Immigration News: June 30, 2022

Photo by Phil Roeder, published under Creative Commons license

The Supreme Court decision to uphold the Biden administration’s authority to end Remain in Mexico is a victory, albeit a limited victory. Even if lower court rulings follow the law and allow termination of Remain in Mexico, the Title 42 bar to asylum seekers remains in place, still under litigation and with many in Congress seeking to make the bar permanent. 

From December 2021 through May 2022, the Biden administration sent slightly more than 5,000 asylum seekers back under the Remain in Mexico rule. During the same time period, more than a million migrants were expelled under Title 42. 

[CBS] “In a 5-4 opinion written by Chief Justice John Roberts, the high court rejected arguments by Republican-led states seeking to force officials to keep the policy, ruling the decision to end it did not violate a 1996 migrant detention law and that a second memo terminating the program should have been considered by lower courts.  …

“Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling sent the case back to lower courts to decide whether Mayorkas’ second attempt to end the policy followed administrative rules. Representatives for DHS did not respond to requests for comment. 

“The Trump administration used the MPP policy to return 70,000 migrants to Mexico, many of whom lived in squalid encampments near the U.S. border. Human rights workers recorded hundreds of reported attacks against migrants forced to wait in Mexico, including in areas the U.S. government warns Americans not to visit because of widespread crime and kidnappings.”

Austin Kocher summarizes the latest round of Remain-in-Mexico on the ground, and noes the uncertain future: 

“Under the court-ordered re-implementation of Remain in Mexico (i.e. MPP 2.0), TRAC recently found the following:

• From December 2021 through May 2022, over 5,114 asylum seekers have been required to remain in Mexico under the current implementation of the MPP 2.0 while awaiting their Immigration Court hearings.

• The monthly number of migrants added to MPP has grown from 129 in December 2021 to 2,008 in May 2022

• Only 1,109 of the 5,114 cases in MPP 2.0 have been completed

• Only 27 people have received asylum so far, or 2.4% of the completed cases. Over the same time period, 50% of asylum seekers who were not in MPP were successful.

• 81% of the 129 cases added to MPP in December 2021 had been completed, which nearly meets the administration’s 180-day timeline.

• The immigration court in Brownsville, Texas, has the most MPP cases: 2,752 in total. That’s more than half of all MPP cases.

• Only 5% of asylum-seekers in MPP 2.0 have found attorneys. …

“Finally, The future for asylum seekers currently under MPP cases remains uncertain, as additional legal developments unfold. Over 5,100 asylum seekers were added to MPP 2.0 since December and most of those cases are still pending. It’s unclear what—if anything—the Biden administration will do or can do for those individuals if, in fact, they are able to effectively wind down the program. The last time around, the Biden administration permitted people with pending cases to enter the country, but whether they will do that again (and whether they will be sued again if they do) remains a question.”

In advance of the court’s ruling, immigration advocates told of clients who were forced into the Remain in Mexico program.

[Border Report] “Crystal Sandoval, director of strategic initiatives at Las Americans Immigrant Advocacy Center read letters from clients detailing violence suffered in Juarez, Mexico, after U.S. immigration officials placed them on MPP and sent them across the border.

“’We were thrown to the streets without the opportunity to state why we were there, why we left our country,’ Sandoval spoke on behalf of a 37-year-old woman from Honduras. ‘In Mexico, I was met with violence, cruelty and worse. I was kidnapped, trafficked and raped. My 9-year-old daughter was witness to this and she herself was sexually abused.’

“U.S. officials took the woman, Azalia, out of MPP after her daughter escaped the kidnappers and advocates helped the mother and child. The two are in the United States now.

“Sandoval quoted clients saying MPP is a lie because it does not protect them, but rather exposes them to crime, scorn, hunger and homelessness in Juarez, which a Mexico City think-tank that tracks homicides worldwide last year named as the sixth most dangerous city in the world.” 

And in other news

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, continues competing with Texas Governor Greg Abbott for the Biggest Bigot Prize, the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. His latest: a grand jury to investigate smuggling across the southern border–a border that does not touch Florida. 

[WFLA] “When signing a bill handling immigration restrictions and response, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced a petition to impanel a grand jury focused on illegal immigration and human smuggling. The Florida Supreme Court has now granted that request.

“At the time in Pensacola, DeSantis described the statewide grand jury as being needed to ‘examine international human smuggling networks that bring illegal aliens across the southern border and ultimately to states like Florida.'”

Jesse Dean’s death in ICE custody, after weeks of denial of medical treatment, is old news. He died in February 2021. The reason it’s still news is that only now are the facts coming to light, after the ACLU and journalists finally received documents requested under the Freedom of Information Act. Dean was held in the Calhoun County Correctional Facility, where “medical care” was provided by Corizon, which “has faced more than 1,000 lawsuits across the country alleging substandard care in jails and prisons,” and has paid out millions in wrongful death lawsuits. 

[Buzzfeed] “For weeks, Jesse Dean, a 58-year-old Bahamian immigrant being detained in Michigan by ICE, complained of stomach pain so severe he couldn’t eat. Over the course of 27 days, he lost 17 pounds, and he told deputies and medical staff he was going to die.

“Days later on Feb. 5, 2021, he did die when he went into cardiac arrest and medics couldn’t revive him. A medical examiner would later determine that Dean died of a bleeding ulcer and hypertension while in ICE detention at the Calhoun County Correctional Facility in Battle Creek, Michigan. …

“At one point, a licensed practical nurse told Dean that ‘repeated and excessive requests’ could result in him getting a citation for ‘interfering with staff duties.’ But he told jail employees he felt like he was going to die at least two times and begged for emergency care, telling nurses his family would pay for an emergency room visit if money was an issue.”

Did you know that the United States has the third-largest Ukrainian population in the world? The largest population, of course, is in Ukraine, and the second-largest in Russia. More than one-third of Ukrainians in the United States live in New York, Chicago, and Seattle. The Migration Policy Institute’s report on Ukrainians in the United States details migration trends back to the 19th century and forward to 2022’s refugee influx.

[Migration Policy Institute] “The Biden administration’s actions to welcome some Ukrainians began on March 3, when Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced the grant of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months for certain Ukrainians already present in the United States. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) estimated that 59,600 Ukrainians would be eligible for the program, which provides relief from deportation and work authorization. On April 21, the administration announced plans to welcome up to 100,000 Ukrainians through a combination of the Uniting for Ukraine program—a private sponsorship program that aims to temporarily bring displaced Ukrainians to the United States—and other, more permanent entry pathways. In more ad hoc fashion, the U.S. government admitted a reported 20,000 Ukrainians who arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border without authorization to enter; the practice was ended in late April.

“The new Ukrainian arrivals are joining an existing Ukrainian diaspora in the United States that numbers more than 1.1 million.”

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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