Migration News: May 13, 2021
Democrats unveil bill to expand immigrant health care access
Caroline Simon, Roll Call
A group of Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday are introducing legislation that would make health care coverage more accessible to immigrants, citing the ongoing pandemic and its impact on immigrant frontline workers. The bill would lift a current five-year waiting period legal immigrants must undergo before enrolling in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. It also would expand access to various types of health coverage for undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children and protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The measure also would remove restrictions to prevent undocumented immigrants from purchasing health insurance on the Affordable Care Act marketplace. “We must finally guarantee health care to everyone as a human right — regardless of immigration status, income, employment, or anything else,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., a primary sponsor of the bill, said in a statement.
Cardona opens emergency grants to undocumented and international college students
Danielle Douglas-Gabriel, The Washington Post
Undocumented and international college students will now be eligible to receive pandemic relief grants after Education Secretary Miguel Cardona on Tuesday lifted a controversial ban imposed by his predecessor, Betsy DeVos. “The pandemic didn’t discriminate … and we want to make sure that all students have an opportunity to have access to funds to help them get back on track,” Cardona told reporters on a call Monday. The Biden administration issued a final rule Tuesday revising a Trump-era policy that narrowed student eligibility for emergency grant aid provided through the stimulus packages. Congress has earmarked $35 billion in emergency aid since last spring for students facing housing, employment and food insecurities, but left it to the Education Department to flesh out the terms.
Biden meeting with DACA recipients to highlight immigration priorities
Mike Memoli, NBC News
President Joe Biden plans to welcome six recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to the Oval Office on Friday as his administration signals his immigration reform plan remains a legislative priority. In his address to a joint session of Congress last month, Biden called on lawmakers to “end our exhausting war over immigration.” While pushing his plan to extend citizenship to more than 11 million undocumented immigrants, he also said Congress could act to secure protections for "Dreamers," beneficiaries of the Obama-era DACA program, which enabled undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children to remain in the country. The individuals Biden will meet Friday underscore the administration’s argument for enshrining that executive action into law, highlighting essential workers in fields like education, agriculture and health care.
Hispanic Caucus endorses essential worker immigration bill
Rafael Bernal, The Hill
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) on Thursday officially endorsed a bill that would grant a path to citizenship for more than 5 million workers who were deemed essential during the pandemic. The bill, Citizenship for Essential Workers Act, introduced in the Senate by Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) and in the House by Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), would grant permanent residency to workers in a range of industries who've performed their labor during the pandemic. The 38-member CHC on Wednesday achieved its 25-member threshold to formally endorse the bill, which would complement other immigration bills that have already cleared the House.
As More Migrants Arrive, U.S. Expands Efforts To Identify And Admit Most Vulnerable
Joel Rose and Angela Kocherga, Public Radio Tulsa
The Biden administration is ramping up exceptions to a public health order that has largely shut the U.S.-Mexico border to migrant traffic since last year because of the pandemic. More migrants are being granted humanitarian exceptions because they are considered the most vulnerable, including families with young children and transgender people who had been living in dangerous conditions in Mexican border towns.This comes as the number of migrants apprehended at the southern border topped 170,000 in April for the second consecutive month. The majority are still being turned away, but an increasing number of single adults and families are being allowed into the U.S. to seek asylum.
How migrant caravans are organized—and scammed—via Facebook and WhatsApp
Jeff Ernst, Rest of World
On November 3, 2020, Hurricane Eta made landfall in Honduras, flooding the valley surrounding the northern city of San Pedro Sula. Two weeks later, it was followed by Hurricane Iota, a Category 5 storm. With the land already waterlogged, the additional flooding was especially devastating. An estimated half a million people were displaced, and roughly a 100,000 took refuge in hastily arranged shelters. As rainwater rose above rooftops, others sought high ground on highways or the peaks of levees, where many remain to this day, living in shacks made of sticks and plastic sheets. More than 540,000 Hondurans have lost their jobs since the onset of the pandemic. In November, many of these same people saw their homes and possessions disappear in the hurricanes. With rates of violence and unemployment persistently high in recent years, the only people in the country who have apparently managed to improve their standing are politicians and their cronies, who siphon funds from the social welfare programs meant to address the root causes of migration. In light of this, to many, emigration is the only option.
Can One Agency Keep the U.S. Safe and Still Be Humane? The New DHS Chief Thinks So
At Casa Al-Fatiha in Logan Square, two local musicians built a sanctuary for LGBTQ asylum seekers.
Migrant Education Teams Face Challenges To Get Children Back Into Schools
Biden maintains Trump-era order that blocks asylum-seekers
PRI’s The World