This posting contains summaries of the articles contained in IRTF's Migrant Justice Newsletter-December 2022.
To read the full newsletter, go to https://www.irtfcleveland.org/blog
Cleveland EOIR - Deportation Proceedings Filed
Through November 2022 the number of new deportation proceedings filed nationwide more than doubled, reaching 168,606 deportation proceedings filed nationwide. 1,336 new cases were filed at the immigration court in Cleveland in November, bringing Ohio up to the 18th place of the most cases filed by state throughout the country. Most of the deportation proceedings filed in this month in the Cleveland EOIR court have been against Venezuelans (189), Nicaraguans (117), and Colombians (120).
Nationwide, these nationalities top the list of new deportation proceedings filed this fiscal year:
The number of cases filed shows that despite the promise of the Biden administration to slow down deportations, in practice the number of new cases filed in one month has risen: 84,454 in November, compared to the prior month’s 84,152. The same can be seen in Ohio: 1,336 in November, compared to 1,239 in October.
The Biden Administration’s Plans to Overhaul Border Policies after the End of Title 42
After many attempts by the Biden Administration to suspend the use of Title 42, a Trump-era border policy that was implemented originally as a public health proclamation to fight the spread of Covid-19, a federal court ruled on November 15 to officially end Title 42 on December 21. [Note: Due to a Supreme Court ruling on December 19, Title 42 will continue for the foreseen future.] Since its implementation back in 2020, the policy has been misused to expel millions of people seeking refuge at the southern U.S. border. It specifically targeted Haitian migrants, sending them as well as other nationals arriving at the border back to their home countries without due process.
In late November, Axios reported that officials from the White House National Security Council, Department of Homeland Security, State Department, and Justice Department have been involved in discussions about new border regulations to prepare for the end of Title 42. Many are expecting a sudden surge in the already increasing numbers of border crossings as people are thought to interpret the end of the Trump-era policy as an opening of the borders. To work against a potential new border crisis, there is talk of implementing rather drastic measures, some of which don’t seem too different from border policies that were in place under Trump.
One proposal is placing single adults into an expedited removal process if 1) they did not first apply for asylum in another country through which they traveled, or 2) they did not pre-apply for some other legal pathway into the US. Migrant justice advocates rightfully describe this as restrictive and punitive. Legal pathways are few. That’s why people come and cross “illegally.” If there were legal ways, why wouldn’t they be taking those paths now? And requiring that they apply for asylum in another country? For Central Americans, that is ridiculous. Conditions of violence and corruption are pervasive in the region. Why would a Honduran seek asylum in El Salvador, or a Salvadoran in Guatemala? This new measure would essentially make it impossible for many single migrants to enter the United States.
A second proposal is criminal prosecution. The administration suggests dramatically increasing efforts to prosecute single adults who have illegally crossed the border, especially if they have tried to evade Border Patrol. Migrants targeted by the proposal would have committed no other crimes or illegal activities, and it would make border crossing attempts a high-risk path into the country.
Title 42: Expelling Migrants in the Name of Health Measures. Update on Removal Flight Trends
On November 15, a federal judge struck down Title 42 after years of advocacy by migrant justice advocates to stop this racist and xenophobic program. But whether Title 42 will actually end is still up in the air. The court gave the Biden administration until December 21, but it is still in effect.
Despite his public stance to end Title 42, Biden is urging the Mexican government to accept more migrants from Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela under the COVID-19 expulsion order. There have been concerns raised by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken about the escalating number of migrants crossing into the US, but Mexico has not yet promised any specific actions. Mexico already accepts US Title 42 “expelled” migrants who are nationals of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) renewed for Haitians
Last month we reported on Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designations for nationals of 15 countries (see the below). Migrants who qualify for TPS are in better shape than others who are totally undocumented. Even though they have no path to permanent legalization, they can get permission to work while residing in the US. And about every two years they can re-apply to renew their TPS and work permit.
The secretary of U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS Secretary) has the authority to grant TPS to eligible foreign born individuals whom DHS deems are unable to return home safely due to conditions or circumstances preventing their country from adequately handling the return, such as armed conflict or environmental disaster.
On December 5, DHS Secretary Mayorkas announced that he was extending TPS for Haitians for an additional 18 months, from February 4, 2023, through August 3, 2024, due to extraordinary and temporary conditions in Haiti. He also re-designated Haiti for TPS, allowing eligible Haitian nationals residing in the United States as of November 6, 2022, to apply for TPS through August 3, 2024. But note: Haitians entering the US after November 6 are not eligible for TPS and, like other individuals without a legal basis to remain in the United States, will be subject to removal.
At the Border: Recent Incidents at and around the US-Mexico Border
This is a space where we share current incidents from the US southern border to show that these issues that we write about do, in fact, immediately affect people at the border and in detention, and the horrible things many migrants have to experience while seeking refuge in the U.S.
[This is a summary of an article published in the San Diego Tribune, by Pedro Ríos, November 30, 2022]
At the San Ysidro border in 2010, US Border Patrol agents tortured and killed Anastasio Hernández Rojas, a migrant from Mexico. Twelve agents are alleged to have hogtied, dragged, beat, punched, kicked, used a stun gun on, kneeled on and stepped on the head and body of Anastasio until he stopped breathing. His widow and attorneys have taken the case to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in Washington, DC. When facing what they think is a threat, US security agents generally apply an ambiguous “objective reasonableness” criterion, based on officers’ perception of fear rather than any real threat to their safety. But international standards are stricter. If the IACHR sides with the family, then it would recommend that US security officers exercise force based on principles of necessity and proportionality. This could affect not only Border Patrol but local law enforcement as well.
At the hearing in front of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Andrea Guerrero, one of the attorneys for Hernández Rojas’ family and executive director of the San Diego-based nonprofit organization Alliance San Diego, addressed it in this way: “Every year, across all 50 states, police kill more than 1,000 people who are disproportionately Black and Brown. Only a handful of officers and no border agents have ever been convicted because the reasonableness standard favors them [in nearly all states] and justifies their perceptions to use force.”
Source: San Diego Union Tribune
TAKE ACTION NOW
Now that you are up to date on the issues at and around the southern border of the U.S., here is what you can do to take action this week and act in solidarity with migrants and their families.
In November, a federal court ruled that the continuation of Title 42 is in violation of U.S. law and that the expulsion policy must end by December 21. Despite the ruling, the administration is now considering other harmful and immoral approaches to block thousands of asylum seekers seeking safety and protection in the United States.
Now is an important time to tell Congress to hold the administration accountable to deliver on its promise to restore an orderly, welcoming, and just asylum system, to invest in community-based case management for asylum seekers, and to scale up access to the life-saving U.S. resettlement program.
Source: Church World Service Global
Permanent Pathway to Citizenship for DACA and TPS recipients
Temporary protections, like DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and TPS (Temporary Protected Status), are not enough. These programs are vulnerable to the courts and do not provide stability for our communities and families. That has been demonstrated by the Fifth Circuit’s recent ruling against DACA -- as well as multiple attempts to end both DACA and TPS over the years.
Congress must ACT NOW to permanently protect all immigrant youth, our families, and our communities from detention and deportation.
Send a message to your US senators and congressperson today!
Sources: Network Lobby, United We Dream
Thank you for reading IRTF’s Migrant Justice Newsletter!