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Harris Arrives in Latin America for Migration Talks

Plus: Border Patrol's app for asylum seekers, ICE attorneys can drop cases, and more federal immigration news.

Deanna Garcia

Jun 07, 2021

Vice President Kamala Harris meets with adviser Symone Sanders.

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

Vice President Kamala Harris made her way to Latin America late Sunday to meet with Guatemalan and Mexican leaders to discuss migration. Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei, who meets with her Monday, described Harris as a straight-talking, detailed-oriented leader who concentrates on the long-standing reasons that people are leaving his country. His goal is for U.S. lawmakers to create stricter laws against traffickers and says Guatemala is ready to apprehend them. According to Giammattei, Harris is open to the idea and should be announcing plans for Justice Department prosecutors to collaborate with Guatemalan authorities to bring action against drug traffickers and other transnational crimes. CBS News 

Customs and Border Protection Rolls Out App for Asylum Seekers

For the past few weeks, U.S. border officials have quietly created a new app, CBP One. According to the Homeland Security Department and experts who reviewed the app, it uses facial recognition, geolocation and cloud technology to collect, process and store sensitive information of asylum seekers entering the U.S. DHS officials say this “smart border” innovation is more effective than the Trump administration’s walls and blockades. Experts who reviewed the privacy assessments of the CBP app said it raises concerns about unchecked data collection and surveillance by the government on vulnerable migrants. Los Angeles Times 

Biden Lets ICE Attorneys Drop Cases

The Biden administration is giving immigration attorneys more discretion over which cases it can drop. This could prevent cases against vulnerable immigrants from heading to the immigration court system. According to a memo obtained by BuzzFeed News and sent to ICE prosecutors, agency lawyers can drop cases against green card holders, those who are elderly, pregnant or have serious health conditions or those who were brought to the U.S. at a young age. The memo also advises lawyers to consider other “compelling humanitarian factors,” such as if a defendant is a caregiver or a victim of a crime. Biden officials believe this could lessen the immigration court backlog and use resources for cases that need more attention. BuzzFeed News 



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