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40 Percent of Unaccompanied Children’s Parents Already in U.S.

The U.S. is holding an unprecedented 22,000 migrant children in shelters and border facilities and is taking weeks to find their families.

Deanna Garcia

Apr 21, 2021

A mother and daughter in Queens are fighting eviction and the deportation of the father of the family after fleeing violence in Honduras, June 21, 2019. Credit: Ben Fractenberg

This summary was featured in Documented’s Early Arrival newsletter. You can subscribe to receive it in your inbox three times per week here.

Andrea’s six year-old son Juan crossed the U.S.-Mexico border and ended up in government custody for 10 days. The Venezuelan mother lives in California and called government officials several times a to find her son. Andrea didn’t get a call back for a while, but she did receive calls from people who were physically with Juan. The U.S. is currently holding an unprecedented 22,000 migrant children in shelters and border facilities. Internal data indicates more than 40 percent of minors released by the government have at least one parent residing in the U.S. Still, the Department of Health and Human Services has been taking about 25 days to reunite these children with their parents. The Washington Post 

In other national immigration news…

Advocates and Former Detainees Fight Against Private Prisons 

Last month, a dozen Central Americans wore shirts that read “Mujeres Luchadores” (Fighting Women) and marched through a small Texas town toward T. Don Hutto Residential Center, where they all used to be incarcerated. The private detention center still has a contract with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. During the Trump administration, detention expanded and ICE held a record of 56,000 migrants. But now private immigration jails are facing public outcry, state legislatures are considering shutting them down and the Biden administration is phasing out their use. “These corporations are profiting off of our suffering,” said Sulma Franco, former Guatemalan detainee. “We want all the cages shut down now!” NPR  

Dental Clinic Reopens to Care for Underserved Community in Minneapolis

On the night protests over the killing of George Floyd began, Dr. Ali Babarawai’s dental clinic, Chicago Lake Family Dental, was in flames. The clinic was originally closed when the pandemic hit and planned on reopening over the summer until it was damaged. Babarawai said that night looked like a war zone and that he was lucky his business didn’t see the same damage as the others more affected. Almost a year later, Babarawai’s clinic has been rebuilt. His patients, who come from immigrant backgrounds and receive Medicaid, have been waiting anxiously for the reopening. Babarawai is anxious to return to serve his Somali and other immigrant patients in the neighborhood. Sahan Journal 

Soccer Team Sues U.S. After Coach was Denied Entry

The Houma Terrebonne Soccer Association in Louisiana is suing the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Embassy in London for not allowing its coach from the United Kingdom, who was recruited in 2018, to travel to the U.S. The State Department cited a Jan. 25 proclamation that President Joe Biden signed, which blocks certain travel from the U.K. due to the pandemic. A lawyer for the soccer team said the coach’s visa is a separate issue from the travel rules and should’ve been approved months ago. The Associated Press 

Protestors Demand Biden Keep Promise, Release Detainees

On Monday, about 30 protestors gathered in front of a South Florida ICE jail to fight for an end to abuse and the release of all detained migrants. Biden has been in office for almost 100 days, but he hasn’t undone all of Trump’s immigration measures. United We Dream, Immigrant Action Alliance, Florida Immigrant Coalition, Southern Poverty Law Center and the Family Action Network Movement organized the “Eyes on ICE” campaign to gather testimonials of detainees speaking on the “cruelty, corruption and suffering” they faced in U.S. custody and advocate for their release. La Prensa Latina Media



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