Immigration News: August 3, 2022

More than two years into the Biden presidency, the poison of Trump’s immigration policies continues to flow through the veins of the country. Even when policies have officially ended, their consequences continue.

The Trump administration deliberately chose a policy of maximum cruelty, tearing families apart without even keeping records so that they could eventually reunite. The long, hard, slow task of finding the parents and children and bringing them back together still continues. The Biden administration has reunited 400 families so far. The families who have suffered through years of separation still have no road to permanent legal residence in the United States, and there can be none without Congressional action. 

[NBC] “More than 5,000 families were separated under Trump’s 2018 “zero tolerance” policy and a 2017 pilot program and advocates estimate over 1,000 remain separated. Because the Trump administration did not keep records of which children were separated and where they were sent, the task force and lawyers working on behalf of separated families have had a difficult time identifying families to offer them the chance of reunification. 

“In the majority of recently reunited cases, Brané said, the parents were deported while the children remained in the U.S. Now, parents are given the opportunity to come to the U.S. on paid travel, bring other members of their family who are dependent on them, and live and work in the U.S. legally for three years.” 

A month after the Supreme Court decision on Remain-in-Mexico, the policy remains in place.

[AP] “A sign posted last week at the entrance to the Salvation Army migrant shelter in Tijuana, Mexico, by the United Nations’ International Organization for Migration appeared to best capture the public understanding of the policy’s status: “Wait for official information! The Remain in Mexico (MPP) program remains in effect. The United States government will inform you of any changes.”

“Critics of the policy have been increasingly outspoken about the Biden administration’s reticence on “Remain in Mexico,” and Monday’s certification renewed their calls for an immediate end to the policy.” 

Trump’s Muslim ban barred people from a number of mostly-Muslim countries from getting any kind of visa to travel to the United States. President Biden reversed it as soon as he was inaugurated, calling the ban “a stain on our national conscience.” But what happens to the thousands of people denied visas during the Trump regime?

[San Francisco Chronicle] “On Monday, U.S. District Judge James Donato ordered the Biden administration to meet with representatives of those seeking admission and develop new rules for allowing entry of those whose visa applications were denied under the previous administration.

“Plaintiffs in the lawsuit ‘have demonstrated that their visa applications were denied without the opportunity to apply under a properly administered waiver process,’ Donato wrote. ‘Even if permitted to reapply, they will bear undue transactional costs, financial and otherwise, that they should not be required to bear for a second time.’”

And in other news

People in immigration detention are not criminals, but they have fewer legal protections than convicted criminals and are often treated worse.

[Niskanen Center] “Immigration detention is a separate function from criminal detention because it serves a civil — not criminal — purpose. The Department of Homeland Security — not the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Prisons — oversees immigration detention, yet it closely mimics the penal system, resulting in civil confinement conditions that look very similar to punitive ones meant to punish lawbreakers. Nonetheless, civil detainees are not afforded the same rights as alleged criminals in the U.S. The outcome is that many detained immigrants wait for adjudication of their cases under conditions akin to prison confinement while lacking the basic legal protections and due process afforded to all defendants in our criminal justice system….

“ICE detention is possible even for minor violations like:

• A green card holder failing to update their address with USCIS after a move;

• An undocumented person running a stop sign; or

• An underage student visa holder consuming alcohol at a college party.

“Additionally, any noncitizens who “are apprehended [by Customs and Border Patrol (CBP)] and determined to need custodial supervision” are transferred to ICE custody where an officer will determine if they should be detained or released on parole.”

Three years ago: always remember the El Paso massacre. Motivated by the lies of the “Great Replacement” theory, the shooter targeted Latinos. He killed 23 people and wounded dozens more. One survivor’s story describes the trauma that continues for many. 

[El Paso Matters] “The pandemic was kind of a relief for Jamie, who hadn’t been able to go into a Walmart or other public places for months following the shooting. She now had an excuse to stay home and avoid places that might trigger her fear, her memories of that dreadful day.

“When she had to go into a store, she immediately looked for the exits, for security guards, for places she might hide if she had to. She still does this.

“Loud noises made her jumpy. She didn’t like being around people. Strangers made her nervous. And fireworks – well, just forget fireworks.

“’When I’d be home alone and I would hear a loud noise, or when there would be people hanging out outside, I would run and hide,’ Jamie said shyly. Asked where she would hide, she paused and whispered, ‘In the closet – with the baby.’

“With the help of victims’ assistance funds, she and Alex were able to give a down payment on a new home – which has cameras throughout and a strong security system at every entrance. …

“For some time, she felt angry and fearful. So much so, those emotions at times overpowered the happiness she felt being a first-time mom. She didn’t want to let anyone come near her baby, and had to turn friends and family away at times.”

Senators need to vote down every poison pill proposed in the upcoming vote-a-rama on the reconciliation/Inflation Reduction Act bill. 

[WOLA] “We are concerned that senators could end up voting on amendments that seek to curtail the right to seek protection in the United States, at a time of historic turmoil and need around the Western Hemisphere. Further erosion of the right to seek asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border, curtailing the administration’s ability to end policies that block access to asylum, or further hardening or militarization of that border, may result directly in death and suffering for thousands.”

Did you know that Black immigrants are one of the fastest-growing demographics in the nation? 

[The Hub] “Black immigrants make up the largest group of immigrants migrating through the border after Mexicans and Central Americans. Over 7,000, Black immigrants are now residing in several border towns in Mexico, unable to seek asylum due to policies such as Title 42. …

“On their journey to the Mexican-U.S. border, Black immigrants also face racism and anti-Blackness in South America and Central America. In border towns, Black immigrants are exposed to the anti-Blackness and criminalization that both the Mexican government and the U.S Border Enforcement encourage.”

Following The Intercept’s report on Border Patrol harassment of Sikh immigrants, U.S. authorities will now investigate. 

[Washington Post] “U.S. authorities are investigating complaints that the religious rights of dozens of Sikh asylum seekers were violated recently when their turbans were confiscated by Border Patrol agents in the Yuma, Ariz., area, officials said Wednesday.

“The American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona sent a letter Monday to U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Chris Magnus saying the organization since June has documented almost 50 cases in which agents confiscated turbans, denouncing the seizures as ‘ongoing, serious religious-freedom violations.'”

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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