Immigration News: June 21, 2022

Remain in Mexico (MPP) was established by Trump to keep asylum seekers out of the country and to speed up processing. Keeping some 71,000 asylum seekers out of the country also limited their ability to find attorneys, to assemble evidence, and even to return for their hearings–all of which speeded up processing, in large part by dismissing or rejecting their asylum claims. Biden tried to end Remain in Mexico, but Republican governors sued, resulting in a court order to continue the program. With 5,000 new asylum seekers ordered to remain in Mexico except for actual immigration court dates, the speed-up of hearings, limited access to attorneys, and extreme rejection rates also continue. 

[Syracuse University TRAC] “Under MPP 1.0, the end result was that less than one percent (0.9%) or just 641 individuals out of the over 71,000 asylum seekers had been successful in obtaining asylum or any other form of relief…..

“The initial evidence from just six months of operation under MPP 2.0 is that history is largely repeating itself. Finding attorneys has again proven difficult. Thus far only 5 percent of those assigned to MPP 2.0 have been able to find representation.” 

High rejection rates are not the only problem with Remain in Mexico, as the program also subjects asylum seekers to extreme danger and violence while they wait in Mexico. Three asylum seekers were kidnapped in April after being forced into the Remain in Mexico program. They were held by their kidnappers with about 20 other migrants, until family paid a ransom. A judge’s decision in a lawsuit brought by Republican governors forced the Biden administration to reinstate the Trump-era Remain in Mexico program. 

[Reuters] “Raul crossed the Rio Grande river into Texas on April 10 after a flight to Mexico from Peru. Ten days later, DHS officials returned him to Nuevo Laredo, a notoriously dangerous city where kidnapping is rife, on the Mexican side of the border across from Laredo, Texas.

“Officials from Nuevo Laredo’s Civil Protection authority, a municipal emergency services department, then drove Raul and two other migrants toward a local shelter. But kidnappers stopped the truck and took the migrants captive to extort their family and friends in the United States for ransom.

“It was not clear to Raul who the kidnappers were, he said.

“In a statement to Reuters, a DHS spokesperson said the kidnapping case highlighted MPP’s “endemic flaws.” The Biden administration cited risks including kidnapping of migrants in its decision to end the Trump-era program.” 

And in other news

Children in the immigration system still get particularly awful treatment. DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said that immigration detention is no place for a child. He’s right– but one of every three people in Border Patrol detention facilities is a child. 

[The Marshall Project] “During their harrowing journey from Venezuela to the Texas border, the three Zaragoza children liked to imagine the refuge they would find when they reached the United States, a place where they would finally be free from hunger and police harassment and could simply be kids. 

“Instead, when they reached the border in March, they were detained — dirty with mud from the Rio Grande and shivering with cold — in frigid cinder block cells. They spent sleepless nights on cement floors, packed in with dozens of other children under the glare of white lights, with agents in green uniforms shouting orders. 

“The siblings were booked by officers who asked questions they didn’t understand and were told to sign documents in English they couldn’t read. Even after their release three days later, they feared the U.S. would never be the haven they had longed for. …

“Drawing on interviews with a total of 25,602 minors, four legal services organizations presented four separate complaints to the civil rights oversight office of the Department of Homeland Security on April 6. Children reported being yelled at, cursed, kicked and shoved by Border Patrol agents. Teenagers said they were badgered by officers who contended they were lying about their age to conceal that they were adults. 

“Many young people said the food was stale and made them sick. Kids with fevers, coughs and stomachaches could not get basic medical care, even during the height of the pandemic. Children were held for days in filthy, sodden clothes after fording the Rio Grande. Toilets and showers lacked privacy, so children were mortified to use them.” 

Unanimously taking one further step toward a city ID on Monday night, the Rochester City Council continued an effort begun in 2019. The next vote on the proposed ordinance is July 18. 

[Rochester Post Bulletin] “If approved, Rochester would join approximately 40 other cities that offer city-issued identification cards for limited purposes defined by the city.

“Northfield became the first Minnesota city to issue a municipal ID last year.

The proposed Rochester ordinance specifically states ‘the purpose of the city identification card is to provide a resident with a means to demonstrate residency within the city in order to access city programs, services, and activities, and to provide a means to substantiate a person’s identity.’ …

“Andy Stehr, Rochester Public Library’s circulation services manager, has said the city-issued cards also would provide a no-cost option for residents who cannot get a state driver’s license, such as physically challenged residents on fixed incomes.

“Plans call for the library to issue the cards at no cost, with a four-year expiration date.” 

40 years ago, Vincent Chin was beaten to death by two white autoworkers who blamed him for competition from Japanese cars. Today, Asian Americans face increasing bigotry and hate crimes. 

[Vox] “The anniversary comes as Asian Americans in the US face an uptick in violence, driven by the same xenophobia that fueled Chin’s killing. In 1982, Chin was killed by two white men upset about the competition US companies faced from Japanese automakers, who sought to pin the blame on him. Since March 2020, there have been more than 10,900 hate incidentsreported to the advocacy group Stop AAPI Hate, including physical attacks and verbal abuse that put the blame on Asian Americans for the spread of Covid-19. 

“Other sources have found similar trends. According to the FBI, hate crimes toward Asian Americans increased 76 percent in 2020 compared to the year before, with another report from the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremismfinding an even larger jump in many large cities in 2021. …

“Today’s surge of anti-Asian violence has its roots in the “forever foreigner” stereotype as well, and has been spurred by anti-China backlash during the pandemic as well as geopolitical trade conflicts. The latter issue is of particular concern: As US economic competition with China grows, many activists and experts fear that xenophobia and anti-Asian sentiment will only worsen..” 

One more reason to end Section 287(g) entirely: it is endorsed by extreme anti-immigrant Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. 

[The Hill] “Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed legislation on Friday that mandates law enforcement agencies in the state overseeing county detention facilities work with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to enforce immigration laws.

The bill requires that those law enforcement agencies ‘enter into a written agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to participate in the 287(g) program,’ according to a press release from DeSantis’ office.” 

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,, 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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