Immigration News: October 5, 2022

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against DACA, saying that the Obama administration memo was not a legal way to establish DACA. The court sent the case back to the district court that originally ruled against DACA, asking that the district court consider whether the Biden administration’s issuance of an official regulation establishing DACA is legally sufficient. In the meantime, the court left DACA in place for current recipients, and also allows current DACA recipients to file for renewals. but leaving program in place and renewals still possible – sent case back to district court to consider whether regulation issued by Biden administration changes anything. 

[CBS] “A federal appeals court on Wednesday said the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy violates U.S. immigration law, dealing a blow to an Obama-era program that provides deportation protection and work permits to nearly 600,000 immigrant “Dreamers” who lack legal status.

“A three-judge panel for the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals concluded the Obama administration did not have the legal authority to create DACA in 2012, affirming a July 2021 ruling from a federal judge in Texas who barred the Biden administration from enrolling new immigrants in the decade-old program.

“Despite its conclusion, the appeals court did not order the Biden administration to shut down DACA completely or stop processing renewal applications, deciding instead to leave in place an order from U.S. Judge Andrew Hanen that left the policy intact for current beneficiaries. The government, however, will continue to be prohibited from approving first-time DACA applications. …

“While DACA allows beneficiaries to live and work in the U.S. legally without fear of deportation, it does not qualify them for permanent legal status or citizenship. Those enrolled in DACA had to prove they arrived in the U.S. by age 16 and before June 2007, studied in a U.S. school or served in the military, and lacked any serious criminal record. “

Getting out of Texas

Texas Governor Greg Abbott dumped another busload of migrants at Vice President Kamala Harris’s official residence on Monday, October 3. 

[CNN] “The 46 migrants – single adults and families – were moved to a nearby church for assistance, said Tatiana Laborde, managing director at SAMU First Response, which has been assisting arriving migrants.”

Asylum seekers often take buses to destinations within the United States. Unlike the Florida and Texas governor’s operations, these asylum seekers usually have connections at the destination point, with family or organizations that will help them there. 

[Pew Trusts] “Providing bus and plane tickets is a longstanding method used by local officials and advocates trying to speed migrants on their way to family and friends while they legally apply for asylum, and to clear shelter space for newcomers. But advocates stress that transportation must be welcomed by the migrants and coordinated with people who will be receiving them. …

“The city of Albuquerque, New Mexico, has been helping asylum seekers arrange travel under the Democratic administration of Mayor Tim Keller. Most migrants have to leave since the state does not have an immigration court where they can seek asylum. Still, most arrange their own flights or buses, and others get help through private donations arranged by volunteers, said Michelle Melendez, director of the city’s Office of Equity and Inclusion. …

“Michael Hopkins, CEO of Jewish Family Service of San Diego, called red-state governors’ transportation “dehumanizing” and said his service “more compassionately” moves asylum seekers. 

“In a four-week period from late August to September, the group helped more than 5,700 people leave San Diego, with about 85% headed out of state, according to statistics posted on its website. The group buys bus and plane tickets with the help of local and state money as well as private donors, but unlike Arizona and Texas, doesn’t provide scheduled charter buses to a single destination.”

A reporter traveled with a busload of migrants sent from El Paso to New York under Texas [Vice] “Operation Lone Star”. The migrants were promised meals, a place to stay, and maybe even jobs. They were dumped at the Port Authority with none of the promises kept by Texas. Instead, New York City offered shelter and care, after a long and grueling journey. Since no meals were actually provided, some bus drivers paid for food from their own pockets. 

“It was after midnight, and 40 hours into their journey from El Paso, the migrants were tired, hungry, and feeling scammed. Some complained their back hurt from sitting for so long, others worried about their starving kids in tow, and others about the smell. The air conditioner had stopped, the only bathroom had backed up, and the bus had started overheating on hills, forcing the driver to stop to allow the engine to cool off. 

“But as they drew within 60 miles of their destination in New York City … a loud bang woke everyone up. The tired, old bus with yellow front lights and the words “Magical Travel Tours” written in pink on its side, once again hobbled to the side of the I-95, where they were forced to wait another six hours for a tow truck to show up to fix a flat tire.” 

And in other news

ICE uses SmartLINK “cell phones” with facial recognition and GPS monitoring  to track migrants who are awaiting immigration hearings. They must call in and send photos to verify their locations. More than 265,000 of the asylum seekers in the Alternatives to Detention program are tracked by these systems. The cell phones cannot be used to make or receive any other calls. 

[ABC27] “Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) of Syracuse University reports that as of Aug. 24, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is monitoring over 316,700 asylum-seekers in the Alternatives to Detention program.

“This is the largest number of people ever put in the program, which is monitored by the agency’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) division. It’s a 260% increase from those who were in the ATD program in the first quarter of Fiscal Year 2021.”

Border agents confiscate migrant property, often without reason and in violation of any conceivable standards of humane behavior. The ACLU led a coalition of organizations documenting reports of this abusive behavior in a complaint to Customs and Border Protection commissioner Chris Magnus, who oversees the Border Patrol. Items confiscated include Sikh men’s turbans, bibles, cell phones, family photos, passports, and medications for diabetes and epilepsy. 

[Border Chronicle] “In Monday’s letter, the ACLU and other coalition members also documented reports of abuse. According to one account, agents forced a Nicaraguan man to throw away the ashes of his father, who had died during the 70-day journey from Nicaragua. Another man reported that agents ripped up his birth certificate in front of him while he was in custody. Agents also took stuffed animals and toys from children and threw them in the trash.”

The number of immigrant workers admitted to the United States is increasing, after the dramatic decline of the COVID lockdown years. But the increase is not fast enough to catch up with the worker deficit from those lost years.

[Bloomberg News] “But as of June, there were about 1.7 million fewer working-age immigrants living in the US than there would have been if immigration had continued at its pre-2020 pace, he said. About 600,000 of those are college-educated.  …

“The once-in-a-generation labor deficit has seen US employers struggle to hire and keep employees over the past two years, with those in construction, hospitality, and services — which all historically rely on a greater proportion of immigrants — feeling more pain. The shortage of both US-born and foreign workers has also triggered higher wages across industries, adding more fuel to the hottest inflation seen in about four decades.”

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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