A taste of France in Boston

Nestled into a corner at the end of Washington Street is a French coffee shop sure to make anyone feel like they’ve flown across the Atlantic once they step in. Paul is a traditional french cafe with roots dating back to late 1800s France. This worldwide chain has only 2 locations in the Boston area. Other U.S. locations are in the D.C. area and Florida.

Aside from its long list of specialty coffees, Paul’s offerings include sweet pastries, fresh baked loaves of bread, sandwiches, salads, and other lunch items, all with a French twist. 

The cafe definitely has an upscale feel, with nice gold finishes, chandeliers, and comfortable couches. Also, unlike many cafes they bring your order to where ever you decide to sit, which I found to be a nice touch because I don’t like awkwardly hovering over baristas waiting for my name to be called.  

I ordered a croissant and small cappuccino . I’d like to think of myself as somewhat of an espresso enthusiast and I was very impressed with my drink.

I went at about 3 p.m. and the clientele was a nice mix of people. There were a good number of people who seemed to be coming in from the office. I even noticed a few people who seemed to be using Paul as their office for the day. And of course, there were also people just enjoying a book and chatting with friends.

“I’m alone today, but my friend and I come here most Thursdays for what we call ‘Cafe Thursdays,'” said Michaela Ruth. “We like to try out all the different cafes in the area but we keep coming back to this one. My coffee is particularly good today. I think I got a new barista last time.”

Ruth ordered a vanilla latte and a large macaron, what she says is one of the best pastries.

Ruth also informed me of the cafe’s rewards program. If you log into Paul’s free Wi-Fi five times, you get a free signature drink. I find this to be a pretty generous offer, compared to the Starbucks rewards program where I need to spend about $60 before I get a free coffee.

The cafe also has a patio area outside, which is currently empty, but I’m sure it will be bustling in the summer. To me, there’s nothing more European than sipping some coffee while people watching on patio. Paul truly is a great French import.

Paul · 201 Washington Street Boston, MA 02108 · Closest T Stop: Government Center · Monday to Friday: 7 a.m. – 7 p.m., Saturday: 8 a.m. – 7 p.m., Sunday: 8 a.m. – 6p.m. · Price of a Small and Large Hot Coffee: $1.75/$2.25 · Handicap Accessible: Yes · Second Location at Assembly Row · (617) 725-2713 ·

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Final Project Proposal

For my final project, I wanted to look into speaking to Immigration lawyers around Boston to see what their workloads have been like since Trump was inaugurated and talk to them about what kinds of cases they have been getting. I remember seeing lawyers going to the airport during the madness of the travel ban to volunteer their time, so that was what inspired this idea. In my research, I came across this WBUR article that said that Boston immigration courts have one of the highest backlogs of cases in the country. I think it would be really interesting to talk to lawyers and advocates about what the situation is like in Boston currently.

I have reached out to various immigration advocates including: ACLU Massachusetts, Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, the director of Immigrant Advancement for the city of Boston, and the American Immigration Lawyers Association in Boston. I have also reached out to lawyers and law offices including: Immigration and visa lawyer Joshua Goldstein, Maged & Rost, Rachel L. Rado, Altman & Altman LLP, and a few more.

As of posting, I have set up an interview with someone from the American Immigration Lawyers Association. I am confident I will be able to reach others soon.

As for the rest of the project, I am planning on doing a video to go along with my article by recording my interviews. I don’t think this is a very visual project for the photo story so I will be finding another idea for that. I know of a few upcoming immigration rallies that I can try to go to.

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Are Americans running away from Trump?

Since Donald Trump was elected President of the United States last November, New Zealand has seen a 70% increase in Americans seeking citizenship, according to the Associated Press. While that seems like a jarring statistic of Americans looking to immigrate, only 170 people have sought out citizenship since the election. About 100 people had done the same around the same time last year.

A New Zealand immigration consultant told the AP that this probably isn’t a result of people looking to the flee the country, rather Americans already living abroad looking to stay there. However, the day after the election more than 10 times the number of people visited the New Zealand immigration website, according to Vice.

It is definitely interesting to look at immigration from a perspective I’m not used to seeing. Typically immigration coverage here is centered around people immigration to the U.S. not from the the U.S. However, for anyone looking to being a certified Kiwi, you must live in the country for five years before you can apply for citizenship.

On a related note, according to the National Observer, more Americans have sought refugee status in Canada than Mexicans. From January to October 2016, 90 Americans crossed the border to seek asylum in Canada. In just the week after Trump’s inauguration, 61 people tried to do the same.

According to Yahoo Finance, Americans are also quitting their jobs at the fastest rate in 16 years. The article interprets this as Americans having confidence in the economy and being able to find a new, better job. But, in reading that in conjunction with these other articles about Americans fleeing the country, I found it to be notable.

While none of these numbers of Americans leaving may be huge, it was interesting to flip the perspective for once.

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From “immigrant” to “human”

A recent article on Define American brought my attention to a Google Chrome extension that will change any mention of the word immigrants to people. The extension, available on the Chrome Store is called “We are all immigrants.”

I thought it was an interesting and timely concept, as immigrants are hot topic in politics. The extension tries to humanize the discussion on immigrants and not treat immigrants like a demographic for political advancement.

Upon more research, the extension actually was released last year and others exist like it. Rehumanize, which came out in 2015, is another extension that also changes references of the word immigrant and refugee to human.

This is the company’s mission according to their website:

“It’s in your newsfeed, it’s in the news. Too often those fleeing disaster and despair are called “queue jumpers”, “boat people” or worse.. “illegals”. It’s easy to lose sight of their humanity. This simple Chrome extension replaces these words and brings in a little more dignity.”

Overall, it’s an interesting tactic to use technology to send out a message. While these extensions did not come out recently, I think they still resonate now.

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Should Northeastern University become a sanctuary campus?

Sanctuary cities and campuses have been a hot topic throughout the country. At Northeastern University in Boston, some students are working to get their administration to make a sanctuary pledge. Here’s what some students and professors think about the whole situation.

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Where does Donald Trump actually stand on immigration?

The past few days have been a whirlwind of comments on immigration that, frankly, has left me a bit confused on where the President stands on the issue.

It all started before the President gave his address to a Joint Session of Congress. There were murmurs that Trump was changing pace with immigration. This included backing off the DACA dreamers and even looking at a path to citizenship.

However,  a lot happened during his speech regarding immigration, none of which includes the aforementioned claims. Instead, attention was drawn to crimes committed by illegal immigrants and sitting by the First Lady’s side was family members of a victim of such a crime. Trump also brought attention to a new program called VOICE, or Victims Of Immigration Crime Engagement. This is a new office within the Department of Homeland Security that will focus solely on reporting crimes commuted by illegal immigrants to provide “a voice to those who have been ignored by our media, and silenced by special interests,” said the President at his address.

This obviously drew a lot of attention and backlash.

The President also doubled down on his promise to build a wall and the travel ban replacement executive order is also said to be released this week.

However, Trump did try to get across a message of compromise even making mention to a possible merit-based immigration system, similar to that of Canada’s.

“I believe that real and positive immigration reform is possible,” Trump said, “as long as we focus on the following goals: to improve jobs and wages for Americans, to strengthen our nation’s security, and to restore respect for our laws.”

So, in conclusion, I’m confused. While I think many people would greatly look forward to bipartisan immigration reform like he promised in the speech, the specifics he laid out didn’t seem like something that will be happening anytime soon.

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So, what’s going on in Sweden?

“You look at what’s happening last night in Sweden. Sweden. Who would believe this? Sweden. They took in large numbers. They’re having problems like they never thought possible,” said Donald Trump, at Florida rally. But is that true?

Sweden doesn’t think so.

In 2015, Sweden took in over 180,000 refugees, more than any other country per capita. As The Denver Post reports, refugees in Sweden have not been the cause of widespread violence, with the exception of one man from Iraq who detonated two explosives in 2010, one of which killed only himself.

The Denver Post published a photo story showing the conditions in which the refugees have been living, which seem pleasant.

(L-R) Saboh, Kanthar and Worood share jokes in a playground on February 10, 2016 in Kladesholmen, Sweden. Last year Sweden received 162,877 asylum applications, more than any European country proportionate to its population. According to the Swedish Migration Agency, Sweden housed more than 180,000 people in 2015, more than double the total in 2014. The country is struggling to house refugees in proper conditions during the harsh winter; summer holiday resorts, old schools and private buildings are being turned into temporary shelters for asylum seekers as they wait for a decision on their asylum application. Sweden is facing new challenges on its migration policy after the massive arrival of refugees last year, forcing the country to drastically reduce the number of refugees passing through its borders. Stricter controls have had a significant effect on the number of arrivals, reducing weekly numbers from 10,000 to 800. The Swedish migration minister announced in January that the government will reject up to 80,000 refugees who applied for asylum last year, proposing strict new residency rules. David Ramos, Getty Images

David Ramos, Getty Images

However, two days after Trump’s statement riots broke out in Stockholm, burning about 6 cars, according to The Washington Post. The paper reported that there have also been riots in 2010 and 2013. While these are notable and related riots, it’s hardly the problematic situation Trump described, especially as someone who’s seen riots erupt after championship sports games more frequently than that.

Trump then claimed that his statements referred to a Fox News report of immigrant violence in Sweden. But, the police officer quoted in that story thinks it was taken out of context, according to the Post.

“We don’t stand behind it. It shocked us. He has edited the answers,” said Anders Göranzon. “We were answering completely different questions in the interview. This is bad journalism.”

I think Sweden’s official Twitter account summarizes the situation well.

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