The Week Ahead: April 17-21

Communications Associate

April 17, 2017


“ ‘Does the legal status of an immigrant change our attitude or responsibility to the immigrant?’ And the answer to that, of course, is no … We want to be a people and a nation of laws, of course, but that doesn’t change our attitude.”

— David Fleming, Senior Pastor, Champion Forest Baptist Church, Houston, April 10


Enforcement Efforts Sow Fear, Undermine Community Safety

Concerns are mounting regarding the effects recent immigration enforcement policy changes will have on community safety.

Recent changes would increase criminal enforcement of immigration offenses, crack down on so-called sanctuary cities and threaten to worsen conditions for people held in immigration detention.

As federal immigration arrests increased by nearly one-third as compared to the same time period last year, with a much larger proportion of those arrests comprising immigrants without criminal records, immigrant communities are growing increasingly fearful. Growing fear caused by reports of raids and deportations can undermine community safety when immigrant crime victims and witnesses are afraid to cooperate with local law enforcement. Already, some major cities have reported a drop in reporting among immigrants of rape and other violent crimes.

In the debate over so-called sanctuary cities, last week Immigration and Customs Enforcement suspended its weekly Declined Detainer Outcome Reports, which publicize jurisdictions that do not honor federal immigration detainers, after state and local law enforcement officials criticized errors in the first two reports.

Among developments at the state level, the Texas House of Representatives will soon consider an anti-“sanctuary” bill that would make it a criminal offense for elected officials and law enforcement leaders who are deemed to have implemented sanctuary-style policies. The measure has faced opposition from some law enforcement officials and municipalities. The Iowa Senate passed an anti-“sanctuary” bill Wednesday that would prevent cities and counties from implementing policies that would provide safe haven for immigrants who lack authorization. And a federal court in California heard oral arguments Friday on San Francisco and Santa Clara counties’ challenges to the Trump administration’s executive order on interior immigration enforcement that targets so-called sanctuary jurisdictions.

‘There Goes the Neighborhood’ Brings Immigration Discussion to D.C., Salt Lake City

Discussion about how communities are responding to immigrants through lenses of culture and values, rather than politics, will come to Washington, D.C., and Salt Lake City this week.

Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum, will discuss what he learned in interviews with nearly 60 faith, law enforcement and business leaders around the country for his book, “There Goes the Neighborhood: How Communities Overcome Prejudice and Meet the Challenge of American Immigration” (Prometheus Books).

Hosted by Politics and Prose and supported by the Center for Community Change, Noorani will discuss the book in Washington, D.C., tonight with Dreamer and immigrant rights leader Lorella Praeli. In Salt Lake City, where an op-ed by Noorani appeared Sunday, The King’s English Bookshop will host a reading on Tuesday, and Noorani will discuss the book at the Salt Lake Chamber on Wednesday.


Summary of immigration legislation introduced and government reports on immigration:


KANSAS CITY STAR (Hawkins Op-Ed): Retired Garden City Chief of Police: For our safety, welcome immigrants
By James R. Hawkins
April 14, 2017

The national debate over immigration policy came to my city’s doorstep in October. Three U.S. citizens who belonged to an anti-government militia movement were arrested for planning to bomb an apartment complex in Garden City, Kan. They were targeting Somali refugees who live there.

Thankfully, federal authorities uncovered the bomb plot before it was carried out, and no one was injured. After the incident, the refugees were understandably afraid. But the outpouring of support was astounding. Faith leaders, longtime residents and members of the Garden City Police Department — where I served for 19 years — held a rally to show solidarity with the Somali community. In a time when fear and rancor guide our discourse about immigration, it was a beautiful display.

Garden City is made stronger by the immigrants and refugees in our midst. We are a “majority-minority” city. Latinos composed nearly half of the population in 2010, and other minority groups compose an additional 7 to 8 percent. People from around the world live and work here, raising their families and boosting the economy. The vast majority do so without incident or criminal record.

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CREATORS SYNDICATE (Chavez Column): Trump at odds with most Americans on immigration
By Linda Chavez
April 14, 2017

President Donald Trump has been flip-flopping right and left recently — much of it for the good. He’s abandoned his promises to label China a currency manipulator, withdraw from NAFTA, repeal Obamacare and stay out of Syria. But he seems to be digging in on his pledge to create a deportation force to rid the country of people who are illegally here. A decision memo leaked this week to The Washington Post outlines the administration’s plans to hire new Customs and Border Protection officers quickly by abandoning the usual safeguards, such as polygraphs and physical fitness tests, in some instances and deploying local police to enforce immigration laws through agreements with dozens of cooperative police departments. The memo also says that the Department of Homeland Security has found some 33,000 beds to supplement its detention facilities.

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WASHINGTON POST: Even Canadians are skipping trips to the U.S. after Trump travel ban
By Abha Bhattarai
April 14, 2017

The cancellations came quickly and in rapid succession. Within days of President Trump’s first executive order restricting travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries, a number of European travel groups pulled their plans, amounting to a loss of 2,000 overnight stays for Hostelling International USA.

The ban would complicate travel for citizens of the countries cited — among them Iran, Syria and Libya. But Canadians and Europeans and others were dropping their plans, too. As group organizers put it, people suddenly had an unsettling sense that the United States wasn’t as welcoming a place as it once was.

The result was a wave of withdrawals. “Getting those cancellations all at once, that was startling,” said Russ Hedge, chief executive of HIU, which oversees 52 hostels across the country. “We’ve never seen something like that.”

From hostels to major hotel chains such as Marriott, tour group operators to outfits that cater to business travelers, the toll of Trump’s proposals on the nation’s tourism industry has been swift. Some say long-term damage has been done.

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