Migration News: May 11, 2021
Migrant children held in mass shelters with little oversight
Garance Burke, Juliet Linderman and Martha Mendoza, AP News
The Biden administration is holding tens of thousands of asylum-seeking children in an opaque network of some 200 facilities that The Associated Press has learned spans two dozen states and includes five shelters with more than 1,000 children packed inside. Confidential data obtained by the AP shows the number of migrant children in government custody more than doubled in the past two months, and this week the federal government was housing around 21,000 kids, from toddlers to teens. A facility at Fort Bliss, a U.S. Army post in El Paso, Texas, had more than 4,500 children as of Monday. Attorneys, advocates and mental health experts say that while some shelters are safe and provide adequate care, others are endangering children’s health and safety.
Family reunites under Biden program that has let 10,000 asylum-seekers enter U.S.
Camilo Montoya-Galvez and Sean Gallitz, CBS News
On the day of Mr. Biden's inauguration, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) suspended the Remain in Mexico policy. In February, the Biden administration said it would allow some of those returned to Mexico to continue their asylum proceedings in the U.S. as long as they had pending cases.
Working with Mexico, the United Nations and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Biden administration established a process to admit these asylum-seekers at selected ports of entry. The U.N. set up a website for eligible asylum applicants to register for an appointment to enter the U.S., while IOM stood up COVID-19 testing sites.
DHS Drops Proposal to Expand Immigration-Related Biometrics Collection
Mila Jasper, Nextgov
The Department of Homeland Security is withdrawing a rule proposed in the waning days of the Trump administration that would have expanded the agency’s authorities to collect biometric data. The proposed rule, published to the Federal Register Sep. 11, would have removed age restrictions and required submission of biometrics from anyone—including U.S. citizens—associated with any immigration or naturalization benefit or request. Thousands of people commented on the controversial proposal, many of whom objected to the rule as invasive, unnecessary and unjustified. According to another Federal Register notice, the rule is officially withdrawn as of May 10. A spokesperson for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the component to which the proposal was primarily geared, told Nextgov in an email the proposed rule was withdrawn “consistent with administration priorities to restore faith in the legal immigration system and reduce barriers and undue burdens to intending immigrants.”
Indianapolis will spend $150,000 to protect immigrants. Here's what the money will do.
Natalia E. Contreras, Indianapolis Star
The Indianapolis City-County Council approved a fiscal ordinance Monday that will allocate $150,000 to pilot an immigrant defense fund. The money will help immigrants in Indianapolis seeking asylum, pursuing citizenship, or those at risk of deportation with legal information, consultations and representation. "Local organizations that are already doing this work are maxed out with their caseload," said Jordan Rodriguez, who works in the city's human resources department and is the former director of the city's Office of International and Latino Affairs. "So this would basically provide funds to be able to increase perhaps, you know, personnel for those organizations, and also just help with various (immigration process) fees that immigrants have to pay as well."
Bush Institute leads coalition calling for immigration reform
Rebecca Beitsch, The Hill
A coalition of conservative, business, and religious refugee groups is calling on Congress to pass immigration reform as a way to address swelling numbers at the Southern border. “The current migrant increase at the U.S.-Mexico border is creating strains on our country's immigration and humanitarian services. However, this situation is not new, nor is it political: we have seen similar numbers at the border before, and, without meaningful bipartisan action, we will see them again,” they write in a letter to congressional leaders spearheaded by the George W. Bush Institute. “The current situation underscores the urgent need to modernize America's immigration system so it can increase the efficiency of legal immigration, more effectively ensure American security, welcome refugees, and maintain the fabric of the American Dream.”
Op-Ed: Want to expand the economy and add jobs? Increase immigration
Los Angeles Times
Indigenous diaspora: Leaving home and the journey across Mexico
El Paso Matters
Let’s make California a state where there is food for all
In the midst of a pandemic, a lone church leaves its doors open to undocumented migrants