U.S.-immigration

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Muhammad Ali’s family asks Congress to put a stop to Trump’s “insulting” Muslim ban

  • The family of late boxing champion Muhammad Ali headed to Capitol Hill on Thursday to meet with House Democrats and ask them to fight President Donald Trump’s Muslim travel ban.
  • In late February, U.S. immigration officers detained Muhammad Ali, Jr. and his mother, Khalilah Camacho-Ali, for several hours upon their arrival at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport from Jamaica.
  • As U.S. citizens, they both provided proper travel documentation, ThinkProgress reported. But according to attorney Chris Mancini, Ali Jr. was repeatedly interrogated on his faith as a devout Muslim.
  • Ali Jr. and Camacho-Ali appeared before House Democrats at a forum on Capitol Hill titled “Ali vs. Trump: The Fight for American Values” to discuss their experience and views on the executive order. 
  • The duo also appeared to show their support for the End Racial and Religious Profiling Act of 2017, which would prohibit any law enforcement agency from profiling Americans based on race or religion. Read more (3/10/17 4:02 PM)

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In cities around America, thousands of construction companies, restaurants, and other businesses are bracing for “A Day Without Immigrants,” a combination boycott/strike that highlights the contributions of immigrants to U.S. business and culture.

The movement is a response to President Trump’s immigration agenda, which includes a pledge to seal the U.S. border with Mexico, and a travel ban on citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries (which is now on hold).

Some businesses are closing for the day; others are staying open and pledging to contribute a share of the day’s proceeds to non-profits that aid Latino communities. In a number of cases, business owners are abiding by their staffs’ wishes, after holding votes to decide whether to open.

‘A Day Without Immigrants’ Promises A National Strike Thursday

Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

If this was about immigration, then the undocumented Irish and European folks would be a part of the roundups. The people being deported are from Mexico, Central America, the Dominican Republic and Haiti. So this is about keeping America white, not making America great.
—  Tia Oso, an immigration activist, noting that there are about 50,000 undocumented Irish in the U.S.
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Trump said he would only deport “bad hombres” — but noncriminal deportations have doubled

  • During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump distanced himself from accusations of rank xenophobia by insisting the only immigrants he wanted to send home were the criminals: the “murderers,” “rapists” and “bad hombres.” Few will be surprised to learn that’s not the case.
  • Under Trump so far, the number of immigrants arrested without a criminal record has more than doubled, according to numbers obtained by the Washington Post
  • From January to mid-March, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested 5,441 “noncriminal” immigrants; arrests of immigrants with criminal backgrounds only rose 15% during that same time. Read more (4/17/18)

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huffingtonpost.com
Women Are Leading The Resistance Against Trump
Who run the world... er... resistance against authoritarian forces?

Here’s a quick rundown of nine of the women who have dedicated their time, power and political capital to upholding the democratic principles on which the United States was founded ― even under Trump:

Former Acting Attorney General Sally Q. Yates

Sent a letter to top attorneys at the Department of Justice instructing them not to defend President Trump’s executive order banning immigration from the Muslim-majority countries

U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly

The first judge to rule on a lawsuit filed in opposition to President Trump’s executive order

 U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema

Within an hour of Donnelly’s rulling, Judge Brinkema issued a temporary restraining order, blocking the deportation of green card holders who were being detained at Dulles International Airport. She also ruled that lawyers must be allowed access to the Dulles detainees.

U.S. District Judge Allison Burroughs and Magistrate Judge Judith Dein

Issued a seven-day restraining order from Massachusetts blocking the executive order, which not only prevents the deportation of detainees, but also the detention of approved refugees, as well as visa and green card holders from the seven countries specified in President Trump’s executive order.

Tamika Mallory, Linda Sarsour, Bob Bland and Carmen Perez

Co-chairs of the Women’s March on Washington

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Newt Gingrich says America can’t “be multicultural and still be a single country”

  • Newt Gingrich went on Hannity Wednesday night to discuss the London attack. The discussion veered into America’s so-called “issues with refugees and migrants,” as host Sean Hannity described them.
  • Gingrich replied that Americans needed to get over the “mythology” that people from different cultures can coexist peacefully in the same country:
  • “[Part] of it is when people come here, we need to go back to teaching people how to be American — to assimilating them into an American civilization,” Gingrich said. “We absorb lots of people from lots of places. We can do it again, but part of that requires that we defeat this left-wing mythology that you can be multicultural and still be a single country.”
  • Gingrich assumes that there is one monolithic “American” culture — implying one centered on white Americans — that all others must conform to in order for the U.S to function properly.
    He frames the idea of different cultures living in harmony as a “myth” compounded by immigrants unwillingness to assimilate.
  • Yet it seems not to have occurred to Gingrich that maybe he is the problem, not immigrants. The U.S. has certainly had trouble getting people from different races to coexist peacefully. 
  • But most of that can be attributed to our centuries-long history of white supremacy. Read more (3/23/17 11 AM)

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Texas family broadcasts ICE arrest on Facebook: “You Trump supporters happy?”

  • On Tuesday, Texas resident Robert Espino broadcast on Facebook as U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, together with the DeSoto Police Department, arrested his brother and his brother-in-law.
  • Mundo Hispánico identified the two people arrested as Eduardo Díaz and Marín Márquez.
  • “My brother and brother-in-law were cuffed and taken away from their families,” Espino wrote. "They are not drug dealers, rapists, thieves, not even a traffic ticket. They leave behind wives, sons and daughters. This [is] what Donald J. Trump supporters wanted — to see families torn apart because of where you’re born.“ Read more.
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20 are arrested during protests against ICE’s detention of undocumented activists

  • A group of 20 activists and faith leaders were arrested in front of Boston’s South Bay Detention Facility on Monday, according to protest organizers.
  •  The 20 arrestees were part of a larger group of activists who staged a sit-in to protest the recent detention of an undocumented immigrant rights activist from Vermont.
  • “What we’re hoping to accomplish is to make it clear to the community that we’re going to be protecting every organizer — even if they’re undocumented,” said Maria Fernanda, an undocumented volunteer organizer and with the group the immigrant workers’ rights group Movimiento Cosecha, who came to America as a child.
  • In March, three Vermont-based immigrants and activists associated with the advocacy group Migrant Justice were arrested and detained by U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. Read more (4/24/17)

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washingtonpost.com
Opinion | Margarita Zavala: Will Americans let Trump destroy U.S.-Mexico relations?
Frankly, the United States is fortunate to have Mexico as a neighbor and partner.

Almost two months into the Trump Administration, the United States has a choice. Does it want to continue a strong partnership with Mexico? Or will it throw away years of a successful, peaceful, and mutually beneficial relationship due to the ignorance of its President? Normally this would not even be a question. But these are not normal times. When the American President can undo with a tweet what has taken us decades to build, Mexicans have to wonder whether the United States is a reliable partner and what the future of our relationship will look like.

President Trump insists on framing U.S.-Mexico relations in simplistic and disrespectful terms. In his view, it is a zero-sum game, with Mexicans “taking advantage” of their northern neighbors…Frankly, the United States is fortunate to have Mexico as a neighbor and partner. We are a peaceful, democratic, cooperative country with one of the largest economies in the world. We are eternally bound together by geography, by trade, by family, by culture, and by affinity.

We collaborate with the U.S. on everything from commerce to combating drug trafficking to the environment to counterterrorism. Just a few examples: Mexican engineers in Querétaro design jet engines for General Electric that are then built by workers in Ohio. Mexican officials helped thwart a plot by Iranian agents to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States. The largest attendance for an NFL game ever was in Mexico (Cowboys vs. Oilers), home to 23 million NFL fans, myself included. Nearly 2 million U.S. citizens live in Mexico (the largest community of U.S. expats in the world). We work together in every area imaginable, and we are both the richer for it.

The U.S. and Mexican economies are complementary. We do not compete with each other; we make each other more competitive in the global market. Mexico is the second-largest destination for U.S. exports and the single largest destination for exports from California, Arizona, and Texas. We buy more American goods than Japan, Germany, and the U.K. do combined. Fourteen million Mexican tourists came to the United States in 2015 and spent around $10 billion…Our bilateral partnership is not predicated on one side losing and the other side winning: Our economies are so integrated that each is weaker without the other.

Most Americans know that Mexican immigrants are not violent criminals. They know that they are brave and hard-working and make enormous contributions to the U.S. economy…Mexicans know that our differences are not with the American people, but with an American President who began his campaign with racist attacks against Mexican immigrants, whose cruel policies have entire communities living in fear, and who seems intent on making an enemy out of a friend.

I have met U.S. Presidents from both political parties, and I know that the American dream has much in common with the Mexican one. Mexicans believe in the strength of the family, the dignity conferred by hard work, and the worth inherent in every human being. Mexico would much rather be a partner to the United States than an adversary. We would rather tend bridges than build walls. But our alliance must be based on mutual respect. We will not accept a relationship based on threats and insults, contempt for our country, and cruelty toward our citizens. The United States is more prosperous, more secure, and more competitive for having Mexico as its partner. It is up to the United States to decide whether it wants to continue a strong partnership, or whether it will let one bad hombre destroy it.

Washington Post editorial by Margarita Zavala, a former Mexican congresswoman, former First Lady of Mexico, and the leading contender for the 2018 Mexican Presidential election.

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Trump reportedly pulls Iraq from new travel ban, delays its signing

  • Late Tuesday, the Trump administration abruptly pulled Iraq from a list of seven majority-Muslim nations whose citizens were to be subject to a temporary travel ban to the U.S., the Associated Press reported.
  • Trump, despite strong opposition, defiantly vowed to forge on with a new order blocking travelers — including refugees — from the seven nations.
  • However, CNN’s Jeremy Diamond quoted a senior administration official saying the signing of the ban would be delayed until “later this week,” so it could have its own “moment.” Read more (3/1/17 6:57 AM) 

Trump’s VOICE is trying to paint immigrants as criminals. Heres why that’s wrong.

  • During his first speech to Congress Tuesday evening, Trump announced the creation of a Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE)— an office dedicated to serving victims of violent crimes at the hands of undocumented immigrants.
  • Audible boos and loud groans followed his announcement.
  • While victims of violent crimes deserve support, Trump’s use of these limited examples to paint violent crime committed by undocumented immigrants as statistically significant risks stoking xenophobia. 
  • The epidemic he was trying to highlight, and the idea that immigrants steal Americans’ dreams, just isn’t the reality. 
  • Immigrants in the U.S., including undocumented immigrants, commit fewer violent crimes than the general population. 
  • Studies show that not only do immigrants commit fewer crimes than those born in the United States, but also they go to jail less, at a rate of about one-fifth of native-born Americans. Read more (3/1/17 7:16 AM)
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These undocumented Dreamers were outspoken before Trump. They’re going to stay that way.

  • Activist Erika Andiola is one of an estimated 1.8 million undocumented immigrants who entered the country as children. 
  • Called “Dreamers” — after the DREAM Act (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) — this group was granted temporary legal status under the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
  • Throughout President Barack Obama’s tenure, a handful of Dreamers like Andiola have become well-known critics of U.S. immigration policy, advocating on behalf of the estimated 12 million people in the country without authorization. 
  • As Trump cracks down on illegal immigration, the most visible among them fear retribution from the administration for speaking out.
  • They have reason to be wary. While Trump has said DACA recipients will not be targeted in his deportation crackdown, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has already arrested several Dreamers — at least two of whom remain in custody. 
  • Even if Dreamers are safe, almost all of them have family members in the United States who are eligible for deportation.
  • Despite those risks, several Dreamers with high profiles told Mic that they were not about to let his election keep them from speaking out. Read more (3/3/17 2:14 PM)

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washingtonpost.com
THIS IS NOT A TEST: Federal agents conduct immigration enforcement raids in at least six states
The raids mark the first largescale immigration action since President Trump’s Jan. 26 order to crack down on the estimated 11 million immigrants living here illegally.
By https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sandhya-Somashekhar/424900341023463

U.S. immigration authorities arrested hundreds of undocumented immigrants in at least a half-dozen states this week in a series of raids that marked the first large-scale enforcement of President Trump’s Jan. 26 order to crack down on the estimated 11 million immigrants living here illegally.

The raids, which officials said targeted known criminals, also netted some immigrants who did not have criminal records, an apparent departure from similar enforcement waves during the Obama administration that aimed to just corral and deport those who had committed crimes.

Trump has pledged to deport up to 3 million undocumented immigrants with criminal records. Last month he also made a change to the Obama administration’s policy of prioritizing deportation for convicted criminals, substantially broadening the scope of who the Department of Homeland Security can target to include those with minor offenses or no convictions at all.

Immigration officials confirmed that agents this week raided homes and workplaces in Atlanta, Chicago, New York, the Los Angeles area, North Carolina and South Carolina, netting hundreds of people. But Gillian Christensen, a spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), said they were part of “routine” immigration enforcement actions. ICE dislikes the term “raids,” and prefers to say authorities are conducting “targeted enforcement actions.”

Immigration activists said the crackdown went beyond the six states DHS identified, and said they had also documented ICE raids of unusual intensity during the past two days in Florida, Kansas, Texas and Northern Virginia.

That undocumented immigrants with no criminal records were arrested and could potentially be deported sent a shock through immigrant communities nationwide amid concerns that the U.S. government could start going after law-abiding people.

“This is clearly the first wave of attacks under the Trump administration, and we know this isn’t going to be the only one,” Cristina Jimenez, executive director of United We Dream, an immigrant youth organization, said Friday during a conference call with immigration advocates.

ICE agents in the Los Angeles area Thursday swept a number of individuals into custody over the course of an hour, seizing them from their homes and on their way to work in daytime operations, activists said.

David Marin, ICE’s field director in the Los Angeles area, said in a conference call with reporters Friday that 75 percent of the approximately 160 people detained in the operation this week had felony convictions; the rest had misdemeanors or were in the United States illegally. Officials said Friday night that 37 of those detained in Los Angeles has been deported to Mexico.

“Dangerous criminals who should be deported are being released into our communities,” Marin said.

A video that circulated on social media Friday appeared to show ICE agents detaining people in an Austin shopping center parking lot. Immigration advocates also reported roadway checkpoints, where ICE appeared to be targeting immigrants for random ID checks, in North Carolina and in Austin. ICE officials denied that authorities used checkpoints during the operations.

[The ‘sanctuary city’ on the front line of the fight over Trump’s immigration policy]

“I’m getting lots of reports from my constituents about seeing ICE on the streets. Teachers in my district have contacted me — certain students didn’t come to school today because they’re afraid,” said Greg Casar, an Austin city council member. “I talked to a constituent, a single mother, who had her door knocked on this morning by ICE.”

Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Tex.) said he confirmed with ICE’s San Antonio office that the agency “has launched a targeted operation in South and Central Texas as part of Operation Cross Check.”

“I am asking ICE to clarify whether these individuals are in fact dangerous, violent threats to our communities, and not people who are here peacefully raising families and contributing to our state,” Castro said in a statement Friday night.

Hiba Ghalib, an immigration lawyer in Atlanta, said the ICE detentions were causing “mass confusion” in the immigrant community. She said she had heard reports of ICE agents going door-to-door in one largely Hispanic neighborhood, asking people to present their papers.

“People are panicking,” Ghalib said. “People are really, really scared.”

Immigration officials acknowledged that authorities had cast a wider net than they would have last year, as the result of Trump’s executive order.

The Trump administration is facing a series of legal challenges to that order, and on Thursday lost a court battle over a separate executive order to temporarily ban entry into the United States by citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries, as well as by refugees. The administration said Friday that it is considering raising the case to the Supreme Court.

Some activists in Austin and Los Angeles suggested that the raids might be retaliation for those cities’ “sanctuary city” policies. A government aide familiar with the raids said it is possible that the predominantly daytime operations — a departure from the Obama administration’s night raids — meant to “send a message to the community that the Trump deportation force is in effect.”

Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice, a pro-immigrant advocacy group, said that the wave of detentions harks back to the George W. Bush administration, when workplace raids to sweep up all undocumented workers were common.

The Obama administration conducted a spate of raids and also pursued a more aggressive deportation policy than any previous president, sending more than 400,000 people back to their birth countries at the height of his deportations in 2012. The public outcry over the lengthy detentions and deportations of women, children and people with minor offenses led Obama in his second term to prioritize convicted criminals for deportation.

A DHS official confirmed that while immigration agents were targeting criminals, given the broader range defined by Trump’s executive order they also were sweeping up non-criminals in the vicinity who were found to be lacking documentation. It was unclear how many of the people detained would have been excluded under Obama’s policy.

Federal immigration officials, as well as activists, said that the majority of those detained were adult men, and that no children were taken into custody.

“Big cities tend to have a lot of illegal immigrants,” said one immigration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak publicly due to the sensitive nature of the operation. “They’re going to a target-rich environment.”

Immigrant rights groups said that they were planning protests in response to the raids, including one Friday evening in Federal Plaza in New York City and a vigil in Los Angeles.

“We cannot understate the level of panic and terror that is running through many immigrant communities,” said Walter Barrientos of Make the Road New York in New York City, who spoke on a conference call with immigration advocates.

“We’re trying to make sure that families who have been impacted are getting legal services as quickly as possible. We’re trying to do some legal triage,” said Bob Libal, the executive director of Grassroots Leadership, which provides assistance and advocacy work to immigrants in Austin. “It’s chaotic,” he said. The organization’s hotline, he said, had been overwhelmed with calls.

Jeanette Vizguerra, 35, a Mexican house cleaner whose permit to stay in the country expired this week, said Friday during the conference call that she was newly apprehensive about her scheduled meeting with ICE next week.

Fearing deportation, Vizguerra, a Denver mother of four — including three who are U.S. citizens — said through an interpreter that she had called on activists and supporters to accompany her to the meeting.

“I know I need to mobilize my community, but I know my freedom is at risk here,” Vizguerra said.

ICE has released Daniela Vargas, the Dreamer detained after railing against deportation

  • On Friday, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement released 22-year-old Daniela Vargas.
  • Vargas is an undocumented Mississippi resident who was taken into custody earlier this month, according to Mississippi Today.
  • Vargas had been detained just moments after speaking at an immigrant rights event in Jackson, Mississippi, on March 1. 
  • She was speaking out about the detention of her father and brother who had been taken into custody by ICE two weeks earlier. Read more. (3/10/17, 5:53 PM)
huffingtonpost.com
Dreamer Arrested After Speaking To Media Will Be Deported Without Hearing, Attorney Says
“ICE’s assertion that her detention is ‘routine’ is absurd and seems anything but,” one lawmaker said.

Read Vargas’ full comments on her detention below:

“I don’t understand why they don’t want me. I’m doing the best I can. I mean I can’t help that I was brought here but I don’t know anything else besides being here and I didn’t realize that until I was in a holding cell last night for 5 hours. I was brought here. I didn’t choose to be here. And when I was brought here, I had to learn a whole new country and leave behind the one that I did know. And I barely knew that one. I feel, I strongly feel that I belong here and I strongly feel that I should be given a chance to be here and do something good and work in this economy. There’s so much that I can bring to the table, so much, like I can even teach music, I’m an excellent trumpet player you can ask my mom about any of that.  I’m great with math, I speak Spanish. You know, there’s a lot of stuff that I can do for this country that they’re not allowing me to do. I’ve even tried to join the military, and I can’t do that. But, I mean that’s not the point, the whole point is that I would do anything for this country.”

Donald Trump’s USCIS suspends all expedited H-1B visa processing for 6 months

Effective April 3, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will suspend “premium processing” of all H-1B visas for up to six months, in a move seemingly synchronized with President Donald Trump’s efforts to restrict some foreigners’ entry to the country.

According to Reuters, the shift means expedited H-1B non-immigrant visas — which could previously be rushed to “within 15 days” for a $1,225 fee — will be relegated to the normal pool of H-1B visas that can take months to review. H-1B nonimmigrant visas are limited to 65,000 annually, plus an extra 20,000 for those with advanced U.S. degrees. 

The visas mainly apply to “graduate-level workers in several specialized fields, including information technology, medicine, engineering and mathematics,” Reuters wrote. Read more. (3/6/2017 2:23 PM)

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Along a barren dirt road, Border Patrol agents spot a mother and son, carrying nothing as they walk along the river’s edge. The sun beats down on them as the patrol car pulls up.

“Where are you from?” Supervisory Border Patrol Agent Marlene Castro asks the mother. “How much did you pay to get here?”

Recent statistics from the Department of Homeland Security show “an unprecedented decline” in the numbers of people crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally. It announced a 40 percent drop from January to February, and credited the Trump administration’s tough actions on immigration as the cause.

But in this corner of south Texas, every day still sees migrants trying to make it to the United States.

On Both Sides Of The Mexican Border, Fear Grows For U.S.-Bound Migrants

Photos by Ravenna Koenig and Samantha Balaban/NPR and John Moore/Getty Images

Foreign-born workers have contributed $107B in income tax + 9 other stats on ‘Day Without Immigrants’

A nationwide strike dubbed a “Day Without Immigrants” has cast a spotlight on the role of foreign-born workers in the American economy.

The walkout at some businesses comes amid a feverish debate over undocumented immigration, foreign trade and President Trump’s temporary travel ban on people from several majority-Muslim nations.

There are 10 key things you should know about the impact of immigrants on the U.S. workforce.