Catching Up: Driver’s Licenses in Legislature, Kidnapping on the Border, Double-Talk in DC

IMG_0118.jpgLots of news over the weekend—like the U.S. citizens migrating to Mexico and the release of names of more than 1,700 additional children separated from their parents and the need for more immigrant workers at high and low skill levels, both in MInnesota and across the country. One more federal appeals court weighed in on DACA, unsurprisingly agreeing that Trump’s cancellation of the program is illegal. More on Remain in Mexico and kidnappings and also on D.C. double-talk below. 

In Minnesota, Monday, May 20 is the last day of the regular legislative session. Late on Sunday, a budget deal was announced, but many policy decisions remain. No decision was announced on Driver’s Licenses For All. That legislation and other  policy issues remain for Monday—or more likely, for a special session.

Kidnapping on the Border

Meanwhile: the Remain in Mexico program remains in force, despite increasing evidence of the danger awaiting asylum seekers forced to stay in Mexico, possibly for years, while awaiting U.S. court hearings. Kidnapping and worse awaits, as Bob Moore reports on Twitter.

“On April 18, a Honduran woman forced to “remain in Mexico” made her initial appearance in immigration court and through tears begged not to be sent back to Ciudad Juarez. But she was sent back and returned for a second hearing today.  This is her story. 1/

“Kimberlyn, 23, and her 5-year-old daughter Whitney caught a cab after crossing back to Juarez following that court hearing.  The cab driver took her to an ATM to get money for food and asked her, “You’re not from here, right?” 2/

“When she got back in the cab, the driver said, “My boss called me and this is a kidnapping.” He demanded a family phone number and called her mother, saying Kimberlyn and Whitney would be killed unless the family paid $1,000. 3/

“The family raised $800 and the kidnapper agreed to accept that. He released Kimberlyn and Whitney with a warning: “The man told me if you file a report, you and your daughter will die. And you know how people die in Juarez.” 4/

“The men who did that to me told me they knew where I was at,” Kimberlyn told Judge Nathan Herbert today, explaining why she was afraid to go back to Juarez. But she wasn’t done. She told Herbert what happened to her Saturday night. 5/

“She and 2 other women in court today were staying at a hotel in Juarez. She awoke Saturday to men trying to force their way into the room. One of them had a knife. Kimberlyn and the other women in court were sobbing so loudly that she was hard to understand at times. 6/

“The called the hotel reception desk, which called police. The hotel staff said they were familiar with one of the men, who frequented the hotel. Hotel staff and police told the women that they probably shouldn’t take their children outside any more. 7/

“The women will get a “non-refoulement” interview with an asylum officer to explain why they are afraid to go back to Mexico. They got such an interview after the April 18 hearing but were sent back to Juarez, a city wracked by murder, kidnapping and extortion. 8/

“I should introduce you to the other women. Delia is from Guatemala, but I’m not sure of her age. She’s with her 4 year old son Yeiner. Lidia, 20, is from Honduras and is with her 3-year-old son, Arnold, who drank from a bottle as she talked to the judge. 9/

“Kimberlyn, Whitney, Delia, Yeiner, Lidia and Arnold have been in Mexico under the orders of the U.S. government, through a program it calls Migrant Protection Protocols. 10/”

I don’t usually rely on Tweets for news, but Bob Moore, is a legit journalist, with decades of experience. After resigning as editor of the El Paso Times, he now freelances from the border, publishing in the Washington Post, Texas Monthly, and other outlets. His Tweet threads provide immediate documentation of the inhumane and illegal U.S. policy of sending asylum seekers back to danger.

Except that part of that policy bars reporters from even seeing what is going on:

“Media and NGOs were barred today from El Paso immigration court for hearings for Migrant Protection Protocols participants. 50 people were on the docket and 32 showed up for court, filling all the seats in the courtroom. 1/

“I’m told this will be the norm for future MPP initial hearings in El Paso as daily docket numbers grow into the 80s. So a controversial court program is being conducted out of public view. 2/

“In previous hearings attended by media and NGOs, MPP participants told of being kidnapped, robbed, assaulted and stabbed after being sent back to Ciudad Juarez under MPP. The public doesn’t have access to those stories now, at least through courts. 3/

“A couple other notes on MPP in El Paso. I’m told the number of people sent back to Ciudad Juarez has now reached 2,800, up from 1,600 2 weeks ago. People being sent back this week are being given court dates for February 2020, meaning they have to wait 9 months in Mexico. 4/”

Double-Talk in DC

Did you hear about Trump’s plan to reform the immigration system to allow only the best people in? Turns out that plan would have kept out the ancestors of Donald Trump, Mike Pence, Jared Kushner, and Stephen Miller.

The White House also left DACA out of its plan. even though 8 in 10 people in the United States support DACA. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said DACA was left out of the new plan “on purpose” because it’s  “divisive.” Maybe she doesn’t know that 8 in 10 people in the country support  DACA.

The plan would also eliminate current waiting lists—four million people now waiting for family and employment-based green cards—by making them all ineligible. Not exactly an endorsement of “wait in line and come in the right way.”

Then there’s the dust-up over notices sent to officials in two Florida counties telling them that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) would be sending them plane-loads of asylum seekers to process. That plan was characterized as “fake news” by some in the administration. Under close questioning on CBS Sunday Morning, acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan waffled for a while and then admitted that the plan had existed but had been canceled. He also said  DHS does not send immigrants to sanctuary cities, contradicting statements made by Trump.

The Washington Post reported that McAleenan threatened to resign when Stephen Miller tried to install Mark Morgan as head of CBP. He denied that on CBS Sunday Morning, but my money is on the Post report:

McAleenan the next day told senior White House officials that he — not Miller — was in charge of the department, said three Trump administration officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal tensions one Trump aide likened to an “immigration knife fight.”

 * *. *. *. *

Too much news, too little time—beginning this week, I’m cutting back to three immigration news posts per week. Less blogging won’t stop the bad news from happening, but might keep my life a little more balanced.


About Mary Turck

News Day, written by Mary Turck, analyzes, summarizes, links to, and comments on reports from news media around the world, with particular attention to immigration, education, and journalism. Fragments, also written by Mary Turck, has fiction, poetry and some creative non-fiction. Mary Turck edited TC Daily Planet,, from 2007-2014, and edited the award-winning Connection to the Americas and AMERICAS.ORG, in its pre-2008 version. She is also a recovering attorney and the author of many books for young people (and a few for adults), mostly focusing on historical and social issues.
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