Sunday, February 11, 2018


Today's Nicholas Kristof column in The New York Times is about Syed Jamal, a chemistry professor in Lawrence, Kansas, who's in the process of being deported after living in America for three decades.
In Lawrence, Kan., the other day, immigration agents handcuffed a beloved chemistry professor as he was leaving his home to drive his daughter to school. Then they warned his crying wife and children, ages 7 to 14, that they could be arrested if they tried to hug him goodbye, and drove off with him — leaving a shattered family behind.

... Syed A. Jamal, 55, had been in America for 30 years, having arrived legally from Bangladesh as a student, before overstaying his visa. He loved Kansas and settled in Lawrence, teaching at local colleges and volunteering at local schools — even running for the school board. He coached students in science and sports.

... Jamal, who seems just about the least dangerous person in America, is now in jail pending deportation to Bangladesh. A court intervened with a temporary stay as the government was trying to rush him out of the country.
But when I go to the the page listing the "Most Popular" items at the Times, this column is nowhere to be found. It's not among the ten "Most Emailed," "Most Viewed," "Most Shared on Facebook," or "Most Tweeted" Times stories. There's much more interest in stories about Rob Porter and U.S. spies trying to retrieve stolen cyberweapons. Maureen Dowd's latest column is popular. Readers are interested in the Olympics and tilapia.

There's another awful immigration story at HuffPost.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement plans to deport an undocumented man from Mexico whose child is battling cancer.

On Thursday, ICE denied an extension to remain in the U.S. for 30-year-old Jesus Berrones, who lives in Arizona with his pregnant wife and five children....

Berrones has been living in the U.S. since he was 1½, when his parents brought him here in 1989, according to his wife, Sonia. In 2006, at age 19, Berrones was caught driving with a fake license and deported to Mexico. He then twice re-entered the country unlawfully to rejoin his family.

In 2016, ICE granted Berrones a stay of removal based on his son’s illness....

Last year, under the new Trump administration, Berrones went to ICE to refile a stay, and officials told him it was not necessary because he was no longer a deportation priority, Wilkes said. But in January, Berrones got a notice from ICE that he would be deported. The lawyer filed another request for a stay, but it was recently denied.

Berrones’ 5-year-old son has been battling leukemia since 2016 and is undergoing chemotherapy. Berrones is the family’s sole breadwinner.
It's not a trending story at HuffPost.

Can you recall an immigration story that truly went viral -- not just among progressives who are focused on the issue, but among the public at large? Can you name a deported immigrant whose name became as well known as Trayvon Martin or Michael Brown?

It's been argued that the Trump administration is engaged in especially cruel immigration arrests out of pure racism or sadism. Those are among the obvious motives -- but this is also a test, one that we're failing as a nation.

Many people believe that Republicans really don't want to allow DACA protection to lapse because Dreamers have widespread support, and widescale deportations of them will look terrible on the news. Polling does show that support for the Dreamers runs as high as 81% -- but it's clear that it's shallow support. Like support for universal gun background checks or a ban on bump stocks, support for sympathetic undocumented immigrants is widespread but doesn't inspire passion -- the passion is overwhelmingly on the minority side. Gun lovers and immigrant haters will absolutely turn out to vote based on how they feel about gun policy or immigration law. The evidence suggests that our side won't.

On immigration, obviously, this isn't true in states and districts with large Hispanic populations. But most Republican officeholders are elected from places where that are overwhelmingly white. Why should they fear a backlash if no deported immigrant's name is ever trending on Twitter?

It's possible that our epidemic of gun violence has finally begun to motivated voters in Republican states and districts; we'll find out in November. But even the most appalling deportations aren't having the same effect. So what motive do Republicans in Congress or the president and his staff have to sign on to a compromise that saves the Dreamers?

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