Immigration News for Thursday, May 27, 2021

Border near Tijuana, photo by Jonathan McIntosh, published under Creative Commons license
Border near Tijuana, photo by Jonathan McIntosh, published under Creative Commons license

The use of Title 42 to seal off the border and expel asylum seekers is killing people. Desperate migrants seek more remote areas to cross. Those areas are more dangerous, and farther from help. The Biden administration has continued this Trump-era policy. (The Marshall Project)

“Migrants were found lost in the desert, tucked under rocks in the mountains, and trapped by the rushing tides of the Rio Grande. Some were experiencing heat exhaustion in 115-degree weather, while others nearly died from hypothermia. In Laredo, Texas, one woman was found falling in and out of consciousness from dehydration. In the Jacumba Mountains of Southern California, a man with a fractured ankle had to be carried out of the impassable terrain in a litter basket. In Arizona, two people were found dead in the desert with the word “HELP” written on the ground nearby. …

“New data and analysis by The Marshall Project and Mother Jones shows that while the number of encounters at the border fell by half in fiscal year 2020 compared to the previous year, the number of encounters that required a rescue operation doubled to the highest rate in at least a decade. The death rate also nearly doubled during the same period, from 35 to 62 migrants found dead for every 100,000 migrants encountered….

“In March 2020, then President Donald Trump enacted Title 42, a policy denying migrants and asylum seekers entry into the U.S. as a public health measure against the spread of COVID-19. That same year, Border Patrol’s rescue rate doubled, hitting a 10-year high even as encounters at the Southern border fell by half. The migrant death rate also almost doubled.” 

The U.S. government says it is “developing plans” to evacuate Afghans whose work for the United States puts them in danger of being killed when U.S. forces leave. Plans are moving too slowly to protect those whose lives are at risk.(Defense One)

“About 18,000 interpreters are waiting for approval for a Special Immigrant Visa, which allows interpreters to bring their families to the United States, according to the veterans group No One Left Behind

“[Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark] Milley …  did not offer specifics on how the United States would help those interpreters leave the country, such as through airlift, but acknowledged time was quickly running out to help them. U.S. forces are set to leave Afghanistan by September, but that timetable may be pushed up as soon as July, the New York Times reported this week.” 

Spikes of COVID infections are occurring at several ICE detention centers, especially at private, for-profit centers. ICE blames the infections on new arrivals, but critics point to long-standing and well-documented failure to follow CDC protocols. (Arizona Republic)

“ICE data shows there are 400 active confirmed COVID-19 cases currently under isolation or monitoring at the Adams facility, the highest number of any facility in the nation, 192 cases at the Richwood facility, the second-highest, 157 cases at the Eloy facility, the third highest, and 155 cases at the La Palma facility, the fourth highest….

“CoreCivic officials said the data posted on ICE’s website regarding its facilities is inaccurate….

“CoreCivic and ICE did not respond to a request asking to explain the discrepancy between the data provided by CoreCivic and the data posted on the official ICE website. CoreCivic also did not respond to a request to provide any documentation it has shared with ICE as part of CoreCivic’s efforts to get ICE to correct the incorrect data it claims is posted on the ICE website.” 

The Biden administration granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to nationals of Burma/Myanmar and both extended existing TPS designation and said new applications could be made by Haitian nationals. But what about Somalis? A decision on extending TPS designation for Somalia is due before July 19. (Sahan Journal)

“James Rasmussen is an attorney at the Immigrant Law Center, a legal aid agency in Minnesota. He stressed the importance of extending protections for immigrants from other countries too.

“’We are seeing an increase in violence around the world, and an increase in unrest and unsafe conditions that have been brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic,’ Rasmussen said. ‘The underlying principle for Temporary Protected Status is that it is a form of humanitarian relief.’

“Rasmussen added that there are multiple benefits to receiving TPS on top of protection from deportation. Recipients can get work permits, which means they can support their families, and also get driver’s licenses. 

“The biggest barrier for his clients receiving TPS is not knowing if they will get the chance to continue receiving that status. If the federal government decides to extend TPS protections, they might get extra time. In that case, recipients typically have to reapply every six, 12, or 18 months in the United States. If they don’t get an extension, they’ll have to return to their home countries. In some cases, they may be able to apply for asylum in the United States.”

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, www.tcdailyplanet.net, 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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