Immigration News from June 14, 2021

Time for Congress to step up and take action on immigration: increase visas available fo crime victims, pave a path to safety for Afghan translators, create a road to citizenship for DACA and TPS recipients and other undocumented U.S. residents. The White House and the Department of Homeland Security can do a lot, but they cannot create needed long-term changes in immigration law.

Years ago, Congress established the U visa for undocumented immigrants who are victims of serious crimes. The visa is only available if local police certify that the crime victim has cooperated in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal. The number of U visas is limited, and the wait for a visa stretches for years. Now the Biden administration will protect these crime victims while they wait.(Reuters)

“U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will create a process that could allow tens of thousands of applicants for U visas to receive work permits if their claims are deemed to be made in good faith and without the intention of defrauding the immigration system, the agency said….

“Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the move would both help victims and promote public safety.

“’These are individuals who have come forward to help law enforcement keep us all safe, but who are in need of a measure of protection for themselves, as well,’ he said.”

With rising COVID infections in Afghanistan, the U.S. Embassy suspended visa processing on Sunday, stranding thousands of visa applicants whose work with U.S. forces puts their lives in danger. (New York Times)

“’I get phone calls from the Taliban saying, ‘We will kill you’ — they know who I am and that I worked for the Americans,’ Mr. Walizada said. He has delayed marriage because he does not want to put a wife at risk, he said, and he has moved from house to house for safety….

“More than 18,000 Afghans are awaiting decisions on their S.I.V. applications, according to the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. Many say they are seized by dread, fearing they will be denied, or approved only after they have been hunted down and killed.” 

June 15th, 2021 marks 9 years since immigrant youth won the DACA program. While DACA has helped hundreds of thousands of immigrant young people (like myself), it has only provided temporary relief. Every two years, DACA recipients have to renew their application, at a cost of $495. The House passed the American Dream and Promise Act, which would provide a path to citizenship for DACA and TPS holders. Today the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the American Dream and Promise Act. (CNN)

“‘There’s no pathway to citizenship for me,’ said Karla Daniela Salazar Chavira, 18, who applied for DACA in January. ‘It’s like a paid subscription. I keep subscribing to live in the United States … but I would like to be accepted to live in the United States as a citizen.'”

An overwhelming majority of Americans want a path to citizenship for DACA and TPS recipients. The House passed the American Dream and Promise Act to do just that. Now it’s up to the Senate to act to give DACA recipients like Bruna Sollod a secure future. (Roll Call)

“Bruna Sollod went to pick up a new driver’s license earlier this month after moving between states and was confronted with a painful reminder of her tenuous status: an expiration date of early next year, when her current immigration protections expire.

“Born in Brazil but raised in Florida, Sollod was in college when she received temporary protections through Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a 2012 Obama-era program that provides deportation relief and work permits to undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.

“Now almost 30, Sollod has lived in the U.S. for 22 years. But DACA, intended as a temporary measure to protect a subset of young undocumented immigrants, remains limited and under legal threat.”

An estimated 10.2 million undocumented immigrants live in the United States today. Most are long-time residents. Their average length of residence is 16 years. A Center for American Progress/US-Davis report looks at the impact of creating a pathway to citizenship. (The Hill)

“Granting a pathway to citizenship for all the 10.2 million would boost the gross domestic product (GDP) by $1.7 trillion, according to the report, and raise the average wage of those immigrants by $4,300 over five years and $11,800 over 10 years.”

Police chiefs in the Rio Grande Valley face some challenges unique to their region, like migrants calling them for rescue from smugglers—and politicians trying to score points by spreading falsehoods. (NBC)

“But if some outsiders think Texas border towns have become ‘war zones’ during the 20-year high in border crossings, the chiefs say that’s far from reality. Walking down streets in their towns remains safe, they said.

“‘They’re thinking the sky is falling here,’ said another of the breakfast crew, Victor Rodriguez, chief of police in neighboring McAllen. ‘The reality has been that we’ve been decreasing crime that same period of time, as opposed to increases in crime.’

“He said 2020 was the 11th straight year crime had dropped in McAllen.”

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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