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Migrants Wonder if Sanctuaries Are Still Safe

About 70 undocumented immigrants, many facing final deportation orders, lived in churches to claim sanctuary during the Trump administration.

Deanna Garcia

Apr 07, 2021

The weeklong “Fast for the Forgotten” aims to put pressure on lawmakers to fully fund cash assistance for residents who haven’t been able to access stimulus checks or unemployment insurance.

Protestors outside of the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Devine. Photo: Jessica Fu for The Counter

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When former President Donald Trump took office in 2017, about 70 undocumented immigrants, many facing final deportation orders, lived in churches to claim sanctuary. Many of those immigrants thought they were safe when President Joe Biden banned deportation for 100 days, but that changed when a federal judge reversed his ban. Some immigrants have left the churches, but others, like Guatemalan migrant Maria Chavalan Sut, are still unsure. She originally came to the U.S. in 2016 but spent the first month in immigration detention, and has been at a church in Charlottesville, Virginia since Sept. 30, 2018. The Washington Post

In other national immigration news…

Long Beach Convention Center May House 1,000 Migrant Children

The Long Beach Convention Center will become the second temporary facility in California to hold migrant children as they fill facilities along the border. Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia said these children could start arriving within a week after the city council approved a contract Tuesday night. “Our convention center is a major asset in the heart of our downtown,” Long Beach Councilmember Cindy Allen said, “As it is currently unable to host indoor events, this is a tremendous opportunity to help without impacting operations or businesses.” As of Monday, about 14,287 children were transferred from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection custody to the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Los Angeles Times 

More Unaccompanied Minor Housing Opening in Texas

On Tuesday, the Biden administration opened another emergency facility to house unaccompanied minors close to an overcrowded CBP facility in Donna, Texas. ORR said in a statement that it’s opening the Delphi Emergency Intake Site to hold unaccompanied teenagers between the ages of 13 to 17. The site will house over 300 children and has a capacity of up to 1,500 beds. ORR also said there will be a COVID-19 screening protocol at the site. The pods in the Donna facility were supposed to hold only 48 migrant children, but are currently housing more than 300 in one and more than 500 in another. Axios 

Public Housing Benefits Available to Immigrants in Colorado

Colorado is the first state to provide housing benefits to roughly 180,000 residents who are struggling during the pandemic, regardless of their immigration status,. Lawmakers passed the bill March 30 and are waiting for Gov. Jared Polis’ (D) signature for it to become a law. Nonprofits, such as the Accompaniment and Sanctuary Coalition in Colorado Springs, are relieved this bill will provide their clients with housing benefits. Colorado state Senator Julie Gonzales, the sponsor of the bill, said it’s unfair for a family to not receive stimulus assistance just because there is an undocumented person in their household. KRDO 

The History of Immigrants at the Border

David Dorado Romo remembers the story his great-aunt Adela told him about when the U.S. Border Patrol melted her favorite shoes. At the time, she had a visa that allowed her to travel from Mexico to South Texas to work as a maid and had to report to the Border Patrol Station every week. Years later, Romo visited the National Archives where he discovered pictures and records of gas chambers where the belongings of Mexican workers were disinfected with the chemical Zyklon B and a large steamer, which could have melted Adela’s shoes. Romo became a historian to expose the truths of what has happened at the border throughout the last decades that most people aren’t aware of. The Atlantic



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