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Guatemalans Continue to Struggle After Hurricanes and Border Crossings

Plus: Man detained by ICE despite deportation protection, Pennsylvania immigration jail closing, free lunches could help immigrants

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Sisters Miriam Noemi Cuc Cac and Irma Cuc Cac tried to cross the U.S.-Mexico border back in December 2019, but were apprehended by Mexican law enforcement and sent home. But there wasn’t much to return to, as the family lost their crops to last year’s hurricanes and expect more crop failure this year. They’re going to attempt to cross another time because, as Miriam said, “We want to better ourselves. And there’s no way to make money here.” According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection figures, Guatemalan migrants were apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border over 153,000 times this year, and experts say climate displacement could drive even more Central Americans north. Politico Magazine 

In other national immigration news…

Jamaican Man Detained by ICE After Being Granted Deportation Protection

Attorneys are criticizing Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials for holding Giovannie Morrison for 77 days after an immigration judge granted him a deferral of removal under the Convention Against Torture. This relief is usually given to people who are likely to be deported because of a criminal conviction, but could face torture in their home countries. Morrison, who is from Jamaica, was convicted of assault with a firearm in 2020 and spent 18 months in Nevada’s Kern County jail before he was released. The Fresno Bee 

Detention Center Closes in Pennsylvania

The York County Prison in Pennsylvania won’t detain immigrants who face deportation proceedings starting August 12. The decision came due to budgetary issues. Other Pennsylvania detention centers, such as Berks County Prison and Pike County Prison, have closed this year. Berks County Prison released many detainees, which left Pike County over capacity. So instead of transferring the overflow detainees from Pike, they were released. The immigration court at York will close as well and will affect the prison’s lease with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Many immigration advocates were thrilled with the news, especially because many of the detainees would be released. The National Law Review 

California Launches Free School Lunch Program 

Starting in the fall, all 6.2 million public school students in California will have the option to eat school lunches for free. It’s set to be the largest free student lunch program in the U.S. Even though 60% of California students qualify for the program, experts say the number of children who need food assistance is likely much higher. It could particularly benefit immigrant communities who are afraid of applying for free lunch programs because they often require detailed applications. Schools reported low percentage rates of families applying for free food and reduced price meals during the Trump administration. The Associated Press 

Advocates Helping Immigrant Ohio Farmworkers In Person Again

Advocates for Basic Legal Equality usually knocked on doors at registered farm camps in Ohio every summer to inform the largely migrant workforce of their legal rights. But when the pandemic hit last year, they were only able to drop off outreach materials outside. “Usually, when we would go out and explain to people about their legal rights, they would invite us into the housing units to discuss any issues they have,” said Arturo Ortiz, a senior paralegal at ABLE. But as vaccines finally reach agricultural workers, Ortiz said ABLE is once again ready to help workers in-person with immigration issues, wage theft or poor living conditions. The Columbus Dispatch

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