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The Army Corps of Engineers issued a pair of contracts worth $788 million to replace 83 miles of fence on the southwest border back in May 2019. The project was expected to be finished in January 2020, but four months after the completion date, the government raised the value of the contracts by more than $1 billion. Within a year, the value of two contracts tripled to over $3 billion, despite the length of the fence being constructed only increasing by 62 percent. A ProPublica/Texas Tribune review of federal data spending shows more than 200 contract modifications have increased the cost of Trump’s promised border wall. ProPublica
In other national immigration news…
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U.S. Is No Longer Leading in Refugee Protections, Thanks To Trump
For years, the United States has been a sanctuary for the oppressed as it took in many more refugees than other countries. But since Trump took office, he has slashed the number of refugees allowed into the U.S. by more than 80 percent. Refugee admissions will hit a record low of 15,000 in 2021. Stephen Miller, a senior Trump adviser and immigration hardliner, said the administration wants refugees to remain closer to their home countries and work on the problems that caused them to leave. Associated Press
Georgia ICE Facility Gynecologist Under Review
Nineteen women in ICE custody at the Irwin County Detention Center in Georgia have allegedly received unnecessary medical treatment by one gynecologist. A panel of board-certified obstetrician-gynecologists and two nurse experts conducted a report on the allegations for Senate Democrats and members of several House committees. It found that women sometimes signed a consent form for procedures, including hysterectomies, in languages they didn’t speak. It also found other examples of medically hostile treatment. A lawyer for the gynecologist, Dr. Mahendra Amin, said the panel didn’t review all relevant medical records for its report. The Wall Street Journal
International Students Move Away from U.S. Under Trump
The United States used to be a destination for international students who came to American universities and then sought jobs here. But the country has seen fewer and fewer foreign students come to and stay in the U.S. since 2016. According to the State Department, student visa allotment has declined 42 percent under Trump’s presidency, from about 700,000 visas authorized in 2015 to under 400,000 last year. Colleges suggest the drop stems from students struggling to receive visas, as well as America’s social and political environment. NBC New York
Data Breach at Immigration Law Firm
Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, the country’s largest immigration law firm, confirmed a data breach affecting personal information from current and former Google employees. The law firm administers employment verification screening services to companies to ensure employees are eligible to work in the United States. Last month, the law firm discovered an unauthorized third-party accessed a file containing personal information on a “limited number” of Google employees. TechCrunch
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