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ICE Processing Migrant Families at Border Patrol Stations

Plus: Virginia has 6th highest immigration case backlog, Los Angeles' program to help immigrants get free legal support

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The increasing number of migrant families crossing the U.S.-Mexico border has overcrowded border patrol stations. So according to two senior Department of Homeland Security officials, most of those families will be transferred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody. After being transferred, the families will either be released with ankle monitors and a court date for their asylum hearings or put on flights to be deported. As of Saturday, border patrol processing facilities are 585% above capacity. DHS officials said ICE officers will perform health screenings, offer COVID-19 vaccines, inform immigrants on their legal rights and connect them with non-governmental organizations for assistance. NBC News 

In other national immigration news…

Data: Virginia has Sixth Most Pending Immigration Cases

According to the latest TRAC Immigration data, Virginia ranks sixth among states in the U.S. with the most pending immigration cases. There are over 58,000 cases — and counting — on Virginia’s list. In the city of Roanoke, there are over 800 cases on the backlog. This wasn’t a surprise for Poarch Thompson Law Managing Attorney Rachel Thompson, who has been working in the system under three presidential administrations. She said that the backlog has caused most of her immigration cases to be scheduled for 2025. With cases piled up from the Obama administration, the Trump administration and the pandemic, judges’ agendas are jam packed. WSLS 

Los Angeles Creates Permanent Program for People Facing Deportation 

Patricia Robledo’s parents became victims of fraud when they hired someone to represent them in an immigration case in 2010, but who turned out not to be a lawyer. They couldn’t find a real attorney to help them get organized in time, and were deported to Mexico. The Robledo family’s story isn’t uncommon, but many immigrants are starting to see a different fate. Antonio almost faced deportation as well. But he was granted access to an immigration lawyer, free of charge, through the LA Justice Fund, and it made all the difference in his case. The pilot program was created in 2017 to provide attorneys to 528 low-income migrants, with about 170 of them being children, in removal proceedings. Los Angeles County is now making it a permanent program with $4 million in public funding. Spectrum News 

Ecuadorian Immigrant Celebrates Temporary Reprieve

Nelson Pinos, an Ecuadorian immigrant who sought sanctuary from a federal deportation order in a New Haven church in 2017, received a temporary reprieve. Pinos, who has lived in the U.S. for 29 years and has three children, learned this week that immigration authorities granted him a one-year stay of deportation. Supporters celebrating the news said Pinos left the church for now. During Saturday’s celebration, Pinos’ supporters promised to ensure he gets to remain in the U.S. permanently, pointing out that his and others’ fights for freedom are not over yet. According to the organizers, Pinos is the last of the sanctuary seekers in Connecticut to be granted a stay of deportation. The Associated Press 

200 Afghan Interpreters, Family Members Arrive in Virginia

On Friday, about 200 Afghan interpreters and their families made it to Virginia. This is the first wave of thousands expected to arrive after their lives became endangered due to their work with the U.S. in Afghanistan while Taliban gains control of more territory. According to Ross Wilson, head of the U.S. diplomatic mission in Afghanistan, the flight left Kabul and landed in Fort Lee, Virginia, where Afghans will finish their last rounds of processing over the next few days. The Afghans will eventually be resettled throughout the U.S. The migrants escaped Taliban militants who targeted interpreters, though some were killed as payback for working with the U.S. The Washington Post

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