Immigration News from August 20, 2021

Attitudes toward migrants in the United States show deep contradictions: welcome to Afghan refugees, closed borders for Central Americans, Cubans, Haitians, and Africans. Contradictions continue in court rulings, as two Texas courts ordered returns to Trump-era anti-immigrant policies and a Nevada court struck down a statute criminalizing return after deportation. 

People all over the United States, in red states and blue, are volunteering, donating, and opening their doors to welcome Afghan refugees.

“As divisions emerge among some Republicans in Washington over how to handle the refugee crisis in Afghanistan, resettlement groups have been inundated with calls from ordinary Americans seeking to assist the waves of Afghan citizens who have begun arriving in the United States. (Washington Post)

“Several governors across the political spectrum have joined the effort with offers of aid and messages that refugees would be welcome in their states, a sharp contrast to some conservatives who warned that the crisis could spark an “invasion” of unvetted refugees….

“’We have never seen this kind of increase in people wanting to volunteer,’ said Jacqueline Buzas, a program supervisor for Refugee Services of Texas. ‘We have people calling to say, ‘I have an extra bedroom.’ Or, ‘I’m retired and have this extra house.’ People understand the human aspects of this, having to flee this life-or-death situation. And they just open the door.’” 

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the Biden administration’s request for a stay of the order to resume Trump’s Remain in Mexico policy. The Biden administration filed an emergency petition with the Supreme Court on Friday, asking for a stay of the judge’s ruling. (Buzzfeed)

“Last week, US District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk ordered the Biden administration to restart the program until it could rescind the policy in compliance with the Administrative Procedure Act, a potentially lengthy process. His order was set to go into effect on Saturday.

“In the meantime, the Biden administration urged the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to stay the order while it appealed Kacsmaryk’s decision. The request was denied. The Biden administration can now request an emergency stay with the US Supreme Court.

“Earlier this year, the Biden administration rescinded the policy and began to allow thousands of people caught up in Remain in Mexico to come to the US. Human Rights First has counted at least 1,544 public reports of murder, rape, and other attacks committed against people in MPP.”

Second Texas decision’s meaning: forget humanitarian considerations. This ruling against use of discretion came just days after another Texas federal judge ordered the Trump-era Remainin Mexico policy reinstated.  (Buzzfeed)

“While ICE officers on Friday were told they no longer can use the memo limiting arrests by agency officials, immigration prosecutors were also informed their work would be impacted. John Trasviña, the head ICE attorney, said federal judge Drew Tipton’s order meant that a policy that had instructed prosecutors they could consider dismissing cases for immigrants who have been longtime green card holders, are pregnant or older people, have a serious health condition, or have been in the US from a young age should be not be used pending further guidance….

“Biden officials believed the memo was a way to cut the growing immigration court backlog and more efficiently use resources on cases that deserve attention. The staggering backlog of cases in immigration court, which number over 1 million, is unsustainable, officials said, with some cases taking years to be heard. Department of Homeland Security officials also argued that the memo empowered ICE prosecutors to make decisions on how best to use their time.”

Meanwhile in Nevada, a federal judge struck down a statute that makes re-entry after deportation a crime. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

“’The record before the Court reflects that at no point has Congress confronted the racist, nativist roots of Section 1326,’ U.S. District Judge Miranda Du wrote in a ruling issued Wednesday.

“Her order dismissed a case against a man named Gustavo Carrillo-Lopez, who was indicted during the Trump administration.

“’It is the first ruling of its kind,’ said Assistant Federal Public Defender Lauren Gorman, who argued for the dismissal. ‘Equal protection challenges have been made to the statute before, but this was the first ruling finding it unconstitutional.’”

And in other news

Immigrants applying for adjustment of status within the United States got some help from DHS, which will loosen rules on medical exams. The medical exam and vaccination record formerly had to be dated within two years of the time of decision on adjustment of status. Because of delays caused by both COVID-19 and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services backlog, USCIS will accept forms up to four years old. (Miami Herald)

“At least temporarily, USCIS said it will consider a Form I-693 valid if:

▪ The civil surgeon’s signature is dated no more than 60 days before the applicant filed Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.

▪ No more than four years have passed since the date of the civil surgeon’s signature.

▪ A decision on the applicant’s Form I-485 is issued on or before Sept. 30, 2021.”

Mexican police entered a migrant camp in Reynosa on Thursday and removed propane cylinders that fueled cookstoves for the camp’s residents. Nearly 5,000 migrants live there, mostly people expelled under Title 42 when they tried to seek refuge in the United States. (Rio Grande Valley News)

“Officers provided no explanation or showed warrants when they took the propane tanks away, according to some of the witnesses.

“’It’s more about the kids,’ a 38-year-old Guatemaltecan mother said. She is one of the women in charge of kitchen No. 3. Earlier this week, the propane tank in their part of the camp was running low. Everyone pitched in and bought a week’s worth of supply on Wednesday. 

Mothers use the stove to heat up and sanitize the water they use to prepare the powdered milk formula for their children. Though, they also use it to cook food donated to them. …

“The fear of losing their freedom, property and lives keeps them close to the plaza. At night, migrants take the role of security guards and rotate shifts watching the perimeter.

“Friday night, migrants reported seeing a group of law enforcement officers again. They heard electricity and water will be taken next.”

A cardinal and a CEO walk into an op/ed page … and advocate for expanded immigration, citing both moral and economic grounds for their support. (NJ Advance Media)

“If politics is known for bringing warring camps to the table when their interests align, there can be no better example than the Wall Street CEOs, small business owners, faith leaders, farmers, union bosses, civil rights advocates, immigrants, their families and allies, all united in support of the immigration reforms before the Senate – The Durbin-Graham DREAM Act, the SECURE Act and the Crapo-Bennet companion to the Farm Workforce Modernization Act….

“Whether with bipartisan support or through the reconciliation process, American voters want action now. Neither our nation’s conscience nor its economy will take “no” for an answer. Let us be clear: Senators who, in their tone-deafness, fail to do what is right and save our economy by supporting these immigration solutions now will need their own personal job plans in 2022.”

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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