Tag Archives: immigrants

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

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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Latest attack on sanctuary cities meets major resistance

Sanctuary City.png

[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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Mogadishu, Minnesota?

riverside-towers

Riverside towers on West Bank, home to many of Somali Minnesotans, and the planned setting of K’Naan’s HBO television series. 

A planned television series set in Minnesota’s Somali community sparked protests at Saturday’s West Bank block party on September 10. Angry and tired of being characterized as jihadi recruits or recruiters, Minnesota Somali youth protested Somali Canadian rapper K’naan’s television plans when he came to perform. I wasn’t there, so I can’t say who threw what first – but police sprayed some of the crowd with chemical irritants, and arrested a couple of people, including a Muslim woman who is a leader of the Black Liberation Project.

The HBO television series started out as “The Recruiters,” focusing on the Somali community in Minnesota, with the promise that it “will draw open an iron curtain behind which viewers will see the highly impenetrable world of Jihadi recruitment.” That sure plays into stereotypes about Somali youth in Minnesota. Now, the series has been renamed “Mogadishu, Minnesota,” and K’Naan claims that it will “present the true and beautiful side” of Somali immigrants. The protesters weren’t buying the new description. Continue reading

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April mourning in the Mediterranean —again

Syrian refugees public domain freedom house

A Syrian migrant holds a young girl in his arms upon arriving on a dinghy to the Greek island of Kos, Greece.(EPA/Yannis Kolesidis) (Photo courtesy of Freedom House.

One year ago, I wrote “At least seven hundred people, maybe 900 or more, were on the 70-foot ship that sank in the Mediterranean on Sunday. Almost all of them died.” Last week, it happened again. Another boat packed with refugees capsized and sank, drowning hundreds of refugees. Continue reading

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Death by privatization in U.S. prisons

More than 20,000 immigrant prisoners are serving their sentences at 11 privatized, immigrant-only contract prisons run by three companies: the Geo Group, the Corrections Corp. of America and the Management and Training Corp. Many of these prisoners are convicted only of illegal entry.

Private prisons cost less than federal prisons because they provide less. Immigrant prisoners — who are deported after serving time — don’t receive rehabilitation, education or job training, services considered essential for U.S. citizens held in government-operated prisons.

Even worse, these prisons fail to provide minimally adequate health care to inmates, leading to death for some and misery for many. Basic human rights standards require prisons to provide adequate medical care to inmates, regardless of their legal status.

This article originally published by Al Jazeera America.  Continue reading

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Deporting refugees is not the American dream

IMG_6018Ana Lizet Mejia’s brother was killed by gangs in Honduras, and she fled with her son to the United States. Hers was one of a wave of Central American families seeking refuge in the United States in 2014. Now she is in detention, targeted by Obama administration’s new raid-and-deport policy, which started over New Year’s weekend with initial reports of 121 mothers and children seized. Continue reading

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Changing face of immigration, nationally and in Minnesota

educated, organizedMinnesota’s immigrant population — people born outside the United States — is only about 7.5 percent of Minnesota’s population. Nationwide, immigrants make up 13.9 percent of the population, so Minnesota is below average. The number of immigrants is growing, according to a September report from Pew Research Center, which projects an increase to 17.8 percent of the national population by 2065. That would be even higher than the historic high point of 15 percent immigrant population in the early 20th century. Continue reading

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Open hearts for refugee dogs, but not for children

Photo of golden retriever by Franco Vannini, published under Creative Commons license

Photo of golden retriever by Franco Vannini, published under Creative Commons license

Last week, the United States admitted 15 Golden Retrievers, fleeing the hard life on the streets of Istanbul. The dogs were welcomed and given new homes in Minnesota, joining more than 60 others who have been admitted this year. More dogs will be coming, as efforts continue to raise money to rescue homeless dogs from Turkish streets. Meanwhile, one year after the United States launched a program for Central American children to apply for refugee status, not one child out of more than five thousand applicants has made it through the lengthy process to safety in the United States. Continue reading

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Migrants and memes

May 1, 2006 - Minneapolis

May 1, 2006 – Minneapolis

While the Syrian refugee crisis holds world attention, immigration changes within the United States continue to come slowly, if at all. In this month’s news: Continue reading

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