Thursday, April 30, 2020

Latino Voters and Bernie

In 2017, Belén Sisa was arrestedwith seven other undocumented activists for staging sit-ins inside the halls of Congress, demanding a Dream Act without additional border militarization — a “Clean Dream Act.”
Two years later, Sisa was named the Latino Press Secretary for Bernie Sanders’s latest presidential campaign. Ugly headlines appeared in the right-wing press. “Bernie Sanders hires illegal immigrant to be press secretary,” read one. Undaunted, the campaign set about opening up offices in Latino neighborhoods, canvassing Latino homes and supermarkets, printing materials in Spanish, and getting Bernie’s message on Latino televisions, radio stations, and newspapers.
After an intensive year-long effort to earn Latino support, Sanders walked away with 53 percent of Latino voters in Nevada — three times as much as his closest competitor, Joe Biden, who secured 17 percent. On Super Tuesday, Sanders won 49 percent in California, compared to runner-up Biden’s 19 percent. And he won 39 percent of the Latino vote in Texas, compared to 26 percent for runner-up Biden.
Jacobin’s Meagan Day spoke to Belén Sisa about how the campaign earned those votes, and the necessity of both good grassroots organizing and an ambitious political vision that speaks to the realities of Latino life in the United States.
Meagan Day
Were you surprised that Bernie hit it out of the park with Latino voters, or did you see this coming?
Belen Sisa: I worked for Bernie in 2016. We noticed then that Latinos liked Bernie because he was speaking on the issues that so many politicians refused to talk about that they worried about every single day. But even though we knew that from experience, I never like to make assumptions or guesses. Because ultimately when it comes to organizing, you get what you work for.
2020 was about scaling up, building on the foundation that we had built with Latinos in 2016. We were guided by this goal of not only having people come out to vote, but also empowering them to organize their own communities far beyond 2020. And we knew that was necessary because whether Bernie won or he lost, we were going to have to organize ourselves to win legislation like Medicare for All, free college, immigration reform.
The Bernie Sanders campaign invested a lot in Latino organizing across the board. Latinos have been ignored for so long by the political establishment. We decided to go directly to them. As Latino press secretary it was my job to ensure that our message, our vision, and our agenda were going to Latino outlets that had that broad reach among Latinos, the places that they were already getting their news, which included buying ads in TV, radio, and newspapers, paying a lot of attention to what Chuck Rocha calls “cultural competency.” We also had lots of materials in Spanish and a volunteer team texting in Spanish.
But I think that where we went above and beyond was that we established a physical presence in Latino communities. We left no stone unturned. We opened our first offices in very heavily Latino neighborhoods in California, Nevada, and Iowa. We established our California office in East LA. What other presidential candidate is going to open an office in East LA?

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

LULAC Responds To Trump Administration Declaring Meat Plants “Critical Infrastructure” And Treating Essential Workers As Disposable

Nation’s Oldest & Largest Latino Civil Rights Organization Reacts to Reports of Forthcoming Executive Order to Keep Meat Processing Facilities Open

Washington, DC - Today, Domingo Garcia, National President of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), issued the following statement regarding the safety and wellbeing of essential workers in the meatpacking industry, many of whom are Hispanic.
LULAC President Domingo Garcia stated:
“Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, President Trump consistently showed American workers that he puts profits over people. The news that the President will invoke the Defense Production Act to secure the nation’s food supply, instead of mandating OSHA to ensure meat processing plants are safe for workers, sends a clear message about his administration’s priorities: corporate billionaires’ profits are more important than human lives.
Thousands of essential workers in meat processing plants are sick with COVID-19, and many have died because of the Trump Administration, and the governors and health officials where these plants are located, who failed to protect them despite many calls for help. LULAC filed complaints with OSHA over three weeks ago asking for the agency to enforce the safety of these essential workers, and we’ve received no response to date. We’ve spoken to CEOs and union leaders to get voluntary testing for all workers, but that still hasn’t occurred. As dozens of plants are closing and workers like Saul Sanchez of Greeley, Colorado, are dying, the Administration’s decision to force essential workers to risk their lives so pork chops can keep coming to the White House is wrong and immoral.
To confront the gross negligence of the meat corporations and government officials from both political parties, LULAC is calling for ‘Meatless May Mondays.’ We are asking our community of 60 million members, and the entire country, to stand with essential workers and not purchase or consume any meat products once a week to highlight the need for protections for these workers. Until the meat industry, federal and state governments protect the lives of essential workers at all meat processing facilities in a federally mandated and verifiable manner, LULAC will call for boycotts of meat products. We will demand that all plants be closed for a least a week to disinfect, provide necessary PPE and slow down kill lines to ensure employees’ safety.
LULAC is also calling on President Trump to use his executive power to grant essential workers who need it immediate Temporary Protective Status (TPS) under immigration law. This would allow them to be tested for COVID-19, have access to healthcare and unemployment if sick, and not fear deportation. LULAC estimates 80 percent of the meat processing workforce is comprised of undocumented workers or refugees.
All Americans should join in protecting the health and safety of workers at America’s meat processing plants.”
In response to President Trump’s anticipated executive order to keep meat processing plants open, LULAC is calling for the following:
  • Slow meat processing lines so workers can socially distance by at least six feet, per CDC guidelines, and breathe effectively in their PPE masks;
  • Paid sick leave, so workers do not have to work while sick;
  • Full healthcare coverage for all workers who fall ill, including hospitalization, if needed;
  • Testing all workers for COVID-19, even those who are asymptomatic;
  • Grant all undocumented workers and refugees working at these facilities TPS to secure their legal standing in the U.S.;
  • Expand rest breaks and maintain hazard pay after May 30;
  • Provide safety information in different languages for immigrant workers.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Smithfield blames the workers for Covid- 19

Smithfield blames the workers

Smithfield Foods Is Blaming “Living Circumstances In Certain Cultures” For One Of America’s Largest COVID-19 Clusters

Editors note.  If you have seen a meat cutting line, you know this is false. What the company would have to do is  a) Spread the workers out in distance  b) slow down the line.
Instead the created this crisis and closed their own plant. 

Economic Relief

COVID-19 Economic Relief Legislation
On March 27th, 2020, the House of Representatives passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) which President Trump then signed into law. This $2 trillion allocation is part of the federal response intended to help businesses and individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic. The following are some highlights of the CARES Act:
  • Direct cash relief: Most individuals earning less than $75,000 can expect a one-time cash payment of $1,200. Married couples would each receive a check and families would get $500 per child. Unfortunately, undocumented individuals will not receive this check since only persons who file their taxes with a Social Security number are eligible. 
  • Unemployment Insurance: Creates a temporary unemployment assistance program during the pandemic for up to 39 weeks from Jan 27, 2020- Dec 31, 2020. Those who qualify would receive $600 in addition to the state unemployment benefit.
  • Community Health Centers: The bill provides $1.32 billion in immediate additional funding for community-based centers that provide health care services for roughly 28 million people.
There are many other provisions under the CARES Act including student loan protections, and credit protection during the crisis. While this help was welcomed, we know it is not enough to sustain vulnerable communities who are experiencing the brunt of the pandemic. LULAC continues to fight for additional relief in future legislative packets that is targeted to all workers, including the undocumented and their families.

 California Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants 
On April 15, Governor Newsom announced one-time disaster relief assistance for undocumented Californians impacted by COVID-19, who are ineligible for most other forms of pandemic assistance, including direct assistance under the CARES Act and unemployment insurance.
Eligible Californians may receive one-time COVID-19 disaster relief assistance at a value of $500. A limit of two adults per household can receive this assistance (maximum assistance of $1,000 per household).
 The CA Department of Social Services (CDSS) will select immigrant-serving community-based nonprofit organizations to conduct targeted outreach, application assistance, and delivery of the disaster relief assistance to eligible individuals. The selected organizations will deliver the assistance directly to qualified individuals. CDSS’ goal is for Californians to be able to access this relief through local community-based nonprofits starting mid-May 2020. A final date will be provided in the coming week. 

Monday, April 20, 2020

Trump Plans to Suspend Immigration to U.S.

Trump Plans to Suspend Immigration to U.S.

The president portrayed the measure, his most wide-ranging attempt yet to seal off the country from the world, as a bid to save Americans’ jobs amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump uses health crisis to advance his long held immigration goals. 

President Trump on Monday at the White House. Late Monday evening, he tweeted that he would sign an “Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!”Credit...Doug Mills/The New York Times

By Katie Rogers and Michael D. Shear
April 20, 2020, 11:30 p.m. ET New York Times

WASHINGTON — President Trump said on Monday evening that he intended to close the United States to people trying to immigrate into the country to live and work, a drastic move that he said would protect American workers from foreign competition once the nation’s economy began to recover from the shutdown caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

“In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter, “I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!”

In recent weeks, the Trump administration has said health concerns justified moving swiftly to bar asylum seekers and undocumented immigrants from entering the country, alarming immigration advocates who have said that Mr. Trump and his advisers are using a global pandemic to further hard-line immigration policies.

But the president’s late-night announcement on Monday signals his most wide-ranging attempt yet to seal the country off from the rest of the world. A formal order temporarily barring the provision of new green cards and work visas could come as early as the next few days, according to several people familiar with the plan.

Under such an executive order, the Trump administration would no longer approve any applications from foreigners to live and work in the United States for an undetermined period of time, effectively shutting down the legal immigration system in the same way the president has long advocated closing the borders to illegal immigration. It was not immediately clear what legal basis Mr. Trump would claim to justify shutting down most immigration.

Workers who have for years received visas to perform specialized jobs in the United States would also be denied permission to arrive, though some workers in some industries deemed critical could be exempted from the ban, the people familiar with the president’s discussion said.

The number of visas issued to foreigners abroad looking to immigrate to the United States has declined by about 25 percent, to 462,422 in the 2019 fiscal year from 617,752 in 2016.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

America’s Farmworkers—Now ‘Essential,’ but Denied the Just-Enacted Benefits

America’s Farmworkers—Now ‘Essential,’ but Denied the Just-Enacted Benefits: The undocumented workers who pick the nation’s food are excluded from the CARES Act.

Note; While denied U.S. benefits, California Farmworkers will receive a $500 stipend and two weeks of paid sick leave. Not as much as we prefer, but more than provided by the Trump Administration.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Undocumented Left Out of Pandemic Relief

California’s Undocumented Workers and Mixed Status Families Are Locked Out of Safety Net and Federal COVID-19 Support

State leaders can help all Californians by making support systems more equitable and inclusive

California is home to an estimated 2 to 3.1 million individuals who are undocumented immigrants, making up approximately 6% of the state’s total population. These workers, parents, children, and their family members – many of whom are US-born citizens – are deeply integrated in the state’s communities and vital to the state’s economy. 
California’s undocumented workers are especially hard-hit by the economic effects of the COVID-19 crisis, and yet they are locked out of most of the federal and state public supports available to help workers and their families weather this pandemic. State leaders should prioritize supporting this essential group of Californians who are at severe risk of financial and health hardship but blocked from COVID-19 public relief efforts. 

In this fact sheet you will learn about:

  1. How: Undocumented Immigrants Are Deeply Integrated in California’s Communities 
  2. Why: Undocumented Immigrants Are Essential to California’s Economy
  3. What’s Happening Now: California’s Undocumented Workers Are Hit Hard by the COVID-19 Economic Crisis 
  4. Exacerbated Inequality: Undocumented Workers and Mixed Status Families Continue to Be Locked Out of Most Public Supports During the COVID-19 Crisis 
  5. Opportunities Now & Beyond: State Leaders Should Prioritize Addressing the Needs of California’s Undocumented and Mixed-Status Families 

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

19 Immigrant Children Detained- Tested Positive for Covid-19

At Least 19 Children at a Chicago Shelter for Immigrant Detainees Have Tested Positive for COVID-19
A coronavirus outbreak at a Heartland Alliance facility on Chicago’s South Side may be the largest outbreak of the virus in any shelter for immigrant youth in the country. At least 19 children and two staff have tested positive.
 April 13, 4:29 p.m. CDT
Children at a shelter for immigrant youth in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood playing in the yard in July 2018.(Joshua Lott for ProPublica Illinois)

Is the United States Prepared for COVID-19?
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Update, April 14, 2020: On Tuesday, Heartland officials said that the number of immigrant children in their care who had tested positive for COVID-19 had nearly doubled, from 19 to 37. Of those, 28 were asymptomatic at the time of the testing, the agency said. “To our knowledge, there’s not an increase in staff cases,” a spokeswoman for the organization said. “We are working hard to obtain testing for staff, too.”
At least 19 children and two employees at a Chicago shelter for immigrant youth have tested positive for COVID-19 in recent days, in what appears to be the largest outbreak of the virus in the country in shelters for unaccompanied minors.
According to an email sent to staff Sunday, Heartland Human Care Services officials said the first positive test results were reported at its Bronzeville shelter on Friday and that additional cases there were confirmed over the weekend.
On Monday, officials from Heartland Alliance, the umbrella nonprofit organization that oversees the shelter program, confirmed the positive tests and said they expect there will be more cases.
“We are operating under the assumption that we will see additional positive diagnoses as we receive results from the other tests that have been administered, and the steps we are taking to ensure the health and safety of our participants and staff are based on that assumption,” Mailee Garcia, a spokeswoman for the organization, wrote in a statement. “The prognosis for all of the children in our care is very good, and we are continuing to focus on our participants’ health and well-being.”
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As of last Wednesday, only six COVID-19 cases had been confirmed among children and adolescents housed in shelters around the country, according to the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which oversees the nation’s shelter program. All six were at shelters in New York.
ORR officials said there were also 39 “self-reports” of positive COVID-19 tests among personnel affiliated with shelter programs in six states as of Wednesday. ORR has not provided updated figures, despite repeated requests since Friday.
COVID-19 is a less serious health threat to children than it is to adults.
Heartland, according to the copies of the email obtained by ProPublica Illinois, began “trying to secure tests” for children at the Bronzeville shelter after some of them displayed “COVID-19-like symptoms,” wrote David Sinski, executive director of Heartland Human Care Services.
The email doesn’t detail symptoms, when they became evident or when children were tested. But by Friday, Heartland officials learned that one of its “participants” — as the immigrant children and youth are called — had tested positive.
On Saturday, officials were told that three additional children had tested positive. By Sunday morning, they received positive COVID-19 diagnoses for an additional 15 children, bringing the total to 19. According to the email, 10 of the 19 children are asymptomatic. Two staff members have also tested positive.
“We understand that receiving this news may leave you feeling uncertain and scared,” Sinski wrote to staff. “I want you to know that we are committed to providing you with the information that you need to know in order to keep you and your loved ones healthy and safe.”
It’s unclear how old the infected children are or where they are from. But the Bronzeville shelter, a four-story converted nursing home that can hold up to 250 boys and girls, is licensed to house children from infancy to 17 years old.
Officials said they “immediately” move children to an isolated environment when they show any signs of any illness, including COVID-19, to minimize any risk of community spread. Since Saturday, Heartland has “enhanced our social distancing measures” at the shelters to limit the contact among children and between children and staff, Garcia said.
In his email, Sinski wrote that all remaining children at the facility are being tested and that he expected those results by Tuesday. He also asked all employees who worked on the floors where children who tested positive were living to stay home with pay for two weeks. Staff members who undertake “specific activities” with children will be provided N95 masks, gowns and gloves, and are being screened for COVID-19 symptoms before each shift.
Heartland officials said they are now contracting with additional nurse practitioners to be at the shelter for every shift. They are also exploring a house parent model, which would have a subset of staff be onsite full time for the coming couple of weeks, officials said.
Read More

Heartland officials said the organization is in close contact with ORR and city public health officials.
Shelters for immigrant children, nursing homes and other congregate facilities must report to the city of Chicago when there are two or more positive COVID-19 cases, according to a March order. The city’s Health Department then provides “tailored guidance to facility staff on infection control, including cleaning protocols and how to properly manage both COVID-19 positive and exposed individuals,” a spokesperson said in a statement, adding that clusters of cases have been identified in “several facilities.”
Garcia said the organization is “doing all that we can to advocate for additional testing kits for participants and staff across our programs.” She added that “our team have been stellar and courageous champions during this pandemic, committed to both a high level of quality care and being creative and supportive to each other during this challenging time. They are true heroes.”
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, which licenses the shelters, has been notified that children at the facility tested positive. “We’ve been in contact, and we’re offering assistance,” said agency spokesman Jassen Strokosch.
Heartland officials said a professional cleaning company has performed multiple cleanings of the facility in the past week and will continue to perform weekly deep cleanings.
According to ORR guidance meant to limit the spread of COVID-19, children who have symptoms and are recommended for testing are isolated from other children pending test results. Shelter programs are required to do twice-daily temperature checks of immigrant children and alert ORR if a child has a temperature above 100 degrees. ORR has also implemented a mandatory temperature check for anyone entering a shelter, according to officials.
ORR has also stopped placing children at shelters in California, New York and Washington, with limited exceptions, and said it is trying to find local shelters for newly arrived immigrant children to limit air travel. Previously, children were moved to shelters around the country where beds were available.
About 2,800 children are being held in the nation’s shelter system. There are 69 children at three shelters run by Heartland. The organization previously operated five shelters, all in Chicago, but has consolidated the program in response to COVID-19. “Our census was lower and consolidating sites has allowed us to implement the measures ... to safeguard the health of our staff and participants,” a spokeswoman said.
No children have tested positive for COVID-19 at another group of shelters in Illinois run by Maryville Academy, a Catholic child welfare agency, said Sister Catherine Ryan, Maryville’s executive director. About 30 teens are currently housed at two Maryville shelters.
“I’m very grateful that all of our children are fine,” Ryan said. “Obviously, we are taking a lot of precautions to keep it that way.”
Lawyers and advocates for detained immigrant children say they’ve been worried an outbreak would occur in a shelter. Lawyers went to court in late March to ask the federal government to speed up the release of children in its custody.
“It’s been our concern all along as advocates that jails, prisons, detention facilities, even licensed shelter detention, it’s where we’re going to see the massive outbreaks and it’s going to be exponentially higher than in the broader community,” said Holly Cooper, co-director of the Immigration Law Clinic at the University of California, Davis.
Cooper said she is particularly worried about children who have preexisting conditions that have not been identified by shelter officials or ORR and will make them more vulnerable to COVID-19.
“The goal,” she said, “is to get kids out of congregate care because there’s no way it can comply with [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidance even if you’re using all the hand sanitizer in the world.”
Duaa Eldeib contributed reporting.
Update, April 13, 2020: This story was updated to include new comment from the Chicago Health Department.

LULAC and Covid-19

Dear Friends,
Latino Impact Report
For the foreseeable future, the way we think about our Latino community will truly be different. What hasn’t changed are our values, commitment, and sense of responsibility to one another. It’s this shared sense of unity that will bring our community together and make us stronger together.
As we watch the coronavirus crisis unfold in the US, we are witnessing a new reality take shape. No one knows exactly what lies ahead in this uncharted territory. Yet one thing is certain, this crisis will have a dramatic impact on the Latino community, our most vulnerable, especially isolated seniors, immigrant communities, Latino families and single-parent households, those currently living paycheck to paycheck, and small Latino owned businesses.
For over 90 years, LULAC was on the front lines, fighting for the rights of every Latino across the country. We are on the front lines fighting for civil rights, equity in our education system, voting rights, immigrant, environmental, economic justice, immigration reform, and against voter suppression.
Today we find ourselves fighting for equity in sick leave, unemployment compensation, stimulus compensation, small Latino and minority owned businesses and for everyone affected by this crisis. Make no mistake, legislation working its way through Congress right now will change the landscape of our economy, by picking winners and losers. If it fails, our country may fall into a depression we have not seen in generations with Latinos falling further behind after making significant strides over the last decade.
Most importantly, we are fighting to ensure that COVID-19 testing and treatment are 100% covered by our Federal government for every person in the United States and that testing and treatment cannot be used as a public charge against any person who has applied for a Green Card or will do so in the future. No one can be safe if our most vulnerable are left without treatment.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Chole Alatorre - Organizing for Power

If donning a swimsuit was the best way for Soledad Soledad ‘Chole’ Alatorre, pioneering labor organizer and Latina activist, dies at 94

Alatorre remained active even as she turned 90, participating in amnesty marches and holding citizenship classes. To the end, she insisted that activists forsake their differences as well as glory to work for el pueblo.

 Gustavo Arellano.
“Chole” Alatorre to organize Latina garment workers, then she was going to do it.
The Mexican immigrant had arrived to Los Angeles in the 1950s with a mission: to help her exploited countrymen in el Norte. She did this with a people-power play of sorts that starred her as Chekhov’s gun.
Alatorre would join a company that relied on low-paid immigrants illegally in the United States, and quickly get promoted to supervisor. With the newfound leeway, she surreptitiously taught workers about their rights and urged them to agitate for better pay.
Management would find out, then fire her. The employees would walk out. A union usually followed. And Alatorre would move on to the next challenge.
That’s how she found herself one day in a one-piece, in the name of labor.
She joined a manufacturer that had a contract for Rose Marie Reid, the glamorous beachwear brand that styled the likes of Marilyn Monroe and Rita Hayworth. Bosses noticed Alatorre’s svelte figure and asked her to model the latest designs, then walk around the factory floor so seamstresses and other trabajadoras could make any necessary adjustments.
The company quickly shut down once they realized Alatorre’s goals, but the experience sealed her legend. In labor and activist circles across California, she preached a provocative message — undocumented immigrants deserve rights, too, and can be mobilized into a force. That message went from heresy to the mainstream and forever altered politics in California and beyond.
Alatorre died March 25 at age 94 in the Mexican state of San Luis Potosí, where she was born. The cause of death was unknown.
“She was an extraordinary person,” said Rodolfo Acuña, who documented Alatorre’s career in his “Occupied America: A History of Chicanos” and is professor emeritus of Chicano studies at Cal State Northridge. “She never wavered from her message. She was never compromised.”
“She wasn’t always as appreciated because she wasn’t this big, fiery speaker in public,” said California State Sen. Maria Elena Durazo, who said she was inspired to become an activist as a college student after seeing Alatorre help strikers at a Bay Area tortilla factory in 1975. “She said regular, simple things that people believed in.”
Alatorre was raised in a union household by a father who regaled his daughters with tales of U.S. labor history; he told her about executed anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti and about the Haymarket Riot. After marrying into a wealthy family at 19, Alatorre followed her husband to Ensenada for a job that didn’t materialize. Along the way, she saw caravans and camps of braceros, Mexican men who were hoping to cross into the United States, legally or not, for work.

Thursday, April 09, 2020

Trump continues anti immigrant campaigns

Even as he fails management of the Covid 19 crisis, Trump continues his anti immigrant politics. He hopes we are not watching.

U.S. deports 400 migrant children under new coronavirus rules

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. immigration officials have rapidly deported nearly 400 migrant children intercepted at the U.S.-Mexico border in the past two weeks under new rules billed as seeking to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus in the United States, according to government data seen by Reuters. 
President Donald Trump’s administration implemented new border rules on March 21 that scrapped decades-long practices under laws meant to protect children from human trafficking and offer them a chance to seek asylum in a U.S. immigration court. Under the new rules, U.S. officials can quickly remove people without standard immigration proceedings. 
Overall, U.S. border officials have expelled nearly 7,000 migrants to Mexico since the new procedures took effect, according to the data and a Mexican government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Of those, 377 were minors, the data showed. 
The overall number of 7,000 was first published by ProPublica, but the figure for children deported has not previously been reported. 
Around 120 of the minors, who arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border without a parent or legal guardian, were quickly sent on planes back to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, according to data from March 27 to April 2. It was not clear whether the remainder of the children intercepted at the border were pushed back to Mexico or returned to their home countries during the preceding week. 
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) declined to comment. The agency in the past has said that all people caught crossing illegally, including minors, could be subjected to the new restrictions, which aim to cut the time migrants arrested at the border are held in U.S. custody. 
Read full article

 April 3, 2020  2:11 pm  By Halina Schiffman-Shilo  CityLimits
 The $2 trillion stimulus bill that was just passed was supposed to protect public health and the economy from financial ruin. Yet, it penalizes everyday Americans who dare to marry the person they love, and is a dangerous continuation of this administration’s assault on undocumented immigrants and their families.
 Under the stimulus bill, mixed-immigration status families, known as “mixed-status families,” are not eligible to receive the stimulus rebate if a U.S. citizen files his or her taxes jointly with an undocumented family member. The stimulus bill already excludes undocumented immigrants, even those who pay taxes with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, or ITIN, from cash assistance, food stamps, and unemployment benefits.
 However, purposefully excluding mixed-status families from the stimulus rebate is particularly cruel, given that undocumented immigrants, and their families (including U.S. citizens), are the most vulnerable population in times of crisis, as they have no access to the “safety net” available to many Americans.
 This is how the stimulus bill will play out in real life. As an immigration attorney with the New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG), I work with Juan and his wife Julia, who are a mixed-status family (their names have been changed to protect their identity). Juan is an undocumented immigrant. He has lived in the United States for almost 20 years. He pays his taxes through his ITIN, and sends money to his home country every month to support his family. He met his wife Julia—a U.S. citizen—more than a decade ago. Julia and Juan have two U.S. citizen children. Julia survived a life-threatening illness as a teen and still suffers from chronic pain as a result.
Before the pandemic, Juan and Julia worked full time. When Julia’s pain was too severe, she had to stay home from work, leaving Juan to work full time and care for Julia and the children. While Juan and Julia’s lives are not easy, they have each other, and have given their children a loving and safe home. Like many other families around America, Covid-19 (or the coronavirus) has placed them in a precarious financial situation.
 Unlike many other families around America, however, and although both Juan and Julia pay taxes, only Julia will receive a stimulus rebate. By leaving immigrants like Juan out of the stimulus bill, his family will lose out on $1,200, which could mean the difference between paying rent, and facing homelessness.
Juan and Julia are still a “lucky” mixed-status family. Because they file their taxes separately, Julia is still entitled to her stimulus rebate. Mixed-status couples that file their taxes jointly will receive nothing under the stimulus bill.
 There is an additional twist for mixed-status couples filing a marriage-based petition so the undocumented spouse can become a lawful permanent resident (a green-card holder). As part of the immigration process, mixed-status couples have to prove to immigration that they did not marry for immigration benefits. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the branch of the Department of Homeland Security that adjudicates family-based immigration petitions, reviews a petitioning couple’s application to see if their lives are intertwined. Typically, joint tax returns help demonstrate that the petitioning couple has a real marriage.
 This stimulus bill unjustly and unfairly deprives mixed status-couples of the stimulus rebate for filing joint tax returns, the same joint tax returns that USCIS views as indicia of a real marriage. In fact, couples in this situation are doubly penalized. Not only are they precluded from receiving a stimulus rebate, but USCIS is currently closed, meaning mixed-status couples who have a marriage-based petition pending with USCIS are stuck in administrative limbo, as the undocumented spouse cannot complete the process to become a lawful permanent resident.

Sunday, April 05, 2020

Don't Be Stupid- Don't Deport DACA Health Care Wor...

Choosing Democracy: Don't Be Stupid- Don't Deport DACA Health Care Wor...: Opinion Don’t Deport DACA Health Care Workers  If the Supreme Court affirms the administration’s termination of DACA, thousands of v...

New data from the Center for American Progress reveals that the DACA-recipient health care work force includes more than 6,000 diagnosing and treating practitioners, including respiratory therapists, physicians assistants and nurses; some 8,000 health aides, including nursing assistants and orderlies; more than 7,000 other health care support workers; and some 5,500 health technologists and technicians.
The Association of American Medical Colleges told the Supreme Court that nearly 200 physicians, medical students and residents depend on DACA for their ability to practice medicine and serve their communities. Those 200 trainees and physicians alone would care for hundreds of thousands of patients per year in normal times — the association estimates as many as 4,600 patients per year, per person. Under the demands of the Covid-19 pandemic, those numbers will be much higher.
The Center for Migration Studies found that 43,500 DACA recipients work in the health care and social-assistance industries, including more than 10,000 in hospitals.
If the Supreme Court upholds the decision to terminate DACA, nearly 700,000 people — including those health care workers — will lose their ability to work and live in the United States. The administration is preparing to deport DACA recipients and has repeatedly stated that it will do so if the Supreme Court gives it the green light, something that could happen as soon this coming Monday, April 6. There are many reasons for the Supreme Court to hold the administration’s decision invalid, and the pandemic confirms those flaws.