Need some encouraging news? People in the United States are opening their doors to Afghan refugees. Literally. They are also donating to refugee resettlement agencies, gathering furniture and supplies, and organizing classes to bring the new arrivals together with their new neighbors. (ABC)

“​​Kenneth and Adi Martinez have an extra bedroom in the home they share outside of Seattle with their 6-month-old son and 3-year-old daughter….

“The Martinezes opened their extra bedroom to a family of four who left Afghanistan with all of their belongings packed in a few bags. The mother is pregnant with her third child….

“The Martinezes said their Christian faith as well as their own experience motivated them to help. The couple immigrated to the United States from Mexico in 2011 when Kenneth Martinez was offered a job with Microsoft.,,,

“‘Little things like this hopefully make you feel like you made the right decision and you’re in the right place and it gives you hope, and that’s what we all need,” [AirBnB host Cameron Steele] said. “[Afghan refugees arriving in the U.S.] is a challenging thing for a lot of people — both for people moving here and for people feeling like people are coming into their communities — but it’s part of the American dream and the foundation of who we are as a country, as a people.'” 

Good advice for every day of the year. (MinnPost)

“In a world where so much is outside our power to change, there is one constant. Each one of us has the opportunity to expand hospitality and to promote appreciative understanding of others in our own local community. It is empowering to know that our personal example has the potential to inspire others to think differently. Welcome a new neighbor. Support refugees. Refrain from sharing information on social media that may be from dubious sources, or which reinforces stereotypes of others and invokes hate and violence. If you are a teacher or student, be aware that Muslim youth report a significant increase in hateful comments and physical abuse on Sept. 11 every year.” 

And in other news

Yatta Kiazolu became a U.S. citizen through LRIFA, the Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act (LRIFA). She wants to tell other Liberians about it, and encourage them to take action before LRIFA expires. (San Diego Union-Tribune)

“After almost 24 years living in the United States, I finally became eligible for a green card in late 2019 under the Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act. This momentous piece of legislation is the first program establishing a new pathway to citizenship that has passed Congress in decades. Despite its significance, the program has been overlooked by the larger immigrant rights movement and, perhaps as a result, sorely underserved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

“As of April, out of a possible 10,000 beneficiaries, only 3,248 applications had been received, and 666 applications approved, ahead of the application deadline in December.” 

Pundits and anonymous sources have lots of explanations for a drop in numbers that is different from other years. (NBC)

“As of Friday, the 21-day average of immigrants stopped crossing the U.S.-Mexico border by Customs and Border Protection was 6,177 per day, down from 7,275 in mid-August…

“CBP has not publicly released its August apprehension numbers, but they are expected to fall below July’s 21-year high. That rise triggered DHS to deploy Immigration and Customs Enforcement to begin processing newly arrived migrants in an effort to alleviate overcrowding at border stations.” 

The Biden administration created a “Dedicated Docket” to speed up processing of asylum applications and make the process fairer. So far, that doesn’t seem to be working. (TRAC-Syracuse University)

“As of August 31, 2021, Immigration Court records indicate that a total of 16,713 individuals comprising approximately 6,000 families are now assigned to this program….

“But alongside the growing number of asylum-seekers assigned to the new Dedicated Docket, new questions emerge about whether these cases will be completed fairly and within the promised timeline, whether Immigration Judges will be able to manage large Dedicated Docket caseloads, and whether the Court is reliably tracking these cases as promised….

“Overall, half of the currently scheduled initial master hearings are not being held until after mid-November 2021, and fully one in ten are not currently scheduled until mid-February 2022.

” In addition, these hearings are largely to be held via video. Only eleven percent of all scheduled hearings are set as in-person hearings.” 

The Texas governor’s attacks on migrants keep falling flat. The latest: Texas prosecutors are dismissing trespass cases, and ICE doesn’t want custody of the newly-released migrants. (Texas Tribune)

“Last week, after nearly two months and hundreds of trespassing jailings under the new border arrest initiative, Val Verde County Attorney David Martinez dismissed dozens of cases against migrants “in the interest of justice.” He later explained that he was following what the state’s top cop told legislators last month: Police on the border want to target dangerous criminals, not the many migrants who are fleeing hardships or seeking asylum.

“Court documents show that over two days of virtual court hearings for more than 70 migrant arrestees, Martinez dropped 40 cases …

“‘[DPS Director Steve McCraw] said we’re not looking for people who are crossing the river and then looking for law enforcement officers to turn themselves in. We are looking for the ones who are getting away from us,’ Martinez, a Democrat, said after the hearings. ‘I listened to that.’…

“With court dockets few and far between in single-judge counties, that meant most of the dozens of men whose cases were dismissed last week had already been in prison for weeks.”

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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