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President Joe Biden addressed his administration’s controversial decision to reopen a Texas facility to hold unaccompanied migrant minors in a Friday interview with Univision. The facility in Carrizo Springs was originally opened by the Trump administration in 2019 to hold 700 teenagers between 13 and 17 years old and closed after one month. Biden’s team claims the reopening is temporary and will deal with the increase of migrant children crossing the U.S.–Mexico border. “Our hope and expectation is that it won’t stay open very long and we’ll be able to provide for every kid who comes across the border safely to be housed in a facility that’s licensed,” said Biden. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki argued on Thursday on The View that the facility is completely different from family separation at the border. HuffPost
In other federal immigration news…
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Senators Demand DHS Investigate Immigration Guards
A group of Democratic senators are urging the Department of Homeland Security to investigate allegations of immigration detention guards pressuring asylum seekers to submit to deportation. In a letter to Thursday to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Immigration and Customs Enforcement Acting Director Tae Johnson, the senators asked them about specific incidents that happened in the past year. “ICE officials and contractors must be held accountable if they have refused to treat people in their custody consistent with basic human dignity and with DHS rules and regulations. Asylum seekers should not have to choose between brutality at home or brutality while seeking asylum,” the letter stated. Mother Jones
Biden Encourages Undocumented to Get Vaccine As ICE Backs Down
Biden said he believes undocumented immigrants should have the chance to receive the COVID-19 vaccine without fearing ICE. “I want to make sure they are able to get vaccinated and so they’re protected from COVID without ICE or anyone interfering,” he said during the Univision interview. “They should… not be arrested for showing for being able to get vaccinated.” Biden also said he wants to ensure undocumented immigrants have food during the pandemic, hinting that his $1.9 trillion coronavirus proposal will increase its funding for nutrition assistance. DHS announced earlier this month that ICE will not be overseeing enforcement activities at or near COVID-19 vaccination sites. The Hill
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