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El Paso County to Provide 25,000 Mexican Minors With COVID-19 Vaccine

Plus: Texas Catholic Charities gets immigrant defense donation, and asylum seekers say they've lost jobs due to USCIS delays

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El Paso County officials are working with the Mexican city of Juarez to provide about 25,000 Mexican minors with the COVID-19 vaccine. In July, El Paso vaccinated 35,000 Mexican residents at the Marcelino Serna International Bridge in Tornillo, Texas. But Mexico’s vaccination rates are still lagging among minors. County Judge Ricardo Samaniego said the vaccinations would be given at the Tornillo Port of Entry on an undetermined date.  “All of us are ready,” Samaniego said. “We have the vaccines and the venue. What’s stopping us is the logistics.” Border Report 

In other national immigration news…

Catholic Charities Receives $20k For Immigrants’ Legal Defense

The Texas Bar Foundation provided a $20,000 grant to Catholic Charities of Central Texas to help supplement costs to provide legal representation for immigrant families. The grant will sponsor a full-time immigration attorney for the charity’s Austin-based immigration legal assistance team. The team recently built up technology to meet the rising demand for legal assistance. The new technologies, combined with an additional immigration attorney, will aid Central Texas families seeking immigration status, the charity said. KXAN 

Asylum Seekers Face Job Loss Due to USCIS Delays

A group of asylum seekers are suing U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, claiming the agency unjustly delayed renewing their U.S. work authorizations and cost them their jobs. The five foreign nationals said some USCIS offices are taking as long as 10 months to provide new work authorizations to individuals with pending asylum bids. According to Emma Winger, a staff attorney at the American Immigration Council, which represents the plaintiffs, the lack of employment limits these asylum seekers’ opportunities to earn money while also threatening their health insurance, professional licenses and drivers’ licenses. Reuters 

50K Afghan Refugees Remain in Limbo

Afghan refugees who remain in U.S. military bases don’t know how much longer they’ll be there before they’re resettled to new homes. Fort McCoy in Wisconsin has the largest Afghan evacuee population with roughly 13,000 refugees. Several refugees from the base told HuffPost they don’t even have winter supplies as the temperatures drop. Some said they’ve been at the base for months and don’t know when they can leave. Fort McCoy’s conditions exemplify what critics say is the Biden administration’s failure to prepare for these evacuees. Volunteer and refugee resettlement groups say they’re overwhelmed and understaffed and that the U.S. government lacks strategy on how to transition these individuals to live in the U.S. HuffPost 

Thousands of Afghan Minor Refugees Will Be Enrolled in U.S. Public Schools

Schools, educators and community groups throughout the U.S. are preparing to assist thousands of Afghan minor refugees expected to enroll in U.S. public schools. There are still almost 53,000 Afghan evacuees in eight military installations in the U.S., and almost half of them are under 18 years old. Some of them are learning English, but will need a formal education when they’re resettled. Nearly 180 students were enrolled in public schools for the fall in Fairfax County, Virginia, meanwhile 50 refugee minors in Austin, Texas, and 64 in Fremont, California, began classes as well. The Washington Post

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