This week, we read about a Trump-era immigration policy that may return, private donations to fund the wall at the border, and a California bill that would give incarcerated immigrants a second chance.
Biden mulls ‘lite’ version of Trump’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy
President Biden is considering restarting a controversial Trump-era policy. The policy, ‘Remain in Mexico’ required asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border to stay in Mexico until their case is heard.
President Biden’s policy would be a less strict version, granting more opportunities to asylum seekers in the process.
A federal judge decided that President Biden’s decision to end the program violated the law. However, the plan of restarting the program is angering immigration advocates.
The Department of Homeland Security has appealed the federal court ruling but did not try to end the program once again.
The President made promises to overturn many of Trump’s immigration policies, but this process has been slow-moving. President Biden had specifically called out ‘Remain in Mexico’ as being dangerous and inhumane. He intended to halt the program, but Texas and Missouri sued over the repeal of the program. This leaves the administration with an extremely difficult decision to make.
“The incredible damage that waiting in northern Mexico does to people, the insecurity, the access to lawyers, the abysmal inhumane conditions that people live in,” said Erin Thorn Vela, attorney for the Texas Civil Rights Project. “There’s no way that that can be delivered on. And I think they know that.”
Immigrant advocates and supporters are finding it troubling that the administration is considering restarting this policy while the appeal is pending.
Private donations for a Texas border wall have soared to $54 million. But it’s still unclear who’s giving.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott has been raising funds to build a wall on the Texas-Mexico border. Abbott started an online fundraiser in June for people to donate, which leveled out at a fraction of what the project would cost. The fundraiser saw a $15 million and $35 million dollar jump in August. It is not clear what or who caused the significant jump in donations.
The Texas Tribune requested records of the donations due to the stark jump. Yet, experts say that there is still a lack of transparency in determining where the funding is coming from.
The jump is particularly significant because other states that have also tried to fund the wall using crowdfunding have raised significantly less.
“Building a wall is not going to protect the nation from drug trafficking, from the entrance of drugs from south of the continent and it doesn’t stop immigrants arriving to the south of the United States,” said Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, professor at the Scharr School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. “What’s happening is symbolic and it’s a symbol of how divided the nation is along the lines of immigration.”
Correa-Cabrera said the real issue is that some Americans believe immigrants are a threat to the country. She believes the administration should be focusing on how to change that mindset.
On the other side, conservative executive Kevin Roberts says that many Americans feel Biden’s efforts with immigrant enforcement have not been enough.
California bill seeks to halt prison-to-ICE deportation pipeline
A new California bill would prevent prison authorities from sending formerly incarcerated immigrants over to ICE. Without the bill, foreign-born inmates that serve their time can be transferred to ICE and deported to their home country. The bill, called the ‘Vision Act’ was introduced by California State Assembly member Wendy Carrillo.
The article gives several examples of foreign-born inmates that have dutifully served their time. Upon release, however, many of them are getting deported.
“I thought I was going to walk away a free man because of what I was doing. I was contributing to the communities, you know, helping. Fighting fires, saving property and animals, people’s homes and stuff,” said Leonel Sanchez a formerly incarcerated immigrant from Mexico.
Immigration advocates have questioned whether justice is being served without action. However, the bill has been criticized by law enforcement groups and conservatives. The act is expected to pass the state Senate soon, with hopes that Governor Gavin Newsom will support it.