Immigration News: May 26, 2022

Republicans in Congress tried but failed to get enough votes to stop new asylum screening procedures. The new procedures are limited, inadequate, and likely to be sabotaged by Border Patrol officers. Still, they are an improvement over the previous lack of screening. 

[San Diego Tribune] “Border officials this week began referring some asylum-seeking families caught crossing the border for special screenings to see if they are likely to be harmed in the countries where they would otherwise be expelled. 

“If a family member “manifests” fear of being sent to the place that officials are planning to expel them, all family members must be screened by asylum officers with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, or the family’s asylum claim must be processed under normal protocols, according to government documents obtained by the Union-Tribune. …

“​​Under U.S. law and international treaty, the United States is normally required to screen migrants in the asylum system to see if they qualify as refugees if they say they are afraid to return to their home countries. But under Title 42, such screenings were skipped.”

Despite continually increasing violence in Haiti, the United States continues to refuse asylum and to expel Haitian asylum seekers back to danger.

[Al Jazeera] “This month, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said violence in Haiti had reached “unimaginable and intolerable levels”. Between April 24 and May 16, at least 92 people who were unaffiliated with gangs were killed in coordinated attacks in Port-au-Prince, the UN reported. The violence — including beheadings, chopping and burning of bodies, and sexual assault — has forced droves of people to leave. …

“On Monday, the day Title 42 was set to end, border patrol officers walked along the brown wall on the San Diego side of the San Ysidro Port of Entry. Facing media cameras lined up next to the wall, Guerline Jozef, cofounder and executive director of the Haitian Bridge Alliance, said 522 people were expelled back to Haiti over the weekend under Title 42. …

“She called it “a death sentence” to send people back to Haiti.”

DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has a single message for immigrants: Don’t come. We don’t want you here. 

[The Hill] “’The restrictions at our southwest border have not changed. Single adults and families encountered will continue to be expelled, where appropriate, under Title 42, and those who are unable to establish a legal basis to remain will be removed,’ Mayorkas reiterated in his Wednesday statement.

“’The bottom line is that U.S. borders are not open,’ he said firmly. ‘Do not come to the border. Do not put your life at risk only to be sent back.’”

And in other news

What’s happening to the migrants bused to DC by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, in a stunt meant to embarrass the Biden administration? Most are finding welcome and support, through a private mutual aid network, with neither local nor federal government helping. (Want to support the effort? Here’s a link: <https://linktr.ee/dctxsolidarity22&gt;)

[DCist] “Instead, when Abbot announced his plans in April, a core group of about 20 D.C. activists set to work creating an emergency aid operation. For nearly two months now, the small group of volunteers has been stretched to the limit: They meet buses arriving at Union Station at all hours of the morning and night; they provide medical care and organize transportation for people leaving the city; and they feed, clothe, and even shelter people in their own homes.

“The organizers are all rooted in D.C.’s mutual aid network, which has existed for years but took on a new reach in 2020 amid a raging pandemic and social justice protests that followed the murder of George Floyd. …

“As organizers have expanded their efforts in recent weeks, they’ve teamed up with a local church, a coffeehouse, and a hotel so that migrants have a comfortable place to rest and a warm meal after their 33-to-50 hour bus ride. (For safety and privacy reasons, DCist/WAMU is not naming these locations). They’ve coordinated through regular meetings and various messaging services, like Signal and WhatsApp. Organizers juggle multiple threads as they work to connect new arrivals with whatever they need: a bus ticket to another destination, temporary housing, new shoes, or a cell phone. …

“The group, which is led by Black and brown femmes, operates on the tenets of mutual aid, a generations-old practice of reciprocal, community-based support that often picks up where governments or big-name nonprofits fall short.”

Thirteen applicants for U.S. citizenship sued because of incredible and unreasonable delays in processing their applications. Their experience is only too common, as citizenship applications get delayed for years, with paperwork literally locked away in a limestone cave underneath Kansas City. 

[Wall Street Journal] “Ali Mohammed has been waiting for years to become a U.S. citizen.

“A Kurdish refugee from northern Iraq, Mr. Mohammed moved to the U.S. in 2015 and now works for the College Board in Miami Beach, Fla. As soon as he was eligible in April 2020, he applied for citizenship. His request has been stalled ever since. …

“The suit, which is being filed by the American Immigration Council on behalf of the applicants in the U.S. District Court in Boston, follows a Wall Street Journal report in January that found citizenship applications were languishing because the immigration paperwork needed to complete them was locked inside a federal storage facility that had all but closed for Covid-19.

 The United States is now admitting only Ukrainians sponsored through Uniting for Ukraine, so the refugee camp in Mexico is closing. 

[ABC] “Some 1,000 Ukrainians passed through the camp during the month that it was open on the east side of Mexico City. Now, only about 120 remain and 98% of those already have sponsors lined up in the United States and expect to soon travel there, said Vlad Fedoryshyn, director of United with Ukraine, a nongovernmental organization, that collaborated with the Mexican government to establish the camp. …

“The program, Uniting for Ukraine, was announced by the U.S. government April 21. Four days later, Ukrainians showing up at the U.S.-Mexico border were no longer exempted from a pandemic-related rule that has been used to quickly expel migrants without an opportunity to seek asylum for the past two years.”

From the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer to the massacre of Black shoppers in Buffalo, NY by a white nationalist, race permeates U.S. society. Black immigrants have to deal with this reality. 

[BBC] “Although the majority of black Americans are the descendants of enslaved people brought to the US, one in 10 – close to five million in total – were not born in the US but came here to find a better life, according to the latest data from Pew Research Center. …

“And while many are happy with their adoptive home, Floyd’s death and other incidents of violence against black people have shaken the faith of some in the ideals that America represents.

“The death of Patrick Lyoya, a 26-year-old who escaped to the US from the Democratic Republic of Congo with his family nearly eight years ago, is another recent case that has struck a chord.

“Lyoya was fatally shot in the back of the head by a police officer in Grand Rapids, Michigan, during a routine traffic stop last month.”

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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