Migration News: May 19, 2021
For Migrant Children in Federal Care, a ‘Sense of Desperation’
Eileen Sullivan, The New York Times
In a federal shelter in Dallas, migrant children sleep in a windowless convention center room under fluorescent lights that never go dark. At a military base in El Paso, teenagers pile onto bunk cots, and some say they have gone days without bathing. And in Erie, Pa., problems began emerging within days of the shelter’s creation: “Fire safety system is a big concern,” an internal report noted. Some of the hot water heaters were not working, and lice was “a big issue and seems to be increasing.”Early this year, children crossing the southwestern border in record numbers were crammed into Customs and Border Protection’s cold-floored, jail-like detention facilities. They slept side by side on mats with foil blankets, almost always far longer than the legal limit of 72 hours. Republicans declared it a crisis. Democrats and immigration groups denounced the conditions, which erupted into an international embarrassment for President Biden, who had campaigned on a return to compassion in the immigration system.
A 19-Year-Old Asylum-Seeker Forced To Wait In Mexico Was Killed Days Before He Was Scheduled To Enter The US
Adolfo Flores and Hamed Aleaziz, BuzzFeed News
A Cuban asylum-seeker who was forced to wait in Mexico under a Trump-era policy was fatally shot Monday night in Ciudad Juárez a few days before he was to be allowed into the US, according to United Nations officials. Cristian San Martín Estrada, 19, had been waiting in Mexico since 2019 after asking US immigration authorities for asylum, according to his uncle. As part of the Trump administration's "Remain in Mexico" policy, Estrada was sent back to Mexico after seeking refuge at the border while a US judge adjudicated his case. "We condemn the murder in Ciudad Juárez of Cristian San Martín Estrada, a Cuban asylum seeker under the MPP, who would have reentered the US in the coming days," tweeted United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Mexico. "We trust that the authorities will investigate thoroughly to clarify this unfortunate event."
U.S. commits to admitting 250 asylum-seekers per day in concession to advocates
Camilo Montoya-Galvez, CBS News
As part of negotiations in a federal court case, the Biden administration has agreed to allow up to 7,750 asylum-seekers stranded in Mexico to enter the U.S. each month, the top American Civil Liberties Union lawyer overseeing the lawsuit told CBS News on Monday. Under the new agreement, the Biden administration has committed to processing up to 250 asylum-seekers deemed to be vulnerable by advocacy groups on a daily basis and permitting them to continue their legal cases on American soil. Those eligible would be exempted from the Title 42 policy, a Trump-era public health edict under which most single adult migrants and some families with children continue to be expelled from the U.S. without a chance to seek asylum.
Afghans who helped the US now fear being left behind
Rahim Faiez and Ben Fox, AP News
The fate of interpreters after the troop withdrawal is one of the looming uncertainties surrounding the pullout, including a possible resurgence of terrorist threats and a reversal of fragile gains for women if chaos, whether from competing Kabul-based warlords or the Taliban, follows the end of America’s military engagement. Interpreters and other civilians who worked for the U.S. government or NATO can get what is known as a special immigrant visa under a program created in 2009 and modeled after a similar program for Iraqis. Both programs have been dogged by complaints about a lengthy and complicated application process for security screening that grew more cumbersome with pandemic safety measures.
Immigrants who have been in the US for decades are being tossed into courtrooms without lawyers because of a glaring loophole in our justice system — it's time they get a fair hearing
Annie Chen, Business Insider
The first 100 days of the Biden Administration have seen record numbers of immigrants arriving at the US-Mexico border, with Border Patrol encountering almost 180,000 immigrants in the month of April alone — a 15-year high. But with the focus on the crisis at the border, we've overlooked the ongoing immigration crisis in our backyards. Community members are still facing detention and are at risk of deportation and permanent separation from their families as a result of years of anti-immigrant federal policies — including Marco Munoz Quiroz, who has lived in the US for decades, and whose entire family are US citizens. Quiroz could not afford an attorney after he was arrested at his home in Southern California in January. If he had been facing criminal charges, the government would have provided a public defender to protect his rights. But because he stood accused of civil immigration violations, he was not guaranteed legal defense. He spent more than a month fearing deportation and worrying about his health at the Otay Mesa Detention Center, a facility he described as unbearably cold.
Biden to Increase Legal Access For Immigrants
President Biden will sign an executive action Tuesday to increase access to legal representation for immigrants, minorities, and low-income Americans. The memo will order the Department of Justice to restore its Office for Access to Justice, an initiative launched in 2010 but effectively shuttered by the Trump administration. Biden will also re-establish the White House Legal Aid Interagency Roundtable, an Obama-era task force that examined how civil legal aid could improve federal programs. “The federal government has a critical role to play in expanding access to the nation’s legal system and supporting the work of civil legal aid providers and public defenders,” said the White House in a fact sheet about the memorandum. “President Biden’s executive action today will reinvigorate the federal government’s role in advancing access to justice, and help ensure that the Administration’s policies and recovery efforts can reach as many individuals as possible.”
Myth-Busters: Immigration Week Edition
The Santa Clara
Coalition Aims For “Immigrant Freedom”
New Haven Independent
Hope Acts, Project HOME partner to house asylum seekers
City Club Of Boise - The Refugee Experience In Idaho
Boise State Public Radio