Category: Law

Immigrants Shouldn’t Have to Be ‘Talented’ to Be Welcome

peopleThe terms of the debate over President Trump’s decision to revoke the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program are familiar, as are the terms of the larger conversation about immigration in this country: On one side are hardworking immigrants; on the other are politicians who wrongly claim that these immigrants harm the economic interests of native-born Americans. As protests broke out across the United States in response to Mr. Trump’s move, reporters and immigrant advocates stressed that the administration’s actions will hurt achievers — people who have graduated from college, people who have bought houses, people who work for high-tech companies.

There is nothing wrong with this story. It’s one that most, if not all, immigrants like to tell about themselves — even if their actual story doesn’t neatly fit the narrative. In fact, as Hannah Arendt pointed out in her essay “We Refugees,” written in 1943 at the height of the 20th century’s refugee crisis, people whose stories fit the narrative least well — the most desperate and the worst-wounded of the immigrants — are especially invested in thinking of themselves as destined for success and, of course, as future loyal citizens.

But something goes awry when this becomes the dominant story told about immigrants in America. This has been happening for a number of years: The good people of America talk about immigrants as hard workers who conscientiously contribute to the economy. (I myself have made it onto a few lists of exemplary immigrant success stories.) In fact, DACA was designed to reward achievement: to qualify for the program, an applicant had to be in school or hold a high school diploma or equivalent, or have been honorably discharged from the armed forces. Those who hadn’t been able or lucky to meet those requirements were apparently deemed unworthy of staying in the country where they had lived since they were children.

When Mr. Trump issued an executive order banning entry by citizens of predominantly Muslim countries, American technology companies responded with a lawsuit in which they stressed that immigrants have founded and run many large tech companies. The revocation of DACA has brought forth similar — and much-quoted — responses from Silicon Valley. When the president threw his support behind a reform plan that would drastically reduce immigration to this country, editorial writers argued against it by pointing out that immigrants benefit the economy.

Latino, African-American Applicants Unfairly Denied Sandy Relief Funds?

hurricane-sandy-update-620x405Reconstruction, Rehabilitation Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) program were rejected by the state; while 13-percent of Caucasian applicants were denied from the same program. Similarly, FSHC says 38-percent of African Americans and 20-percent of Latinos that applied to the Resettlement Grant Program had their applications rejected; while 14-percent of Caucasians were rejected from the same program. President of the Latino Action Network (LAN) Frank Argote-Freyre and members of the New Jersey chapter of the NAACP reviewed the data along with FSHC and noticed inequities in both the amount of Latino and African Americans that applied for the programs, and the amount of Latino and African American residents that were approved to receive relief funds. Argote-Freyre says he wants to know how the Christie Administration plans to correct the error. “Given the misinformation presented to the Spanish-reading community by the Governor’s relief website, I think Governor Christie should explain what he intends to do to help those who were unfairly rejected or who missed deadlines due to the administration’s neglect,” Argote-Freyre stated in a press release.

“We hope that these data, supplied by the Christie Administration itself, will help to shed light on why these programs are not working.”LAN is currently in litigation with the Christie Administration. The group claims that information provided on the English version of New Jersey’s Sandy recovery web site was omitted from the Spanish version of the web site, and left many Spanish speaking Sandy victims unable to take advantage of grant program benefits.READ MORE: http://www.clutchmagonline.com/2013/12/latino-african-american-applicants-unfairly-denied-sandy-relief-funds/