A California Conversation About Immigration

 

The premise of the Talking Across Borders project is that progress will come when we figure out how to talk about the issue with civility — and the warring sides at least listen to the concerns of people with whom they disagree.

Making that conversation happen is the mission of Spaceship Media, a Bay Area nonprofit whose aim is to use journalism to bridge divides and reduce polarization. The media partners in the new project include the Bay Area News Group, the Southern California News Group and Univision, a national Spanish-language TV network.

As part of the project, more than 60 people across California will take part in a closed Facebook group over the next month. About half of them support greater enforcement of immigration laws. About half oppose increased enforcement. A smattering of those in the group have staked out middle-ground positions.

During the monthlong discussion, participants will be able to suggest topics and questions for the group to address. The effort will be moderated by Spaceship Media founders Eve Pearlman and Jeremy Hay, two veteran journalists who will also prompt conversation. Reporters from the media partners will write about the project and supply research to inform the discussions.

Haitian Immigrants in the United States

Migration Information Source “Spotlight” on Haitian Immigrants in the United States reports that the number of Haitians in the United States has tripled since 1990, reaching 676,000 in 2015. Most Haitians entered the United States before 2010, the year of a devastating earthquake from which Haiti is still working to recover. This Spotlight article offers the latest data on Haitian immigrants, including the number holding Temporary Protected Status, top states and cities of residence, demographic information, and more.

UC Davis Digital Storytelling Project: Humanizando la Deportación/Humanizing Deportation

UC Davis, Colegio de la Frontera Norte, Conacyt and UC Mexus recently sponsored this amazing digital storytelling project “Humanizando la Deportación” (Spanish)/ “Humanizing Deportation” (English). There are 32 stories up already. Check out their official site at http://humanizandoladeportacion.ucdavis.edu/en/ and their YouTube page at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxqLuwqmGHzcpnQA5mQyxeQ.

About Humanizing Deportation:

In response to general lack of first-hand knowledge regarding the experience of deportation and removal, and the consequent dehumanized narratives on the topic, we are producing an online open access archive  of personal stories about deportation. Policy debate on deportation tends to be driven by statistics, with little attention to human experience. This project will make visible a range of humanitarian issues that mass human displacement has generated as the result of its management on both sides of the US-Mexico border.  It employs digital storytelling, a digital genre that puts control of content and production in the hands of community storytellers (deportees and others affected by deportation and deportability), to produce a public archive that will give a human face to the deportation crisis.

William Wong: Trump’s Immigration Policy Would Have Kept Out My Father

Pictured above: The author William Gee Wong (standing) with his father, mother and nephew in a booth at their Oakland Chinatown restaurant in the late 1940s. Photo courtesy of William Gee Wong collection.

William Wong of New American Media recently wrote about his father’s experiences as a Chinese immigrant in 1912, the 30th year of the Chinese Exclusion Act. Wong states that his father somehow was able to get in legally even though he didn’t tell the whole truth. This fact makes Wong and his family grateful that their father was able to skirt the dreaded, racist Exclusion Act, and that he didn’t try to come here under the Trump Administration’s immigration proposal.

Many used the infamous “paper son” scheme. This was making false birthright claims made possible, in part, by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire that destroyed official records. Without records, the government could not legally counter the birthright claims of immigrants like Pop, who said he was a “son of a native,” a category exempt from the exclusion law.

Pop and other Chinese immigrants wanted desperately to come here, largely to escape the utter political, economic, and social turmoil of China in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries – the fall of the Qing Dynasty, the republican revolution, civil wars, and in the 1930s, the Japanese invasion.

Here in America, because of yellow Jim Crow laws, they were forced to create parallel universes in the many Chinatowns in cities and towns, first in California and the west and eventually throughout America.

Ironically, those enclaves – ostracized, ignored, and targeted for violence as they sometimes were – nurtured self-reliance and survival skills that enabled Pop and his cohort to begin stable and useful lives for their descendants.

Their numbers were teeny. In 1880, just before Congress passed the exclusion law, Chinese were 0.0021 percent of the U.S. population. In 1940, just before its repeal, they were a barely measurable 0.0005 percent.

Supporters of the Trump immigration proposal deny its intent is racist against non-white people, but its effects, if ever enacted, could very well be. Why do the president and the Republican senators pushing this bill want to go backwards to a time when America was much whiter than it is today and going to be in the foreseeable future?

For more on this story, click here.

Six Words Fresh Off the Boat

ABC’s Fresh Off The Boat gave word that they will be giving fans a book inspired by the show and the immigrant experience. Six words, countless takes on the immigration experience. Our family has made us who we are.

A collaboration between the Six-Word Memoir author at the hit ABC television show Fresh Off the Boat, this book will capture hundreds of takes on the immigration experience—from first-generation Americans to stories of our grandparents and other relatives.

Six Words Fresh Off the Boat marries the phenomenon of Larry Smith’s successful Six-Word Memoirs with ABC and 20th Century Fox Television’s hit comedy Fresh Off the Boat. The book captures hundreds of takes on the immigration experience, from every-day people as well as world-famous celebrities including Aziz Ansari, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Julianne Moore, Mario Batali, George Takei, Neil Gaiman, Amanda Palmer, Billy Collins, Junot Díaz, and Dr. Sanjay Gupta. This book will have you thinking in sixes and challenging others to share six words about their lives.

You can pre-order the book the book now at http://bit.ly/2vXdeVW.

NY Times Editorial Board: Trump Embraces a Senseless Immigration Proposal

Ramsay de Give for The New York Times

The New York Times editorial board in “Trump Embraces a Senseless Immigration Proposal” outlines its displeasure with the proposed RAISE Act and his attempt to appeal to his supporters.

President Trump has endorsed legislation that would slash legal immigration by half, mainly by cutting the number of visas granted to relatives of citizens, while favoring people who speak English and have advanced degrees. The bill, which would do nothing to solve the country’s immigration and economic challenges, is unlikely to become law. The only way to understand Mr. Trump’s vocal support of an obvious turkey is as yet another attempt to energize his dwindling base of right-wing and nativist supporters.

More on this story, click here.

Chicago’s lawsuit against DOJ over sanctuary city status

 

Chicago Mayor Emanuel: We won’t be coerced on our values

The City of Chicago escalated its months-long battle with the Trump administration over immigration enforcement Monday, asking a federal court to block Attorney General Jeff Sessions from imposing several new conditions over certain federal grant money.

The suit revolves around specific conditions Sessions announced in July for a federal program, the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant, or Bryne JAG, which provides federal funding to support local law enforcement efforts. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel defended his city’s lawsuit Monday, telling CNN the DOJ’s new stipulations against so-called sanctuary cities “undermines our actual safety agenda.”
“We want you to come to Chicago if you believe in the American dream,” Emanuel, a Democrat, told CNN’s Poppy Harlow on “Newsroom.” “By forcing us, or the police department, to choose between the values of the city and the philosophy of the police department, in community policing, I think it’s a false choice and it undermines our actual safety agenda.”
Emanuel’s office said in a statement over the weekend that the Trump administration’s “latest unlawful misguided action undermines public safety and violates” the Constitution. He said the city is challenging the administration “to ensure that their misguided policies do not threaten the safety of our residents.”
For more on this story, click here.

John Oliver Highlights Issues of Trump’s Plans to expand the Border Patrol

“Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.” HBO/YouTube

On the latest episode of “Last Week Tonight,” Emmy award winning host John Oliver gave viewers an in depth look into the border patrol. The segment focused on the agents who guard our southern borders and revealed a number of issues including the hiring process. The story aired after news on President Trump signing an executive order to hire 5,000 more agents to assist the 20,000 who already are on our borders.

Oliver explained that border patrol agents have a tough job. They have to be a humanitarian in some occasions and law enforcer in others. It’s a unique task that not everyone can pull off, and for many in the government, that’s obvious, because the last hiring surge for border agents led to some horrible hires. In a post-9/11 move, President George W. Bush beefed up the border patrol from 10,000 agents to 20,000. And recruitment was very aggressive.

The segment also revealed that often a border patrol agent is working alone surveying miles and miles of terrain. They sometimes don’t see a single person for days.

“Boredom is a significant part of life as a border patrol agent and they should probably train for it,” Oliver said. “For every hour they spend in target practice they should probably spend ten hours watching ‘Mozart in the Jungle.'”

A US border patrol agent detains a man after entering the United States by crossing the Rio Grande river from Mexico. That kind of job, combined with the fact that many who were hired during the surge were not fit for the job, led to some damaging repercussions.

The irony of all this is that there may not be a need for more border patrol agents. In a report in July, the Inspector General of Homeland Security questioned if 5,000 more agents were required. And Oliver showed that the apprehensions of undocumented Mexican immigrants has dropped from 404,365 in 2010 to 192,969 in 2016.

“This is a story about the danger of not learning from your mistakes and for the sake of absolutely everybody — people on both sides of the border, and the good border patrol agents just trying to do a difficult job well — if we are going to hire all these new people, the very least we can do is be more careful this time around,” Oliver said.

Watch John Oliver’s entire segment on the Border Patrol below:

Supreme Court Announces October Oral Argument Calendar

The Supreme Court announced its October oral argument calendar.  Immigration will dominate the first two weeks of the 2017 Term.  The Court will hear oral arguments in three immigration cases! Arguments in Session v. Dimaya will be on October 2 and arguments in Jennings v. Rodriguez will be on October 3.   Arguments in the “travel ban” cases will be one week later on October 10.  The two cases – Trump v. Hawaii and Trump v. International Refugee Assistance Project – have been consolidated for one hour of oral argument.

The U.S. Census and Our Sense of Us

NPR’s Code Switch looks at the U.S. Census. As NPR describes the Census, “It’s about what we call ourselves, the ways we see ourselves and how we’re represented.” On this episode they ask the former head of the Census bureau why he quit. They talk about how the Census helped create ‘Hispanic’ identity. Also, there is talk through some of the proposed race and ethnicity categories that may show up on the 2020 questionnaire.

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