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The Berks County Residential Center released several parents and children and is no longer holding families, according to activists and U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-Penn.). The center is one of three family detention centers in the U.S. that held families who are seeking asylum or entered the country undocumented. Activists have demanded the center close for many years. The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services even declined to renew the center’s license. Bridget Cambria, executive director of Aldea, which represents families at the detention center, said about 25 people, as well as 15 children, in seven or eight families were released last week. The center in Leesport has been in contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement since 2001. The Associated Press
In other national immigration news…
Trump’s Muslim Ban Separated Sisters for Seven Years
Zaynab Abdi and her family fled to Yemen from Somalia during the civil war in the 1990s. While they were there, her mother received a diversity immigrant visa to travel to the U.S. She left Yemen in hopes that she could become a U.S. citizen and sponsor her family. But things got far more complicated as Zaynab and her sister Sabreen were raised by their grandmother, and eventually fled to Egypt during the Arab Spring protests. When they applied for U.S. visas years later to finally reunited with their mother, Zaynab got one while Sabreen unexpectedly did not. Sahan Journal
Texas Winter Storm Hurts Latino Farmworkers
The Rio Grande Valley harvest is currently on ice due to the winter storm that hit Texas last month, leaving farmworkers with very little work. Paulina, an undocumented immigrant, typically harvests crops in the field from 7 AM or 8 AM until 4 PM. But now, her and fellow workers are only working no more than two or three hours. H. Juan Anciso, a vegetable specialist for the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, said the freeze also affected incoming blooms, which means farmers they will likely lose next year’s crop. NBC News
H-1B Visa Ban ‘Unsustainable’ [Opinion]
With the unemployment rate in computer and mathematical occupations lower than pre-pandemic levels, former President Donald Trump’s ban on H-1B visa holders is unfeasible, Stuart Anderson, director of the National Foundation for American Policy, argues in Forbes. Trump suspended the arrival of H-1B and other temporary visa holders on June 22, 2020, under the guise of protecting American jobs. But the unemployment rate in computer and mathematical occupations in January 2021 was at 2.4 percent. That’s 0.6 percent less than last year before the pandemic, failing to justify Trump’s rationale. Forbes
Migrants With Young Children Continue to be Released at South Border
For the past month, U.S. Border Patrol agents continued to release hundreds of migrants who were traveling with young children near McAllen, Texas, according to a spokesman with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), told the Border Report a month ago that migrants traveling with young children were being released by the U.S. Border Patrol agents in the Rio Grande Sector. Migrants who are discharged by border patrol agents are released on a Notice to Appear and promise to attend upcoming immigration court hearings in whatever city they live in. Border Report
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