Immigration News: August 11, 2022

Border crossing with gates for cars, orange blockade and bollards
Border crossing at Tecate. Photo by Juan O.Mena, used under Creative Commons license

Recent headlines focused on Border Patrol agents forcing Sikhs to remove their turbans and then confiscating the turbans and refusing to return them or throwing them in the garbage. That’s just a small part of Border Patrol confiscations. They also seize medication, documents crucial to proving identity or asylum claims, and much more.

[Arizona Republic] “Nathalie Hernandez Barahona, a first-generation Chicana who works with the AZ-CA Humanitarian Coalition organization, said medications, shoes and clothing were also some of the items migrants were leaving behind after their long journeys to the border.

“’I will never forget seeing a wheelchair at the border wondering how that individual continued with their journey,’ Hernandez Barahona said. …

“These actions can also be deadly, according to Eddie Chavez Calderon, a campaign organizer for Arizona Jews for Justice. At the news conference, he said he once helped a girl whose kidney medication had been thrown away and who had gotten a urinary infection. …

“Some migrants are given tickets to claim their belongings later; however, she said in her experience she hasn’t seen or heard of a case where people were able to pick up their items because they are already across the country or some are deported.”

And in other news

Tens of thousands of asylum seekers are waiting for permission to work. USCIS is required to process applications within 30 days, but that just is not happening.

[Roll Call] “The vast majority of applications USCIS processed in the past three months had been pending for more than 120 days, according to the agency data.

“As a result, the agency now faces a new wave of more than 77,000 pending work permit requests received within the past three months, according to the agency data….

“The delays have left thousands of asylum-seekers — an inherently vulnerable population — without the ability to support themselves in the U.S., which creates uncertainty for those who were counting on the agency to follow its rules.

“Asylum-seekers are already required to wait 150 days after the agency receives their asylum applications before they can even apply for a work permit, which can make any further delays financially crippling.”

I highlighted this story last week—killings of four Muslim immigrants in Albuquerque. Now police have arrested a suspect. 

[New York Times] “On Tuesday, the police said they had arrested a man who was himself Muslim and who may have targeted at least two of the victims because he was angry that his daughter had married a man from the other major branch of Islam.

“The police said the man, Muhammad Syed, 51, would be charged in two of the killings and that he was a suspect in the other two deaths. …

“Police officials said they were not yet sure if a dispute over a marriage was the sole motive, but said they were aware of it and had found evidence that an “interpersonal conflict” may have led to the shootings. Chief Harold Medina of the Albuquerque Police Department said that it was not yet appropriate to label the killings as either hate crimes or serial murders.”

A new application of the “wet foot, dry foot” policy arbitrarily allows some Haitians to enter the United States while sending others directly back to Haiti.

[Union Bulletin] “In at least four different boat arrivals in the past five months, Haitian migrants who jumped off unseaworthy, overloaded vessels and into the waters off the Florida Keys were plucked out by federal agents and brought to land for processing — while those who stayed on board were transferred to U.S. Coast Guard cutters for repatriation. …

“[Randolph McGrorty, executive director of Catholic Legal Services,]  said while he understands “the policy of deterrence, deterrence should not be worse than what it is trying to deter, and we can’t risk people’s lives this way. They should be taken in, they all should be given” interviews to establish they have a credible fear if they are returned to Haiti. …

“Advocates say the fact that they do not know what’s happening with Haitians after they either cross the border or taken ashore after arriving by boat is frustrating and raises concerns about whether they are getting due process to state their asylum claims.”

A Border Patrol press release warns of a scam targeting immigrants:  

“GRAND FORKS N.D. — A telephone scam is targeting residents nationwide in an attempt to gain banking information from unsuspecting residents. 

“U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents and officers nationwide are continuing to receive numerous calls from residents concerned about unsolicited calls from scammers posing as U.S. Border Patrol agents and U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers. Residents are reporting the calls are a pre-recorded message stating, “a box of drugs and money being shipped has your (callers) name on it and it has been intercepted.”  The caller is then instructed to press #1 to speak with a CBP Officer/Agent, which then attempts to get the callers banking information.  There have also been reports of this same type of scam, however, the caller is an actual person, not a pre-recorded message.

“These calls, whether a pre-recorded message or live person, are phone scams/phishing attempts and residents are urged to not provide the caller with any information.  The Department of Homeland Security and CBP does not solicit money over the phone.  If such calls are received, people should make a note of the number, any pertinent details about the call/caller, and immediately hang up.  Residents are encouraged to report the incidents as soon possible.  Phone scams can be reported to the Federal Trade Commission online at  https://reportfraud.ftc.gov/?orgcode=USCBP2.

“’If you receive one of these calls, don’t give out any of your information.  The best thing you can do is write down the caller’s number and report it,’ said Grand Forks Sector Border Patrol Chief Anthony S. Good.”

The National Immigration Forum has a good fact sheet on the just-introduced Afghan Adjustment Act. 

“The Afghan Adjustment Act, or S.4787, is a bipartisan bill that would provide a path to permanent status to tens of thousands of Afghans who were evacuated to the U.S. following the fall of Kabul in August 2021. The legislation also includes provisions to ensure that eligible Afghan evacuees have been subject to rigorous vetting and screening procedures, and it would improve and expand pathways to protection for those left behind and at risk in Afghanistan.”

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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