Immigration Reporting: Data, Tools and Sources


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Special for the 2013 Specialized Reporting Institute on immigration reform.

©Lise Olsen, The Houston Chronicle

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Immigration Reporting: Data, Tools and Sources

  1. 1. Immigration reporting: data, tools and sources Lise Olsen,The Houston Chronicle Immigration Forum from the Border to the Heartland -UTEP 2013
  2. 2. Immigration yearbooks:
  3. 3. Explore trends and slice and dice to put local stories in context.:
  4. 4. File FOIA requests… early and often
  5. 5. Immigration and Customs Enforcement -FOIA library
  6. 6. A sample of what you get.What could you do with it? • A sample of what you can get
  7. 7. US Citizen and Immigration Service and border patrol CIR story based on border patrol data
  8. 8. Explore mapping and viz data tools. Some options include: • Tableau Public – mapping and viz and dashboards • Batch Geo – very easy datapoint maps • Google fusion tables – from spreadsheets to maps to relationship diagrams. Easy to learn. Kind of ugly… • Arcview’s free mapping tools.
  9. 9. Here’s the CIR pot party interactive
  10. 10. Other sites – international tourism and travel • State department travel advisories and consular statements • State departmentreports of deaths of American citizens abroad (RODAC) • Visa stats from Department of State:
  11. 11. Learn to recognize data opportunities Request electronic records, use Google advanced search options to explore • Pdfs – are image files or files with text embeded • Text files - .txt can be separated by columns or commas and imported into Excel • Spreadsheet files - .xls for Excel • Database files - .dbf • Search forms on the internet =data
  12. 12. Courts: immigration court, federal court, local courts
  13. 13. PACER –get an account and explore query tools to search
  14. 14. Sample of what you can get:
  15. 15. Data can drive narratives: ntral/item/Money-Laundering-8792.php
  16. 16. Use spreadsheets to build timelines and explore connections
  17. 17. Experiment with simple relationships/ maps in Google FusionTables
  18. 18. Conventional public records • Don’t forget business licenses, liquor licenses, • Property records • Voter registration (mass registrations of naturalized citizens for example). US Election Assistance Commission has reports by state • Corporate records • Maps/satellite maps…I found a guy with a moat that way.
  19. 19. Cross reference data sets:
  20. 20. EOIR – and Immigration courts Includes data on disciplined judges (stats only) and disciplined attorneys.
  21. 21. TRAC : •
  22. 22. Check out TRAC data – but there are data downloads too:
  23. 23. TRAILS OF BLOOD AND BODIES: aa1a-001cc4c002e0.html
  24. 24. Lawsuits: Beyond court records, lawyers can have e- mails, depositions with amazing details. Temporary visa ring
  25. 25. Immigration sources who can unlock doors (or jail cells): • AILA members • ACLU immigration/refugee resettlement offices • Immigrants’ rights groups • Chaplains and volunteers in immigration detention • Federal agents • Local police officers – especially those on federal task forces
  26. 26. Schools data – universities, state government, local school systems • Students in bilingual education • Students in ESL.What languages are represented?What schools are most international? How well are immigrant schools funded?How many teachers are immigrants?
  27. 27. Many other sources… • People on the street. • Academic researchers/investigators • Businesses/business licenses/property records. • Ethnic chambers of commerce • Restaurants/bars. Go hang out. • Churches, mosques and temples. • Yellow pages • Ethnic media editors • Economists • International organizations… Where the money goes
  28. 28.
  29. 29. Questions? Ideas? Rants? Lise Olsen The Houston Chronicle @chrondigger