Sunday Reflection: Immigration News

Positive Developments 

A coalition of movie theaters have organized screenings, to be shown in May, featuring films from countries named in President Trump’s travel ban. The series, “The Seventh Art Stand,” announced this week, will take place in community centers, museums and theaters. More than 30 venues in states such as Hawaii, Washington, New York, Texas and Indiana have confirmed their participation. They include the Arab American National Museum in Michigan, the Honolulu Museum of Art, the Northwest Film Forum in Seattle; and the Metrograph and Anthology Film Archives in New York. Discussions will also be held as part of the series.


The Trump administration has failed in its attempt to rewrite the executive order banning individuals from targeted Muslim-majority nations in order to pass legal muster. On the eve of the new order taking effect, two district judges have shut it down

HUH? What? 

Trump is asking for supplemental funds for FY 2017, which would add to the over $40 billion the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is set to receive this fiscal year. The request includes $1.5 billion to begin construction of a border wall, $1.15 billion for additional immigration detention beds, and $350 million for additional staff.

The $1.15 billion for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) would allow them to increase detention bed space from 34,000 to 45,700, a new record high. This massive expansion of detention would allow DHS officers and agents to try and detain nearly everyone they apprehend at or near the border. This detention space expansion—a boon to the private prison industry—means that more children, families and other vulnerable groups seeking protection in the United States will end up detained, at great financial and human cost.

  • How is this America first? I will pay 5 times as much for health insurance while our government buys new beds. 

Not the worst of the proposals

President Trump stated that he has “ordered the Department of Homeland Security to create an office to serve American victims during his Joint Address to congress. The office is called Voice – Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement. Any victim of crime deserves acknowledgement and sympathy, and crime is an issue that must be taken seriously.

However, the emphasis on victims of immigrant crimes is problematic. It only serves to scapegoat and demonize immigrants even though the data clearly shows that immigrants, including unauthorized immigrants, are less likely than native-born Americans to commit crimes.

  • JJs agrees that immigrants should be held accountable for crimes against others. However, I can also see how this is scapegoating. Still, I support this proposal.


Buried inside an executive order issued by President Trump in January are the Administration’s plans to revive the 287(g) program. This is of concern because the program has experienced intense criticism over the years, and efforts to ramp up this program should be viewed with extreme caution and skepticism.

The 287(g) program allows the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to enter into formal collaborations with state and local law enforcement agencies to deputize officers to enforce federal immigration laws.

  • Mixed feelings, still thinking about this one

Food for Thought:

Chinese Exclusion Act, formally called the Immigration Act of 1882; US federal law that was the first and only major federal legislation to explicitly suspend immigration for a specific nationality. The basic exclusion law prohibited Chinese laborers—defined as “both skilled and unskilled laborers and Chinese employed in mining”—from entering the country. Subsequent amendments to the law prevented Chinese laborers who had left the United States from returning.

The passage of the act represented the outcome of years of racial hostility and anti-immigrant agitation by white Americans, set the precedent for later restrictions against immigration of other nationalities, and started a new era in which the United States changed from a country that welcomed almost all immigrants to a gate keeping one.

The Chinese Exclusion Act was repealed in 1943 and permitted a quota of 105 Chinese immigrants annually.

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  1. America will not be ‘Great’ this time, but will rather become smaller and meaner. These measures are definitely in the mix, and will run their course. All we can hope for is a better resolution to a future election.

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