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Latinos Driving Rural Population Growth

Plus: Detainees keep refusing COVID-19 vaccines, Connecticut prepares for Afghan refugees, Pa. could let undocumented get driver's licenses

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The latest census data showed that population growth in rural areas was largely led by an increase of Hispanic and Latino residents, many of whom come as immigrants to work on farms or meatpacking plants or to begin their own businesses. In Nebraska, only 24 of the state’s 93 counties gained residents, but only eight of the 24 counties saw their white populations grow. David Drozd, a researcher coordinator for the University of Nebraska Omaha’s Center for Public Affairs Research, said that if rural areas didn’t have Latino growth, then employers would be struggling to hire workers for farms and meatpacking plants. The Associated Press 

In other national immigration news…

Detainees Keep Refusing COVID-19 Vaccines

According to federal data shared with Congress and obtained by CBS News, COVID-19 vaccines are continuing to be offered to more immigrant detainees, but thousands of them still refuse to get vaccinated. As of this week, about 22,000 ICE detainees have received at least one dose of the vaccine. This is a 167% increase from early July when only 8,221 doses had been administered. According to the figures, 6,000 detainees declined the vaccine. The increased vaccination efforts come amid an influx of positive cases in detention centers. ICE data shows there were more than 5,000 new cases over the past six weeks. Close to 1,400 detainees were being monitored or isolated after testing positive as of Friday. CBS News

IRIS Ready to Move 500 Afghan Refugees To Connecticut

New Haven’s Integrated Refugee and Immigration Services announced they’re prepared to help move almost 500 Afghan refugees to resettle in Connecticut. Chris George, executive director of IRIS, said they’ve already called out for volunteers and community groups for help. Kamal Sadat, who worked with youth and within media outreach in support of U.S. troops and the Afghanistan government, said that it has become “very dangerous” for himself and his family in Afghanistan due to his work. The Taliban threatened him and his family and told him he was worse than the U.S. military. Sadat said he moved 13 times across Afghanistan within a few years to escape. NBC Connecticut 

Driver’s Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants Might Be Coming to Pennsylvania

Immigration advocacy groups and a state agency official testified in support of a bill that would grant undocumented immigrants the chance to receive driver’s licenses in Pennsylvania. Advocates told the House Transportation Committee this bill would make roads safer and ensure undocumented farmworkers are able to perform their jobs. They also mentioned this could protect children of mixed-status families who depend on undocumented parents. Two state agencies — the departments of agriculture and transportation — were in favor of the bill. This was the first time the bill has been introduced to the committee since 2011. There are currently 16 states that allow undocumented residents to obtain driver’s licenses. WESA 90.5 

Experts Say Rise in COVID-19 Cases in the U.S. is Not From Migrants

For the last few weeks, Republican governors, including Texas’ Greg Abbott, Florida’s Ron DeSantis and Iowa’s Kim Reynolds have continuously blamed undocumented immigrants for the uptick in COVID-19 cases. But there has been no evidence to support these accusations. Arthur Caplan, director of medical ethics at New York University School of medicine, told Noticias Telemundo that the low vaccination rates in specific states is the reason for the rise in cases, not migration. For example, Mississippi is one of the five states with the lowest percentages of undocumented immigrants in the U.S., according to the Pew Research Center. But the state also saw 100,000 COVID-19 cases last week, and has the lowest vaccination rate. NBC News 

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