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Advocates Highlight Racism in U.S. Immigration Policies

Plus: U.S. official apologizes for mistreatment of Haitian migrants, and Texas releases migrants held under Abbott

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

Some experts and advocates say the way the Biden administration has been treating Haitian migrants isn’t surprising. To some, the federal government’s expulsions and deportations of Haitian migrants in recent weeks only reinforces that Haitians and other Black migrants are treated differently under the U.S. immigration system than non-Black migrants. “When Black asylum seekers or Black immigrants are confronted by state power, whether it be the local police on the streets or (federal agents) … they’re confronted in a violent manner on different levels than what we see happening with migrants that are not Black,” said Nana Gyamfi, executive director of Black Alliance for Just Immigration. CNN 

In other national immigration news…

U.S. Official Apologizes for Mistreatment of Haitian Migrants

On Friday, a top U.S. official apologized for how Haitian migrants were being treated at the U.S.-Mexico border. Juan Gonzalez, the U.S. National Security Council’s senior director for the Western Hemisphere, visited Haiti for two days to talk with local leaders about migration and other issues. “I want to say that it was an injustice, that it was wrong,” he said. “The proud people of Haiti and any migrant deserve to be treated with dignity.” According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 4,600 Haitian migrants have been expelled from Del Rio on 43 flights since Sept. 19. The Associated Press 

Texas Releasing Migrants Held Under Abbott

The Texas prison system has officially received paperwork to start releasing 240 migrants on no-cost bonds. Prison officials are expected to turn the men, who were arrested under Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s “catch and jail” effort, over to federal immigration authorities to be detained, deported or released into the U.S. as they await asylum hearings. They still face state prosecution in their trespassing cases. According to defense attorneys and prison officials, Immigration and Customs Enforcement authorities are taking custody of these men if they’ve been convicted of state criminal charges, which consisted of trespassing cases so far. The Texas Tribune 

Are ICE Detention Centers Necessary?

In response to COVID-19 outbreaks across ICE detention centers, attorneys from the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of medically vulnerable detainees. The suit argues medically vulnerable immigrants are facing undue risks during the pandemic. Data shows that by February 2021, a record low number of 13,000 immigrants were held at ICE facilities. Migrants waited for their hearings out of jail and still showed up to their court hearings, followed ICE obligations and paid their court fees. These stats led Latino USA to question if ICE detention centers are essentially needed for immigrants. Latino USA 

ICE Using Appeals to Keep Immigrants in Detention

Last November, Sara Mendez-Morales, a Guatemalan immigrant, applied for asylum and two other forms of deportation relief with the help of an attorney. Mendez-Morales left Guatemala in 2007 after surviving sexual abuse and sexual violence. She had a child with a man in the U.S., but later found out he was violent, and had hit her first daughter. Mendez-Morales contacted child protective services, but he left and she was convicted of child endangerment. When she was released from prison in 2020, ICE picked her up and put her in detention. A judge spared her from deportation, but ICE appealed the decision, keeping her in detention for several additional months. Mother Jones

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