Archive for May, 2019

Oath of Allegiance

Monday, May 13th, 2019

To be spoken by candidates for U.S. naturalization, upon which the oath-taker is a citizen.

I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.


According to U.S. regulations, the phrase “so help me God” is optional and that the words ‘on oath’ can be substituted with ‘and solemnly affirm’.

According to U.S. Congress, if the prospective citizen is unable or unwilling to promise to bear arms or perform noncombatant military service because of “religious training and belief”, he or she may request to leave out those clauses. The law specifies:

The term “religious training and belief” as used in this section shall mean an individual’s belief in a relation to a Supreme Being involving duties superior to those arising from any human relation, but does not include essentially political, sociological, or philosophical views or a merely personal moral code.

From here.

The administration “is dismantling the infrastructure” of refugee resettlement

Friday, May 10th, 2019

Syrian refugees in Jordan, Mr and Mrs. Rastanawi were shocked to learn in March of this year that they were being admitted to the United States as refugees, and their spring arrival in Indianapolis was akin to winning the lottery. The country used to allow thousands of Syrians to immigrate, but the flow of Syrian refugees is at an almost complete stop.

Mrs. Rastanawi was riding a bus to pick up diabetes medication in March when she got the phone call telling her that she and her husband were eligible to come to the United States. The couple had to go to a hospital the next morning for a medical exam, pack their bags, pick up medication and get ready for a new life. The couple arrived at the Indianapolis airport on March 23. They are now living in Indianapolis, where their daughter lives with her family.

But the number of Syrian refugees allowed into the United States in fiscal 2016 was 12,587. In fiscal 2018, the United States admitted 62.

“Syrian refugees are the largest population of refugees seeking resettlement,” said Nazanin Ash, vice president of policy and advocacy for the International Rescue Committee. “Their vulnerability is increasing while U.S. policy is reducing admissions.”

The sharp decline in refugees has led some resettlement agencies to dismantle the infrastructure that has helped place those seeking assistance within the United States and leaving struggling U.S. towns short of workers they are eager to welcome. The nine organizations that resettle refugees in the United States have all had to lay off staff or close offices, sometimes both.

In 2016, Exodus Refugee Immigration in Indianapolis resettled refugees from 13 countries, including Syria, Iraq and Sudan. Last year, Exodus placed refugees from Afghanistan, Myanmar, Congo and Eritrea, said Cole Varga, the group’s executive director. The drop in refugees means the group’s funding has been cut almost in half, and the group laid off or did not backfill more than a dozen positions.

“One of the most striking things, I think, is just how much disruption this has caused to the network,” Varga said. “The top level is all the missing refugees who are not in the U.S., but it’s also about how [the president] is dismantling the infrastructure of this program.”

From the Washington Post

Medical care for the 13,000 migrant children in U.S. custody

Wednesday, May 8th, 2019

Pro Publica reports that the care of immigrant children in U.S. custody has faced intense scrutiny over the past year as thousands of sexual abuse allegations and reports of personal enrichment by some nonprofit operators have raised questions about the federal government’s ability to monitor its network of about 100 shelters.

The federal Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), in the Department of Health and Human Services, oversees the shelters. Lapses in medical care documented by a New Jersey-based pediatrician, Elana Levites-Agababa raise critical questions about the patchwork of state regulations that ORR relies on to monitor the shelters, which range from tiny group homes to 2,000-bed facilities and are often tucked in small towns and remote locations. The other day, a 16-year-old boy died shortly after arriving at an ORR shelter in Texas.

There were 13,500 children in shelters as of the end of February, more than five times as many as there were two years ago. On May 1, Trump requested congressional funding to nearly double the number of beds.

Under a federal court settlement, the shelters are required to provide routine medical care and emergency services, including a medical exam, immunizations and screening for infectious diseases within 48 hours of admission.

ORR’s guidelines further require shelter workers to observe children for signs of illness and to respond to nonemergency requests for medical attention within 24 to 48 hours. The shelters must notify ORR within four hours of an emergency room visit, review hospital discharge plans and follow doctors’ treatment recommendations.

But while ORR has the power to remove kids from shelters and cut off funding, it’s also desperate for beds, and any major reduction in capacity could create a crisis. Those conflicting priorities are why child advocates say state oversight is important.

A Century Ago America Built Another Kind of Wall

Sunday, May 5th, 2019

There was a time when even Ivy League scientists supported racial restrictions at the border, says Daniel Okrent in the NY Times. Their advocacy of racial disparity led to the passage in 1924 of The Immigration Act of 1924 (The Johnson-Reed Act). The Act limited the number of immigrants allowed entry into the United States through a national origins quota. The quota provided immigration visas to two percent of the total number of people of each nationality in the United States as of the 1890 national census. It completely excluded immigrants from Asia.

Okrent writes:

In early 1921, an article in Good Housekeeping signaled the coming of a law that makes President Trump’s campaign for immigration restriction seem mild by comparison. “Biological laws tell us that certain divergent people will not mix or blend,” it read. “The dead weight of alien accretion stifles national progress.” The author was Calvin Coolidge, about to be sworn in as vice president of the United States. Three years later, the most severe immigration law in American history entered the statute books, shepherded by believers in those “biological laws.”

The scientific arguments Coolidge invoked were advanced by men bearing imposing credentials. Together, they popularized “racial eugenics,” a junk science that made ethnically based racism respectable. The biologists and their publicists achieved what their political allies had failed to accomplish for 30 years: enactment of a law stemming the influx of Jews, Italians, Greeks and other eastern and southern Europeans. “The need of restriction is manifest,” The New York Times declared in an editorial, for “American institutions are menaced” by “swarms of aliens.”

They took the ideas of the British gentleman scientist Francis Galton — who had coined the word “eugenics” in 1883 — welded them to a gross misunderstanding of the genetic discoveries of Gregor Mendel, and concluded that the makeup of the nation’s population could be improved by the careful control of human breeding.

First published in 1916, “The Passing of the Great Race,” a book by Madison Grant, the founder of the Bronx Zoo and the era’s most prominent conservationist,  savagely denigrated the peoples of eastern and southern Europe while exalting the “Nordics” of northwestern Europe.

Princeton faculty member Carl C. Brigham, the inventor of the SAT, wrote, “There can be no doubt that recent history has shown a movement of inferior peoples or inferior representatives of peoples to this country.”

The aging of the white race in America

Friday, May 3rd, 2019

From the Brookings Institution:

The picture being painted for the upcoming decades is one of a rapidly growing largely white native born senior population, that is becoming dependent on a more slow growing and increasingly diverse child and labor force aged population.

The white population is projected to decline.  This decline has already occurred for whites under the age of 18 since 2000. Census projections show the decline will continue for whites in their 20s and 30s in the two decades ahead. Only whites over age 65 show significant projected growth. This means that all of the growth in the nation’s youth and tepidly growing labor force population will come from racial minorities and particularly new minorities.

The 2020 census will show that a majority of the under-18 population will identify with races other than white. This will especially be the case for the 18-29 year old labor force aged population in 2030, when whites will account for 48% in this age group, Hispanics 27%, Blacks 13% and Asians 7.%

Table: numeric absolute change in population by race, 2020 – 2030 (in millions):

More undocumented from Mexico

Wednesday, May 1st, 2019

Politico searched New York City and the Mexican state of Puebla find more people from that state come to the city as undocumented. I wrote a few days ago about Jorge Vargas, who lived in New York City for 12 years and was raising a family before being deported back to Puebla. Here are other stories.

Still in New York: Lazaro Cortes arrived in New York from Puebla when he was 18, and started working as dishwashers. “New York eats you up,” says Cortes, now 33, who takes the train every day from Queens to his job at a restaurant in Manhattan. “All restaurants in Manhattan pay Poblanos the minimum wage or less. I cook steaks in minutes that cost more than my entire day’s salary. We’re exploited, but we cannot complain because we’re undocumented,” he says, adding, “I don’t have a life. Everything is work. I stand in the kitchen all day, every day. I have no health insurance, no vacation. Like all of us, if I were deported, I’d return to Mexico sick and spent.”

Three daughters: Leonor Rodriguez, 54 lives in a small village in Puebla scattered with cinder-block homes built with remittances from the United States. Rodriguez’s three daughters were initially deported after trying to cross the border near Nuevo Laredo in early 2018. They stayed at a detention center in Texas before returning 15 days later to their parents in Chilchotla. “I was happy to have them back home, but they were determined to try again,” says Rodriguez.

Her daughters successfully re-crossed the border one month later. The three women now share a small apartment in New York with other family members. All of them work to send money back to Mexico, where their own children stayed behind with Leonor. “I don’t know how to read. We’re poor. My children send us $150 a month to help us survive.”

Back in Puebla: Maria Montenegro crossed the border with her husband in 1997. They settled in Brooklyn, where they had two daughters. “My husband would not allow me to work there,” she says, “so after three years I returned to Mexico with my daughters to have my own life. He stayed behind.” When her husband was deported in August 2017, Montenegro, now 42 and running a small catering business in San Félix Rijo, Puebla, says she had not seen him for nine years. “As far as I was concerned, we were separated. His only responsibility was to send money to take care of our daughters. Since he returned, he’s become an abusive man. I hardly know him anymore. He came back very violent, as if I was responsible for his deportation. The wives of deported husbands are the ones who suffer the most in Mexico. Nobody thinks about us.”