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Immigrant Connect Chicago is an online network for immigrants, refugees, their families and their communities.

Family

How does family separation affect immigrant children emotionally and psychologically?

By Kaisha Young, Medill, Immigrant Connect Phyllis Gould remembers the “anguished” look on the child’s face as the judge announced that his father and step-mother were being deported back to Mexico. “His little eyes just darted around the room…trying to make sense of...

Back Home

Lilia’s support system makes it all possible

By Dana Brozost-Kelleher, Medill, Immigrant Connect I run into Lilia at our neighborhood grocery store, expecting the usual embrace. We are the only people in the frozen food aisle. I’m in high school at the time and she's a housekeeper, who lives and works in the...

Identity

How will Illinois’ rollout of ID cards affect DACA recipients and why is it important for immigrants to have a form of legal identification?

By Rita Oceguera, Medill, Immigrant Connect Juan* got his first speeding ticket in February 2018. For weeks he didn’t tell his parents, worried they would be disappointed in him. He told his mom the bad news only a few days before his court date, saying he was...

Work, Jobs and Money

TPS ends for Nicaraguans and Haitians, thousands more face uncertainty and the prospect of family separation

By Griselda Flores, Medill, Immigrant Connect Edwin Murillo’s home isn’t the same anymore. The joy filled by his two daughters has been replaced by uncertainty and instability in the past few weeks. Murillo is from El Salvador and has been a TPS recipient since 1999,...

The Migration

A visibility paradox permeates media coverage of Central American migrations to the U.S.

By Justin Agrelo, Medill, Immigrant Connect For Arlette Jácome, the hyper-visibility of Central Americans in the mainstream news cycle over the past several months has been “devastating.” “I feel like we’re only important because it’s serving a purpose, you know? I...

Culture Shock

As a refugee, what does it mean to be free?

By Ashley Hackett, Medill, Immigrant Connect When Imran Mohammad left Myanmar to escape the persecution of Rohingyan people, he never thought he would land in America, a country where everything was so different. If it were up to him, he’d have been able to live a...

Good Question

How will Illinois’ rollout of ID cards affect DACA recipients and why is it important for immigrants to have a form of legal identification?

By Rita Oceguera, Medill, Immigrant Connect Juan* got his first speeding ticket in February 2018. For weeks he didn’t tell his parents, worried they would be disappointed in him. He told his mom the bad news only a few days before his court date, saying he was...

Fearing the Law

Palestinian-Americans describe being mistreated and denied entry into Israel

By Aqilah Allaudeen, Medill, Immigrant Connect Marian Aldisi recalls the incident with horror and indignation. Last summer, on July 21, she was forced to remove her clothes and was strip-searched. She remembers the settings; three different interrogation rooms in...

Learning the Language

In the words of my mother

By Rita Oceguera, Medill Immigrant Connect Rocio Oceguera and I enter through the doors, check in and take our seats until we’re called. My mom is visiting the dermatologist in Naperville, a growing city west of Chicago. Although we are only one city away from my...

Problems With Papers

Let the negotiations begin

By Jack C.  Doppelt, Medill, Immigrant Connect President Trump’s offer on Saturday is worth negotiating, and I’d like to make my good offices available to shepherd it through. The president’s opening made-for-TV offer, it seems, is $5.7 billion dollars in funding for...

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Finding triumph for Chicago's refugees Education dream of immigrants more than an Act Celebrating Chicago's refugees

By Jack C. Doppelt, Medill, Immigrant ConnectPresident Trump’s offer on Saturday is worth negotiating, and I’d like to make my good offices available to shepherd it through. The president’s opening made-for-TV offer, it seems, is $5.7 billion dollars in funding for a wall in exchange for three years of protection from deportation for 700,000 Dreamers and 300,000 TPS holders, with some other elements thrown in.

If he’s using the same round numbers as I am, of the 700,000 DACA recipients, more than 550,000 are Mexican-Americans; and of the 300,000 TPS holders, 200,000 people came from El Salvador, 50,000 from Honduras and 50,000 from Haiti and have stayed in the US on temporary protected status.

What the president didn’t say when he touted his offer as “a common-sense compromise both parties should embrace” is that he’s under federal court orders to continue the DACA program and that since October he’s under a different court order that prohibits his administration from deporting Salvadorans and Haitians on TPS status while a judge looks over email exchanges between Trump administration officials to determine if the decision to deport them is “based on animus against non-white, non-European immigrants.” Sounds like the same scenario that got the Trump administration in a ringer on the census citizenship question. They talk too much and the courts take notice.

The Supreme Court signaled the other day that it is not going to hear the DACA case this term, so thanks to the courts, much of what Trump is offering for DACA recipients, he has to do anyway…for now.

Still let the negotiations begin. They will take time. The Democrats’ answer seems to be that the offer is a non-starter and that they won’t negotiate until Trump releases the federal employee hostages first.

Democrats, don’t forget that in addition to holding 800,000 federal workers hostage, Trump is also holding hostage 550,000 productive young Mexican-Americans, 200,000 Salvadorans, 50,000 Hondurans and 50,000 Haitians who’ve lived and worked legally in the US for years.

My unsolicited advice to the Democrats is to begin negotiating. Demand that the shutdown end, but if Trump doesn’t end it, at least negotiations will be on the table. He wants $5.7 billion to save face. Ridiculous. But use it. In return, good people who’ve been in the country for years should get a path to citizenship. Sublime.

Negotiations that run from the sublime to the ridiculous.

I don’t need to tell anyone that if a deal were to emerge with the president, don’t trust it. Don’t even just verify. Build in irrevocable terms that start immediately. Though the president didn’t actually write the Art of the Deal, he wrote the book on The Art of the Reneged Deal.

Click here to listen to the story – Let Me Count the Ways – on This American Life.

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By Jack C. Doppelt, Medill, Immigrant Connect, Feb. 28, 2018

You know that immigrants are to blame for the deadly Parkland, Florida, school shootings, right? If not, listen closer to how a cunning propaganda machine churns out misinformation to have you believe it – The cruelest legacy – a nation of enough immigrants – is in the gnarled hands of master propagandists

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By Jack C. Doppelt, Medill, Immigrant Connect, Dec. 21, 2017

 A Social Justice Journalism Approach to Immigrant and Refugee Issues

 One year ago, the writing was on the wall of tweets that a new president was about to push aside a departing President Obama’s policies and initiate a brash agenda. We reported on the First Hundred Days of the new administration from the perspective of immigrants and refugees.

We road tested a more connected way of reporting – social justice journalism – that zeroes in on the impact societal inequities, systemic abuses and policy assumptions have on immigrants, refugees, their families and communities.

As we published such stories as The future of fleeing religious persecution and finding protection in Trump’s America; Winnebago County stands against ICE detention center in Rockford; A tale of two school districts’ post-election approaches; Over-policing strains Chicago’s Mexican immigrant communities; Trump administration policies, though on hold, have Syrians in the U.S. on edge and guessing; and Hate is tracking in the Korean American community, the Trump administration became emboldened and rolled out policies that directly, aggressively and unapologetically undermine basic values of social justice. The policies target the very individuals and communities that have been hardest hit already by societal inequities and systemic abuses.

By characterizing immigrants and refugees as illegal, criminal, terrorism-prone, tax-avoiding, resource-straining, job-stealing, visa-abusing, and loophole-seeking, the administration and expanding stables of law enforcement have found it unconscionably easy to separate families, ignore persecution in the world, curtail entry into the U.S., and threaten the sanctuary sensibilities of cities, hospitals, universities, schools, and churches with being seen as disloyal to the country. You can hear it in the rhetoric, read it between the lines of policy initiatives, and be smothered by the media coverage of it. Immigrants and refugees have become “the other,” demonized and unwelcome, and the country could use some ethnic cleansing by any other name.

The most basic of tenets in the emergence of social justice journalism is to use the storytelling process itself to humanize people’s lives and to explore how policies and divisive issues can wreak havoc on vulnerable populations whose lives are in the balance.

It is painful as journalists to recognize that this country (and the world) is in the process of playing out an immigration debate that is being addressed in grotesque spasms.

As we’ve sought out stories to report, we’ve begun a process of differentiating social justice journalism from traditional journalism in terms of norms, ethics, sourcing, story generation, relationships with vulnerable communities, and the balance between detachment and advocacy. We are taking a stab at a guide of ethics, norms and practices that questions journalistic bromides and that responds to the 2014 challenge of the Society of Professional Journalists to “encourage a civil dialogue with the public about journalistic practices, coverage and news content.”

Read our stories, and then join us in the inquiry to flesh out a journalistic approach that values social justice along with reliability, credibility, and accuracy:

Undocumented are invisible in school success data by Hannah Wiley

Everything is normal until it’s not for immigrant housekeepers at the Felix Hotel by Kristine Sherred

A misunderstood Uzbek community stands by the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program by Eunice Wang

TPS ends for Nicaraguans and Haitians, thousands more face uncertainty and the prospect of family separation by Griselda Flores

It’s never been easy for Iranians to travel to the U.S. – the travel ban is an extreme uptick of this uncertain visa process by Siobhan Neela-Stock

Crossing the border for the Akwesasne Tribe is a work in progress by Natalya Carrico

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We’ve puzzled over many of the same questions people ask, and we’ve sought out answers to them: 

How are Chicago Public Schools (CPS) responding to the Trump administration’s policy changes and threats to undocumented populations in school buildings? by Hannah Wiley

How will Chicago’s new municipal ID cards accessible to undocumented immigrants benefit them? by Eunice Wang 

If Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has access to Chicago police’s gang database, is Chicago really a “sanctuary city”? by Griselda Flores

What happens when immigrants are deported from the Chicago area by plane? by Rowan Lynam 

How are immigrants treated in the Chicago housing market? by Grace Stetson

What’s the relationship between Native American tribes along the Mexican border and immigration border patrol agents? by Natalya Carrico

What’s happening to special immigrant visas under the Trump administration? by Sydney Boles 

Were the Trump administration to mandate E-Verify, the digital employment verification system, how would the hospitality industry – that brims with immigrant labor — deal? by Kristine Sherred

How have President Trump’s proposed and revised travel policies affected the lives of non-U.S. citizens living or studying in the U.S.? by Siobhan Neela-Stock

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Meet our staff and contributors and get to know why they care so much about the stories of immigrants and refugees. Start with these:

My grandmother’s box full of books is all I have so what now? By Sydney Boles

A name is just a name but not mine in Cyrillic By Natalya Carrico

If Donald Trump could only get to know my mom By Griselda Flores

The cops all know Pedro; he makes sure of it By Rowan Lynam

My family won’t let looking different beget feeling different By Siobhan Neela-Stock 

A night for the masa queen to let loose By Kristine Sherred

A Vietnamese immigrant leaves an impression By Grace Stetson

A Chinese immigrant forsakes stability to follow his dream By Eunice Wang

We can learn from a ten-year-old Egyptian immigrant if we’re listening By Hannah Wiley

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This is another in the continuing partnership linking immigrant and refugee communities with one another through the lens of social justice journalism.

The first illuminated the phenomenon of the American dream for a cluster of extraordinary Chicago-based global immigrants whose dream is even grander than borders. Theirs is of being in two places at once, living here and staking a claim to the future of the country they won’t leave behind. Those stories were published in Dec. 2009 – Chicago’s global immigrants: Beyond the American dream

The second explored the impact of the 2010 U.S. Census count on their communities and were released simultaneously on Jan. 15, 2010, in the city’s ethnic media and on Immigrant Connect. Check out the series here –  Census stories link diverse immigrant communities

The third examined the relationships between immigrants and their children, and discovered that immigrant communities are crossing the generational divide in ways that resonate for one another. They were released in June 2010. That series is here – Immigrant communities cross the generational divide together

The next dealt with the homeland – the place, the memory, the heritage – and the multiple meanings it has for Chicago’s immigrants. They were released in December 2010. That series is here – Home and the homeland: Chicago’s immigrants keep connecting

The next looked into the risks but also the options of health care in immigrant communities. The stories were released in early June 2011. That series is here –  Health care for Chicago’s immigrants: Alternative options and risks

We explored the many challenges immigrant communities face in attending and acclimating to college. The stories were released in December 2011 and January 2012. That series is here – Education dream of immigrants more than an Act

The next series came as immigration wedged its way into the 2012 election cycle, and with it came some misleading shorthand; that immigrants vote Democratic and that immigrants means Latinos. The immigrant landscape is far more nuanced than that, and so is their politics. The stories were released in June 2012. That series is here – Immigrants don’t fall in line for 2012 elections

In 2013, attention turned to young immigrants; the sons and daughter of immigrants, many of whom were in the U.S. without proper authorization, some not even knowing it. In June, 2012, President Obama had issued an executive order that allowed certain young people who entered the country as minors, to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and eligibility for a work permit. We followed up with stories focused on the lives and issues of young immigrant. The series, which you can read here – How immigration policy affects young people – was released in June 2013.

During the tumultuous 2016 Presidential campaign, we returned to a national dialogue that became foreboding – the need for a wall, the impulse to keep Muslims out, the call to deport those living without authorized status, and a Presidential election in which all the marbles were on the table, and then fell haphazardly onto the nation’s floor. The traditional flag waving of candidates who tout their family’s proud immigrant heritage was swallowed whole, with not even a gulp of self-awareness. We spent 10 weeks in six of Chicago’s vibrant immigrant communities to get a sense of some issues immigrants were dealing with on a day to day basis. We focused on issues that were specific to particular immigrant communities and that were also relevant to other immigrant communities. That series ran in June 2016, before the two national parties officially nominated their candidates. It is here – Six Immigrant Communities this Election Year

Once Donald Trump became President, the clock began ticking. For American politics, for the beltway and for mainstream media, the first hundred days of a new Presidency has been used as a benchmark since President Franklin Roosevelt first invoked the term in a radio address in 1933. Eyes train on the nation’s capital to detect the relations between the President, the administration and Congress. For immigrants, refugees, their families and their communities, the first hundred days became a blur, hard to trust, out of focus and disorienting. We chose to look away from Presidential tweets and antics, and instead train our eyes, attention, interviewing and reporting on the people impacted by the new administration’s policies, decisions and proclamations. We connected with immigrants, refugees, their families and their communities as we’ve always done. That is the raison d’être for social justice journalism. The result was this series of 23 stories – The First Hundred Days for immigrants and refugees…and counting.

Over the eight years that we have been doing this work, we have returned regularly to the families and communities of refugees who have sought a home and safety in Chicago, America. Here are the series we’ve produced – Finding Triumph Finding triumph for Chicago’s refugees, A Chicago Welcome to World Refugee Day, and Safe haven from trauma and torture: World’s refugees resettle in Chicago.

This is the only journalist effort of its kind in the U.S. today to connect with immigrants, refugees and their families and communities as far as we know.

Jack Doppelt, Founder and Publisher>>>>

 Current Writers>>>>

 Former writers>>>>

      

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Jack Doppelt

Jack Doppelt