Immigration News: March 15, 2023

Protesters holding sign saying "Seeking asylum is a human right - #WelcomeWithDignity - #NoAsylumBan
Photo of protesters in Washington DC on February 23, 2023, courtesy of CASA.

Bishop Mark Seitz denounces the Biden administration’s new restrictions on asylum, writing: “Policies that fail to secure protections for the vulnerable are morally deficient. Death simply cannot be an acceptable part of the overhead costs of our immigration policies.”

[America] “The administration will provide temporary entry to a limited number of individuals from Latin America. But those options are not connected to asylum, which is what the most vulnerable coming to the border are hoping to access. And the administration has not provided those options for those fleeing northern Central American countries, perpetuating a longstanding pattern of discriminatory policies in that region. A policy that leads to adverse outcomes because of the national origin of those in need is indefensibly regressive. …

“The only crisis at the border is a moral crisis. And the only failure is one of courage and justice.”

When the Biden administration tells asylum seekers to apply in Mexico, they know that will not work. Mexico’s asylum system is overburdened and rife with roadblocks.

[National Immigration Forum] “Despite some recent strides, Mexico’s asylum system is struggling to keep up with the massive uptick in hemispheric migration over the past half-decade, and Mexican economic and demographic numbers pose challenges to absorbing large numbers of asylum seekers. Persistent struggles with domestic violence and gang violence also pose a challenge in serving as refuge for those fleeing similar violence in their countries of origin.”

And in other news

Despite political posturing and insistence on border enforcement, punitive policies do not work, according to a recent study from Rice University.

[Houston Public Media] “The report found that politically motivated, high-profile moves like former President Donald Trump’s wall along the Mexican border and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s stationing of the state national guard at the border had very little impact on illegal immigration into the U.S.

“‘It does not stop people from coming. It does not stop the organized crime cartels from pushing people forward,’ said Gary Hale, a fellow in drug policy and Mexico studies at the Baker Institute and co-author of the study. ‘It’s really kind of eye candy to demonstrate to the public that the government of Texas is doing something or that the federal government is doing something, but it has very little to no deterrent effect.’ …

“‘The migrants themselves are really victims of poverty and natural disasters and, ultimately, of organized crime,’ Hale said. ‘We shouldn’t place the blame so much on the migrants themselves but on the criminal entities that are moving those migrants.'”

The Minnesota legislature is considering new penalties for wage theft, which disproportionately affects immigrant workers. Employers have threatened them with deportation if they insist on being paid wages they are due. In Hennepin County, one employer who repeatedly failed to comply with orders to pay back wages has been criminally charged. 

[Star Tribune] “On Dec. 30, Hennepin County prosecutors filed the first criminal charges against an employer under the 2019 wage theft law after painters working for Integrated Painting Solutions filed a whistleblower complaint. Frederick Newell, the company’s owner was charged with shortchanging regular pay, plus overtime, for months of 13-hour shifts.

“Workers who were part of the complaint — who are not being named by the Star Tribune because they are unauthorized immigrants and fearful of retribution — said Newell repeatedly promised to catch up on the next payday, but never did. …

“One of the painters, a father of four, said through an interpreter he was paid even less when Newell discovered he was without legal status. When he complained to supervisors, he said he was threatened with calls to the police. …

“The painters eventually put fears of deportation aside and sought help from the city.

“‘I do not have papers,’ the worker said. ‘But it was and is important to me that this does not happen to other people. I have a family. I have children. I am a human being, and so are other workers, whether or not they have papers.'”

The CBP One smartphone app, now the only way to obtain an asylum interview at the border, has serious problems. Lack of accessibility, language access, are problems with required photos, especially for anyone with a dark skin, are just a few of the more prominent defects. 

[Roll Call] “Nearly three dozen House Democrats raised concerns Monday about the Biden administration’s use of a smartphone application for migrants to request an appointment to seek asylum, the latest in mounting criticism from the president’s own party over his border policies.

“The group of 35 Democrats, led by Reps. Jesús “Chuy” García of Illinois and Raul M. Grijalva of Arizona, called on Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to “take immediate steps to resolve the serious equity and accessibility issues migrants are facing” when using the CBP One app, in a letter sent Monday and obtained by CQ Roll Call. …

“The lawmakers further asked Mayorkas to “reverse course” on plans to implement a policy proposal that would limit asylum eligibility for migrants who arrive at the border and request protection, unless they had secured an appointment through the CBP One app or attempted to seek asylum in another country first, among other exceptions. That proposed asylum rule was publicly released last month.”

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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