Monday, April 26, 2021

Investigation Into ICE's Mishandling of COVID-19


Investigation Into ICE's Mishandling of COVID-19

The United States currently has the largest immigration detention system in the world. On any given day, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, holds tens of thousands of people in about 200 facilities across the country. And throughout the pandemic, these facilities have become some of the most dangerous places in the United States when it comes to COVID-19 outbreaks.

Our analysis compared estimated infection rates in ICE detention centers with infection rates in prisons and in the general population. As COVID-19 cases rose last June, ICE detention facilities had an average infection rate five times that of prisons and 20 times that of the general population.

To understand the risks the ICE facilities posed, we talked to former detainees, data scientists, lawyers, county officials and the family of a former ICE contractor about the spread of COVID-19 inside and outside ICE detention centers. We also reviewed court documents, medical records of detainees and government inspection reports from June 2020 to March 2021. Here’s what we found.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Admissions Cap

 Biden’s Commitment to Refugees in Question After Flip-Flopping on Admissions Cap

Throughout his presidential campaign and after the election, Joe Biden repeatedly condemned President Trump’s decision to slash the U.S. refugee admissions level to its lowest in history. He  promised to raise the number of refugees admitted to 125,000 a year.

But on April 16, President Biden instead signed a new refugee determination keeping in place Trump’s 15,000 cap on refugees for the rest of the fiscal year, the lowest level in the history of the U.S. refugee resettlement program. This decision was the first major promise on immigration that Biden appeared to break.

Biden did, however, lift several discriminatory restrictions on the refugee program that had blocked many refugees from the Middle East and Africa. And after refugee groups and members of Congress condemned the administration’s decision, the White House seemingly walked back its original announcement, saying that “We expect the President to set a final, increased refugee cap for the remainder of this fiscal year by May 15.”

The U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program, established decades ago, requires the president to sign a “Presidential Determination” each year setting the number of refugees that will be resettled. In President Obama’s last term, that level was set at 110,000 for fiscal year 2017. Trump lowered the level to 50,000 immediately on taking office, then cut the level each year after that. It plummeted to a historic low of 15,000 for fiscal year 2021, which runs from October 1, 2020 to September 30, 2021. In total, just 2,050 refugees have been resettled through the first half of the fiscal year.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Responding at the Border

 How the Biden Administration Is Responding to Unaccompanied Children, 

Families, and Adults at the Border

The Arrival of Single Adults at the Border

Beginning last spring, after lockdowns lifted across Mexico and Central America, tens of thousands of single adults began coming to the U.S.-Mexico border. Under a policy put in place by the Trump administration known as “Title 42,” individuals who cross the border between ports of entry were rapidly expelled back to Mexico or placed on a plane and sent to their home country.

These rapid expulsions created a situation where single adults—who didn’t have to worry about the health and safety of a child with them—could attempt to cross the border repeatedly. In December 2020 alone, the Border Patrol apprehended single adults over 62,000 times (many of them the same people). This was the highest level since 1999.

The number of single adults coming to the border has continued to increase since then, making up 67% of all border apprehensions since January. In March, the Border Patrol apprehended single adults 96,628 times. Nearly all were expelled back to Mexico—even those hoping to seek asylum.

Single adults do not represent the same kind of processing difficulties as families and children, in part because the Border Patrol was created generations ago for this exact purpose.

The Arrival of Families and Unaccompanied Children

At the same time, a different phenomenon has been occurring with families and unaccompanied children. Though the number of asylum-seeking families and children coming to the border had begun growing last year, that number has skyrocketed since January.

The arrival of record numbers of unaccompanied children has continued to prove an enormous humanitarian challenge for the Biden administration. President Biden has committed to not restoring the Trump-era policy of expelling unaccompanied children, which was blocked in court last November.

In response, the Biden administration has worked to rapidly expand the capacity of the Office of Refugee Resettlement through the creation of new “emergency influx shelters.” This strategy seems to be having a positive impact, with the number of children in Border Patrol custody beginning to drop through the first weeks of April.

Monday, April 5, 2021

Eagle Pass

Texas border town mayor says illegal immigrants have been hiding in homes

Eagle Pass, Texas Mayor Luis Sifuentes says border agents in his area have been catching about 300 illegal immigrants a day.

The mayor of a Texas border town told "America Reports" on Monday that illegal immigrants have been hiding in the homes, backyards and patios

Eagle Pass borders the city of Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico, which is to the southwest and across the Rio Grande. The Eagle Pass-Piedras Negras metropolitan area (EG-PN) is one of six binational metropolitan areas along the United States-Mexican border.