – a boost


Here’s new research supporting our contention that most native-born people in the U.S. would benefit from the passage of the DREAM Act. How would it affect the DREAM Act fight in Congress now if there was more distribution of this sort of material?—TPOI editorRally in support of DACA. AP Photo/Jose Luis MaganaAmy Hsin, The ConversationJanuary 19, 2018Earlier this month, hopes were high that a bipartisan deal could be reached to resolve the fate of the “Dreamers,” the millions of undocumented youth who were brought to the U.S. as children.Those hopes all but vanished on Jan. 11 as President Donald Trump aligned himself with hard-line anti-immigration advocates within the GOP and struck down bipartisan attempts to reach a resolution.As we enter the final hours before a potential government shutdown, many Democrats are insisting that any short-term funding agreement must include a resolution for Dreamers.One of the arguments advanced by those who oppose giving them citizenship is that doing so would hurt native-born workers and be a drain on the U.S. economy. My own research shows the exact opposite is true.[…]Read the full article: the research paper:[...]

The immigration debate at the center of the government shutdown, explained


(image) This article from Vox gives a pretty clear idea of how the immigration impasse is playing out in Washington. The Democratic politicians are generally willing to give away a lot—too much, most activists would say—to get some protection for DACA recipients. The Republicans, by contrast, are very divided. Some Republican legislators are willing to compromise, some are not, and their president is constantly changing his positions—and doesn’t understand those positions. (As the Daily Show noted, Trump may think the diversity visa involves an actual, physical lottery drawing!)

Meanwhile, back in the real world, DACA and TPS recipients are left in a limbo that’s painful for themselves, their families, and their communities.—TPOI editor

By Tara Golshan and Dara Lind, Vox
January 20, 2018
President Donald Trump sits at the center of the fight to re-open the federal government, and it’s posing a major problem.

“Negotiating with President Trump is like negotiating with Jell-O,” Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said on the Senate floor on the first day of the government shutdown.

Republicans and Democrats are stuck in a standoff over the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which the Trump administration has promised to fully sunset by March 5. Frustrated with Trump’s unwillingness to accept a bipartisan proposal to address the nearly 700,000 DACA recipients in legal limbo, Democratic — and some Republican — senators voted against the short-term spending bill on Friday to force a sense of urgency over immigration negotiations. The conversation about reopening the government has become hopelessly entangled with the conversation about what to do on immigration.[…]

Read the full article:

Inside ICE’s Police State


More and more evidence is accumulating: ICE is using its policing powers in an effort to shut down resistance to the immigration system. So far, the effort seems to be backfiring. As the repression intensifies, the resistance seems to keep on growing. One example: nearly 600 people turned out in the cold at Washington Square on MLK Day for a Jericho walk sponsored by the New Sanctuary Coalition; this came four days after ICE detained the organization’s executive director, Ravi Ragbir. We can expect still more grassroots activism as political class inaction continues in DC.—TPOI editorI Stood Up to ICE, and Now They’re Trying to Deport MeWith the letter delivered to my house, ICE has officially made the leap from a law enforcement agency to a political repression agency.Photo courtesy of Maru Mora VillalpandoBy Maru Mora Villalpando, Yes! MagazineJanuary 17, 2018When I imagined U.S. immigration authorities coming for me, I never thought it would be by certified mail. And yet this is how it happened—a few days before Christmas, a knock on my door led to the delivery of a letter, informing me that I was being placed in deportation proceedings.My daughter, who opened the letter, started to cry. I immediately saw this for what it was: their way of trying to intimidate me. I felt a mix of emotions, but mostly I felt angry.[…]Read the full article: Sanctuary: As ICE Targets Immigrant Rights Activists for Deportation, Suspicious Vehicles Outside Churches Stoke Surveillance FearsBy Nick Pinto, The InterceptJanuary 19, 2018When word came down from the upper floors of Federal Plaza in Lower Manhattan that Immigration and Customs Enforcement was taking custody of Ravidath Ragbir and intended to deport him, hundreds of his supporters, standing outside on the cold sidewalk, raised up their hands to the monolithic building and screamed.Ragbir had entered the building willingly, on his own steam, accompanied by his wife and family, his legal team, and a handful of elected officials. Now, his friends outside learned, Ravi — as everyone knows him — wouldn’t be coming back to them. They had planned for this possibility even as they hoped it wouldn’t come, but the plans soon gave way to a spontaneous gesture of resistance. As the ambulance carrying a handcuffed Ragbir — he had briefly fainted when he was taken into custody — pulled out of the Federal Plaza garage, supporters attempted to stop its progress. Friends, colleagues, clergy, and city council members put their bodies in front of the vehicle, blocking it with their lives.[…]Read the full article:[...]

ICE Targets Activists—Take Action!


New Yorkers arrested as ICE detains Ravi Ragbir. Joana Toro /VIEWpress/Corbis via Getty ImagesThere can now be little doubt that Immigration and Customs Enforcement is targeting immigration activists and their families for detention and deportation. Today's Democracy Now! program, linked to below, devoted much of its time to coverage of these cases. We are also providing links to other coverage.It’s important to stay informed, but it’s just as important to act. New Yorkers can support Jean Montrevil and Ravi Ragbir on Thursday, January 18, by coming out for one or both of two actions, and everyone can support Washington state activist Maru Mora-Villalpando by signing a petition:Jericho Walk at the Federal Building, January 18, 11 am - 1 pm, Foley Square, 111 Worth St, New York, NY. Info: at ICE processing center, January 18, 5 pm, 201 Varick Street, New York, NY. Info: Sign the Petition for Maru Mora-Villalpando at’ll try to update you as we learn about other support actions.—TPOI editorNYC Immigration Activist Jean Montrevil Speaks Out After Deportation to Haiti: “My Heart Is Broken”By Democracy Now!January 17, 2018On Tuesday, immigrant rights leader Jean Montrevil was deported to Haiti after residing in the United States for over three decades. He came to the U.S. from Haiti with a green card in 1986 at the age of 17. During the height of the crack epidemic, he was convicted of possession of cocaine and sentenced to 11 years in prison. He served that time. Upon his release, he married a U.S. citizen, had four children, became a successful small businessman, as well as an immigrant rights activist. He has had no further interaction with the criminal justice system. Joining us from Haiti is Jean Montrevil, who was deported to Haiti on Tuesday. We are also joined by Jani Cauthen, Jean’s former wife and the mother of three of his children.[…]View this and subsequent segments, or read the transcripts, starting here: tracks down immigrant who spoke to media in SW Washington: ‘You are the one from the newspaper’After talking to The Seattle Times about his girlfriend’s arrest by immigration officials, a Pacific County man was detained himself. He said an agent told him it was because of what had been written.By Nina Shapiro, Seattle TimesDecember 3, 2017A man who recounted his longtime girlfriend’s arrest in a Seattle Times story about ramped-up immigration enforcement in Pacific County last month has now been detained, and says U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents told him the arrest was because he was in the newspaper.[…]Read the full article: of Peruvian woman taking sanctuary at Boulder church detained by ICEBy John Bear and Jenn Fields, Denver Post January 11, 2018 When Ingrid Encalada Latorre’s husband, Eliseo Jurado, stopped by a Westminster Safeway on Thursday to pick up some items for his 9-year-old stepson, Bryant, and 2-year-old son, Anibal, she didn’t anticipate that six agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement would snatch him.[...]

What Deportation Really Means


When Deportation Is a Death SentenceHundreds of thousands of immigrants in the U.S. may face violence and murder in their home countries. What happens when they are forced to return?Laura S. Photo: Carolyn Drake / Magnum/New YorkerBy Sarah Stillman, New YorkerJanuary 9, 2018 (posted)On June 9, 2009, just after 2 a.m., Laura S. left the restaurant where she waitressed, iPharr, Texas, and drove off in her white Chevy. She was in an unusually hopeful mood. Her twenty-third birthday was nine days away, and she and her nineteen-year-old cousin, Elizabeth, had been discussing party plans at the restaurant. They’d decided to have coolers of beer, a professional d.j., and dancing after Laura put her three sons to bed. Now they were heading home, and giving two of Laura’s friends a ride, with a quick detour for hamburgers. Elizabeth said that, as they neared the highway, a cop flashed his lights at them. The officer, Nazario Solis III, claimed that Laura had been driving between lanes and asked to see her license and proof of insurance.Laura had neither. She’d lived in the United States undocumented her whole adult life.“Do you have your residence card?” Solis asked.“No,” Laura said, glancing anxiously at her cousin and her friends. Solis questioned them, too. Only Elizabeth had a visa, which she fished out of her purse. Solis directed the others to get out of the car. “I’m calling Border Patrol,” he said—an unusual move, at the time, for a small-town cop in South Texas.[…]Read the full article: the Salvadorans Being Kicked Out by Trump Face Back HomeBy Jonathan Blitzer, New YorkerJanuary 9, 2018Patty is a thirty-eight-year-old Salvadoran mother of two who has lived in the United States, on Long Island, since 1998. Her father was killed during El Salvador’s civil war, in the nineteen-eighties, and her mother fled to the U.S. to seek asylum as a refugee. Patty had initially thought that she would be eligible for residency in the U.S. through her mother, but that didn’t work out. “I never understood what happened with my papers,” she told me Monday night, when we spoke by phone. “But then there was another option.” In 2001, after a string of earthquakes had struck El Salvador, Patty was among the thousands of Salvadorans who qualified for temporary protected status, or T.P.S., a federal designation that allowed her to live and work legally in the U.S. She has renewed her T.P.S. status every eighteen months for the last seventeen years. During that time, she got married; had her two sons, who are U.S. citizens; went to community college; and found a job as a secretary at a financial-services firm.On Monday morning, the Trump Administration announced its decision to cancel T.P.S. for Salvadorans.[...]Read the full article:[...]

Humans, “Aliens,” and “Shithole Countries”


There is no evidence that Donald Trump has ever in his life performed a single selfless act, let alone any act of heroism. Probably he wouldn’t be able even to imagine the nobility of character I witnessed among Port-au-Prince residents after the earthquake, and among “alien” activists like Ravi and Jean here in New York.

By David L. Wilson, MR Online
January 14, 2018
Exactly eight years ago, on January 12, 2010, I happened to be in Port-au-Prince when a major earthquake struck southern Haiti, killing tens or hundreds of thousands of people.

That night and in the five days that followed I saw a few Haitians acting selfishly, but mostly I watched and interviewed people trying to help each other, many of them digging through rubble with hand tools or bare fingers, sometimes endangering themselves in attempts to rescue friends, neighbors, and even complete strangers.[…]

Read the full article:
Miami commemoration of the 2010 earthquake. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

NYC, 1/15/18: Stand Up for Immigrants and Against Racism


1. Stand With Us on Martin Luther King Jr. Dayas we proclaim “Immigrant Rights are Human Rights”. Ravi Ragbir, Jean Montreveil, and others have been unjustly detained. Join us Monday as we stand together and demand their immediate release.New Sanctuary Colation's Ravi RagbirMonday, January 15, 201812pm: Jericho Walk, Washington Square Park, NYC1pm: Press Conference, Judson Memorial Church, NYCInformation: New Sanctuary Coalition events at Judson Church:9am: Breakfast at Judson Memorial Church, NYC10am : MLK Service with Ruby Sales,Judson Memorial Church, NYCIn the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., faith leaders, elected officials, and immigration and legal advocates will come together to condemn the institutional oppression of marginalized communities and hold a "Jericho Walk" in Washington Square Park, around Ai Wei Wei's “Arch” migration sculpture. A press conference will be held following the vigil to call for Mr. Montrevil and Mr. Ragbir’s release, and to honor the 18 people who were arrested putting their bodies on the line in the tradition of peaceful civil disobedience in defense of Mr. Ragbir.In the face of Trump’s unprecedented assault on immigrant communities and blatant racism, the fight for the rights and dignity of immigrants is more important than ever. Trump’s recent disparaging remarks about Caribbean and African countries, like Mr. Ragbir and Mr. Montrevil’s homelands of Trinidad and Haiti, respectively, highlight the critical need for continued resistance and unity.Speakers: New York City Councilmembers Jumaane Williams and Ydanis Rodriguez, who were among the 18 people arrested in an act of civil disobedience during Thursday’s solidarity vigil; Rev. Kaji Douša, whose grandfather stood with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as he delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial; Rev. Donna Schaper, civil rights leader and senior minister at Judson Memorial Church; Alina Das, Professor at New York School of Law and legal counsel to Ravi Ragbir; and loved ones of Jean and Ravi.2. Rally Against Racism: Stand Up for Haiti and AfricaHaitian workers rally, Port-au-Prince, 2012. Photo: Marty Goodman/Socialist ActionMonday, January 15, 20182:30 pm - 5:00 pmTimes Square, Broadway at West 42nd Street, NYCInformation: 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East Trump's racism was on display yet again this week with his hateful comments about Haitian and African immigrants. We will not let bigotry divide us, and we will welcome and defend all immigrants! WE ARE AMERICA![...]