Immigration News: August 4, 2022

Migrants are dying in the desert, desperately trying to get into the United States. Migrants already in the United States, with visa applications pending, may die during decades-long waits for processing. More than 8.6 million applications are pending. It has been more than 30 years since the immigration system was overhauled. 

[Los Angeles Times] “Milap Kashipara spent 16 years waiting for a green card that he hoped would lead to better opportunities for his three children than in India, as well as a chance to reunite with his siblings in California.

“In 2019, his petition finally arrived at the front of the line. He completed the paperwork and had reached the final step — scheduling an interview with the U.S. Consulate in Mumbai. Processing estimates at the time showed his family could be approved by April 2020.

“Then came COVID-19. Kashipara was 47 and healthy when he became infected. He died alone in a hospital 15 days later, on May 1, 2021, before the interview took place. …

“One study from the Cato Institute estimates that 1.6 million people who, like Kashipara, have been sponsored by relatives for a green card, will die before they can come to the U.S. legally.”

Eddie Canales lives in Brooks County, Texas, and works on the front lines of migration danger. . Last year, the bodies of more than a hundred migrants were found in Brooks County. Canales puts out water for the living, and searches for bodies of those who have died. 

[New Yorker] “As soon as Eduardo (Eddie) Canales walked into the office of the South Texas Human Rights Center on a hot day in mid-July, his phone rang. The nonprofit’s mission is to “end death and suffering on the Texas/Mexico border,” and, as the co-founder and sole full-time staff member, Canales is always on the clock. This time, the caller was a man in New York named Efraín. He explained that his wife, a Guatemalan woman, had crossed the border in mid-June, near McAllen, and had not been heard from since.

“Canales, an irrepressibly genial man in his mid-seventies, pulled a blank form from a stack and began noting down pertinent information: the woman’s birthday (January 25, 1990); her distinguishing features (gold teeth); the languages she spoke (a little Spanish, but primarily an Indigenous language). “After she crossed, they couldn’t get in touch with her,” Canales explained after he hung up. “Maybe they took away her phone.” The calls are often like this, from people who are sometimes panicked, sometimes stoic, but all facing the same crisis: someone they love crossed the border illegally, then went missing. Canales’s phone pinged—Efraín was sending pictures of his wife. In one, she leaned to the right and glanced at the camera with a shy, closed-mouth smile. Canales looked at her face for a moment. Then he called a local sheriff’s deputy to see if any bodies had been found recently.”

And in other news

DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals)  remains in the courts, with a challenge to the entire program pending in Texas. In New York, DACA applicants sued, asking for  protection from deportation while their applications are pending, and for an order to the government to process those applications. A federal judge said no. 

[Bloomberg News] “A New York judge refused a request by immigrants brought to the US as children to order the US to resume accepting applications to an Obama-era program that prevents their deportation while several other states mount legal challenges to dismantle the government protections.”

Immigrants are often targeted by con artists. One of the latest scams focuses on sponsors who want to help Ukrainian war refugees.

[CNN] “US Citizenship and Immigration Services says the agency recently received reports of an email phishing scam targeting would-be participants in Uniting for Ukraine, the Biden administration program that gives people in the United States the opportunity to sponsor Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion.

“The reports described ‘a basic email phishing scam that requested payment from prospective Uniting for Ukraine supporters before USCIS would review an application,’ the agency said.

“In reality, the program does not charge a fee for the filing of a declaration of financial support, one of the documents would-be sponsors are required to submit.”

Minnesota story: A Guatemalan family made a new life and home in Faribault. Now they have opened a grocery and clothing store. .

[Faribault Daily News] “Francesca Quila said her father displayed strength and bravery in the weeks leading up to their immigration from Guatemala to the United States about 20 years ago. They knew that this was the best way to end their family’s hunger….

“After two decades of penny pinching and hard work, the rest of the Quila family has moved and they’re finally able to share that culture with the southern-Minnesota community.

“Francesca and her brothers, Martín and Tomás, have opened Tienda Maya Quiche (Mayan K’iche’ Store) on Highway 60 in Faribault. In addition to Latin American food and drink, the new store sells household goods, handmade clothes and pottery.”

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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