When Donald Trump won the election, many immigrants and their advocates feared the worst. Now that President Trump has been in office for over a year, I wish I could write that everyone’s fears were overblown, but that simply isn’t true. The administration’s actions have met and in some cases exceeded the worst fears of many immigrants and immigration practitioners.Read More
President Trump’s recent comments calling Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations “shithole countries,” has been met with strong reactions. House Speaker Paul Ryan, reflecting upon the hardships that Irish immigrants like his ancestors had once faced, called the president’s choice of language “very unfortunate" and "unhelpful” and said “the Irish were really looked down upon back in those days.” Ryan’s reference to the Irish offers a teachable moment about US immigration history, explains Hidetaka Hirota, a professor of American history at the City University of New York-City College and author of Expelling the Poor: Atlantic Seaboard States and the Nineteenth-Century Origins of American Immigration Policy. It was the backlash in large part against poor Irish immigrants that led to the first US immigration policies and law, Hirota says.Read More
During my most recent trip to Melbourne, a city I absolutely love, I was lucky enough to hire an experienced tour guide (the little guy is pictured above) to show me around. He took me on a whirlwind tour. Although I have been to Melbourne a number of times, there is always something new to learn: 1) Melbourne was originally going to be called "Batmania" after one of the city's founders, John Batman; 2) five of the six tallest buildings in Australia are in Melbourne’s Central Business District; and 3) thirty-eight per cent of the population in Melbourne were born outside of Australia (go immigrants!). My tour guide really knows his stuff!
It’s April 10, 1864 and Mexico is under Austrian rule. The elected president, Benito Juarez, the president of the people, has been cast aside and in his stead, Carlotta of Belgium and Maximilian of Austria have claimed the “crown” and built a castle in the Western Hemisphere’s largest park—Chapultepec Forest, in Mexico City. Maximilian became the only monarch of the Second Mexican Empire, appointed by Napoleon the III of France. On the 5th of May (cinco de mayo) 1862 a battle was fought and won by the Mexican people against the French in what is known as “la guerra de los pasteles”—the War of Cakes.Read More
As hundreds of thousands of immigrants from Haiti, Nicaragua and El Salvador prepare to lose their legal status when Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for their countries end, some employers across the country are preparing for significant losses to their workforce. These TPS recipients, along with DACA recipients whose long-term status in the US remains unclear, make up approximately a million individuals in the US, many within the American work force.Read More
Because of the nationwide injunction last week, US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that they will resume accepting requests to renew DACA status. The agency says that unless otherwise specified the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will be operated until further notice on the same terms that were in place before it was rescinded on September 5, 2017.Read More
In 1892, composer Antonín Dvořák came to America to serve as the director of the National Conservatory of Music of America. It was in this country that Dvořák was inspired by African American music and wrote his most well known works, including Symphony in E minor ("From the New World"), the String Quartet in F, and the Cello Concerto. The New York Talking Statues project brings this history to life at the site of the Dvořák statue in Stuyvesant Square Park, near where he lived on East 17th Street. Visitors can scan the QR code near the statue using their smart phone or look up a listed web address to hear a pre-recorded message by an actor portraying the historical figure. Originally started in Copenhagen by documentary filmmaker David Peter Fox, the popular project spread to the cities of Helsinki, London, San Diego, Berlin, and Chicago. The Talking Statues project has recordings for statues in all five boroughs, and aims to "recreate an image of how the city has changed over several centuries and was built not from a single nationality, but from many nations."
After reports late last month that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was considering a policy change that could have prevented certain H-1B workers who are applying for permanent residency from extending their H-1B status beyond the normal time limit of six years, the agency has reportedly reversed course. Facing intense pressure from the business and technology communities, the Trump administration appears to be no longer considering the policy change that could have potentially forced hundreds of thousands of foreign skilled workers out of the country.Read More