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A total of 5,767 unaccompanied children were in Customs and Border Protection custody as of Sunday, an increase from 5,495 on Thursday, government data shows. The overall number of children in U.S. government custody has slightly declined from over 18,000 children last Tuesday to about 17,650 on Sunday. Internal government estimates obtained by CNN show the month-by-month increase could result in 158,000 unaccompanied children arriving between April through September. The Biden administration says it is not turning away unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border, and is struggling to find housing for these children before they’re connected with relatives and sponsors. CNN
In other national immigration news…
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Migrant Children Separated at the Border From Relatives
Leonardo and his younger cousin left Guatemala with his aunt to reunite with his mother, Emiliana, in California after not seeing her in years. By Feb. 23, he was able to hug Emiliana at the Los Angeles airport — but the first thing he asked her was where his aunt and cousin were. Under U.S. immigration law, migrant families are classified as children and their parents or legal guardians. Children like Leonardo are defined as “unaccompanied” and separated from caretaking relatives until they have a sponsor. Immigrant advocates argue thousands of children could stay out of the shelter system if they were released to other relatives. Reuters
Positive COVID-19 Cases Among Migrant Girls at San Diego Convention Center
There are 37 positive COVID-19 cases among the unaccompanied migrant girls housed temporarily at the San Diego Convention Center. Bonnie Preston of Health and Human Services said most of the girls tested positive before leaving Texas, where they were held in Border Patrol custody. The 27 girls who tested positive in Texas were placed on a special quarantine flight, arrived at the convention center first and were placed on a separate floor from the rest of the children. The other girls that originally tested negative moved to the COVID-positive rooms. The girls are tested for COVID-19 every three days, and those who were exposed are tested more frequently. The San Diego Union-Tribune
Immigrant Advocates Sue Berks County Commissioners Over ICE Detention Center
Make the Road Pennsylvania and a few plaintiff community members allege a “deliberate effort by the Berks County commissioners to hide their decision-making” regarding the Berks County detention center that used to hold immigration families. A lawsuit says commissioners have been speaking with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement about turning the facility into an immigrant women’s prison, but haven’t made these discussions public. The facility was emptied this month of immigrant families that it housed for two decades. “We don’t want ICE to be there, in the backyard of Reading and Berks County,” said Armando Jimenez Carbarin, a Make the Road organizer. The Philadelphia Inquirer
The Future of Latino Organic Farmers in Minnesota
When Rodrigo Cala and his brother, Juan Carlos, first came to Minnesota in 2004, they searched for ingredients at Mexican grocery stores to make chicharrones en salsa verde (pork in green sauce). But the ingredients they picked up just didn’t taste right, and they saw a chance to grow and sell quality Mexican produce to help others imitate the flavors of home. Cala now runs a USDA Organic-certified 46-acre farm in Turtle Lake, Wisconsin. He’s very involved in the organic farming community and works with Minnesota’s Latino Economic Development Center, assisting immigrant farmers to become organic growers. Sahan Journal
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