Migration notebook

Reporting    Ask me anything   

Reporter's notebook from Emma Jacobs, of NPR-affiliate WHYY in Philadelphia. Co-conspirator on Longshot Radio.

In its latest incarnation, this is a deep dive into the immigration side of my reporting beat. Thoughts, tips: ejacobs (at) whyy (dot) org, @ecjacobs.

September 16, 2014 at 11:55pm
0 notes

The Colbert Report
Get More: Daily Show Full Episodes,Indecision Political Humor,The Colbert Report on Facebook

Stephen Colbert consults with future Stephen Colbert of 2372 about whether immigration reform has happened yet.

September 9, 2014 at 10:00am
1 note
Via @globalnation, here’s where migrant families are being detained along the US-Mexico border.

Via @globalnation, here’s where migrant families are being detained along the US-Mexico border.

September 4, 2014 at 5:22pm
0 notes
From NPR’s David Greene on Tuesday:

This month is the 20th anniversary of the Cuban refugee exodus when 35,000 Cubans fled on rafts to the U.S. There’s been a spike this year in Cubans risking their lives on rafts to reach the U.S.

In full: Cuban Rafters Still Attempt Difficult Journey To The U.S.

From NPR’s David Greene on Tuesday:

This month is the 20th anniversary of the Cuban refugee exodus when 35,000 Cubans fled on rafts to the U.S. There’s been a spike this year in Cubans risking their lives on rafts to reach the U.S.

In full: Cuban Rafters Still Attempt Difficult Journey To The U.S.

August 30, 2014 at 1:01pm
2 notes
The US government announced last week that it will offer temporary immigration relief to people from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, where a serious Ebola outbreak has killed more than 1,500 people.
The agency continuously monitors conditions around the world, explained US Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) spokeswoman Anita Moore, and in this case determined that the severity of the Ebola outbreak immigration relief.
“USCIS will work to provide relief to those that are here so they don’t have to rush back to their country just because their visa has expired if it’s safer for them to be here,” she said.
So, under the revised policy, students, for example, or travelers who entered the U.S. on business visas won’t be forced to return to a dangerous situation.
Immigrant services providers in greater Philadelphia say they’re seeing widespread confusion among local residents from those three countries about the scope of the changes.
“Folks are getting really bad information and they’re hearing that certain benefits are available which are just patently false,” said Chioma Azi, a staff attorney for the African Cultural Alliance of North America, which serves mostly West Africans in West Philadelphia.
Commonly, Azi says, people have thought they could obtain green cards to stay indefinitely. She says immigrants who’ve often been hoping for permission to remain in the U.S. are eager to believe in the best case scenario.
“You always have that group of folks who because of status and being out-of-status or being on the borderline, there’s a hopefulness whenever there’s an immigration announcement, whatever it is,” Azi explained. “There’s always just this hope that maybe this is going to save my situation or fix my situation.”
Full story beyond the link.

The US government announced last week that it will offer temporary immigration relief to people from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, where a serious Ebola outbreak has killed more than 1,500 people.

The agency continuously monitors conditions around the world, explained US Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) spokeswoman Anita Moore, and in this case determined that the severity of the Ebola outbreak immigration relief.

“USCIS will work to provide relief to those that are here so they don’t have to rush back to their country just because their visa has expired if it’s safer for them to be here,” she said.

So, under the revised policy, students, for example, or travelers who entered the U.S. on business visas won’t be forced to return to a dangerous situation.

Immigrant services providers in greater Philadelphia say they’re seeing widespread confusion among local residents from those three countries about the scope of the changes.

“Folks are getting really bad information and they’re hearing that certain benefits are available which are just patently false,” said Chioma Azi, a staff attorney for the African Cultural Alliance of North America, which serves mostly West Africans in West Philadelphia.

Commonly, Azi says, people have thought they could obtain green cards to stay indefinitely. She says immigrants who’ve often been hoping for permission to remain in the U.S. are eager to believe in the best case scenario.

“You always have that group of folks who because of status and being out-of-status or being on the borderline, there’s a hopefulness whenever there’s an immigration announcement, whatever it is,” Azi explained. “There’s always just this hope that maybe this is going to save my situation or fix my situation.”

Full story beyond the link.

August 28, 2014 at 7:17pm
19 notes
Reblogged from pulitzercenter

http://pulitzercenter.tumblr.com/post/96031185332/kids-are-living-in-danger-from-gangs-and-the →

Interesting point about lack of international knowledge/context in the US of the events leading up to recent increase in migration.

pulitzercenter:

image

“Kids are living in danger from gangs and the gangs extort people for money because the economy is crap and there is so much corruption,” Pulitzer Center grantee Carlos Javier Ortiz said in an interview with MSNBC that includes haunting black and white photographs from his Guatemala project El Sueño, “It’s all a chain reaction.”

Current coverage of the surge of children crossing the U.S.-Mexican border suggests that this mass immigration is occurring out of the blue. Carlos shows that what is happening now is in fact the predictable result of U.S. demand for drugs, the export of gang violence to Central America, and too many children caught in the middle.…

August 22, 2014 at 4:45pm
0 notes
I am super enamoured of WBEZ’s system of city bureaus. This outpost is in Little Village, a heavily Spanish-speaking neighborhood of the city.

I am super enamoured of WBEZ’s system of city bureaus. This outpost is in Little Village, a heavily Spanish-speaking neighborhood of the city.

August 18, 2014 at 1:00pm
7 notes

It’s pretty rare that I feel the need to respond to a story point by point. However, after a conversation about this one with a colleague, I wanted to address some truly strange things about this TV report that aired last week. 

I-Team Exclusive: How Will Local School Districts Handle Increase In Undocumented Students?" has quite the collision of hot-button issues:  the sensitive and politically charged topic of Central American migrant children and their potential impact on Philadelphia’s financially stressed schools.

But, below, you’ll find the entire thing. My comments are in italics.

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — This year the federal government expects 60,000 undocumented child immigrants to enter school districts around the country.

I follow these numbers very carefully and I have literally no idea where this comes from. The source isn’t cited. The 60k figure is in the ballpark of the total number of children who’ve arrived in the US so far this year, of which the federal government has made clear they plan to deport many as quickly as possible. The Wall Street Journal had an estimate last week of 37,000 children entering schools nation-wide, based on the total number of kids who have actually been placed with sponsors. 

The I-Team’s cameras were allowed to video these children as long as we don’t show their faces. They’re undocumented immigrants from Central America who left their families behind this year and crossed the border.

Now in the hands of the federal government, they’ll attend Philadelphia schools this fall.

(Huffman:) Te gusta Philadelphia?

“Sí.”

Bravo on getting access to a group of these children. That’s a real challenge. Given that, it’s a shame that this is all we hear from them.

They say they like it here. Much better than the gang violence ridden streets many of them left behind.

“Part of the challenges that they face here are very much connected to the challenges they faced before they left their home countries,” said Cathi Tillman, Director of La Puerta Abierta.

Tillman runs La Puerta Abierta, a Philadelphia non-profit that provides counseling to undocumented child immigrants.

“Often times they come with very disrupted education or no education at all, so when they come here they’re coming with pretty big bags of challenges,” she said.

These children will require extra counseling and English as a second language programs.

And not all parents are happy about it.

“I definitely think it should be addressed and I don’t think my child should be at the bottom of the totem pole,” parent Rose Kennedy said.

Pennsylvania schools will have to make room for almost 400 undocumented children this fall. In Delaware more than 100 and in new Jersey, more than 1,500. In all, that’s enough to fill nearly 70 classrooms.

So, according to the Office of Refugee Resettlement, there are in fact 456 children who’ve been released to sponsors in Pennsylvania while they await their immigration court dates. However, that’s all over the state. There is no reason to believe they will all end up in the Philadelphia schools. Most will have been released to family members and Philadelphia doesn’t have a particularly outsize Central American population.

Similarly, these kids will likely be integrated in relatively small numbers across school districts in New Jersey and Delaware. That makes this idea that 70 classrooms full of kids are going to overwhelm these states misleading and frankly alarmist.

Despite budget cuts and an $81 million shortfall, Philadelphia School District spokesman Fernando Gallard says the 230 teachers devoted to helping students like these won’t change.

Seriously, “students like these”?

Is the suggestion here that everyone in ESL is a recently-arrived unaccompanied Central American child? Because that’s ridiculous. The implication here, that educating English language-learners, including US-born citizens in addition to immigrants and refugees is an undeserved burden on everyone else is troubling.

“We haven’t cut the budget for ESL teachers in the last three years,” Gallard said, “so our services continue to be the same for students who need ESL services.”

FYI, ESL services are federally mandated and interpreted by courts as required under the Civil Rights Act.

The schools are certainly broke but neither Gallard, or any other school official, anywhere IN THIS ENTIRE STORY appear on camera saying they foresee a problem or excessive financial burden related to these particular students. Why on earth would you not have asked Gallard that question? If they did, not including his answer is a bizarre choice.

We asked education officials in New Jersey and Delaware how they’ll handle the increase in undocumented students.

New Jersey officials declined to comment.

Delaware officials said it will be a challenge, but said they’ll work with non-profits and the federal government to ensure basic needs are met.

August 16, 2014 at 11:22am
6 notes
Reblogged from humanizingimmigration

11 Must-Watch Videos from Fusion: 'The Untold History of Unaccompanied Minors' →

August 15, 2014 at 10:00am
9 notes
Buenos Aires, Argentina.
La lectura es el viaje de los que no pueden tomar el tren. - F. Croisset
Reading is the voyage of those who cannot take the train.

Buenos Aires, Argentina.

La lectura es el viaje de los que no pueden tomar el tren. - F. Croisset

Reading is the voyage of those who cannot take the train.

August 14, 2014 at 2:00pm
0 notes
Photos from the series Migrant Portraits, by photographer Nick Oza.

Photos from the series Migrant Portraits, by photographer Nick Oza.