Immigration News from September 13, 2021

Essential workers risked their lives to keep others fed, housed, and cared for during the pandemic. France has given citizenship to these essential workers, in gratitude for their sacrifice. The United States should do no less. (Washington Post)

“Fouad Kerbage checked online nearly every day to see if he was now a French citizen. When he spotted his name in a list of people whose applications got the green light this summer, it capped a long journey for the 33-year-old oncologist….

“Like him, around 12,000 people have just become French, under a special fast-track program for workers standing on the front line of the battle against covid-19.

“They include doctors, nurses, cleaning staff, cashiers and garbage collectors, France’s citizenship minister, Marlène Schiappa, said Thursday.

“’These front-line workers responded to the call of the nation. It is normal for the nation to take a step toward them,’ she added. ‘The country pulled through, thanks to them.’”

In Minnesota, 53,600 people would get a path to citizenship under the plan to open doors to essential workers, Dreamers, and TPS holders are given a path to citizenship. (American Progress)

“As Congress and the Biden administration look to enact a major part of the Build Back Better agenda through the budget reconciliation process, one critical aspect of the House Judiciary Committee’s proposed legislation would put Dreamers, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED)-eligible individuals, and essential workers—including farmworkers—on a pathway to citizenship. The Center for American Progress and the University of California, Davis’ Global Migration Center have previously estimated that doing so would bring big benefits to both the U.S. economy as a whole and ordinary Americans all across the country. Indeed, providing citizenship to these groups would add $1.5 trillion to the U.S. gross domestic product, create 400,000 new jobs, and raise the annual wages of all Americans by an average $600 over the next decade.”

And in other news

Biden said weeks ago that his administration would reopen the Central American Minors (CAM) program, which was begun by Obama and closed down by Trump. The program allows some (but not all) parents who are already in the United States to petition for their children to join them. The process is expected to take 12-14 months. (CBS News)

“The acceptance of new petitions, set to begin Tuesday, will mark the final stage of the Biden administration’s revival of the Central American Minors (CAM) initiative, which U.S. officials have portrayed as a safe and legal alternative to the often dangerous trek migrant children undertake to reach the southern border. …

“During the first stage of the revival of this program, which was terminated by the Trump administration in 2017, the U.S. identified over 3,000 pending cases that had been closed because of the termination, administration officials said on Monday. Over 1,400 cases have been reopened but none of the children have arrived in the U.S. so far, officials added….

“In June, the Biden administration expanded eligibility for the CAM program, allowing parents to petition for their children if they have pending applications for asylum or U visas, which are reserved for victims of serious crimes. Green card holders, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) beneficiaries and others with temporary legal status in the U.S. can also apply.” 

Many asylum seekers were unjustly deported under the Trump administration, including those deported to Mauritania. They deserve a chance to return. (Columbus Dispatch)

“In Ohio, at least 50 asylum seekers were deported to dangerous living conditions in the past four years, according to Maryam Sy, an organizer at the Ohio Immigrant Alliance. Many still have family members here. Lam’s children, for example, all were born in the U.S., and his wife, who is from Kenya, has a pending asylum application.

“More than half of these Ohio deportees came from Mauritania, where Black residents have been stripped of citizenship, detained, tortured, sometimes even killed. But for a variety of reasons that could range from lack of legal representation to judges’ unsympathetic attitudes, they did not receive asylum status, Sy said….

“’President Biden has spoken a lot about rectifying racial injustice, and many of these unjust deportations from the prior administration are against Black and brown immigrants,’ said [Nayna Gupta, associate director of policy at the Chicago-based National Immigrant Justice Center], who recently wrote a policy proposal advising Biden to establish a centralized office to review applications from those seeking to return to the U.S.”

A Star Tribune praised Hennepin County Sheriff Dave Hutchinson’s approach to making immigrants feel safer and encouraging their cooperation with law enforcement. (Star Tribune)

“There are big changes in the way the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office is dealing with both foreign-born inmates and federal immigration officials, and the new policies are welcome and needed.

“Among them: No more phone calls from the sheriff’s office to federal immigration officials, tipping them off to foreign-born inmates due for release. No more office space for Immigration Control and Enforcement (ICE) officials at the jail. No more routine perusal by ICE of booking sheets, looking for immigrants. Inmates will be informed of their rights — and they do have some — in their own language, where they need it, right by the telephones….

“Trust in immigrant communities vanishes if newcomers think any chance encounter with local law enforcement might result in deportation. They avoid contact, which could mean losing an eyewitness to a crime, forgoing valuable information that might have come from the community.” 

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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