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Ana Paredas had been waiting seven years to hold her daughter Melissa, whom she left in Guatemala as 3-year-old as she sought work in the U.S. Now 10, Melissa began her 2,500-mile journey from Guatemala in February to join her mother. She went through Mexico, then took a dangerous raft trip across the Rio Grande into Texas. Next, Melissa spent a few weeks in a government-contracted group home before she was able to travel to California to live with Paredes and her two older siblings. Melissa is one of 50,000 unaccompanied migrant children who have crossed the U.S.-Mexico border over the last six months. The New York Times
Phoenix Church Opens Doors for Undocumented Migrants
Since March, more than 300 migrants have been living at and receiving food and help from the Monte Vista Baptist Church in Phoenix. When Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainees are released to await court hearings, they often have nowhere to go. But two times a week, Pastor Angel Campos picks up migrants from the city’s refugee Welcome Center and takes them to the church. They’re provided with hot meals, clothes, showers, information and beds to spend one night, sometimes more. ICE typically releases migrants on Mondays and Wednesdays, which is when about 10 volunteers help out the church. AZCentral
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Trump Policies, COVID Leave Immigrant Couples’ Visas in Limbo
Kabir Sunmon and Hester LaZard met in a Los Angeles parking lot in 2017. Two months later, they were married, and had plans to make a family in the U.S. But four years later, Sunmon, who is Nigerian, is stilling waiting for a marriage-based green card so he and his wife can travel and live without fear about his immigration status. Former President Donald Trump’s restrictive immigration policies were the first hindrance in Sunmon and LaZard’s plans, and then the COVID-19 pandemic slowed the visa process even more. What’s essentially a freeze on marriage-based visas has thousands of couples living in constant fear that their actions will lead to their permanent removal from the U.S. BuzzFeed News
Migrant Children Treated for COVID-19 in California Holding Centers
More than 60 migrant children held in two California facilities have tested positive for COVID-19. The Long Beach Convention Center, housing 728 migrant children, had 55 children test positive as of Thursday, a Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson said. The Pomona Fairplex, which started housing 216 children last Saturday, has 14 positive cases. The spokesperson said the Long Beach site tests children every three days and separates those who test positive for COVID-19 in an isolation tent. They also noted “almost all” of the children who tested positive are asymptomatic, “with the exception of one who has very mild symptoms.” ABC News
Over 2,100 Unaccompanied Migrant Children Crossed Border Since January
Border Patrol agents have encountered more than 2,100 unaccompanied migrant children, who possibly voluntarily left their families to seek asylum, since January. Customs and Border Protection data reveals that between January 20 and April 5, Border Patrol agents came across approximately 2,121 children who were expelled under a public health law when they originally tried to cross with their family. Usually single adults and some families are expelled under the rule, but the Biden administration has made an exception for unaccompanied children, who are transferred to Health and Human Services custody. CBS News
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