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Tien Pham was recently deported to Vietnam, a country that he fled as a young teenager after growing up during the aftermath of the Vietnam war. By 1996, his family had made it to California as refugees, but Pham struggled to adapt. In his low-income neighborhood in San Jose, he got wrapped up in local street gangs. Pham was arrested in 2000 at 17 years old and sentenced to 28 years in prison. He was granted parole last June. But immediately upon his release, Pham was transferred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention and then deported. The Guardian
In other national immigration news…
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Migrants and Asylum Seekers See Heavy Militarization at U.S.-Mexico Border
When hurricanes hit Central America in November, Nelson and his wife Maura’s neighborhood in Puerto Cortés, Honduras, flooded. They lost their jobs and were forced to live under a tarp on the side of the road, leading them to head north to the U.S.-Mexico border. They got to Mexico 12 days after a highly publicized deployment of militarized immigration enforcement meant to deter migrants, but only found this when they got to the U.S.’s southern border. They’re among many immigrants who didn’t see Mexico’s attempts at deterrence because they didn’t enter the country at official crossings, but are now seeing heavy military presence as they wait to seek asylum. The Intercept
Wife Of Veteran Returns to Florida 3 Years After Deportation
After being deported and living in Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula for three years, Alejandra Juarez has finally been reunited with her family. Juarez was deported under Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy after fleeing Mexico as a teenager due to death threats. She lied to a Customs and Border Patrol agent about being a U.S. citizen and signed paperwork in English, which she didn’t understand at the time, to avoid detention. Juarez eventually married a U.S. Marine veteran and settled in Florida with their two kids. The documents she signed had complicated her eligibility to stay in the U.S., but Department of Homeland Security provided her with a temporary reprieve, known as a humanitarian parole. Orlando Sentinel
Police Surveillance in Chula Vista Shared with Immigration Authorities
Chula Vista, California, is only 15 minutes away from the Mexican border city of Tijuana and has became California’s first “Welcoming City” that offers financial and educational opportunities for immigrants. But it’s also one of the most surveilled cities in the U.S., where the police department uses license plate readers, drones and body cameras to track residents. Residents and activists are now accusing city leaders of “betraying” the immigrant community, as it shared surveillance footage with federal immigration authorities when it approved a contract with a database vendor. WIRED
COVID-19 Vaccine Available for Houston ICE Detainees
The Houston Processing Center, an immigration jail in Texas, will begin vaccinating some of its detainees. Omar Salgado, the Houston Health Department’s immunization bureau chief, said the city will give 130 doses of the Moderna vaccine to the CoreCivic-run jail. This is the first COVID-19 vaccination program available in Texas ICE detention facilities. Six Texas immigration attorneys said they haven’t heard of any clients receiving the vaccine yet, nor have they heard of detainees in any Texas detention center receiving the vaccine. According to ICE statistics, 402 detainees are in isolation after testing positive for COVID-19 in Texas ICE detention centers. Houston Public Media
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