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Thirteen people were killed in a traffic collision near the U.S.-Mexico border wall Tuesday. A group of 44 migrants, who were allegedly smuggled, were traveling in a pair of SUVs that crossed from Mexico into California’s Imperial Valley, according to border officials. One of the vehicles erupted into flames right after crossing. Border agents say they quickly discovered 19 migrants “hiding in the bush nearby” who entered the U.S. illegally, presumably in the SUV. The second vehicle continued traveling west but slammed into a tractor trailer when it switched intersections 30 miles later. The New York Times
In other national immigration news…
Biden May Reopen Child Migrant Shelter With Sexual Abuse Allegations
Vice President Kamala Harris visited the Homestead temporary shelter for migrant children in South Florida in 2019 after facility received allegations of sexual abuse and prisonlike conditions. Harris, along with other Democratic presidential candidates, criticized the site and the Trump administration for its harsh immigration policies. Homestead was shut down a few months later. But amid the surge of unaccompanied migrant children coming to the U.S.-Mexico border, the Biden administration is considering reopening the facility. The site will reportedly be renamed Biscayne Influx Care Facility. Advocates are infuriated about the potential reopening as they continue to work to end the detention of children. Mother Jones
Gov. Abbott Blames Migrants for Spreading COVID-19 in Texas
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) is preventing the Biden administration from providing migrants who were released from custody with COVID-19 tests, according to a senior Homeland Security official. And immediately after revoking COVID-19 restrictions, Abbott blamed migrants arriving in Texas for exposing residents to the virus, without any evidence. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has given the governor’s office permission use Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance for reducing virus spread. Yet the grant money needs to be approved by the state before it can be dispersed among border communities. CNN Politics
Maine Advocates Sue for Immigration Jail Information
The ACLU of Maine, the Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project and the Refugee and Human Rights Clinic at the University of Maine School of Law believe ICE is using the Cumberland County Jail as a short-term jail for immigrants and are suing for more information. The groups sued under the federal Freedom of Information Act for information about ICE’s new facility in Scarborough, Maine and detainees in the area. They are seeking records such as those approving the transfer of ICE detainees to and from the Cumberland County Jail and arrangements for the facility in Scarborough. The Associated Press
How Minnesota’s Latino Small Business Are Staying Strong
COVID-19 destroyed thousands of businesses throughout the last year. Javier Garcia’s Agua Gorda farm in Minnesota was one of them, losing money as the demand for produce for restaurants and schools decreased. To recoup, Garcia is hoping to diversify his growing operation by working alongside 10 other farms in the Minnesota and Wisconsin area to sell free-range chickens. John Pacheco, the president of the Latino Chamber of Commerce in Minnesota, said a lot of Latino businesses weren’t able to get a Paycheck Protection Program loan. In some cases, Latino business owners weren’t even aware the loans were available, but also feared immigration consequences. Sahan Journal
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