Immigration News from October 20, 2021

Individuals, religious groups, communities across the country welcome Afghan evacuees in many different ways, but Congress needs to do its part and change the law so that they have a path to citizenship.

(Roll Call) “On Sept. 30, President Joe Biden signed a continuing resolution to keep the U.S. government funded until early December. The spending bill includes $6.3 billion to help resettle a projected 95,000 Afghan evacuees through 2022….

“But Afghans in the U.S. still face unique challenges, chief among which is the lack of any clear pathway to permanent legal status.

“If we want Afghan immigrants and refugees to integrate as successfully as possible, Congress must go a step further and allow evacuees to be processed securely but quickly and, ultimately, obtain lawful permanent residence.” 

Dr. Helen Delfeld is one of the people working to help Afghan evacuees find places to live and employment. The Minnesotan taught at a university in Bangladesh until the pandemic sent her home to Minneapolis. 

(Fox 9) “After leaving Bangladesh, she says she kept in touch with the 148 Afghan women part of a program at the university over social media. FOX 9 is not naming the university or the program out of concern for the former students turned refugee’s safety. …

“Nearly every one of the 148 women that were in Dr. Delfeld’s program ended up as a few of the nearly 13,000 refugees being housed at Fort McCoy military base in Wisconsin. …

“So far, Dr. Delfeld has secured living arrangements for 25 of the women. Right now, she’s trying to find entry-level jobs that would allow the women to use their college degrees and have opportunity for advancement. 

“‘They’re clearly capable of it, they clearly would thrive in Minnesota and we want to give them the opportunity to do so,’ Dr. Delfeld said. 

“If you’re interested in learning more about how Dr. Delfeld is helping Afghan refugees or know of career opportunities please contact her at welcome@AfghanMN.com “

And in other news

As a fashion designer, Jocelyn Yang aims to honor her Hmong heritage and her family’s refugee journey, and also to be inclusive of all body sizes and shapes.

(Sahan Journal) “A year or so into her career, Yang has brought her vision to running a small business, Jocii Designs, which features jewelry and accessories creations. Currently, Yang’s webstore offers a small collection of earrings, including a pair of laser-cut acrylic designs, with a Hmong motif. Another pair includes an acrylic pattern that Yang related to “unity,” above a deep purple tassel. 

“Yang also plans to produce upcycled garments: generally, thrifted pieces that she’s re-cut, with added fabrics, embroidery, and other elements. …

“Anupama Pasricha, a professor of fashion design and merchandising at  St. Kate’s, said that Yang’s attention to Hmong cultural elements, plus her eye toward inclusive sizes, puts her in a unique space. 

“’She empowers the wearer. The fashion industry is so focused on standard sizes and underserves most of us. She demonstrates respect, strength, and compassion,’ Pasricha said.”

Advocates walked out of a meeting with DHS officials, saying they would not cooperate in the pretense of a kinder, gentler Remain-in-Mexico program.

(Politico) “Advocates asked for time before the beginning of a video meeting Saturday morning with several Biden administration officials, including people from the Department of Homeland Security officials and the White House Domestic Policy Council’s Esther Olavarria. The activists read a statement accusing the administration of ‘playing politics with human lives’ and said they could no longer ‘come into these conversations in good conscience.’…

“’I cannot stand one more meeting of them pretending,’ said Ariana Saludares, a 40-year old advocate from the New Mexico-based Colores United, who was in the meeting….

“A lot of anger also focuses on the administration’s continued use and defense of Title 42, a public health order first used under Trump to expel migrants at the border over concerns about Covid-19.”

The San Pedro community gardens in Los Angeles allow generations of immigrants to carry on family traditions.

(New York Times) “‘Most of the people who garden here used to live in Mexico in small towns and on ranches, where they worked the land for other people who own the fields — we call them campesinos,’ [Raúl Laly Fernández] said. ‘And so when they came over here, well, now they are working in the city. For them this land means a lot because working with the soil here, they feel like they are back home.’…

“Johny Cracchiolo, who immigrated from Palermo, Italy, with his parents in 1968, took over his plot from his father, who died 23 years ago. ‘This is my home away from home,’ he said, nearly tearing up. His father, he said, had farmed the land for 30 years. “So this plot has been my father and I for 50 years.”

“Imelda Ladia shares a similar family history. After retiring in the Philippines, Ms. Ladia’s father migrated to Los Angeles to join his daughters. In time, he wanted to return to the Philippines, but Ms. Ladia tried to give him a reason to stay…

“Mr. Vigueras also cherishes the gardening community’s diversity. ‘What I think is beautiful here is all the ethnicities in this garden, the diverse cultures that people come from, and that we’re all sharing what we grow,’ he said. ‘You have Italians growing Mexican chiles, other people growing Italian eggplant.’

“’We are cross-pollinating,’ he said..” 

The COVID-19 pandemic, perceptions of more lenient policies under the Biden administration, and the pull of a tight U.S. labor market combined to drive border crossing numbers higher in 2021. The higher numbers include individuals who are counted multiple times as they keep trying to return after being caught and expelled. 

(Washington Post) “Mexico was the single largest source of illegal migration during the 2021 fiscal year, as the Border Patrol arrested more than 608,000 Mexican nationals. …

“The second-largest grouping was composed of migrants from outside Mexico and Central America whom CBP categorized as “other,” including Haitians, Venezuelans, Ecuadorans, Cubans, Brazilians and migrants from dozens of other nations. They accounted for 367,000 arrests.

“They were followed by migrants from Honduras (309,000), Guatemala (279,000) and El Salvador (96,000).

“More than 1.3 million migrants have been taken into custody along the southern border in the nine months since Biden took office, including 192,000 last month, the latest CBP figures show.”

The Trump administration set quotas for immigration judges, disregarding the complexity of cases and the need for gathering evidence. The Biden administration just abolished those quotas. 

(CNN) “Immigration judges — employees of the Justice Department — are charged with following the policies set by each administration. They ultimately decide cases on whether an immigrant can remain in the United States or will be removed. Judges argued that the quotas valued expediency over due process and was not an a

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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