Migration News: May 14, 2021
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.
Homeland Security secretary defends Biden administration's handling of conditions at border
Quinn Owen, ABC News
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas defended the Biden administration's handling of a variety of immigration issues at a Senate hearing Thursday where the characterization of conditions at the border split largely along party lines. Mayorkas repeatedly touted the progress made in reducing the number of children sitting in Customs and Border Protection custody and pointed out that the number has dropped in recent months. The number of unaccompanied children taken into custody roughly doubled from February to March, accounting for about 18,890 individuals, according to officials. Fewer unaccompanied children crossed the border in April, according to CBP, and the number of unaccompanied minors in USBP custody dropped dramatically while the rate of transfer to better-equipped Health and Human Services facilities increased. The number of total arrests and detentions at the border, however, increased slightly to 178,622 in April.
‘Is this not a massive failure?’ The latest data from the border draws mixed reactions on the Hill.
Eileen Sullivan, The New York Times
A decrease in migrant children who arrived alone at the southern border last month gave Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas some ammunition to try to persuade senators on Thursday that the Biden administration is making progress containing a surge of migrants. But April also set a record for the total number of migrants apprehended at the border, and Republicans on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee told the secretary that what they called a crisis has only gotten worse. More than 178,000 migrants were caught last month trying to cross the American border with Mexico, a slight increase over the record-setting numbers seen in March, according to the latest data from Customs and Border Protection, a division of the Homeland Security Department. Most of the migrants were from Central America, fleeing violence, poverty and natural disasters.
U.S. stops flying migrant families across southern border states amid pressure from advocates
Camilo Montoya-Galvez, CBS News
The U.S. government has stopped flying migrant families with children hundreds of miles across southern border states for the purpose of expelling them to Mexico amid mounting pressure and legal scrutiny from advocacy groups, Customs and Border Protection confirmed to CBS News. For several months, U.S. officials had been placing families who recently crossed the border in south Texas on planes and transporting them to El Paso and San Diego in order to expel them to Mexico from those locations. The policy was designed to circumvent the Mexican government's refusal to accept Central American families with young children in the state of Tamaulipas, which borders Texas' Rio Grande Valley, the busiest sector for unlawful crossings.
Border Policy Is Getting More and More Convoluted. That’s Creating False Hope for Migrants.
Lomi Kriel, ProPublica
No matter how hard he tried, Jonatan Garcia said, he couldn’t find steady work in Guatemala. He dabbled in construction, and on some days picked beans, after losing his sales job at a TV station a few weeks after the pandemic shuttered businesses and further stifled employment in his country. Desperation quickly mounted for Garcia. He struggled to make enough money to provide food for his wife and two small children, and they faced eviction from the three-room house they rented in the mostly indigenous and impoverished rural state of Baja Verapaz. Then, Garcia said, smugglers falsely told him that President Joe Biden had signaled during a television appearance that migrants would be allowed to enter the United States. The new administration has been trying to combat such misinformation as it seeks to rein in the influx of migrants at the southern border of the U.S.
Transgender and immigrant rights group holds vigil for trans woman shot to death in Brookhaven
Sammie Purcell, Reporter Newspapers
Friends, community organizers, and city and state elected officials attended a May 12 vigil for Sophie Arrieta Vasquez, a Latina trans woman who was shot to death in Brookhaven. On May 4 at 8:15 a.m., officers responded to reports of a shooting at the Atlantic Brookhaven Apartments at 100 Windmont Drive, according to a Brookhaven Police Department press release. Upon arrival, Vasquez, 36, was found suffering from multiple gunshot wounds in the doorway of the apartment she lived in. She was pronounced dead at the scene. While the BPD said it does not believe Vasqeuz’s killing has any relation to her being transgender, organizers at the vigil spoke about the violence and discrimination faced by trans women, and particularly trans migrant women and trans women of color.
U.S. resettlement agencies preparing to welcome more refugees after years of record-low admissions
The Denver Channel
The ‘ICE Kids’