Immigration News from August 31, 2021

Mexico is welcoming Afghan refugees and rejecting Central American, Haitian, and other refugees. Just like us. (Vice)

“​​In southern Mexico, a Central American migrant crumpled to the ground as an official with the national immigration agency stomped on the man’s face with his military-style boot. In Mexico’s capital, the nation’s senior-most officials gathered at the airport to welcome a group of Afghan refugees.

“The contrasting images that were widely shared over the weekend highlighted the starkly differing approaches Mexico has taken in welcoming Afghan refugees as it continues to crack down on others: Central American and Haitian migrants who continually arrive at its southern border seeking safe haven in the United States and Mexico itself….

“Such scenes of violence against migrants became familiar during the presidency of Donald Trump, during which time Mexico more than ever helped the U.S. carry out its immigration agenda. The videos were nonetheless shocking when juxtaposed with Mexico’s warm welcome for Afghan refugees.”

As Mexico continues to respond to U.S. pressure to stop migrants, applications for asylum in Mexico are backlogged for up to a year, leaving migrants stranded. (Mexico News Daily)

“Most migrants are desperate to leave Tapachula, where they have few, if any, employment options and are forced to spend long periods living in shelters, cheap hotels or on the street as they wait for authorities to assess their asylum claims. Due to high demand, the Mexican Refugee Assistance Commission (Comar) is taking up to a year to assess those claims, leaving many asylum seekers effectively stranded in Tapachula, a migrant hub due to its location just north of the border with Guatemala….

“‘The United States has to provide scholarships and allow temporary work visas for Central Americans,’ [President Lopez Obrador] said at an event in Chiapas.

“This doesn’t affect them at all because labor is needed in the United States and in Canada. They don’t have [a sufficient] workforce and have an older population. How will [the United States] grow if there’s no workforce?”

Talks on restarting the Remain-in-Mexico program have begun, but it’s not at all clear where they will end. (Washington Post)

“Mexican officials say they intend to continue cooperating with the United States on immigration management and border controls, and “technical talks” to discuss restarting MPP will occur as part of ongoing conversations about migration. Their capacity to take back more U.S. asylum seekers and migrants remains limited, however, and they regard other enforcement tools and policies to be more effective, according to two Mexican officials who were not authorized to speak publicly about the incipient U.S. discussions….

“Mexico does not have the resources to take in asylum seekers on an indefinite basis, as it did last time, said Martha Bárcena, the former Mexican ambassador who negotiated the “Remain in Mexico” implementation with Trump officials.

“’I think Mexico is willing to help asylum seekers on a humanitarian basis, as long as the numbers are manageable,’ Bárcena said, in an interview. ‘But the lesson from the last time was that the U.S. doesn’t keep its promise to rapidly process their cases.'”

Now that courts have ordered Trump’s Remain-in-Mexico policy reinstated, what happens to migrants admitted to the United States when Biden tried to end it and to those still waiting in Mexico? (Arizona Republic)

“Court records show that U.S. border officials have since February admitted a little more than 13,000 asylum seekers who had been stuck in “Remain in Mexico” through the COVID-19 pandemic and an indefinite freeze on asylum court hearings at the U.S.-Mexico border because of the virus….

“The announcement to freeze processing for asylum seekers under “Remain in Mexico” leaves roughly 50,000 eligible migrants — based on TRAC data, using the Biden administration’s criteria — that no longer have this recourse.

“Of those, about 3,500 migrants had already registered and were close to being processed for entry. They are once again left in limbo, according to Alberto Cabezas, spokesperson for the United Nation’s International Organization for Migration in Mexico….

“In response to the Supreme Court decision, the Department of Homeland Security vowed to ‘vigorously challenge’ the district court’s ruling, which is under appeal.

“But in the meantime, the department said it would ‘comply with the order in good faith,’ and had begun diplomatic discussions with Mexico about the Migrant Protection Protocols.” 

Confused about what kind of immigration status Afghan evacuees have? For most, it’s “humanitarian parole,” which is temporary and needs further immigration applications right away. (National Immigration Forum)

“Due to the inadequacy of the SIV and P-2 programs in the context of an emergency evacuation, on August 23 the administration announced it would be using its humanitarian parole authority to process in evacuated Afghans who do not already have visas. …

“Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, parole is a tool that allows certain individuals to enter and stay in the U.S. without a visa. Parole is granted either for “urgent humanitarian reasons” or because the entrance of an individual is determined to be a “significant public benefit” to the U.S. While visa processes can take years or decades, the parole process may take days or even just hours to complete. While it is often used when rapid admissions are necessary, each parole application must be considered individually and receive sign off from senior government officials. Parole programs all involve various vetting and processing requirements “

And in other news

Edin Garcia has been waiting for five years for a decision on his asylum application. Risking everything, he went to the river to meet his family. (NBC)

“He has not given his partner a hug for almost six years. He left his 6-year-old daughter when she a year old, and his 5-year-old son hadn’t been born yet; they only know each other from video calls. The mother and children have tried to cross the border twice but were sent back, first under former President Donald Trump and again just a few weeks ago. 

“Desperate and in debt to pay for the crossings, Galeano said he saw no alternative but to travel to the border himself — and avoid at all costs the U.S. Border Patrol finding his family, prosecuting them and expelling them without evaluating asylum options, as has been the case for many since the pandemic started.” 

Immigrants at the border have long suffered from a Border Patrol culture of abuse. (NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice)

Due Process Denied,’ a new joint report from Kino Border Initiative (KBI) and NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, documents patterns of abuse by the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency in the Nogales sector.  … The abuses range from migrants being denied due process, such as not given an opportunity to seek asylum or destruction of documentation, to outright physical violence.” 

One example from the report, of an incident that happened on July 5, 2021: 

“At the Tucson border facility, the woman approached an agent asking how they should apply for asylum and informing him that her son has a medical condition and needs medical care. She showed him the documents (a diagnosis, x-rays, etc.) to prove that her son was in need and that he needed surgery within the next two months. The agent took the documents and threw them in the thrash. When she went to retrieve them from the trash, he took them again and told her “they belong in the trash.” When she protested, he became angry and told her to go away and gave her a sleeping mat. The mat was soaking wet so that she could not use it. She never got her documents back. Hours later, she and the children were expelled to Nogales, Sonora”

Often without warning, often after assuring families of safety, the Trump administration separated parents and children and deported the parents. What kind of reparations do we owe these traumatized families? (Washington Post)

Negotiations currently underway between the Biden administration and the American Civil Liberties Union will largely determine what the government owes those families. So far, the administration has primarily focused on physical reunification of parents and children.

“But the government’s obligation does not end there. It must also provide the families it forcibly tore apart with the security, services and resources they need to rebuild their lives….

Under measures established by President Biden’s task force on reuniting families, deported parents are allowed back into the United States for just three years. After that there are no guarantees — so families exist in legal limbo. Peren worries constantly that she will again be separated from Yovany, detained and deported. For parents who were separated from their children and never left the United States, the path to permanent lawful status is equally elusive.”

Catholic Charities in the Rio Grande Valley is still in business, thanks to a judge’s ruling blocking Governor Greg Abbott’s latest attack. (Crux)

“A state judge has halted an order by Texas Governor Greg Abbott barring non-government vehicles from transporting migrants. This paves the way for Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley and other organizations to continue their work.

“U.S. District Judge Kathleen Cardone found in her Aug. 26 ruling that Abbott’s order allowing the Texas Department of Public Safety to act on immigration is a violation of the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which prevents state laws from interfering with immigration enforcement by the federal government.”

The Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota is one of 344 organizations that sent a letter calling on President Biden to stop deportations to Haiti. We need to send aid, not deportees, to rebuild after natural and political disaster. (The Hill)

“Haiti was hit by an earthquake on Aug. 14 that destroyed around 120,000 homes, killed 2,200 people and injured another 12,000.

“Haiti, which has long been the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, was still reeling from the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse on July 7 when the earthquake hit.

“Still, deportation flights to the country have continued, according to the letter’s signatories, with at least 130 people deported to the country since Moïse’s assassination, including some infants.” 

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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