Immigration News: September 23, 2022


Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s busing program is transparently about making  migrants miserable to further  his own political agenda. He deliberately avoids connecting the asylum seekers with volunteers waiting to welcome them. 

[The Guardian] “[MomsRising/MamásConPoder volunteers] have been dashing into the nation’s capital pre-dawn to meet the busloads of asylum seekers that the Texas, Arizona and now Florida governors have been sending north without any liaison with the places they end up, in a deepening political, legal and ethical scandal.

“On the brisk early fall morning earlier this month, volunteers had been waiting at 6am where the buses normally rolled up. They waited and waited, but no buses. As 7am approached, some volunteers reluctantly had to leave for their day jobs.

“Then, Tristán was sent a tweet showing that a bus had suddenly arrived miles away, at the vice-president’s official residence, the US Naval Observatory on busy Massachusetts Avenue, where the buses had never shown up before. …

“[Tristan said:] ‘We weren’t there, because politicians in Texas chose instead to create a spectacle for television crews rather than show humanity toward asylum seekers by alerting volunteer networks to the change of location. [They] left people like that mother having to closely clutch their infant during those chilly morning hours, while hoping help would come.’

“Normally the mutual aid groups give a formal welcome to the new arrivals about who they are and what they do. They offer provisions such as food, water, clothing, breastfeeding necessities and help with communication and further travel.”

New York is scrambling to keep up with the influx of migrants. Nearly two dozen new shelters opened in the past six weeks are not enough to house all who need shelter. New York is the only city in the nation with a “right to shelter” law. Migrants began arriving shortly after the city had closed many shelters, reducing  its shelter capacity. 

[New York Times] “On Thursday, as the number of migrants in shelters soared above 10,000, Mr. Adams announced that the city would open emergency centers to temporarily house the new arrivals — including several barrackslike, winterized tents the size of airplane hangars that will shelter single adults at a parking lot in the Bronx. …

“The population of the city’s main homeless shelter system is climbing faster than at any time in recent memory. Since mid-May, it has jumped by more than 25 percent, to nearly 58,000. In the past, it took years for such large increases to take place. …

“The speed at which migrants are arriving is only part of the problem. The city is also contending with decisions to close some buildings used to house homeless people and with hurdles to opening and operating shelters that have bedeviled mayors for decades.”

The millions of dollars Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis  is paying a private company to fly migrants north comes from Florida state funds appropriated to remove unauthorized immigrants from Florida. But he is using the money to remove asylum seekers, who are authorized to remain in the United States while their cases are pending, and he is removing them from Texas, not from Florida. The first payment was for $615,000 to fly out 50 migrants–that’s more than $12,000 per person. 

A Florida legislator is suing to stop further flights, based on violation of the provision requiring at least two bids for the air charter contract and violation of the legislative language directing that the money be used to remove unauthorized immigrants from Florida. 

[NBC] “The air charter company Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration hired for his migrant-moving program has contributed big money to some top allies of the governor and was once legally represented by Rep. Matt Gaetz and his former partner, who is now Florida’s “public safety czar” in charge of immigration policy.

“DeSantis’ administration has refused to release a copy of the $12 million contract with Vertol Systems Company Inc. for its role in administering the “unauthorized alien” program — which state Democrats sought to block with a lawsuit Thursday — nor will the governor’s office comment on the nearly $1.6 million the company has received to send migrants to so-called sanctuary cities that welcome immigrants.”

And in other news

As asylum seekers arrive, so do eager fraudsters and scam artists, ready to take advantage of them with phony promises of visas, work permits, more. 

[National Law Review] “Unfortunately, it is common for scams to prey on the vulnerable status of immigrants for financial benefit, often putting the victim at a unique risk of deportation. According to Shaina Coronel, the Director of Communications at the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs in New York City, “[o]ur key message is if you need immigration legal advice, only go to a lawyer or someone who is accredited by the U.S. Department of Justice, or an organization recognized by the Department of Justice.”    

Perhaps one of the most common frauds perpetrated against immigrant communities is known as “notario fraud.” This scam involves someone holding themselves out to be an attorney or an individual who is licensed to practice in front of immigration courts. Of course, the scam involves charging immigrants large sums of money for legal assistance by unqualified individuals. In many cases, this type of fraudulent activity results in incorrect legal advice, missed deadlines, and incorrect filings, if any filing was even made. “

Migrant sheepherders are permanent outsiders in the United States. Without permanent resident status, they remain separated from their families. 

[New York Times] “He signed his first contract in 2014, sending money to his mother and three children, enabling them to get the schooling that he never got. In the winters, when he is not alone in the mountains, he helps tend to sheep on the Inda family ranch. …

“Mr. Mendoza has been treading some of the same trails as the father and uncles of Dominic Inda, 38, the sheep rancher who is his direct boss. Juan Inda, 77, was the youngest of the three Basque brothers who arrived in Colorado 60 years ago. But unlike them, Mr. Mendoza does not see American citizenship in his future.

“People on H-2A visas do not qualify for green cards, the first step toward achieving citizenship. To become permanent residents, sheepherders must be sponsored by their employers, which Mr. Mendoza and other sheepherders say that ranchers are not inclined to do. …

“In his years abroad, Mr. Mendoza has missed the formative years of his three sons. A green card would allow him to visit Peru for holidays, family celebrations and funerals, he said.”

Afghan evacuees remain largely without permanent legal status in the United States. Those who were left behind in Afghanistan have little hope of ever being allowed into the United States. They all need the protection that would be offered by the Afghan Adjustment Act.

[Roll Call] “Although roughly 80,000 people were evacuated and brought to the United States, many more were left stranded in Afghanistan or third countries and have sought protection from there.

“’We’ve made important strides to improve the program, but as my special report details, we have much further to go,’ Shaheen said. ‘Democrats and Republicans agree on the need to reform the program, but we need concrete steps on precisely how to do that.’

“The SIV program has faced increasingly steep backlogs since 2014, an issue that contributed to the chaotic evacuation last year when the U.S. withdrew from Afghanistan.”

Republicans continue to block legislation that would establish a pathway to permanent residence for Afghan evacuees. 

[New York Times] “Military veterans and other supporters have been lobbying Congress for more than a year to provide Afghan evacuees with a pathway to permanent legal status in the United States. Many have only temporary authorization to stay, even though they will most likely never be able to safely return to their former homes. Now, they are pushing for legislation addressing the issue to be tacked onto a must-pass spending bill to keep government funded past the end of the month, when it is slated to lapse.

“But despite support from the White House, a bipartisan group of senators and military veterans, a direct path to legal status for Afghans has proved difficult to establish amid opposition from some Republicans, who argue that the evacuees pose security risks. The measure is unlikely to be included in the spending package this month because of those objections.”

What is the difference between “apprehensions at the border” and “encounters at the border” and “deportations” and “expulsions?” When the Border Patrol counts 4oo “expulsions,” how many individual people is that? The answer is more complicated than most people realize. 

[Washington Post] “Imagine, for example, if you stopped 200 people at the border one day and 200 the next day — 100 of whom had been stopped the day prior. That’s 400 stops, but only 300 individual people.

“This is important largely because that top-line figure, the number of apprehensions, has become central to the political debate. As I wrote earlier this week, misrepresentation of the number of people crossing the border muddies the politics of immigration, often intentionally. More than half of those stopped at the border since January 2021, for example, were removed under a contested policy known as Title 42, which bars any entry. Yet those stops are often included in rhetoric about immigrants pouring into the country. …

“In total, about 3 in 5 removals under Title 42 [from mid-March 2020 to September 2021] were of people who had previously been encountered by officials at the border. A quarter were of people who had been encountered at least three times previously.” 

“[The data] also depicts what TRAC aptly describes as the ‘remarkable persistence’ of some individuals. Imagine running into officials at the border 81 times … and then trying yet again.”

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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