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Philadelphia Family Together Again After Separation in 2017

A Honduran family saw each other for the first time in three years after being separated when crossing the border.

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Mabel Gonzalez was reunited with her sons Mino and Erick on Tuesday after more than three years apart. Gonzalez and her family left Honduras because of violence in 2017; Gonzalez’s oldest son and husband arrived in the U.S. first while her and her two younger sons were stopped in New Mexico. The family was separated, and Gonzalez spent two years in Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention before being deported to Honduras. They finally saw each other for the first time in Philadelphia this week, recording an emotional video of their reunification. The family is one of the first to be reunited by the Biden administration’s Family Reunification Task Force. ABC7

In other national immigration news…

Immigrants Given Lawyers in San Diego County

San Diego County will begin providing immigrants facing deportation access to attorneys through a $5 million program. The one-year pilot program, administered by the county’s public defender’s office, will provide lawyers to detainees at Otay Mesa Detention Center. County staff have 90 days to design a plan to permanently fund and operate the program. San Diego is the first southern border county in the U.S. to provide ICE detainees with legal representation. According to a 2016 study by the American Immigration Council, immigrants who had attorneys were four times more likely to be released from detention and win their deportation cases. The Associated Press 

Visa Employment Rules Have Immigrants Fearing Removal

Swaraj began to worry when he lost his job in the middle of the pandemic. He had to either find a new employer that would sponsor his visa or he would have to return to India. Swaraj sold his valuables and furniture and messaged everyone he could on LinkedIn to find a new job. He did get a new position, but he keeps his room in Madison, Wisconsin, empty in fear of being kicked out. Many foreigners with advanced degrees have lost their jobs in the U.S. during the pandemic. These immigrants’ H-1B statuses are the only reason they can legally stay in the U.S., so these layoffs can upend their lives. The Guardian 

Census Reveals the Need for Immigration Increase in the U.S.

The 2020 Census has revealed the U.S.’s population growth is slowing. The U.S. population totaled 331.5 million in 2020, an increase of 7.4 percent from 2010. That’s the lowest growth percentage since the 1930s. Immigration has led the U.S.’s population to grow consistently over the years, and is soon projected to become the main driver for population growth. As U.S. families continue to have fewer children, “immigration is one of the most feasible and rational ways to help respond to this challenge,” said Danilo Zak, a senior policy and advocacy associate for the National Immigration Forum. Vox 

Advocates Work to Improve Migrant Farmworker Housing

José Ignacio, one of about 1,200 dairy farmworker in Vermont, has been working to create affordable and energy-efficient housing for migrant farmworkers in the state. While farmers are required to provide homes for migrant workers, it’s often unsafe and inadequate. José Ignacio, for example, recalled living in a garage with tractors and sleeping on makeshift beds during his first year as a farmworker. He and a few dairy farmworkers are now worker-owners with the cooperative New Frameworks, which uses locally sourced materials to create high-performance replacement housing. The group is working to design and distribute factory-made housing solutions they hope will improve farmworkers’ living conditions and diminish energy costs and emissions. Energy News Network

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