Tag Archives: immigrants

Fearing Trump crackdown, dreamers advised to end travel

Immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children, but were protected from deportation by President Barrack Obama, are being warned by some advocates to make sure they are not traveling abroad when Donald Trump is sworn in as president.

Some advocates, lawyers and universities are concerned that Trump might immediately rescind an Obama program that had allowed these young immigrants to work and travel for humanitarian, educational or employment purposes.

That could lead, they fear, to some people traveling abroad being barred from re-entering the U.S.

“We are recommending all travel be completed by or before Jan. 20 in the event laws or procedures experience a drastic change,” said Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles. “We wouldn’t want to expose them to an uncertain situation should they not be allowed back to the U.S.”

Trump made immigration the cornerstone of his campaign, promising to build a wall along the Mexican border and deport millions of people living in the country illegally.

His actual plans, though, have yet to be revealed. Recently, he has said he wants to focus on people who have committed crimes.

During a recent Time magazine interview, Trump expressed sympathy for the 741,000 people in Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which started in 2012.

“We’re going to work something out that’s going to make people happy and proud,” Trump said. “They got brought here at a very young age, they’ve worked here, they’ve gone to school here. Some were good students. Some have wonderful jobs. And they’re in never-never land because they don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Advocates are still being cautious.

Nancy Lopez-Ramirez, a 20-year-old student born in Mexico who is planning a trip there as part of a City College of New York class, said she is glad the group is returning by Jan. 15.

“My mom is like ‘I am concerned with you not coming back, I want you to be able to come back,’” she said.

“It is nerve-wracking but I think that at the end it is going to be worth it,” said the political-science student, who was brought to the U.S. when she was 4.

City College, part of the City University of New York, is one of the institutions advising students in the DACA program to return before Inauguration Day. So is California State University, which told administrators to tell participants in the program “that if they are outside of the United States as of January 20, 2017, there is no assurance they will be allowed to return to the U.S.”

Trump can rescind the promised protection right away through an “operational memo” because Obama implemented it through one, said William Stock, president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

He said the program’s participants should not consider traveling overseas unless they absolutely need to.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Anthony Bucci said his agency “cannot speculate” when he was asked how long would it take for CBP officers to deny entry to the U.S. to program participants if Trump eliminated the protection.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services records said that as of Dec. 31, 2015, about 22,340 people in the DACA program were approved for the “parole” that allows them to travel outside the U.S.

Trump called the program an “illegal amnesty” during his campaign.

Tatyana Kleyn, an associate professor at City College who organized the upcoming Mexico trip, said interest in it actually surged among students after the presidential election.

“So right now our bus fits 18 and we are bringing 20,” she said. “It feels like a last chance.”

Mark Pocan: Fighting Trump to save eight years of hard-won progress

The end of Obama’s presidency leaves the LGBTQ community at a crossroads. While it remains to be seen whether the next president will rollback protections and civil rights for our community, the track record of the Republican party and Donald Trump’s recent Cabinet appointments do not give me confidence.

The president-elect, and many of the people he is surrounding himself with, have shown apathy and even contempt for LGBTQ people, women, people of color and immigrants. The radically conservative agenda they are proposing unfairly targets so many communities that have struggled to achieve equality. As an LGBTQ elected official and a proud member of the Congressional LGBTQ Equality Caucus, I am on the frontline of the battle to save the eight years of hard-won progress that is now in danger – and I will embrace that role.

The LGBTQ community intersects with all other communities, spanning every demographic group. We are all genders, races and members of every religious community. We come from different socioeconomic backgrounds, levels of education and hold different systems of belief.

When our community is under attack, everyone is under attack. This is why it is important we begin to operate in unison with a shared mission and vision to fight anti-equality efforts.

Together, we must fight to make sure employers cannot discriminate against anyone on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity — in Wisconsin or anywhere in our country. I am incredibly proud that Wisconsin was the first state in the nation to protect people based on sexual orientation, yet 34 years after that landmark bill was signed, we have yet to protect transgender people from being fired from their jobs or denied service at a grocery store, simply because of who they are.

This injustice extends to the majority of states in our nation, and the absence of a federal law makes the LGBTQ community incredibly vulnerable. This is just one of many equality issues we expected to address in Congress next year, but now seems in peril given the election results.

There is still progress that needs to be made, and we cannot allow the momentum we gained over the past eight years to falter.

It is now more apparent than ever that LGBTQ representation in elected positions at every level of government matters. With this election, we now have 500 out and proud elected officials in the country. The support of allies is invaluable, but it cannot replace the understanding of a lived experience — knowing what it’s like to be denied relationship recognition or being targeted for violence because you are holding your partner’s hand. LGBTQ elected officials understand the gravity of these issues, so in this post-election uncertainty, we are coming together to use our collective power to effectively oppose efforts to target the rights of the LGBTQ community or any other community.

The fight won’t be easy — but know that as your Congress member, I will be an outspoken and relentless voice for equality regardless of who is in the White House, and I will do everything I can to protect our progress in the coming months and years.

U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan represents Wisconsin’s 2nd Congressional District

Racist undercurrent fueled Brexit vote

Some leading British politicians and academics are seeing racist undercurrents beneath Britain’s choice to abandon the European Union. They describe the Brexit vote as a deliberate decision to sacrifice economic stability in exchange for the right to stop the flow of immigrants.

In a bitter campaign marked by allegations of racial prejudice, global financial leaders repeatedly warned that a departure from the 28-member European bloc would produce long-term financial uncertainty. On Friday, the pound plunged to a historic 30-year low.

“Either people discounted that or they decided that the price of sovereignty and stopping the hordes of migrants was worth the economic hit,” said Brian Klaas, a fellow in comparative politics at the London School of Economics.

“This is a global moment of fear,” Klaas said, drawing comparisons to the rise of the presumptive Republican U.S. presidential nominee, Donald Trump.

“Both the Trump voters and the disenchanted working class voters in northern England have decided they’re the victims of globalization and that the cause of their suffering is a bureaucracy far away,” he said. “This is a protest vote, even if it’s misguided.”

Last week, a leave campaigner unveiled a poster showing hundreds of non-white migrants making their way across Europe, alongside the words, “BREAKING POINT.” Critics labeled the poster as racist, but U.K. Independence Party leader Nigel Farage insisted he couldn’t “apologize for the truth.”

“There isn’t anything subtle about this sort of campaigning, it’s comparable to Nazi propaganda and just straightforwardly racist,” said David Gilborn, a race relations expert at the University of Birmingham. “The fact that people could have voted for this despite the crudest representations of racism is quite astonishing.”

Farage brushed off charges that the poster was racist and maintained that the main immigration issue is that Britain has lost control of its borders to EU bureaucracy. He said he has always believed “we should open our hearts to genuine refugees” and said that most of the people coming to the U.K. — as evidenced by the poster — are young males. “The EU has made a fundamental error that risks the security of everybody,” Farage said, adding that the EU’s acceptance of Syrian refugees makes the continent more vulnerable to terrorist attacks.

He has repeatedly denied since UKIP’s formation that the party is racist, pointing to its black and ethnic minority candidates. It has emphasized the argument that British workers are hit hard by unlimited cheap labor.

Gilborn said that right-wing parties weren’t alone and that mainstream parties have slowly adopted anti-immigrant policies. Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives have repeatedly cited their determination to stem immigration, he noted. “They’ve created an atmosphere of xenophobia and were not able to pull it back.”

Labour politician and former European Commissioner Peter Mandelson argued that Britons were ultimately less concerned about the European Union itself than migration issues.

“Their passions and emotion were stirred up utterly irresponsibly by the leave campaign over immigration,” he said.

Gilborn said he hoped the leave decision would force the U.K. to confront underlying racism in society. He said even the Archbishop of Canterbury had legitimized the popular fear of migrants, when he said in March that it was “outrageous” to describe people with such worries as racist.

“In fragile communities particularly — and I’ve worked in many areas with very fragile communities over my time as a clergyman — there is a genuine fear,” Welby said. “What happens about housing? What happens about jobs? What happens about access to health services? There is a genuine fear.”

Gilborn said: “the way in which much of the EU debate was shaped was based on the idea of ‘ordinary people’ being threatened by ‘the other,’ meaning people who don’t look like you.”


Trump grants permission to flout political correctness

Donald Trump’s inflammatory statements about Mexican immigrants, Muslim refugees and women who get abortions may eventually be his campaign’s undoing, some analysts say. But don’t tell that to the many supporters such as Titus Kottke, attracted to the Republican front-runner specifically because he shoots from the lip.

“No more political correctness,” said Kottke, 22, a cattle trucker and construction worker from Athens, Wisconsin, who waited hours last weekend to see the candidate in a line stretching the length of a shopping mall.

Trump is “not scared to offend people,” Kottke said. He agrees with some of the views Trump expresses but likes the fact that the candidate shows the confidence to reject the dogma of political correctness. That “takes away your freedom of speech, pretty much. You can’t say anything.”

For years, conservatives have decried political correctness as a scourge of orthodox beliefs and language, imposed by liberals, that keeps people from voicing uncomfortable truths.

Now, some Trump supporters — many white, working-class voters frustrated with the country’s shifting economics and demographics — applaud him for not being afraid to make noise about the things that anger them but that they feel discouraged from saying out loud.

“It’s a cultural backlash,” said Steve Schmidt, a Republican political strategist who ran Sen. John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign. “Millions and millions of people in this country, blue-collar people, feel that their values are under assault, that they’re looked down upon, condescended to by the elites.”

Trump rival Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who has quit the 2016 race, are among the candidates who also have outspoken in decrying political correctness.

But Trump has made defiance of the manners usually governing politics a signature of his campaign.

“The big problem this country has is being politically correct,” he said in a debate in August, when pressed on his comments about women that brought criticism. “I’ve been challenged by so many people and I don’t frankly have time for total political correctness. And to be honest with you, this country doesn’t have time either.”

In doing so, Trump tapped into a frustration shared even by many voters who disagree with him on other issues. In an October poll of Americans by Fairleigh Dickinson University, more than two-thirds agreed that political correctness is a “big problem” for the country. Among Republicans, it was 81 percent.

That sentiment is clear in conversations with Trump supporters.

“Let him be a man with the guts to say what he wants,” said Polly Day, 74, a retired nurse from Wausau, Wisconsin, who came to a Trump rally last Saturday in nearby Rothschild. “Should he tone down? He’ll figure that out on his own. I like him the way he is.”

At the same rally, Kottke said Trump’s rejection of political correctness is one of the main reasons he supports him, along with the candidate’s determination to improve security, protect jobs and keep Muslims out of the country.

Plenty of others agreed with him.

“Finally somebody’s coming in that has the cojones to say something and to do something,” said Ray Henry, another supporter. “I think he’s saying what a lot of what America’s feeling right now … enough’s enough.”

Trump’s flouting of political correctness has turned out to be a potent rhetorical weapon, political analysts say, but could prove troublesome.

“At its best, not being politically correct comes across as direct, unfiltered and honest. At its worst, not being politically correct comes across as crude, rude and insulting,” said Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster who previously worked for Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign. Trump’s supporters “may find it refreshing. That doesn’t mean they would find it presidential.”

Ayres and other analysts say Trump’s rejection of political correctness appeals to voters frustrated by the setbacks of the Great Recession and the global economy; immigration that has made the country more heterogeneous; and cultural trends such as gay marriage and measures to fight discrimination against African-Americans, which make them feel marginalized.

“This doesn’t fall out of left field,” said Marc Hetherington, a professor of political science at Vanderbilt University who studies polarization and voter trust. “But what these political actors have done, Trump and Cruz in particular, is give that … worry and frustration a voice.”

That frustration was made clear in a poll by Quinnipiac University, released Tuesday, that found a deep vein of dissatisfaction among Trump supporters.

Nine in 10 questioned said their values and beliefs are under attack. Eight in 10 said the government has gone too far in assisting minorities, a view shared by 76 percent of Cruz supporters. But Trump was unrivaled in claiming the largest number of supporters — 84 percent — who agreed that the U.S. needs a leader “willing to say or do anything” to tackle the country’s problems.

Political correctness entered the American vocabulary in the 1960s and 1970s. New Left activists advocating for civil rights and feminism and against the Vietnam War used it to describe the gap between their high-minded ideals and everyday actions.

“It was a kind of understanding that you can’t be perfect all the time,” said Ruth Perry, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who wrote a 1992 article on the early history of political correctness. “It was an awareness of the ways in which all of us are inconsistent.”

As it gained broader usage, political correctness came to mean a careful avoidance of words or actions that could offend minorities, women or others, often to the point of excess. Conservative critics have, for decades, pointed to it as an enforced ideology run amok.

“I think that the American people … are sick to death of the choking conformity, the intellectual tyranny that is produced by political correctness,” said Nick Adams, an Australian-born commentator who wrote Retaking America: Crushing Political Correctness.

Adams, who has lived in the U.S. since 2009, said he believes many voters are drawn to Trump’s rejection of that correctness, and his emphasis on reclaiming individualism, identity and self-confidence stripped away by it.

At the Wisconsin rally, a number of Trump supporters offered a similar appraisal.

“We have gone overboard with political correctness, everyone backtracking on their statements,” said Chris Sharkey, 39, of Wausau, who says he chafes at behavioral strictures in his workplace, where human resource officers tell employees to avoid discussing politics.

The U.S., Sharkey said, needs to step up screening of Muslims trying to enter the country and bring back jobs employers have moved overseas — and Trump shouldn’t have to apologize for saying so.

But some observers say Trump’s appeal is less about speaking a particular truth than it is giving frustrated voters a means to vent.

“There’s this sense of angry, white working-class discontent,” said Patricia Aufderheide, a professor of communication at American University who edited a book of essays on political correctness.

“Trump has given people permission to say things out loud that are usually tucked in until after the third drink at Thanksgiving dinner,” she said. “But I think they’ve always been there.”


Senate committee backs bill limiting local photo IDs

Wisconsin’s Senate elections committee backed a bill on Feb. 3 that would hinder efforts in Milwaukee to provide local photo IDs.

The Republican bill would prohibit towns and counties from issuing IDs or spending money on them. It also would prohibit using ID cards issued by cities or villages to vote or obtain public benefits. The measure passed 3-2 along party lines, clearing the way for a full Senate vote.

The bill’s sponsors say it is meant to prevent fraud and confusion. Critics call it anti-immigrant and say it’s aimed at a recent Milwaukee city and county plan to issue local IDs to those who have difficulty obtaining other government-issued IDs. The IDs would assist with everyday tasks, like opening a bank account or obtaining a prescription.

“It was a victory hard-fought,” state Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa, D-Milwaukee, said earlier in the day at a news conference opposing the legislation. “It was a small victory for us as we continue to fight for drivers cards for undocumented immigrants here at the state level. This was going to be a first step to finally realizing that.”

State Sen. Chris Kapenga, R-Delafield, said he thinks it’s a great bill because it would ensure that the state is in control of programs administered by state agencies.

The bill would create exceptions allowing towns and counties to issue IDs to their employees or contractors and for use of transit systems, services and facilities owned by the town or county.

“This is not about punishing immigrants and putting people into the shadows,” said bill sponsor Sen. Van Wanggaard, R-Racine. “Immigration is a federal issue, it’s not a state issue and it’s not a local issue.”

Sen. Mark Miller, D-Monona, pointed to previous testimony from immigrants and said Republicans were ignoring the many benefits of local IDs in their zeal to make it more difficult for people to register to vote.

“It was heart-wrenching testimony we heard about how important this ID has proven for folks who testified about its importance,” Miller said.

GOP candidates are normalizing racism

This year is ending as it began, with unarmed black citizens being slaughtered in the streets by police officers in situations where the use of deadly force is wholly unwarranted. 

Various studies show that blacks are 2 to 3.5 percent more likely than whites to be killed by police, and a number of studies say African-American victims are twice as likely to be unarmed.

GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump is milking the police killings to promote the myth that blacks are responsible for 81 percent of white murders. Never mind that whites kill 82.4 percent of white victims and blacks kill 90 percent of black victims. Never mind that the vast majority of murder victims are killed by someone they know or who lives nearby.

Trump and other Republican presidential contenders are not interested in the facts, but rather in exploiting racist Americans to get their votes. They offer followers the comforting lie that every unarmed black man killed by police gets what he deserves — that the man with the badge is always right and the man with the dark skin is always wrong. They’re promoting a kind of racist McCarthyism in which protesters and sympathizers of Black Lives Matters are un-American.

Recently, Trump and his supporters showed their true feelings when a black protester was punched, stomped and kicked at a campaign rally in Alabama. Unfazed by the violence, Trump hollered, “Get him out of here.” He later told an interviewer the protester got what he deserved.

The recently released video from the Chicago Police Department failed to make a dent in the position held by Trump and his supporters. In it, cameras show officer Jason Van Dyke driving his squad car up to 17-year-old Laquan McDonald and, within seconds, shooting him 16 times. McDonald, who held a small knife, never even approached Van Dyke. About a dozen officers surrounded the teen. Van Dyke’s life was never remotely in danger.

Right-wing commentators and GOP presidential candidates dismissed the video either as having been misleadingly edited or an anomaly.

Running for the highest office in the land brings with it great responsibility. Even before they’re nominated or elected, presidential candidates are in the spotlight. Their words are widely exposed and influential.

Several among this year’s bumper crop of GOP candidates have used the limelight to promote racial and ethnic divisions — the old divide-and-conquer technique, as Scott Walker has referred to it. Rather than illuminating one of our society’s most disabling problems, they’re helping to fuel it. What might this nation become if one of these candidates, lacking in both knowledge and dignity, ended up behind the country’s most visible “bully pulpit.” 

Trump, Ted Cruz, Ben Carson and others have tapped into the frustration that bigots have endured under the rise of “political correctness.” The left has successfully made it socially unacceptable to stomp about spewing words of hatred toward blacks, Mexicans, women, Muslims, gays and others. For the haters, The Donald is a liberator, because he refuses to abide by these new rules of civil discourse. His followers view him as honest and courageous, even though he’s spouting the same laugh lines that brought high ratings to the fictional Archie Bunker, the hot-head bigot on the 1970s TV smash All in the Family.

A large part of Trump’s allure is he gives permission for racists to unleash ugly feelings that have been socially unacceptable for at least two decades. But the inevitable effect of condoning racism will be to enlarge it. 

The Republican Party is leading us back to a future of Jim Crow voting laws and public lynchings. People of sound mind and goodwill must counter this pox on our society with everything we can muster or else watch our social fabric tear and unravel. That would ultimately destroy all of us — including the racists.

Coalition rallies for Milwaukee ID card

A coalition on Nov. 2 rallied in support of a Milwaukee County budget amendment to create a work group to produce a Milwaukee ID card.

After the rally, about 20 people spoke in support of Milwaukee IDs during a hearing held by the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors.

The ID would be available through a partnership between the city and the county.

The budget amendment creating a work group to produce the card passed the county board’s finance committee in late October and will come to a full vote before the county board on Nov. 9. Last week, the public safety committee of the Milwaukee Common Council unanimously backed legislation to include the program in the city’s budget, which was to be voted upon on Nov. 3.

Speakers at the rally included County Supervisors Khalif Rainey, Peggy Romo-West and Marina Dimitrijevic, transgender community members, undocumented immigrants, family members of incarcerated people, and representatives of St. Ben’s Community Meal Program.

“This is about is about giving everyone an opportunity to be included in society,” said Rainey. “You shouldn’t be a member of our community and go to the hospital and not be able to get the services you need. That’s why I’m standing with you in solidarity in support of local ID.”

“I need to have a way to identify myself, to show who I am,” said Guadalupe Romero, a member of Voces de la Frontera. “One of my sons broke his back in a work accident, and had to have a metal bar placed in his spine. You can imagine the pain he was in. The doctors gave him a prescription for pain medicine, but because he didn’t have a government-issued ID card the pharmacist would not give it to him.

“A little while later our pet dog got sick,” continued Romero. When we took him to the veterinarian, we were able to obtain medicine for the dog immediately, and I ask, why? Does my son not have more value than an animal?”

“In many cases, a lack of a government-issued ID is a barrier to domestic violence victims who are attempting to escape abusers,” said Tony Gibart, public policy director of End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin. “First, court documents, such as petitions for divorce, must be notarized, and notaries usually require the presentation of a government-issued ID. Second, applications for federal immigration protections for undocumented victims of domestic violence and their children require possessing a government-issued ID. Providing the opportunity for people to easily obtain a local ID would address these problems.”

“I had to deal through years of shame, and still continue to be shamed for simply declaring: this is who I am,” said transgender woman Livia Rowell-Ortiz. “When I leave my house I am making a conscious decision that I am placing myself in active danger — that it is likely that I be harassed increasingly depending on how visible I am that day, to the extent of fearing going outside at all. It is my hope that this local ID will pass and start the process of ending this shaming with the protection of the county and city of Milwaukee for myself and other transgender persons.”

“We have homeless at St. Ben’s who constantly come to the doors saying they need help in trying to get an ID,” said Br. Rob Roemer, OFM Cap, director of St. Ben’s Community Meal Program. “Often they cannot get their birth certificate that is required to get a State ID. We encourage the county to start offering other forms of ID’s that help the homeless and poor to get the jobs and help they need to get out of their situations.”

The coalition supporting local IDs for Milwaukee includes St. Ben’s Community Meal, Project Return, Wisconsin Jobs Now, Milwaukee LGBT Community Center, End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin, the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation and Voces de la Frontera.

Progressives in North Carolina speak out against ‘race-baiting’ immigration bill

A bill that would prohibit communities from becoming so-called sanctuaries for people in the country illegally and that would limit the types of acceptable personal identification will cause distrust between police and the communities they serve, progressive and immigrant groups say.

Nayely Perez-Huerta, regional organizer for the Southeast Immigrant Rights Network, spoke of Pope Francis’ words last week when he visited the U.S. and called on lawmakers, she said, “to ensure the well-being of all society, especially those who are most vulnerable.”

North Carolina is doing exactly the opposite, she said. “It is shameful that legislators are emulating the states like Arizona and Alabama that have enacted legislation that criminalizes and racially profiles immigrants,” she said.

The state Senate gave its final approval to the measure Monday night as the legislature seeks to wrap up this year’s protracted session later this week. The significantly changed bill returns to the House, where it originated as a measure to increase the number of employers who must participate in the federal E-Verify program.

The Rev. William Barber, president of the state chapter of the NAACP, said the bill’s provisions would drive wedges between police and communities, making people less safe. While the bill is titled “Protect North Carolina Workers Act,” in reality, it is race-baiting, he said.

The Burlington Police Department supports the intent of parts of the bill, but other sections would “place limitations on the ability of our police department to interact with residents within the city,” Capt. Chad Slaughter said.

“If we limit the forms of identification that police can accept, the number of regular citizens who are booked into jail for prints and pictures will increase,” he said. This would take up valuable staff time and “create inequities in enforcement practices,” he said.

Some cities and nonprofit groups have created photo identification cards for some immigrants. The bill would make the use of these documents and some IDs created by foreign governments unacceptable for determining someone’s identity or residency, or for obtaining insurance and certain government services.

Sen. Gladys Robinson, D-Guilford, proposed an amendment that would have removed the ID provision from the measure. Robinson said police chiefs use the IDs to improve relations with law-abiding individuals in their communities.

“However well-intentioned this provision is, it’s actually going to undermine all of our safety,” said Sen. Josh Stein, D-Wake. But Sen. Norm Sanderson, R-Pamlico, who is shepherding the bill in the Senate, said it’s unclear what standards are being used in creating these non-official cards to determine the person’s identity.

The bill, Sanderson said, would “make sure that when forms of ID are being used that they meet certain criteria.” The amendment failed. The full measure then passed 28-17.

During debate late last week before an initial vote, senators focused on the provision in the measure that would prevent cities from instructing law enforcement or other officials not to ask the immigration status of people with whom they come into contact.

Some municipalities — Durham, Chapel Hill and Carrboro among them — have approved such policies, which makes them “sanctuary cities,” in the eyes of bill supporters, who say city officials shouldn’t ignore immigrants who are in the country unlawfully.

Critics of the bill also don’t like a provision that would stop the Department of Health and Human Services from seeking waivers to extend a three-month limit for food stamps for some able-bodied adults in high unemployment areas. A statewide waiver expires Oct. 1, but an amendment Monday night directed DHHS to seek to extend the waiver to March 1.

Scott Walker’s Canada wall idea called ‘dumb,’ ‘crazy’

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s entertaining the idea of building a wall separating the United States and Canada is being called “crazy” and “dumb.”

Democratic Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy called the idea “one of the craziest” ideas of the presidential campaign.

And Mike Murphy, the head of the Right to Rise super PAC supporting Jeb Bush, said on Twitter that Walker was distracted by focusing on building a wall between the U.S. and Canada.

Murphy’s tweet ended with the hashtag “(hash)NotReady.”

And Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul called it a “pretty dumb idea” in an interview on Boston Herald Radio.

Walker said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday that the issue of border security in the north had been raised by law enforcement officials during a recent town hall in New Hampshire.

Indian and Chinese immigrants to U.S. are outpacing those from Mexico

Siddharth Jaganath wanted to return to India after earning his master’s degree at Texas’ Southern Methodist University. Instead, he built a new life in the U.S. over a decade, becoming a manager at a communications technology company and starting a family in the Dallas suburb of Plano.

“You start growing your roots and eventually end up staying here,” the 37-year-old said.

His path is an increasingly common one: Immigrants from China and India, many with student or work visas, have overtaken Mexicans as the largest groups coming into the U.S., according to U.S Census Bureau research released in May.

While Republican presidential contenders spar for the mantle of the candidate who will treat immigrants the worst, they’re speaking of immigrants from Mexico. They’re seemingly unaware of the shift that’s been building for more than a decade — a shift that experts say is bringing more highly skilled immigrants here.

Mexicans still dominate the overall composition of immigrants in the U.S., accounting for more than a quarter of the foreign-born people. But of the 1.2 million newly arrived immigrants here legally and illegally counted in the 2013 census, China led with 147,000, followed by India with 129,000 and Mexico with 125,000. It’s a sharp contrast to the 2000 census, which counted 402,000 from Mexico and no more than 84,000 each from India and China. Experts say part of the reason for the decrease in Mexican immigrants is a dramatic plunge in illegal immigration.

“We’re not likely to see Asians overtake Latin Americans anytime soon (in overall immigration population). But we are sort of at the leading edge of this transition where Asians will represent a larger and larger share of the U.S. foreign-born population,” said Marc Rosenblum, deputy director of the U.S. Immigration Policy Program for the Washington-based Migration Policy Institute.

The national trend is evident even in Texas, where the number of Mexican immigrants coming to the border state each year has dropped by more than half since 2005, according to the Office of the State Demographer. In that time, the number of people from India coming to Texas has more than doubled and the number from China has increased more than fivefold, though both still comfortably trail Mexican immigrants.

Asian immigrants have flocked to Texas’ large urban and suburban areas, including the Dallas suburb of Collin County, the home to many major businesses. Laxmi Tummala, a real estate agent in the area and a U.S.-born child of Indian immigrants, has witnessed a buildup in Indian restaurants, grocery stores, clothing outlets and worship centers.

“All of that is extremely accessible now,” Tummala said.

Donald Trump has proposed kicking out the estimated 11 million people who are in the U.S. illegally before allowing the “good ones” and “talented” ones back in. Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio both have said that the legal immigration process should focus more on letting in workers the country needs rather than reuniting families.

Increasing the flow of highly skilled immigrants would likely have a big impact on those coming from India and China. The majority of them who are 25 and older who arrived within three years of the 2013 census had a bachelor’s degree or higher, according to the Migration Policy Institute. Mexican immigrants only had 15 percent, up from 6 percent in 2000.

China and India’s growing economies have given immigrants access to travel and the ability to pay for an education abroad. Hua Bai came to the University of Texas at Dallas from China last year to work on a master’s degree in marketing and information technology management. The 25-year-old said that given the right opportunity, she’d like to stay in the U.S.

“If I get sponsorship I’d consider living here and working here,” she said. “It all depends on the job opportunities.”

Without revisions in immigration policy, experts say the change to the overall immigrant population will be slow. One reason is that the number of Mexicans who become legal permanent residents is about twice the number of Indian and Chinese people who do, according to Michael Fix, president of the Migration Policy Institute.

But a rising number of Chinese and Indians will become permanent residents, given the current rate of about half of people here on temporary work visas obtaining that status, Fix said.

Jaganath was among that group, inspired to come to the U.S. because the country is a leader in his career field.

“That was a following-the-dream type of thing for me,” he said.