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News Round Up In-Brief

U.S. News

  • The Obama administration made a statement last week that it will focus its deportation efforts on those who represent “the greatest harm” to the US such as criminals. The implication is that enforcement will not focus on low priority populations such as otherwise law-abiding immigrants who came to the US as children and immigrants serving in the military. Immigrant advocates and enforcement advocates debate the meaning of the new statement. Read about it here, here, and here.
  • Church leaders in Alabama sue the state over its new immigration law. The suit claims that the law criminalizes parts of Christian ministry such as performing weddings and funerals for illegal immigrants, giving them rides, or inviting them to church services. This suit joins other legal challenges to the law from civil rights groups, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Justice Department.
  • A little known component of U.S. border enforcement—the practice of U.S. Border Patrol Agents inspecting buses and asking for papers from people crossing the border into Mexico—may have unintended consequences. This practice was designed to detain those accused of crimes and detect the illegal movement of money and arms, but has also resulted in making it more difficult for migrants to leave the US. Watch a short documentary about these “southbound border checks.”
  • Various New York Times contributors debate the costs and benefits of illegal labor on U.S. farms. The authors ask if Americans can afford to pay higher wages to farm workers.
  • In a surprising case foreshadowing a change of priorities on the part of the Obama administration, a Chicago family was reunited after the mother was deported to Poland. This family’s story poignantly illustrates the psychological hardships of immigration policies that separate families.

International News

  • An Angolan-born man struggles to stay in Britain after his father committed suicide so that his son might gain asylum. The story illustrates the changing characteristics of immigration law in Britain including efforts to decrease net migration and the increasing use of private contractors to jail immigrants.
  • The dropping of all charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn has provoked concern among women’s rights and immigrant groups who fear that the bar has been set too high for immigrants to come forward with charges of sexual abuse.
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