Immigration News: February 7, 2023

DACA is a temporary, partial, and inadequate protection for some young people brought to the United States by their parents before 2007. The inadequacy of its protection—and the injustice of the punitive ten-year-bar enacted in 1996 during the Clinton administration—is shown in sharp relief by the case of Jaime Avalos.

Jaime Avalos came to the United States as a baby, carried across the border by his mother. At age 18, he got DACA, and  breathed a sigh of relief. Later he married a U,S. citizen. They applied for a permanent legal resident visa for Avalos. Their first baby was born in 2021. Avalos had an interview for his visa scheduled in Juarez, Mexico. He had a bad feeling, but his lawyer assured him that his papers were in order and there should be no problem. Then everything blew up. 

[Business Insider] “Before his August interview, Avalos said he was under the impression he never left the US after he and his mother arrived in the country in 1996. Halfway through the most important interview of his life, immigration officials in Juárez revealed otherwise. …

“[I]mmigration officers quickly zeroed in on Avalos’ Mexican birth certificate, which included an amendment from 2002 — six years after he and his mother first entered the US. …

“Left without answers to officers’ probing questions, Avalos called his mother mid-interview, hoping she might be able to explain the discrepancy. She dropped a heart-wrenching bombshell: Avalos’ mother told her son and the immigration officials that she brought her child back to Mexico when he was 7 years old so her husband — the man Avalos always believed to be his biological father — could legally adopt him. …

“Because he and his mother briefly left the US after illegally entering, thus unlawfully crossing the border not once, but twice, Avalos’ application for residency was immediately denied and he was issued a 10-year ban on reentering the US — his home country, where his wife and son remained. “

And in other news

Scammers are targeting desperate immigrants, promising sponsorship and visas—for a price. 

[NBC]“Although it was not designed for people to profit from it, many deals are being made quietly through word of mouth and the messaging app WhatsApp — there’s even advertising for sponsorship on social media. Prices typically range from $8,000 to $10,000, but many of them are scams.

“A resident of Cuba, a young doctor whose name is being withheld for safety reasons, told NBC News she was scammed by a Facebook user. She thought she had found someone reliable who could be her ticket to the U.S. …

“A relative of the young doctor made a $1,800 transfer to the “sponsor,” money her family in Cuba had spent years saving. They were told $800 was for the application process and $1,000 was for an attorney.

“Once the transfer was made, the person disappeared and blocked the woman from Facebook. …

“In one Facebook post, a user named ‘sponsor’ says, “we offer sponsors for 10 thousand dollars per person paid through Zelle from the United States or in cash in Cuba. 5 thousand in advance and 5 thousand when the papers are ready, before leaving Cuba.”

A new Florida rule, ordered by DeSantis, says that shelters caring for immigrant children cannot be licensed. 

[ABC] “For the second time in less than two years, a Sarasota shelter for migrant children is fighting the state for a new license.

“The shelter, known as the Dream Center, hasn’t done anything wrong.

“In fact, in documents filed with the state’s Division of Administrative Hearings last month, Lutheran Services of Florida, which operates the Dream Center, detailed how employees from the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) ( described the faith-based non-profit as having a long history of doing things right. …

“In several back-and-forth letters, federal attorneys have informed the DeSantis administration that shelters for unaccompanied migrant children don’t need a state license to care for them or keep receiving the federal funds to do it.”

Low unemployment and high demand for workers are driving up wages for everyone, including migrants—at least according to “employers and economists” who talk to the Wall Street Journal.  

[Wall Street Journal] “Migrants who come to the U.S. to find work are now being hired more quickly, at higher pay and under better working conditions than at any time in recent memory. In many cases, employers and economists say, migrant workers are being paid as well as their American counterparts.

“Job vacancies in the U.S. increased to 11 million at the end of December, according to the Labor Department. While the tightness appears to be easing in the white-collar job market, employers say finding hourly wage workers remains a challenge. Unemployment hit 3.4% in January, the lowest rate in 53 years. Many small businesses say they are unable to hire enough native-born and naturalized workers and are paying a premium for migrant workers.”

While Republican states sue to maintain Trump policies, including Remain in Mexico, the Mexican government may refuse to cooperate.

[Reuters] “The Mexican government said on Monday it is opposed to a possible restart of the U.S. immigration policy known as “Remain in Mexico” which required asylum seekers to wait for U.S. hearings in Mexico.

“President Joe Biden has sought to end the program, which had been introduced by the Trump administration and is currently suspended.”

Texas started busing migrants north last year, loudly protesting Biden administration policies and dumping the migrants on street corners, completely refusing to coordinate with humanitarian organizations and local governments in the receiving cities. Now busing programs have changed, with many migrants using them to get to cities where they want to go. 

[NPR] “People have always traveled within the U.S. once they claim asylum at the border. …

“Most do not stay in the cities they’re bussed to, except for New York.

“Some bus passengers also appreciate the free ride….

“That reality has helped shift the politics of transporting immigrants. “Something that looked like a punitive thing towards immigrants done for political gains suddenly turned itself on the head because migrants are rational people,” says Muzaffar Chishti, a senior fellow at the Migration Policy Institute. …

“Chishti says the busing controversy is a “wake-up call” for politicians, and hopes it will encourage a more coordinated, federally-backed system for helping migrants move around the country.” 

Working with Augsburg University, three Minnesota Somali artists have established a gallery space for Somali artists in Minnesota.

[Sahan Journal] “As an artist, Mohamud Mumin has enjoyed much personal success, including winning multiple fellowships for his work in photography. But there were always a couple things missing: Enough opportunities to exhibit at mainstream Twin Cities galleries, and other Somali artists or artists of color to share the experience. 

“So he gravitated toward those with a similar background, eventually teaming up with visual artists Kaamil Haider and Khadija Muse to found the Soomaal House of Art in 2014. …

“Khadija Charif felt that support herself as a fellow in Soomaal’s partnership with Augsburg University Art Galleries. The 12-month program gives two artists access to studio space and technical assistance. Their work during the fellowship leads to an exhibition at the university. “

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,, 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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