IV. Immigrants at Risk Print E-mail


Unauthorized:  Why Did They Enter the U.S. without




Currently immigrants at risk of deportation comprise unauthorized immigrants, those granted a deferred departure, and immigrants holding green cards who have committed crimes no matter how long ago. The first, are mainly Latino immigrants, who crossed the border to the U.S. for reasons similar to those of the Swedish, Norwegian,1 German and Irish2 immigrants who arrived on our shores three and four generations earlier. These earlier immigrants came for the opportunity to own farmland in the 19th century and for industrial and mining jobs in the early 20th century, and sometimes for religious freedom. They were not required to have visas, and did not undergo a long vetting process before they were allowed to enter our country, but registered upon their arrival at Ellis Island.


corn on the cob mixed color Mexican immigration increased following the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which allowed the U.S. to subsidize corn that industrial agriculture companies exported to Mexico at 19% below the cost of production.3 NAFTA put around two million Mexican farmers out of work,4 as cheap, subsidized5 U.S. corn imports shot up from 2 million tons in 1992, two years before the treaty, to 10.3 million tons in 2008. Monthly income for self-employed farmers in Mexico fell from 1959 pesos a month in 1991 to 228 pesos a month in 2003. (See One America Power Point Presentation here.) Mexico's pork imports increased 25 times6 from 30,000 tons in 1995 to 811,000 tons in 2010. The steep loss in farm jobs led to the loss of additional jobs for other workers who had served the needs of Mexican farmers.


The increased migration of displaced Mexican corn farmers was predicted by Karen Lehman,7 Senior Fellow at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), when NAFTA was under consideration by Congress in 1993. NAFTA was designed by large corporations and industrial agricultural businesses without regard to how the trade policies would impact local communities. R. Dennis Olson, Senior Analyst at IATP wrote,8 "NAFTA has greatly benefited transnational agribusiness at the expense of farmers, consumers, and sustainable food systems. While Mexican farmers lost most of the profit they had been making and the U.S. lost 245,000 or 22% of small scale farmers (under $350,000 gross income), Cargill's profit increased by 660% from 1998-1999 to 2007-2008.9 The U.S. Farm Bureau, reports that U.S. agriculture depends on 1.5 to 2 million farm workers. 50 to 70% of them are unauthorized, p. 710 and in MN, comprise 51% of laborers on dairy farms.10 The following chart shows the migration of Mexicans that occurred after NAFTA and before the recession.



migration mexicous




Chart from Ben Lilliston, "NAFTA Renegotiation: What's at stake for food, farmers, and the land," the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, 2017, p. 7.



Josh Wise, Development and Communications Director at IATP, cautioned on July 17, 201711 that the NAFTA agreement currently under development "will do nothing to incentivize food production that will protect the livelihoods of farmers, the safety of consumers, or the health of the planet. . . . " R. Dennis Olson at IATP emphasizes that "This is simply not a viable model for a fair trading system that puts people’s well-being first."





1. ”Scandinavian Immigration." U.S. Immigration and Migration Reference Library, edited by Lawrence W. Baker, et al., vol. 1: Vol. 1: Almanac, UXL, 2004, pp. 283-313. U.S. History in Context, Accessed July 25, 2017


2. USHistory.org.  “Irish and German Immigration.”  U.S. History Online Textbook.  Accessed, July 25, 2017.    http://www.ushistory.org/us/25f.asp


3. Jayapal, Pramila, One America Executive Director.  “Root Causes of Immigration - NAFTA.”  One America with Justice for All, February 13, 2011.    



4. Robbins, Ted.  “Wave of Illegal Immigrants Gains Speed After NAFTA.”  NPR, Morning Edition, December 26, 2013.


5. Fox, Jonathan and Haight, Libby.  Subsidizing Inequality:  Mexican Corn Policy Since NAFTA.  Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars, Centro de Investigacion y Docencia Economicas, University of California, Santa Cruz, 2010.


6. Bacon, David.  “How U.S. Policies Fueled Mexico’s Great Migration.”  The Nation, January 23, 2012.


7. Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.  “Undocumented farmworkers and the U.S. agribusiness economic model.”  



8. Olson, R. Dennis.  “Lessons from NAFTA:  Food and Agriculture.”  Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, December 2, 2008.



9.  Lilliston, Ben. “NAFTA Renegotiation:  What’s at stake for food, farmers, and the land?”  Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy,  August, 2017.  https://www.iatp.org/nafta-renegotiation


10.  “The Contributions of New Americans in Minnesota.”  New American Economy, 2016, p. 27


11.  Wise, Josh.  “NAFTA renegotiation objectives fall short for farmers and the planet.”  Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, July 17, 2017.        








Deferred Departure



Two groups of immigrants who might face deportation were granted extended stays in the U.S.  First are young people who were brought to the U.S. by their parents as children. President Obama gave them an opportunity to apply for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Deferred action is a use of prosecutorial discretion to defer removal action against an individual for a certain period of time. Deferred action does not provide lawful status. The time extension is two years. President Trump did not extend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.  If the U.S. Senate and House do not pass a bill that resolves the immigration status of young adults who arrived in the U.S. as children, they could be deported. 


A recent Congressional Budget Office report estimated that one bill, the DREAM Act of 2017, would increase the federal deficit by almost $26 billion over a decade. The bill would make an estimated 2 million potential beneficiaries and relatives they could eventually sponsor for residence eligible for education and other benefits.1  That amounts to an average of $13,000 a person in benefits, which is approximately equivalent to a year of K-12 education, a quite modest investment given that the U.S. gains an additional person in the labor force who will add to the growth of American business and will pay state and federal taxes as well as Medicare and Social Security for a lifetime.  As will be explained in Articles VI and VII, the cost taxpayers would have to pay for deportation of unauthorized immigrants is much higher.


A second category of immigrants with extended stays who are at risk for deportation are the Liberian immigrants who came to the U.S. because of Civil War. They were originally in the U.S. under Temporary Protected Status and received Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) extensions since 2007 from both Democratic and Republican Presidents. If President Trump does not extend their DED status which currently ends on March 31, 2019, substantial numbers of Liberian immigrants, who live in the greatest number in Brooklyn Park, will be subject to deportation if the U.S. Senate and House do not pass legislation giving current DED recipients a path to permanent residence and/or citizenship.



Senator Jack Reed from Rhode Island Speaks on Liberian Immigrants


senator jack reed of rhode island on status for liberians


Senator Jack Reed gives an excellent overview of the history of the Liberian Immigration, recommends that President Trump extend DED and asks the Senate to approve the Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act.2



A major ICE intrusion in Brooklyn Park to remove Latino and Liberian immigrants would result in tax losses for the city, county, and state as well as economic losses for businesses.






1.  Congressional Budget Office.  S. 1615, Dream Act of 2017.  Cost Estimate Summary, December 15, 2017.  https://www.cbo.gov/publication/53410.


2.  Reed Discusses Immigration Status for Liberians on the Senate Floor.







Residents with a Green Card and Prior Crime



Until 1988, noncitizens could be deported from the United States only after a hearing before an immigration judge in which the non-citizen could raise one of several bases for canceling their deportation orders. These included the extreme hardship deportation would cause to the noncitizen or to his family members, family ties in the U.S., length of residence in the U.S., service in the armed forces, a history of stable employment, and a probability that the noncitizen would experience persecution if returned to the country of removal.  The order for deportation became final only if the immigration judge found the non-citizen failed to meet any of these bases for cancellation.  The noncitizen could appeal the judge's decision to the Board of Immigration Appeals, and if the Board didn't reverse the original immigration judge's decision, the citizen could make another appeal to an independent federal court.1 
Immigration law followed this pattern until the major changes passed by Congress in 1996.  While the prior law had allowed seven-year lawful permanent residents who committed crimes to seek discretionary relief from deportation from an immigration judge by showing negative factors were outweighed by positive factors, Congress took a wholesale approach and eliminated the hearings altogether in the 1996 immigration law.  Legislators tended to lump all non-citizens convicted of crimes into one category—neglecting the fact that the legislation under consideration would include legal residents with minor offenses and would have a major impact on their US citizen family members.1  Representative Patsy Mink of Hawaii expressed deep concern  that these provisions expand authorization for deportation of aliens without any association with crimes of violence or terrorism.2  Senator Edward Kennedy stated, "It applies to all criminal aliens, regardless of the gravity of their offense .... whether they are murderers or petty shoplifters."3  President Bill Clinton signed the bill into law, but commented, "These provisions eliminate most remedial relief for long-term legal residents....”4




1.  "Forced Apart: Families Separated and Immigrants Harmed by United States Deportation Policy."  Human Rights Watch, Volume 19, Number 3 (G), July, 2007.



2. “Conference Report on S. 735, Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996,” Congressional Record, vol. 142, no. 55, 104th Congress, 2nd Session, page E645, April 18, 1996 (Ms. Mink).


3. Congressional Record, vol. 141, S 7803, 104th Congress, 2nd Session, (Mr. Kennedy).


4. William J. Clinton, “Statement on Signing the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996,” Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, vol. 32 (April 24, 1996), p. 720.





"Undocumented" is not a state one chooses.


julissa arceJulissa Arce worked her way up to become the vice president at Goldman Sachs by age 27 while being an undocumented immigrant from Mexico. When she gives lectures at colleges and universities, people often ask, "Why don't 'illegals' get in the back of the line, and do it the right way?"  She notes that "the line" is a mythical place that distracts from the need for immigration reform.  Most undocumented immigrants cannot complete an application, go through a process, or pay a fine to start the process of becoming U.S. citizens. Julissa Arce suggests, "If we want undocumented immigrants to come out of the shadows, go through background checks, and seek legal employment, we should focus on actually creating 'the line.' The question shouldn't be, why don't illegals get in the line, the question we should be asking ourselves is, when are we going to create the line?"1




1.  Arce, Julissa.  "Here's the myth about being an undocumented immigrant that drives me crazy."  CNBC, February 24, 2017.










MN's Leading Election System

With Secretary of State Steve Simon


steve simon


Listen to Secretary of State Steve Simon's excellent presentation on MN's outstanding election system emulated by many other states at the Think Again Brooklyns forum January 19, 2016.  Secretary Simon includes ways in which it can be improved, and he explains why it is important to vote.  He concludes with a quote from a tee shirt:  "Failure to vote is not an act of rebellion.  It is an act of surrender."

Get details on how to vote at http://mnvotes.org

How Oregon Became the Easiest Place to Vote in the US

By Lornet Turnbull
YES! Magazine
October 8, 2016


In January, Oregon became the first state in the country to begin automatically registering eligible citizens to vote when they obtain or renew their driver's licenses or state IDs, completely shifting the burden of voter registration from the individual to the government. 

Read the Article

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