In June 2016, the number of refugees worldwide topped 65.3 million, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. That's a record: One out of every 113 people worldwide is displaced and in search of asylum.
It's in the shadow of this human crisis that now-President Donald Trump ran his presidential campaign and the first days of his administration. One of his first acts as Commander-in-Chief was to ban immigration and refugees from seven predominantly Muslim countries, which has since been mired in the courts.
The President's rhetoric has bled over into one of America's most cherished institutions: the naturalization ceremony. Boise Weekly News Editor George Prentice has been reporting on them for years, but at a recent event, he noticed fear among new Americans of discrimination. Check out his news feature ("They Pledge Allegiance," page 6) for the voices of America's newest citizens.
Adjacent to his story is an explanation of why the number "89" is an issue of concern. That's the number of individuals who have been held by the Ada County Sheriff's office on what are called "detainer requests" from Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Learn more about what they are, how they work, and what they mean for the push for so-called sanctuary cities on page 6.
Trump's immigration ban is also set to have a profound impact on Hollywood. The cast and director of Iranian film The Salesman will not be able to attend the Academy Awards ceremony Sunday, Feb. 26. Starring the inimitable Shahab Hosseini and directed by Asghar Farhadi, the film will open at The Flicks Friday, Feb. 17, but the gates won't be open to its crew, allowing them to contend for Oscars in person. Read Prentice's review on page 16.
On a slightly lighter note, the Germany-based rockers of post-hardcore group Milemarker released their first album in 11 years, Overseas, in 2016. The album received sterling reviews from critics, and writer Ben Schultz chased the band down to learn more about where Overseas fits into Milemarker's oeuvre. The band will play Neurolux in Boise Tuesday, Feb. 21, but before you grab your tickets, definitely read Schultz's full story on page 14.