Immigration News: May 18, 2022

White, two-story building with yellow awnijng
Centro de Recursos para Migrantes

The Centro de Recursos para Migrantes, or Migrant Resource Center, a two-story building just outside the gate of the border wall at Agua Prieta, helps migrants who are expelled back to Mexico. Many U.S. religious groups send volunteers to help the migrants who come there. Sister Judy Bourg is one of those volunteers.

[Global Sisters Report] “At 1 a.m. on a late October day, Sr. Judy Bourg’s alarm goes off in the School Sisters of Notre Dame house in Douglas, Arizona. She marshals her three guests, who want to know about her ministry, to get ready for the 10-minute drive through the U.S. border checkpoint and on to Agua Prieta, Mexico. …

“Somewhere nearby dogs start to howl as Bourg walks out to the border gate at 2:30 a.m. as a U.S. Border Patrol bus drops off some 30 returnees on the U.S. side. They step over into Mexico and Bourg moves in to welcome them.

“She invites them to the center for food and a warm place to rest. The migrants, all men in their 20s and 30s, shiver in the declining temperatures. A volunteer doles out socks, a blanket or clothing to the men, who wait patiently in line for coffee and food. Later in the day, other groups of expelled migrants, some of whom are women, arrive. The center receives 100-200 expelled migrants each day.

“Exhausted from their ordeal, they go to the second floor to crash on cots, look for space in the 300-square-foot main room downstairs or huddle outside to stay warm.”

In an interview with Global Sisters Report, Sister Judy Bourg tells stories of some of the migrants she has helped at the Agua Prieta center, including the story of Samuel, an older man helped into the center by two younger men.

[Global Sisters Report] “They gave him water, electrolytes and pain medicine. They helped him with coffee and a sandwich. I would check in on them when I could.

“At first, I thought that they were relatives or friends, but they were not. They were from Puebla, and Samuel was from Guerrero. After Samuel shattered his ankle in the desert, a diagnosis from the hospital where he went when we called the Red Cross, these young men stayed with him and helped him walk until they were all picked up by Border Patrol.

“I knew these young men had given up their dream to reach their family in the U.S. in order to help Samuel, whom they did not know. He surely would have died. This type of generosity and concern occurs more often than we know. I was truly moved to see the care these young men had for a stranger.” 

And in other news

Sara’s brother is still in Afghanistan and still in danger. The Taliban are hunting him because he worked with the United States. That puts his family in danger, too. Sara has filed humanitarian parole applications for five family members. She filed six months ago and has heard nothing.

[ABC 10] “[T]he price was hefty; it costs $575 to file a single Humanitarian Parole application.

“According to the United States Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS), since July 2021, they’ve received more than 44,500 requests for Humanitarian Parole from Afghan nationals.

“That’s more than $25.5 million they’ve collected in application fees.

“As of March 2022, they’ve denied approximately 2,250 — while approving only 200. 

“That means USCIS has made nearly $1.3 million in denying Afghans Humanitarian Parole applications, while approving less than half a percent – specifically 0.45%.”

Often immigration is framed as people who want something from the United States: physical safety, freedom, economic security. The often-overlooked other side of immigration is what the United States wants and needs from immigrants. 

[Real Clear Markets] “At least in the short term, the United States needs foreign workers to meet the growing demand for high-skilled labor. As the House Republican 2020 China Task Force Report noted, nearly 60 percent of PhD holders in STEM fields are foreign-born. 

“Semiconductor manufacturing in particular—the centerpiece of USICA—desperately requires high-skilled immigrant labor. One study from the Center for Security and Emerging Technologyfound that USICA investments would result in 19 percent employment growth for high-skilled engineering talent. The report further notes that filling this gap will require significant amounts of new ‘experienced, high-skilled foreign talent.’” 

The “replacement theory” propounded by Tucker Carlson and some Republicans says Democrats are bringing in immigrants to replace (white, Christian) U.S. citizen voters. That’s false and ridiculous on many levels.

[Washington Post] “There is not a deliberate effort to bring immigrants to the country to “replace” native-born White Americans. But, it’s important to note, it is also not the case that 1) immigrants are rapidly being granted citizenship, 2) immigrants are outnumbering births or 3) most new births in the United States are among immigrants.

“In other words, “replacement theory” is wrong both as a conspiracy theory and in the sanitized way that the right tries to leverage it politically. …

“In 2020, the government’s data suggest that newly naturalized citizens had been lawful permanent residents for more than seven years before gaining that status. Meaning that they had gotten their green cards in 2013 and only in 2020 had been able to become citizens.”

“Documented Dreamers” came to the United States as children, brought by parents with work visas. They are here legally, but only until they turn 21. Then their visa status as children expires, and they have no legal way to remain in the country where they have grown up, been educated, worked, paid taxes, and lived for most of their lives. If their parents get green cards before they turn 21, the children are included. Quotas mean decades-long waits for green cards for many, and that means children age out before their parents get green cards. 

[KQED] “Here in the U.S., turning 21 is usually a reason to celebrate. But for 200,000 young people, adulthood catapults them into a bizarre legal limbo thanks to the Immigration Act of 1990.

“That’s what happened to Eti Sinha and her twin sister, Eva. When they turned 21, they “aged out” of their parents’ family green card application. …

“As children, they had been dependents, riding on their father’s temporary visa status and, later, his family application for a green card, for the right to live and work in the U.S. more or less indefinitely. When they became adults, the federal government considered Eva and Eti foreign nationals. …

“‘Our parents applied in 2011, when we were in middle school,’ said Eva. ‘You know, they still don’t have their green card today.'”

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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