The Week Ahead: June 19-23
June 19, 2017
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“What’s going on now is making people afraid to go to work.”
— Carole Segal, Co-Founder of Crate and Barrel and Co-Chair of the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition, June 15
Border Apprehensions Down Compared to 2016 amid Request for More Border Funding
Apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico border dropped by 64 percent in May 2017 compared to the same period in 2016, according to a new report from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). April 2017 saw the lowest number apprehensions of any month in the past five years.
CBP apprehended 14,535 people between ports of entry during fiscal year 2017. With 19,828 Border Patrol agents in fiscal year 2016, all in all, each Border Patrol agent made less than one apprehension on average each month.
Despite the declines, President Trump’s budget requests $100 million to recruit, hire and train 500 new Border Patrol agents as part of the plan to hire 5,000 additional Border Patrol agents as directed by the executive order on border security.
After World Refugee Day, Congress to Consider Refugee Restrictions
On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee will mark up two refugee-related bills rescheduled from last week: the Protection of Children Act of 2017 (H.R. 495) and the Refugee Program Integration Restoration Act (H.R. 2826).
The Protection of Children Act would facilitate expedited removal of unaccompanied migrant children who are unable to prove within 48 hours that they are victims of trafficking or fear returning to their countries. The Refugee Program Integrity Restoration Act of 2017 would make it more difficult for refugees to resettle in the U.S., including by reducing the number of refugee admissions to 50,000 per year.
Meanwhile, a new paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research provides evidence for refugee contributions to our communities, finding that refugees contribute more in taxes than they receive in benefits in the long term.
Tech Executives to Discuss Immigration at Meeting with Trump
President Trump is scheduled to meet today with leaders of top technology companies — including Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft — to discuss ways to modernize the federal government.
One item on the agenda: high-skilled immigration.
Tech executives are expected to advocate for the H-1B visa program, following the administration’s executive order to bring more oversight to the program, as well as criticisms from Silicon Valley on the travel ban.
Discussions in South Carolina to Focus on Culture, Values, Immigration
South Carolinians this week will focus on the question “Do we, as Americans, value immigrants and immigration anymore?”
In his book, “There Goes the Neighborhood: How Communities Overcome Prejudice and Meet the Challenge of American Immigration” (Prometheus Books, April 2017), Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum, interviewed several South Carolinians to understand what drives America’s immigration debate and will hold discussions there this week.
Events include a Thursday lunch at the Hispanic Alliance in Greenville, a Thursday evening event at Hub City Bookshop in Spartanburg and a Friday lunch at the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina in Columbia.
Summary of immigration legislation introduced and government reports on immigration:
ASSOCIATED PRESS: Texas companies tie worker shortages to immigration fears
By Meredith Hoffman
June 17, 2017
AUSTIN, Texas — Though construction is in high demand in Texas’ booming capital city, Oscar Martinez’s drywall company is suddenly struggling.
One-third of the approximately 20 employees Martinez uses to build new homes and commercial spaces have recently fled the state, spooked by a combination of a federal immigration crackdown by the Trump administration and a tough anti-”sanctuary cities” law approved last month by Texas’ Republican-controlled Legislature.
“I took a big hit since my workers started hearing crazy stories about being deported, and they panicked,” said Martinez, who relies on immigrants in the U.S. illegally for labor and has failed to find replacements for the physically grueling, precise work.
“The Americans I hire can’t last in this job more than half a day,” Martinez said.
Similar fears have sent shockwaves through many sectors of the U.S. economy. In most cases, demographers and economic experts say it’s too early to quantify the full impact of workforce shortages fueled by immigration fears, but anecdotal evidence is widespread.
WASHINGTON POST (Courtney Op-Ed): Trump promised he would protect persecuted Christians. But he’s sending Christians back to Iraq
By Jeremy Courtney
June 15, 2017
Dozens of Iraqi Christians were rounded up by immigration authorities in Detroit this week, separated from their families and are about to be deported even though they have lived in the United States for decades. I have one question: Where is the outcry from my fellow Christians, especially those who view much of the world through the lens of Christian persecution?
I don’t think this is a cut-and-dry case. I don’t think these individuals were rounded up because they are Christian. I know immigration authorities say they have criminal records. Sending them back to Iraq is not an automatic death sentence, but being a Christian in Iraq is hard.
If you are a Christian, you should be deeply troubled by the deportation of your sisters and brothers from Detroit. Because persecution is real — and it has little to do with some of the silly issues that American Christians complain about so easily.