Immigration News from October 29, 2021

Most immigration news coverage today focuses on two stories that could be expected as pre-election talking points for Republicans: the caravan making its way north from Tapachula and large amounts reportedly under consideration as compensation for separated families.

The caravan comprises a few thousand people. They are among tens of thousands of migrants virtually imprisoned by Mexican authorities at the border. Those in the caravan have broken through the law enforcement and/or military cordon to make their way north. Their destinations vary: with some saying Mexico City is their final destination, others heading for the United States, and most just trying to get anywhere that they can work.

The Wall Street Journal headlined a story about proposed $450,000 per person payments to members of families separated at the border by the Trump administration. No final figure has actually been agreed by anyone, and no government official is commenting on numbers. Perhaps more important than cash payments are the parallel negotiations for families to be reunited inside the United States, instead of shipping separated children out of the country. Here are three articles covering this story, not including the WSJ article, which is behind a paywall.

(Washington Post) “Separate from the ACLU lawsuit, attorneys and advocates had filed other claims over the separations even before Biden took office. Those cases were often handled individually or in small groups by pro bono attorneys and filed under the Federal Tort Claims Act.

“But the Biden administration began considering a standardized way to handle the lawsuits, offering families compensation depending on trauma the parents and children suffered while in U.S. government custody.

“The ACLU and other lawyers said in an Oct. 20 court filing that they had made ‘meaningful progress toward settlement’ and asked the judge to stay proceedings through Dec. 13 so negotiations could continue.

“Among the plaintiffs in one ACLU lawsuit filed in 2019 in Arizona are two children, ages 7 and 8, who sobbed as they were pulled from their mother, a 7-year-old girl who fell asleep and woke up to discover that her father had vanished, and a 13-year-old girl handcuffed on Christmas Day to control her while her mother was taken away.”

(NBC) “Thousands of migrant parents and children separated from each other at the U.S. border by Trump administration policies may soon be eligible for hundreds of thousands of dollars per person in compensation, according to three sources familiar with ongoing negotiations in a lawsuit brought on behalf of separated families.

“The Wall Street Journal first reported on Thursday that the Biden administration is in talks to offer separated migrant parents and children around $450,000 per person. That would mean that if a parent and a child were separated at the border, together they would be eligible for a combined payment of $900,000.”

(New York Times) “In one set of negotiations, the lawyers have alleged that the United States government, including the Homeland Security Department, had wronged the families by separating parents from children, and that they should be entitled to financial compensation. In parallel negotiations, the A.C.L.U. is trying to reach a settlement with the government that would provide, among other things, a pathway to remain in the United States and social services for the families….

“The family separation policy was a key component of the Trump administration’s crackdown on unauthorized immigration. The goal was to create a powerful deterrent for those hoping to come to the United States — and it affected even families who may have been legally entitled to asylum due to persecution in their home countries.”

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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