This week, we read about immigration attorneys refusing to be a part of “Remain in Mexico,” new immigration provisions in the budget bill, and some immigration myths that have been debunked with data.

Immigration Attorneys Say They Won’t Be Complicit In The Biden Administration’s Relaunched “Remain In Mexico” Program 

Immigration attorneys are refusing to be a part of a Trump-era program that forces immigrants and asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico while a judge decides their case. This program, started by the Trump administration, has recently been relaunched.  

The program is known as Migrant Protection Protocols, (MPP) or “Remain in Mexico.” It strips away the rights of asylum-seekers and migrants at the borders.  

“For all of us, our duty is to the migrants, not the US government. What we’re not going to do is be complicit with the government in trying to make MPP somehow more palatable, because there’s no way MPP can be made more humane. It’s illegal and inhumane,” said Sue Kenney-Pfalzer, director of the border and asylum network at HIAS, a Jewish nonprofit that aids refugees. 

Since its creation in January 2019, the program has forced over 70,000 migrants to wait in Mexico for months or more before their case. The program was ended by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in June of this year. Yet, a federal judge ordered the Biden administration to restart the policy. 

This policy has worsened the issue of migrants not being able to receive proper representation for their cases. Pro bono attorneys and legal aid organizations have been overwhelmed with thousands of cases. This has left many migrants in dangerous situations and without legal representation.  

Pro bono attorneys that have experience helping immigrants in MPP have spoken out against the program. They have provided firsthand accounts that show how dangerous the program is for attorneys and migrants.  

“I am not willing to or able to emotionally and physically continue to put my life at risk, because the Biden administration has broken its promise and decided to reinstate this utterly evil program. There is no way to make it humane. There is no way to ensure due process,” said Taylor Levy, an immigration attorney.  

Attorneys and members of legal aid organizations have said that joining the program would “legitimize” the policy. Many feel that joining would mean being complicit in an unjust policy. 

 

Paid leave, immigration, tax changes added to Biden bill 

Democrats in the house have been working to settle differences on an upcoming budget bill. 

Included in the bill are provisions for family leave. This includes paid time off for childbirth, and recovery from illness or caring for family members.  

The immigration provision would create a pathway to citizenship for 7 million undocumented immigrants. The proposal would allow them to apply for work permits and live and travel in the U.S. for five years. 

The paid leave and immigration provisions have resulted in resistance from Sen. Joe Manchin, (D-WV). His support is essential to the bill’s passing, as all Democrats will need to vote yes in order for it to be approved. Republicans are united in opposing the bill. 

“We must strive to find common ground in the legislation,” said Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, in a letter to colleagues. 

Data Debunks Insidious Myths About Immigration 

Attorney Scott Fein debunks the many prejudices and off-base myths about immigrants in America. Fein describes the many absurd claims that conservative cable news stations promote and the harm that comes from it. 

Fein uses data compiled by academics and statisticians to debunk top myths about immigration. He focuses on the upstate New York region. 

The first myth is that ‘immigrants strain the safety net and take precious jobs.’ Fein reiterates that refugees pay taxes, build housing stock, and open new businesses. He also shares that immigrants in upstate New York are actually more entrepreneurial than their U.S.-born peers. 

The second myth is that ‘immigrants bring crime with them.’  Fein reports that in upstate New York, while immigration populations grew, crime rates dropped. Research also reflects that undocumented people are half as likely to be arrested for violent crime compared to U.S. citizens. 

The third myth is that ‘America no longer needs immigrants.’ Fein gives the numbers which speak for themselves. Immigrants added about $2 trillion to the GDP in 2016. He adds that mass deportation of undocumented immigrants would cost the U.S. billions in lost taxes.  

 As a whole, Fein’s data proves that immigrants are an essential benefit to the United States. 

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