Biden Admin starts boldly on immigration: Reform, Travel Ban revoked, Moratorium

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President Biden signed various immigration-related executive orders Wednesday with a bust of organizer Cesar Chavez behind him in the Oval Office. Chavez’s granddaughter, Julie Chávez Rodríguez, was a senior advisor to his campaign and one of the first people named to his administration. Chavez was an advocate for immigrant workers, though he did not support undocumented immigration, Miriam Pawel writes in her biography.

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Transfer of Power
The shift in diversity and immigrants’ role in the Biden administration was immediately apparent Wednesday. “On Day One of the Biden-Harris administration, 1 in 3 incoming appointees is an immigrant or a child of immigrants,” Deputy Director of the White House personnel office Gautam Raghavan tweeted. Vice President Kamala Harris, the daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants, was sworn in by the first Latina Supreme Court Justice, Sonia Sotomayor. In her rendition of America the Beautiful, Jennifer Lopez recited part of the Pledge of Allegiance in Spanish. “Seeing a Puerto Rican woman say those words at a presidential inauguration felt especially significant after the constant attacks on Latinx and immigrant communities by Trump’s White House,” writes Fernanda Echavarri in Mother Jones. …


A look back, what to expect next, and some exciting news about Migratory Notes.

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President Trump will be remembered for sowing chaos by dismantling an already broken U.S. immigration system with an unprecedented use of executive authority. Migratory Notes tracked that trajectory in 195 newsletters.

For the past three years we published an annual roundup of standout stories. This year we did something different. We identified stories that show how the Trump administration, under top aide Stephen Miller’s guidance, attacked the system, some of the unanticipated results, and what President-elect Joe Biden has promised to do next.

As you may know, Migratory Notes launched during Trump’s first week of office as a pop-up newsletter to make sense of the frenzied coverage of the travel ban. We quickly learned there was a need for informed curation of immigration news and resources. We are happy to share that we plan to keep providing this service, and that we plan on growing. If you are new, you can subscribe here, and readers, stay tuned for new ways to connect with Migratory Notes in 2021, including via a partnership with Internews supporting immigration journalism.


Who’s in charge at DHS? Feminization of migration; Trump’s final wall visit

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“True to form, America still wants it both ways. Just yards from workers picking crops, #trump boasts about his wall,” Dallas Morning News reporter Alfredo Corchado tweeted Tuesday.

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#MustReads
Some call it the “feminization of migration,” as women seeking job opportunities move in greater numbers around the globe. “In recent decades women increasingly have migrated to wealthy countries to become breadwinners themselves, rather than to join family members,” writes Aurora Almendral in National Geographic Magazine. The photographers of The Everyday Projects tracked women’s journeys from Somaliland to Vietnam.

Trump’s Border Legacy
Trump, trying to shift the focus from Washington and highlight his immigration legacy, visited the border wall in southern Texas Tuesday where he made many false statements. Among them, an inflated number of immigration arrests during his tenure and made-up conversations with Central American leaders. …


Where was DHS? We fled failed governments; Expulsions on the rise

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A mob of insurgents scaled the wall to the Capitol on Wednesday, which set off memes like “should have built a bigger wall.” Meanwhile, immigrants who fled countries with failed governments were faced with unsettling similarities. “We never thought it would be possible in the United States of America,” a Somali American leader told Sahan Journal. Photo by Evy Mages

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Where was DHS?
The Department of Homeland Security “has been indiscriminate in using its law enforcement arms, now the largest in the federal government — Secret Service agents, ICE, Customs and Border Protection, Homeland Security Investigations, Federal Air Marshals and even the Federal Protective Service — to intervene over the past year when protests didn’t involve pro-Trump, right wing mobs,” writes William M. Arkin in Newsweek. On Wednesday they were absent. …


Sin City’s immigrants under pressure; Prosecute Trump for family separation? Deporting Cameroonians and supporting the regime

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“Have you ever experienced a moment when you see your child crying and you can’t do anything?” Francisco Sical told the El Paso Times about a night after he had glimpsed the U.S., only to discover their case was hopeless. He gave up after a 2,000 mile journey, taking a UN-sponsored trip back to Guatemala. “It breaks your soul.” Photo by J. Omar Ornelas for the USA Today Network.

Thank you for sending your tips and reading Migratory Notes in 2020!
We will be off for the next two weeks, and wish you all a respite and time to enjoy loved ones, virtually — or in person.
- Daniela, Elizabeth, and Anna-Cat

#MustReads
To be an immigrant in Las Vegas is to see the coronavirus economy at its worst,” writes Tim Sullivan in an AP deep dive into the the state with the highest unemployment rate. People from around the world are the backbone of Sin City’s service industry, but their work depends on tourists. “Now those working-class immigrant neighborhoods, where languages spill over one another in countless dirt yards, are home to armies of unemployed housekeepers and cocktail waitresses and small business owners,” writes Sullivan. …


DACA back for good? More kids risking it at border; Ghana Go Bag fashion

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Looks like a fashion shoot, but these are plastic bags. New York-based artist Obinna Obioma’s project “Anyi N’Aga” — or “We Are Going” in Igbo — is an exploration of migration focusing on the iconic Ghana Must Go bag, reports The World.

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#MustReads
The caller was gasping for air. “It was someone whose story I’d been following for almost two years, someone whose life I couldn’t imagine could get any harder. Now sick with COVID in the ICU,” opens KQED reporter Sasha Khokha’s intimate audio documentary. Luna Guzman attempts, and fails, three times to reach a California where she will be free of the threats she faces as a trans woman in Guatemala. With voice overs from trans actress Zoey Luna, extensive audio from court trials, WhatsApp messages recorded crossing the border, and video of a concert at a Central Valley drag bar, this meticulously reported story brings alive how the U.S. asylum system often fails LGBTQ migrants who flee violence. …


Cuban Jew to lead DHS; Nantucket’s driver’s license debate; Trump’s final push

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We need to make sure that farmworkers get replacement income immediately.” A new study of California farmworkers finds that most who experienced COVID symptoms continued working, reports the Desert Sun. Photo by Jay Calderon/The Desert Sun.

Know someone who might like Migratory Notes? Please help us spread the word: Here’s the subscribe form and here’s an archive on Medium. Got a story or an immigration-related resource or opportunity we should know about? Send it on!

#MustRead
It’s long been an open secret: To pay debts for migrating, an unknown number of teens work overnight shifts in dangerous factories before going to school. In order for minors to be released from immigrant detention, their sponsors must promise to support them financially and ensure they attend school. But often these promises are not kept once they are out of U.S. custody, reports ProPublica in an investigation into violations of child labor laws that have provoked little to no action from authorities. “Working overnight allows the teens to attend school during the day. But it’s a brutal trade-off,” writes Melissa Sanchez. …


Betting on sick pork workers; running the clock; immigration fashion

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Fashion activism has taken on immigrant rights, reports Glossy. Among the newcomers is Visa Issues.

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#MustReads
While family migration from Central America to the U.S. has made headlines in recent years, children have a long history of crossing borders throughout the hemisphere, NACLA reports in a special series. After 1965, youth migration from Mexico to the U.S. jumped and subsequent well-meaning policies led to a school-to-deportation pipeline. In the early 1980s, Guatemalan children fled to Mexico after a genocidal campaign from the U.S.-backed government targeted indigenous Mayan communities. …


Biden’s immigration moves; GOP multiethnic coalition, smuggling boom

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Immigrants mourned the death of Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek, who was “another uncle,” introducing U.S. culture and history as they learned English and watched TV as a family, reports LAist. Though for some, Jeopardy! could also be a reminder of the gap to becoming American, writes Fernanda Santos in The Washington Post. (Photo via CTV News)

Know someone who might like Migratory Notes? Please help us spread the word: Here’s the subscribe form and here’s an archive on Medium. Got a story or an immigration-related resource or opportunity we should know about? Send it on!

#MustRead
Trump effectively shut down borders, but he failed to stop the growth of immigration’s impact on the U.S. population, reports The New York Times. “All the attention on the border ignored the much more significant growth in immigration that was happening elsewhere in the country,” Miriam Jordan writes in a deep dive into national shifts. …


What Latino vote? Samosa Caucus and Hindu politics, young Michigan Muslims

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Mariachis serenade first-time immigrant voters at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights, also known as CHIRLA, brought the mariachis. Photo by Marguerite de Bourgoing.

Immigrants and the Elections
The big reveal on election night seemed to be that Latino voters are not homogenous, and many vote Republican. But since you read Migratory Notes, we assume you already knew that. “None of this is new, and I’m frankly getting bored of having to explain Latino conservatives every election cycle,” Gustavo Arellano writes in a column in the LA Times in which he describes Democrats as “an ossified institution that continuously banks on Latinos running to it for protection from the mean GOP, then does little to keep us.” …

About

Daniela Gerson

Ass’t Prof @CSUNJournalism and Co-creator #MigratoryNotes. Subscribe for free: https://bit.ly/2tkethJ @dhgerson

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