Immigration News from December 7, 2021

Tonight’s news starts with two positive stories. First, the Senate confirmed Chris Magnus to head the Customs and Border Protection, which has gone without a permanent head since 2019. He will have the tough job of transforming the troubled Border Patrol. 

(Wall Street Journal) “Mr. Magnus, 61 years old, gained a reputation among fellow law-enforcement officials during his stints as police chief in Tucson and in Richmond, Calif., as a savvy go-between among police officers and the communities they serve. He brought community policing techniques and other community-oriented programs to both departments.”

Some good news comes in a press release from the National Association of Immigration Judges: 

(NAIJ) “In a major reversal, the Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), which administers the U.S. immigration courts, has agreed to a settlement with the National Association of Immigration Judges to again recognize NAIJ as the exclusive union representative and collective bargaining agent for the nation’s more than 500 immigration judges. Today’s announcement puts to an end an effort begun in 2019 by the DOJ, at the direction of the Trump administration, to strip away union rights from the nation’s immigration judges.”

And in other news

At the Rice Street gardens, Bhutanese, Hmong, Karen, and Nepalese gardeners join local white, Black and West African gardeners. In a multi-generational project, they have built community and hope. 

(Sahan Journal) “The garden has about 260 plots, and is used by a diverse group of people from the surrounding communities. Many of them are elders. But Brown brings her two young children as well, to show them where vegetables like hot chilis and Asian spinach —common in Nepali dishes— come from, and let them learn from their grandmother. …

“But the future of the garden is at risk due to a $2.5 million purchase agreement that the owner, St. Paul Regional Water Services, reached with PAK Properties, a local developer, last October. The firm has until the end of 2021 to gather financing for its plans to build affordable housing on the site, the water department said. It’s unclear whether PAK Properties will go ahead with the plan, but that doesn’t mean the future of the community garden is secure. 

“St. Paul Regional Water Services was upfront about the potential land sale when it allowed the garden to launch in 2016. But now community members and environmental advocacy groups are trying to figure out if there’s a way to keep the garden growing for years to come.” 

Remember that doctor who performed unnecessary hysterectomies and other procedures on immigrant detainees? A new report digs deeper into his violations.

(The Hill) “New details from an investigation into a Georgia-based doctor who performed unwanted hysterectomies on migrant women in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody found the man to be “not competent” and indicated he may have performed unnecessary and invasive procedures on patients to inflate payment from the government….

“’My concern is that he was not competent and simply did the same evaluation and treatment on most patients because that is what he knew how to do, and/or he did tests and treatments that generated a significant amount of reimbursement without benefiting most patients,’ wrote Tony Ogburn, a doctor asked to review Amin’s file as part of a joint investigation by the House Homeland Security Committee and the House Oversight and Reform Committee.” 

Who should pay the costs of reuniting separated families? The question has become a political football, with Republicans denouncing and introducing legislation to bar any payments from the U.S. government–which separated the families. So far the costs of reunification have been borne by the families themselves or by nonprofits. Even the Biden administration’s Family Reunification Task Force is funded by nonprofits, because Congress has not allocated any funding. 

(Time) “Many parents who were deported under Trump without their children are only returning to the U.S. to reunite with them now. Of the roughly 5,500 families separated by U.S. officials under the Trump Administration, some 1,000 were deported while their children remained behind, in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention centers, shelters, or with sponsoring family members. Bringing those parents back to the U.S. is a costly affair—and someone has to pay for it. So far, nonprofits and immigrants themselves, many of whom are deeply impoverished, have shouldered the financial burden of trying to see their mothers, fathers, sons and daughters again.

“The question of whether, and how much, the U.S. government should pay to help reunify families, and whether to compensate people for the trauma they experienced as a result of the family separation policy, is currently playing out behind closed doors, as part of ongoing settlement negotiations in dozens of court cases. While these negotiations are underway, many newly arrived parents reuniting with their children in the U.S. face urgent basic needs—many struggle to afford rent while they wait on work permits. Others say they can’t afford food, medications and other health care costs.” 

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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