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Some South Florida detainees in Glades County Detention Center have started receiving the COVID-19 vaccine as part of a Miami federal court case settlement. Detainees at two other detention centers are still waiting for their vaccines. The court settlement is part of a continuous civil rights lawsuit that was launched in April 2020 by national immigration advocates. The suit wanted the release of thousands of detainees at three South Florida facilities due to their increased risk of severe illness or death if they contracted COVID-19. ICE data reveals Glades County has 188 detainees that tested positive for the coronavirus, Krome has 243 and Broward has 253. Miami Herald
In other national immigration news…
Another Migrant Child Shelter Opens in California
Since the Long Beach Convention Center opened as a migrant shelter earlier this month, about 150 children have arrived, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said. Facilities started to become overcrowded as more unaccompanied children crossed the border daily, and the department began opening up more shelters to house these minors. The new shelter at Long Beach will hold up to 1,000 migrants. Children there will receive three or four hours of daily classroom time and outdoor activities. Mayor Robert Garcia said the children are expected to be released to family between a week and 10 days. The Associated Press
Seattle Immigration Software Startup Raises $25 Million
Boundless Immigration CEO Xiao Wang’s parents migrated from China to the U.S., and he was reunited with them when he was three. They used most of their savings on attorneys to guide them through the naturalization process. Many years later, their story inspired Wang to start Boundless, which has helped 70,000 customers with their visa and citizenship applications since it was founded in 2017. In its recent series B funding round, it raised $25 million from Foundry Group, Emerson Collective and Yahoo and more companies. Boundless offers a flat-fee service that digitizes hundreds of papers in the immigration process. Even though the company’s service is only in the U.S., it hopes to add more countries and languages. Forbes
U.S. Companies Allow Mexican Cartel To Receive Kidnapping Payments
Tens of thousands of immigrants have been kidnapped in recent years as they attempt to cross the southern border, with those immigrants’ families forced to pay to get them released. VICE investigated 40 payments made through money transfers from eight different kidnapping cases between 2014 and January 2021, and found all of the money flowed through U.S. companies. They mainly through Western Union and MoneyGram, but also through Walmart and lesser known companies such as Ria. Criminal organizations in Mexico have made an estimated $800 million on migrant kidnappings in the past 10 years. The money transfer companies also receive a portion of every transaction through fees and exchange rates. VICE World News
Afghans Waiting for U.S. Visas Are Fearful of Their Future
Since the Biden administration’s national security team made the decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, Afghans who worked with U.S. forces fear their future is in jeopardy. According to a State Department official, roughly 18,000 individuals who worked with the U.S. applied for special immigrant visas and are still waiting for approvals. Department data shows that approval process can take over 500 days. Abdul, an Afghan national, left his country in fear of being killed because he worked for the U.S. government in Afghanistan. “I left everything,” he said. “I left my family and my colleagues and it was very painful for me.” CNN
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