Immigration News from October 22-24, 2021

One good news story to begin:  CLUES celebrates the Minnesotano continuation of the Mexican Muralist Movement, on the 40th anniversary of CLUES and the 100th anniversary of the muralist movement. The exhibit at CLUES includes 40 works of art by Latino artists in Minnesota. 

The rest of the news over the weekend is not as positive. A new Human Rights First report says more than 7,000 people have been attacked, kidnapped, robbed, trafficked for sexual exploitation, extorted, or subject to other attacks after being returned to Mexico by the Biden administration under the Title 42 “public health” bar to all immigrants. They are victimized by cartels and also by Mexican police and immigration authorities.

(CNBC) “One Honduran woman, for example, was raped and sold to a cartel by Mexican immigration officers after being expelled by the Department of Homeland Security to the city of Juarez, Mexico.

“A Salvadoran family was also kidnapped and held captive by a cartel in a storage room for 20 days immediately after the department expelled them to Mexico.

“Another woman was robbed of $500 by Mexican immigration officers after she was expelled by the department and returned to Mexico.”  

Abuse of asylum seekers happens inside the United States as well as beyond our borders. Sometimes it comes from the very officers charged with administering U.S. asylum law. 

(New York Times) “A Honduran man seeking a haven in the United States said a Border Patrol officer told him that he would not be granted asylum — a determination the officer was not authorized to make — and when the migrant refused to sign paperwork, the officer said he would be sent to jail, where he would be raped….

“In a separate account of misconduct, a migrant told an asylum officer that after she tried to run from a Border Patrol officer along the southwestern border in April 2017, “he caught me and threw me to the ground in a very aggressive way. And he pulled me up three or four times, and kept slamming me on the ground.” She said the officer also grabbed her by the hair and kicked her in the rib cage and lower pelvis, causing her to bleed….

“These and other accounts are among 160 reports filed by federal asylum officers from 2016 to 2021, relaying details of abuse that asylum seekers described experiencing during interactions with border officials and while in U.S. custody….

“In addition to complaints about physical, emotional and sexual abuse, migrants said in some of the reports that they were not asked whether they feared persecution; that they were told they could not request asylum; that they were pressured with threats to sign documents; and, in a few cases, that they had their documents torn up by border officers.”

A leaked government report shows extreme abuses under the Trump administration’s  inherently-abusive Remain-in-Mexico policy. 

(BuzzFeed) “A 6-year-old Honduran girl described as having “crippled” legs. An 11-year-old boy with severe epilepsy and convulsions that prompted vomiting and memory loss. A Honduran woman who cannot hear or speak. Separated members of families. A woman with a serious precancerous disease causing bleeding and pain.

“These were among the people forced into a controversial Trump administration program that aimed to stop the flow of asylum-seekers from crossing into the US via the southern border, according to a January internal government report obtained by BuzzFeed News that was addressed to senior leaders at the Department of Homeland Security. Some were later able to get out of the program and enter the US while others were not.”

And in other news

No asylum. No  jobs. No permission to leave the city. Thousands of migrants, confined to Tapachula for weeks or months, are breaking out. 

(ABC) “Over 2,000 migrants, mainly Central Americans, began walking out of a city in southern Mexico on Saturday where they have essentially been trapped.

“The migrants walked along a highway leading west and north toward the U.S. border, and pushed past a line of state police who were trying to stop them.”

Trump-appointed judges just removed COVID rules that protected immigrant detainees. 

(The Hill) “A 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel on Wednesday overturned a lower court order that forced immigration detention officials to monitor and sometimes release detainees who were at high risk of COVID-19 infections.

“Two Trump-appointed judges ruled that the previous injunction had overreached in forcing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials to track and establish guidelines for releasing high-risk detainees.

House Democrats called on the Senate to include a path to citizenship in the budget reconciliation bill, regardless of rulings by the parliamentarian.

(Roll Call) “In a Wednesday letter to Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, the House lawmakers argued that the Senate’s presiding officer has the legal authority to issue a binding decision on a parliamentarian’s advisory opinion. The presiding officer’s decision could then only be overruled with a supermajority, according to the letter….

“After the news conference, [Illinois Congressmember Jesús “Chuy”] Garcia said in an interview that he hopes Senate Democrats, while awaiting a decision on Plan C, view the parliamentarian’s first two decisions as a ‘wake-up call’ to take action if needed. He noted that Senate Republicans fired the parliamentarian in 2001 after an adverse ruling.  

“’That should be a wake-up call for Democrats in the Senate that the parliamentarian is simply an adviser, and do as Republicans have done in the past: Either put aside that ruling or fire the parliamentarian, rule that something is in order for consideration by a simple majority vote. That can get us immigration reform,’ Garcia said.” 

Farmers want an expansion of the H-2A temporary visa program for immigrant farm workers, and visas for year-around farm workers as well. Immigrant workers want any change to come with more protections. 

(PRI) “Some rural areas in the US are facing an agricultural labor shortage made worse by the ongoing pandemic. More farmers are hiring seasonal foreign workers each year — they say that immigration and guest worker visa reforms are their only hope for survival. But the migrant workers behind these jobs want lawmakers and employers to consider their experiences, too, before making any sweeping changes….

“But there are workers’ rights groups worried about what could happen if the program grows.

Workers are often already vulnerable to exploitation, because they’re tied to one employer per season, said Bruce Goldstein, president at Farmworker Justice, a national nonprofit that works on farmworkers’ rights.

“’All too often, they’re not paid what they’re told they’re going to be paid,’ Goldstein said, ‘But if they complain, they risk being fired and deported. So, they generally don’t complain and they keep working, and then they go home at the end of the season.’”

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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