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President Donald Trump has just a week left in office, but he still made time to visit the border wall he campaigned on building along the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump traveled to Alamo, Texas, on Tuesday to see the more than 450 miles of wall built in his administration; Most of the new build replaced existing structures. “We can’t let the next administration even think about taking (the border wall) down, if you can believe that,” Trump vowed when speaking in front of the wall. Since January 2017, about $15 billion has been earmarked to build about 738 miles of the wall, though not all of it has been completed. CNN
In other national immigration news…
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Refugee Advocates Win Lawsuit Against Trump Order
U.S. District Judge Peter Messitte in Maryland ruled against the Trump administration’s executive order that bans refugees from residing in specific areas. Refugee advocates consider this a success after dealing with the Trump administration policies for the last four years. Trump signed an order two years ago requesting that resettlement agencies acquire written consent from states where they plan to house refugees. Three faith-based resettlement agencies filed a federal complaint two months after Trump signed the order and won a preliminary injunction in January 2020. Miami Herald
ICE Detainees Lack Soap, Can’t Social Distance During the Pandemic
A report on conditions at ICE facilities reveals immigrants did not have access to hand-washing soap and were retaliated against for voicing concerns as the virus spread throughout the detention facilities. Physicians for Human Rights and Harvard Medical School interviewed 50 former detainees released from 22 different facilities, concluding ICE violated constitutional and human rights during the pandemic by not following proper guidelines. One of the 21 men interviewed said he had COVID-19 symptoms but was scared he’d be punished if he said anything. About 96 percent said they slept six feet from others in a room that held as many as 100 people and 83 percent disinfected areas themselves. The Guardian
Death Penalty Pushed for Immigrant
Prosecutors are continuing to push for a death penalty for Apolinar Altamirano, a Mexican immigrant. Altamirano charged with murder for killing a store clerk in metro Phoenix during a robbery in 2015. A judge dismissed the state’s bid for execution because Altamirano was deemed to be intellectually disabled. Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel’s office asked the Arizona Court of Appeals to overturn a Dec. 17 lower-court ruling that threw away the death penalty option. Altamirano has already been sentenced to six years in prison for misconduct with weapons and pleaded not guilty to murder, robbery, and more charges. The Associated Press
Mexican Hometown Inspires Minneapolis Restaurant
At age 13, Gustavo Romero fled Tulanchingo de Bravo, Mexico, for the U.S. But years later, he remained inspired by his hometown and brought it to Northeast Minneapolis with Nixta, a tortilleria and takeout restaurant. While it was tough to open during the pandemic, Romero set his restaurant apart by offering meals for whole families. Restaurants not succeeding in takeout are trying to be too much like normal restaurants, Romero said, while he concluded “Home cooking would be the better feeling for people.” Nixta provides meals for pickup two days a week. Sahan Journal
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