The Week Ahead: Feb. 21-24

Communications Associate

February 21, 2017

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“As a city where 40 percent of our residents are immigrants, San José serves as the quintessential melting pot where people from all around the world enrich our culture, spur our innovation and reinvigorate our collective passion for freedom. We remain committed to helping more of our immigrant residents pursue a path to citizenship because every new voice makes our community stronger.”

— San José, California, Mayor Sam Liccardo, Feb. 15

SUMMARY

Memos Reveal Cost of Executive Orders

The Department of Homeland Security has released memos regarding the implementation of two immigration-related executive orders, on “Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvement” and “Enforcement of the Immigration Laws to Serve the National Interest.

“With today’s memos, we have further evidence that President Trump’s drastic increase in immigration enforcement resources will cost American taxpayers tens of billions of dollars, undermine local law enforcement and weaken our values as a nation,” said Ali Noorani, Executive Director of National Immigration Forum.

“The executive orders make nearly all undocumented immigrants an enforcement priority, stretching valuable law enforcement resources well beyond the real public safety threats of violent criminals. The orders undercut local law enforcement’s efforts to build trust and keep all of us safe, hurt American workers and business owners who rely on immigrants, and separate families.

“Americans of all stripes will feel the consequences.

“There are better ways. President Trump should use his speech to Congress next week to lay out a constructive vision regarding immigration where both parties work together to pass immigration reforms that serve the interests of American workers by ensuring that immigrants get right with the law, come out of the shadows and continue to contribute to a healthy economy.”

Speaker Ryan to Visit U.S.-Mexico Border Wednesday

House Speaker Paul Ryan and other members of Congress will visit the U.S.-Mexico border on Wednesday. Reports indicate that they will examine how feasible it would be to build a wall along the border, based on one of President Trump’s campaign promises and executive orders.

“The more people have knowledge of the Southern border the more they will understand what we literally can and cannot do,” Rep. John Carter (R-Texas) told CNN. “And that’s important.”

Republicans have expressed concerns about the cost of the wall and its impact on U.S. taxpayers. A Department of Homeland Security report has found that building a wall along the border would cost taxpayers $21.6 billion.

Logistically, attempting to construct a wall without already having the necessary land would be unworkable, or it would demand a substantial, costly use of eminent domain.

“[Trump] is doing exactly what the government did to us in the beginning. He’s not asking how it’s going to affect the people that live here,” Pamela Taylor, 88, of Brownsville, Texas, told CNN.

Secretary of State and Homeland Security Secretary to Visit Mexico Thursday

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly will meet with members of the Mexican government on Thursday during a visit to Mexico. They are expected to continue discussions initiated by President Trump and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto earlier this year, including those related to border policies, law enforcement and trade.

Secretary Kelly also will travel to Guatemala on Wednesday and meet with Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales. Additionally, he will meet with other government officials and visit the Guatemalan Repatriation and Reception Facility in Guatemala City.

These meetings will take place amid controversy in Mexico following President Trump’s executive orders related to immigration. Secretary Tillerson will navigate these new diplomatic tensions between the two countries.

Secretary Kelly previously has discussed the need to deal with the push factors that cause people to flee violence in Central America.

LEGISLATIVE BULLETIN

Summary of immigration legislation introduced and government reports on immigration:

http://immigrationforum.org/blog/legislative-bulletin-friday-february-17-2017/

MUST READS:

THE MERCURY NEWS (California): San Jose International Airport first to offer citizenship services to immigrant employees
By Tatiana Sanchez
February 15, 2017

SAN JOSE — Gustavo Rodriguez immigrated to the U.S from Mexico a decade ago in search of new adventures and opportunities. Today, the legal permanent resident oversees custodial services at Mineta San José International Airport and is raising his 1-year-old daughter in San Jose with his wife.

But when Rodriguez walked into work Wednesday, he found an even bigger opportunity at his fingertips: a path toward gaining U.S. citizenship.

San José International has become the first airport in the country to make it easier for its employees and their families to become citizens as part of a pioneering project with New American Workforce.

About 800 airport employees are potentially eligible to participate in the program, according to airport officials.

“It’s really important for me to become a citizen and to contribute not only to my job but with everything else, especially with my vote,” said Rodriguez. “I believe we all have opportunities, but not if we sit there and wait for them. We have to look for them. It’s hard, but it’s not impossible.”

Read more: http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/02/15/san-jose-international-airport-first-to-offer-citizenship-services-to-immigrant-employees/

NPR: A Thriving Rural Town’s Winning Formula Faces New Threats Under Trump Administration
February 19, 2017

Like thousands of rural towns across the country, Cawker City, Kan., was built for bygone time.

Resident Linda Clover has spent most of her life in Cawker City, and she loves the place, but it’s a shell of the town it used to be.

“When I moved here in the ’60s we had three grocery stores,” she says. “Now the number is zero.”

Cawker City has a common rural problem. When it formed, 140 years ago, the big families living on many small, nearby farms had no other place to shop — or shoot pool.

Since then, farms have grown much bigger, the remaining families are smaller, and increasingly they’re doing much of their shopping online. As career opportunities in town dry up, ambitious young adults tend to move away.

“You have to find your little place in the world,” Linda Clover says. “And we’ve kind of lost it, in our whole area really.”

But as some small towns struggle to remain viable, others, like Garden City, Kan., are booming.

But, other than being surrounded by cows and cornfields, the town doesn’t square with most people’s stereotypes of rural Kansas.

Read more: http://www.npr.org/2017/02/19/516016940/a-thriving-rural-towns-winning-formula-faces-new-threats-under-trump-administrat

LOS ANGELES TIMES: A pastor in the Bible Belt opened his church to refugees. Here’s how it went
By David Montero
February 15, 2017

Pastor David Daniels didn’t really have a choice. The refugees were desperate. He could feel that. Their need was great. He could see that. But God was also talking and that, well, he could definitely hear.

So in 2015 he sponsored a Muslim family fleeing Syria and helped them settle in Fort Worth. What’s happened at his church in the years since is a reminder of what decades of studying the Bible has taught Daniels — that God’s will doesn’t always aim toward the easy route. Enter through the narrow gate, the Book of Matthew prescribed.

If God did go for the smooth road, perhaps God wouldn’t have put Daniels in the buckle of the Bible Belt — next to notches of Waffle Houses, Whataburgers and Wal-Marts — and ask him to welcome refugees at a time when the president of the country would rather keep them out.

Read more: http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-evangelical-refugee-20170215-story.html