Immigration News from August 30, 2021

Cities, states, individuals, faith communities, refugee resettlement agencies: all line up to welcome Afghans. The minority who have Special Immigrant Visas will be legal permanent residents. The vast majority will enter on humanitarian parole and will need to apply for asylum. Meanwhile, on the border, asylum seekers continue to be rejected. 

Arrive Ministries in Richfield says they are already scheduled to welcome at least 35 Afghans, but the total number coming to Minnesota in the weeks and months ahead is not yet known. (KSTP)

“‘People are leaving behind everything they had, and all the people in their [lives] that have given it meaning until now,’ Jane Graupman, executive director of the International Institute of Minnesota, said.

“Graupman says in the last week or so, two Afghan families, including a physician who helped the U.S. government, have been resettled in the state.

“‘The picture is getting clearer every day … our best guess in Minnesota is going to be around 300 [Afghan refugees], but it could be more than that,’ Graupman added.” 

In welcoming Afghan refugees, Minnesota continues a long and proud tradition. (Star Tribune)

“Minnesota’s network for accepting refugees is strong, built over decades, and the kindness and generosity Minnesotans have shown over the years has been repaid a thousandfold. Former Gov. Al Quie, a Republican elected in 1979, once sought to set an example by welcoming a Vietnamese family of refugees into the executive residence’s carriage house….

“In an earlier statement, Veena Iyer, executive director of the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota, noted that this state “has historically been home to more refugees per capita [than any other state] and the number-one state for ‘secondary migration’ of refugees” who go on to settle elsewhere in the U.S.”

Iowa Falls welcomed Zee and they’re fighting to keep him in the town that has become his home. (CBS)

“At first glance, Iowa Falls might be an uncomfortable place for a devout Muslim. Pork, forbidden in Islam, is big business here, and there isn’t a mosque for miles. And yet, for Zalmay Niazy – an Afghan who goes simply by “Zee” – Iowa Falls has been the answer to his prayers. …

“Niazy came to the U.S. after serving as an interpreter for both American and Allied forces in eastern Afghanistan. Every mission made him a target of the Taliban.”

Jenny and her 9-year-old daughter were sent back to Mexico under the Title 42 policy begun by Trump and continued by Biden. (Rio Grande Valley News)

“Jenny journeyed to the U.S. fleeing violence in Honduras but fell victim to kidnapping, sexual assault, and extortion along the way.

“She was held for about two weeks while the family back home raised money to pay her ransom. …

“Jenny and her daughter turned themselves into U.S. federal officers the previous day, last Friday, seeking asylum. Jenny asked to be patted down gently; a kidnapping in Mexico left her sore and bruised around her face, pelvic and abdominal area.

 “Other than the age of Jenny’s daughter, she said [the U.S.] officers didn’t ask her much else. Similar accounts were shared by dozens of migrants in Reynosa sent back from the U.S.

A few hours later, the mother and daughter were boarded onto a bus, released at the Hidalgo port of entry and told to walk toward Mexico.” 

Mexico is not a safe place for asylum seekers, or for any other migrants. The United States continues to pressure Mexico to stop migrants moving north. Mexican forces stopped more than 300 Cubans, Haitians, and Central Americans coming north from Guatemala. (AP)

The Supreme Court said that Trump’s Remain-in-Mexico bar to asylum seekers must remain in place. That’s a potential disaster. (Valley Central)

“Rangel-Samponaro said that many asylum seekers were expelled to border towns, one being Reynosa, and they are living there at a plaza.

“If MPP is reinstated, Samponaro said their stay could be extended by months and even years.

“’Reynosa is ten times as dangerous as Matamoros ever was, people do get dragged off that plaza and get kidnapped while people watch,’ said Rangel-Samponaro.” 

“After about eight hours, they passed through an immigration checkpoint without problems, but then National Guard troops in riot gear blocked their way as a heavy rain fell. Some of the migrants were arrested while others eluded capture and kept heading north. By Saturday night about 200 had arrived the town of Huixtla, said Rev. Heyman Vazquez, a priest who works with migrants. 

“Immigration agents also helped break up the group. An Associated Press journalist saw one immigration agent kick a migrant who was already immobilized and on the ground.

“The Collective of Monitoring and Documentation of Human Rights of the Southeast, which is a coalition of groups that work with migrants, said some people were injured though it gave no numbers. It said the detained migrants had been loaded on buses and driven away.” 

And in other news 

What happens when international students decide the United States is no longer the place to go? The hostility of the Trump administration combined with COVID fears and a wave of anti-Asian racism to make the United States a far less desirable destination. (MPR)

“The chief motivation for American colleges to attract students from abroad has shifted over time: It began as an act of benevolence, became a tool of diplomacy, then evolved into an important part of their business model….

“After restricting student visas in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the U.S. government changed policies to make it easier for foreign students to come and study. American colleges — reeling from the steep budget cuts of the Great Recession and, in many parts of the country, facing declining numbers of high-school graduates — welcomed this unexpected shot of revenue. It was a marriage of supply and demand….

“International students not only helped hold tuition down and make up for lost state support. They also provided a financial windfall for college towns and for the American economy as a whole. The U.S. Department of Commerce estimates international students’ financial impact is $44 billion a year.” 

Eleven years after he was deported, U.S. military veteran Howard Bailey is finally home. HIs story highlights the need to change immigration laws that deport legal permanent residents for old convictions. (Washington Post)

“For 11 years, Bailey spent the night hours fitful and frightened, remembering the 5:30 a.m. knock at the door that took everything from him — his kids, his marriage, his small trucking business, his Chesapeake home near Virginia’s Indian River.

“That knock in 2010 started the slow-motion unraveling of the life that Bailey, an immigrant who served in the U.S. Navy, had built on American soil. It began with his deportation for an old pot conviction and lasted a painful decade back in his native country, Jamaica, where he had no family and which he hadn’t seen since he was a teen.” 

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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