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Health Department Threatens to Sue Texas Governor

Plus: Supreme Court dashes citizenship hopes for TPS holders, kidnappings targeted migrants crossing border, and more immigration news.

Deanna Garcia

Jun 10, 2021

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra.

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra runs the department caring for migrant children at the border.

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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is threatening to sue Texas after Gov. Greg Abbott (R) halted the licensing of child care facilities holding migrant children. Texas authorities followed Abbott’s orders and instructed 52 state-licensed shelters and foster care programs housing collectively 8,600 migrant children to begin closing operations by Aug 30. Paul Rodriguez, a top HHS lawyer, sent Abbott a letter saying this declaration would violate the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Abbott has until Friday to clarify if the state authorities’ plan applies to shelters overseen by the Office of Refugee Resettlement. CBS News 

In other national immigration news…

California Kidnap-Ransom Scheme Targeted Immigrants

Three Southern California men were charged for their connection with the kidnapping of six individuals trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border. The U.S. Attorney’s office announced on Tuesday that Edgar Lemus and Francisco Hernandez Martinez of Vernon and Junior Martinez of Watts were charged with conspiracy to launder money. The three men pretended to help those crossing the border from Mexico. But instead they held them for ransom and, at times, demanded extra money after receiving their first payments. Authorities said Lemus allegedly collected $19,000 in April at a Walmart in California from the husband of a woman who was kidnapped in Mexicali. The Associated Press

Supreme Court Rules Against Green Cards for TPS Holders

The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that individuals with Temporary Protected Status won’t be able to become green card holders if they came to the country illegally. The decision spells another dead end for more than 400,000 immigrants from 12 countries who have received the status, which lets them temporarily live and work in the U.S. when their home countries suffer war or natural disasters. Immigration advocates say the decision puts pressure on Congress to pass immigration reform to help TPS holders living in limbo. The House passed legislation that would provide a pathway to legal citizenship and residency for immigrants with TPS, but the legislation has a long way to go. Bradenton Herald 

Asylum Seekers Still Have to Stay in Mexico 

Donald Cortez left Honduras with his wife and son two years ago when he faced threats of violence and religious persecution. His family is among an estimated 68,000 asylum seekers expelled from the U.S. and forced to wait in Mexico for their court dates, where Cortez has become a teacher at a shelter. Biden recently lifted the policy, but thousands of asylum seekers are still waiting to learn when their cases will be heard in court. According to Syracuse University’s TRAC database, over 8,300 people subjected to MPP were granted permission to enter the U.S. to wait for their court date. Spectrum News1 

Law Student’s Life Changes After TPS Revocation

César Magaña Linares came to the U.S. from El Salvador with his family when he was two years old and is now a TPS holder. As he grew up in Nebraska, he became a committed immigration activist attending rallies and law school to become an immigration lawyer. But when Trump announced the end of TPS in 2018, Magaña Linares’ life changed. He had less than two years to figure out what he was going to do before being deported. “What I have found to help me cope [with uncertainty over immigration issues] is reminding myself that I come from a country that … is super rich and something greater than just immigration papers,” he said. KNAU



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