Immigration News from July 31-August 1

H/T to Adam Isaacson of WOLA for his tweet: “Facts Are Awesome”: a play in three acts. 

Hard to find much positive news tonight, with continuing lies about and failure to protect or accept migrants on the border. Adam Isaacson of the Washington Office on Latin America neatly skewers the lies about migrants bringing COVID infections to Texas: the test positivity rate in Texas (10.38 percent) is higher than the test positivity rate among migrants at the border (about 7 percent.) 

Mexico has stopped accepting the return of non-Mexican families from the United States. That means that the United States will not be able to push non-Mexican families back across the border under Title 42 “public health” regulations. The number of migrants in Border Patrol custody is rising rapidly, with thousands now held in an open-air processing area under the Anzaldua International Bridge. (Rio Grande Valley News)

“Border Patrol agents have few outlets to release migrants.

“One of the quickest ways to process and release families is through prosecutorial discretion.

“Agents in the Valley used the tool en masse back in March, a move Chief Patrol Agent Brian Hastings said he had never implemented in his 25-year career.

“According to sources familiar with the situation, however, the White House has now capped the number of families who could be released through that expedited process. Comment from DHS was sought in response to this allegation, but none was received.

“On Friday, DHS announced they started to send migrants back to their country through an expedited removal process. However, if a migrant claims a credible fear and requests asylum, a federal officer may not place them on those flights.”

Less than 24 hours after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered the confiscation of any vehicles transporting migrants, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland sued, saying Abbott’s order is unconstitutional, would hinder the U.S. government’s ability to carry out immigration enforcement, and endangers the lives and safety of immigrants and others. (CBS)

“The Justice Department said the Texas order could lead to dangerous overcrowding among unaccompanied children and families held in Border Patrol facilities, which are not supposed to hold migrants for more than 72 hours….

“Nonprofits and private buses that transport migrant families allowed to seek asylum in the U.S. would also be affected, advocates and the federal government said.

“Transfers of unaccompanied children to shelters and housing sites overseen by the Department of Health and Human Services could also be impeded, forcing these minors to remain in ill-suited Border Patrol holding facilities, Justice Department lawyers argued.

“The release of unaccompanied children to family members in the U.S. would also be impacted, the federal government said, as contractors oversee the minors’ transportation.” 

The Justice Department lawsuit against Gov. Abbott’s order included a 10-page statement by Valley Chief Patrol Agent Brian Hastings, detailing the harm that will be caused by the governor’s order. (Rio Grande Valley News)

“’As of July 29, 2021, there were 8,836 migrants in the RGV Sector detention facilities. Of these, 6,459 were pending processing, and the average hold time for migrants in custody was 57.22 hours,’ his declaration said. …

“Border Patrol uses contract drivers to transport migrants to processing facilities like the ‘soft-sided’ site in Donna. 

“By law, the agency is required to process migrants under 72 hours and to prioritize families and children who entered the country without their parents. Some are released from custody. Nongovernmental organizations like Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley will help facilitate their release….

“The number of migrants released in McAllen overwhelmed the shelter Monday when the executive director had to call Border Patrol twice to ask them to stop taking migrants to the shelter, which reached capacity by Monday afternoon. 

“Commercial bus lines like Greyhound, which sell tickets to migrants leaving the border, could also be impacted by the state order. 

“If shelters would become oversaturated and buses could not move migrants out, the oversaturation would spill from Border Patrol facilities to the local communities.” 

And in other news

Back in April, the judge in the extradition hearing called the case against Ameen “dubious,” said government witnesses were “unreliable,” and that the entire government case “makes little sense.” He ordered Ameen released immediately. Instead, ICE arrested him and started a deportation proceeding. (Washington Post)

“The Trump administration called him a terrorist and held him up as an example of how dangerous people were using the refugee resettlement program to infiltrate the United States.

“But when the government attempted to extradite Omar Abdulsattar Ameen to Iraq to face murder charges, a federal judge determined the allegations against him were “simply not plausible.”

“Now Ameen’s status in the United States is in jeopardy once more, with the Biden administration attempting to deport him — a move that allies say would almost certainly lead to his death.” 

The number of Nicaraguans seeking asylum has soared in the past three months. 

“His parents fought for the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua four decades ago, but when Lenin Salablanca protested its continued rule, he was imprisoned for ten months. He felt forced to make a decision. ‘It was never my intention to leave and go into exile,’ he said. (Vice)

“Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has continued a crackdown on dissent that began with an uprising in 2018, most recently jailing or placing under house arrest numerous political opponents, including seven potential presidential candidates in the coming November election….

“It’s estimated that roughly 40,000 Nicaraguans will emigrate to the U.S. this year and another 60,000 will go to Costa Rica, according to Orozco. That’s on top of some 87,000 Nicaraguans who are already seeking asylum in Costa Rica, a process that can take several years. Combined, that roughly equals five percent of Nicaragua’s electorate. ” 

Ur Jaddou has been confirmed as the director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). (BuzzFeed)

“Ur Jaddou will become the first woman and first person of Arab and Mexican descent to be sworn in as director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services after the Senate confirmed her nomination on Friday.

“The agency has not had a Senate-confirmed leader in more than two years, even though it’s integral to the immigration system: USCIS officers provide work permits, conduct initial asylum screenings that determine whether immigrants can make their case for protection in the US, and issue green cards and naturalizations, among other tasks.

“Jaddou, the daughter of Mexican and Iraqi immigrants, was previously the lead attorney at USCIS during the Obama administration.” 

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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