Category Archives: immigration

Pulling back the curtain on the Donald of Oz

pay no attention to the man behind the curtain
The Wizard of Oz came to Duluth last Wednesday and it wasn’t a pretty sight. Hiding behind a curtain of presidential power, he pulled all the usual levers and set his supporters roaring “Build that wall!” and “USA!”

Like the Wizard of Oz, Donald Trump is a small man with a big voice and loud lies. Lots of lies. Continue reading

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Filed under fact check, immigration, Tracking Trump

Lies about gangs and the school-to-deportation pipeline

“They’re not people, these are animals,” Trump says. He says they are pouring into the country, committing vicious, brutal crimes, terrorizing Long Island.

He lies.

The New York Daily News reported that even his own administration members don’t back his claims:

“Carla Provost, the acting chief of the U.S. Border Patrol, noted during Senate testimony last summer how seldom gang members are caught among the unaccompanied minors crossing the border from Mexico.

“Of the 250,000 children apprehended between 2011 and summer 2017, 159 had or were suspected of having gang affiliations.

“Of those, only 56 were suspected of affiliation or confirmed to be members of MS-13, Provost said.”

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‘Suitcases full of cash’: the story behind the story

hawalaprotest

Photo from 2012 protest

With the Somali economy in shambles because of civil war, many people living there depend on assistance from family members in the United States to pay for food, medicine, and other basic necessities. Somalia has little banking infrastructure. Years ago, the U.S. government forbade U.S. banks from sending money to informal banking systems in Somalia. That left Somali-Americans with no way to send money to relatives desperate for help—except by sending cash.

Last week, Fox News strung together anonymous sources and rumors to libel the Somali community in Minnesota. Minnesota Public Radio reported that one named sources, who also testified at a quickly-called legislative hearing, has a serious past history of making false and defamatory statements. He has been sued for his false statements in the past, and has apologized in writing, acknowledging the falsehoods. Continue reading

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U.S. immigration policy: un-protect and deport

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Image from SEDAC Maps, used under Creative Commons license

CORRECTION 1/10 – DHS=Department of Homeland Security (see below)

Giovanni Miranda was 32 years old when Salvadoran gangs murdered him in front of his family in the tiny room where they lived, behind the small auto body shop he owned. Miranda had lived for most of his life in the United States and was a legal permanent resident, but was deported in 2012, after U.S. authorities discovered a 2002 conviction for possessing a small amount of cocaine. Nothing special about his story: he is one more murder victim in one of the most violent countries in the world, the 2016 murder capital of the world.

On Monday, President Trump and his Department of Homeland Security (DHS) ordered more than 200,000 Salvadorans to return to the most violent country in the world. The administration canceled Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for all Salvadorans and gave them until September 2019 to return to El Salvador or be deported. Continue reading

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Filed under human rights, immigration, Latin America, Tracking Trump

Not your father’s racists

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What do the Identity Evropa banner in St. Cloud, an anti-Islam protest in Texas, and a Russian Facebook account have in common? Each of them uses social media deceptively, in an attempt to increase hatred and division in American communities.

Identity Evropa is the white nationalist group that marched in Charlotte this summer, with violence that killed one counter-protester. In St. Cloud, the Identity Evropa hate-mongers hung their anti-immigrant banner over MN Highway 23 in the dark of night, on December 23. St. Cloud police saw the banner and took it down before it saw the light of day. Continue reading

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Immigrant farming dreams: the Hmong American Farmers Association

Yao Yang with disk

Working cooperatively, HAFA members can purchase farm implements that would be too expensive for individuals.

Hmong farmers make Minnesota a national leader in the local foods movement. Visit any Twin Cities farmers’ market, and their contributions are evident. Yet, too often, they struggle both for access to land and for a return on their investment and work.

For Pakou Hang’s family, farming is “part of our life, part of our blood in some ways.” From as early as she can remember, she grew up helping to grow food and to sell it in farmers’ markets.

Her life path led through farm fields and farmers’ markets to Yale and the University of Minnesota and years of community organizing and social and economic research. After years of experience in community organizing and financial research, she brought a critical analysis to the place of Hmong farmers in the food system and especially in farmers’ markets. Continue reading

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Filed under agriculture, food and farming, immigration

Aliens, UFOs, Melania and Agent Orange

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Complying with one of Trump’s executive orders, DHS opened the Victims Of Immigrant Crimes Engagement Office or VOICE on April 26. The new office’s hotline was promptly swamped with calls about UFOs, Sasquatch, “an immigrant living in NYC on my tax dollars” (Melania Trump),  “an orange colored, toupee wearing alien in a bathrobe has been spotted at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave,” and kidnapping by flying saucer. The callers took advantage of another coincidence that ICE probably didn’t know about: April 26 was the annual observance of #AlienDay – a promotion by the Alien movie franchise.  Continue reading

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Latest attack on sanctuary cities meets major resistance

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[UPDATE — GOOD NEWS! The judge in San Francisco v. Trump just issued a temporary preliminary injunction blocking the DOJ action described in this article – at least for now. – details at end of this post.]

From the campaign onward, Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric also targeted sanctuary cities. Since his inauguration, his administration has made three moves against sanctuary cities: an executive order, a failed series of ICE reports, and now Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ attack on nine sanctuary cities. With battle lines drawn, sanctuary cities are fighting back. Continue reading

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Global students in St. Paul: LEAP High School

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Rose Santos, LEAP principal, with self-portraits created by LEAP students. 

“A cow will drink calf’s milk.” What does this proverb mean? On a sunny winter afternoon, eleven students from six different countries share proverbs from their own countries. They say the proverb first in the original language, then translate, and finally explain the meaning. The cow drinking calf’s milk? “When they get older, parents must depend on their children.”

The students discussing proverbs are among 272 students from 20 different countries enrolled at LEAP High School, a St. Paul public school that welcomes new immigrants who are 15-20 years old. They study a regular high school curriculum, in all-English-language classes, trying hard to cram 12 years of education into four or five or six.  Continue reading

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Filed under education, immigration, St. Paul Notes

Named, blamed, shamed: What’s up with ICE and Hennepin County?

american-and-pattiotHennepin County was one of the jurisdictions named, blamed, and shamed in the first weekly report from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The weekly reports, required by Trump’s executive order, list the jurisdictions that don’t hold immigrants on ICE detainers, called “non-cooperative jurisdictions.” Hennepin County was targeted for refusing to hold two individuals, but Sheriff Rich Stanek hit back with photos showing the two leaving the jail in the custody of ICE agents.

What’s going on here? Continue reading

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Filed under food and farming, immigration