Immigration News from July 15, 2021

Two stories highlight the need for a path to citizenship for Dreamers, people with Temporary Protected Status, and essential workers. The first shows the risks faced by DACA recipients who must re-apply for protection every two years, and face getting lost in a processing backlog. The second highlights difficulties faced by essential workers providing family-based childcare. 

DACA recipients have to renew their status every two years. The current slowdown in processing DACA renewals and applications has serious consequences–for jobs, health insurance, driver’s licenses, and more. (CNN)

“Nearly a decade after being allowed to work legally in the US, Ju Hong was back at square one this month, scrambling to obtain a work permit and seeking continued protection from deportation under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. 

“Hong has been a DACA recipient since 2012 but his permits expired in early July despite applying for a routine renewal. “When my DACA got expired, I was terminated from the job and as a result, I lost my health insurance and it’s impacting me both personally and professionally,” Hong, 31, told CNN….

“Roughly 13,000 renewal cases have remained pending for longer than four months, according to USCIS correspondence obtained by CNN.”

Pandemic child care relief efforts left out many friends-and-family child care providers, who are disproportionately women of color. Aid goes only to licensed providers. English-only applications are just one of the barriers to licensure for Latino providers. (NBC)

“Pictures, toys and learning materials for young children fill Julieta Baxin Pucheta’s basement in Minneapolis, where, for the past 10 years, she has cared for her grandchildren and the children of relatives and friends. Even though she lacks a license to provide child care, Baxin Pucheta, who immigrated to the U.S. from Veracruz, Mexico, in 2001, says she works hard to give the same at-home early learning quality as her licensed peers. 

Family, friend and neighbor, or FFN, caregivers like Baxin Pucheta, who are generally exempt from licensing and regulations, provide informal child care primarily to family members and children in their communities. ….

“A 2015 analysis from the Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank, found that about 18 percent of child care workers are immigrants and that immigrants are significantly more likely than native-born providers to be employed in family child care settings like FFN care. …

“For providers who are undocumented or who live in mixed-status households, immigration status can negatively affect becoming licensed, said Richfield, Minnesota, Mayor Maria Regan Gonzalez, a co-founder of La Red….

“Most states allow unlicensed child care providers to participate in federal or state funding programs, but a report in January from Home Grown found that the accessibility and amount of funding unlicensed providers get varies. Most states require household-wide background checks to receive subsidies, which experts say can make it less likely that undocumented providers or providers in mixed-status households will apply for assistance.”

And in other news

President Biden’s choice to head ICE says he will continue a program that turns local police into immigration enforcers. (Roll Call)

“Testifying before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Gonzalez said, if confirmed, it ‘would not be my intent’ to end the 287(g) program, which can allow local police officers to make immigration arrests and gives ICE access to jails.

“Gonzalez acknowledged that, as sheriff, he terminated the 287(g) contract for Texas’ Harris County, which includes Houston, but he told lawmakers this was a ‘local decision.’ …

“House Democrats have pushed to defund the federal program, warning it can have a chilling effect on immigrant communities’ willingness to assist law enforcement or call the police for help.” 

June was the highest month in a decade for border crossings, according to an anonymous source at the Department of Homeland Security. This count includes all “encounters” by border authorities, whether an individual is turned away after asking for asylum at an border crossing station or detained by the Border Patrol after an unauthorized crossing. The number is inflated by multiple crossings by some individuals who are expelled within two hours and then turn around and try again. (CNN)

“The number of migrants intercepted at the US-Mexico border has been on the upswing since May 2020, when around 23,000 people were encountered by Customs and Border Protection. This June was the highest monthly number since President Joe Biden took office. …

“The monthly data is used as a measure of illegal migration to the US. However, in March 2020 the US implemented a public health measure that allowed for the rapid expulsion of migrants at the border, impacting the number of repeat crossings. The Biden administration has kept the Trump-era health order, known as “Title 42,” in place amid ongoing litigation and a torrent of criticism from immigration advocates and some lawmakers.

“In June, 34% of the encounters were of migrants who’d had at least one previous encounter in the last year.” 

With anti-government demonstrations in Cuba and the assassination of Haiti’s president, more people are expected to leave both countries and seek asylum in the United States. The message from the Biden administration remains the same: “Don’t come. We won’t let you in.” Historically, the United States has admitted Cubans and rejected Haitians. (Washington Post)

“Even before the latest round of unrest in both countries, data suggests that the number of Haitians and Cubans seeking to migrate to the United States was steadily increasing….

“Meanwhile, as many as 10,000 Haitians are already estimated to be stuck at the U.S.-Mexico border, unable to have their asylum claims heard because of a public health order, Title 42, instated by the Trump administration and kept in place under President Biden….

“Haiti is considered the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Cuban economic output is far larger, but it has strained for decades under a U.S. trade embargo, diplomatic isolation and mismanagement of its planned economy.” 

Immigration judges ultimately decide whether unaccompanied minors will be allowed to remain in the United States. What influences their decisions? New research published by the University of Denver offers dismaying, but unsurprising, answers. (The Conversation)

But our research examining the period from early October 2013 until the end of September 2017 shows that these judges were influenced by factors outside of the case. Political factors such as ideology, political party of the president who appointed them and who was president at the time they decided the case significantly influenced whether these children were allowed to stay in the country. 

“Aside from political factors, immigration judges are also influenced by local contexts, such as unemployment levels, the number of uninsured children and size of Latino population in the places where they work….

“Asylum decisions can be life-or-death matters. Although immigration judges consider the requirements of asylum law, they are also influenced by nonlegal factors when making decisions. 

“Political influence from the executive branch combined with local environmental pressures can affect how immigration judges rule. Most importantly, these influences can lead to some children not receiving asylum when they might otherwise be entitled to it.” 

Getting ready for reform: a nationwide coalition of non-profits are ramping up legal assistance in anticipation of immigration law changes. (Chicago Sun Times)

“A coalition of immigration groups on Tuesday launched the “Ready to Stay” campaign, which includes a website where immigrants can search by Zip Code for legal help. Although immigration reform has not been approved, advocates are hopeful President Joe Biden will advance his plan that was announced earlier this year to create a pathway to citizenship for the more than 10 million undocumented immigrants living across the United States….

“The coalition is also hoping the website will help deter fraud when there is immigration reform by providing people with a list of credible organizations in their city, Salas said, noting that people might take advantage of the situation that could result in an immigrant submitting an application with errors.”

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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