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Critics Say Harris ‘Disappeared’ From Immigration Issues

Plus: Former CDC official says migrant expulsions didn't prevent COVID-19, and private prisons exploit a loophole to stay open

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

CNN interviewed almost three dozen former and current aides to Vice President Kamala Harris, revealing a “complex reality inside the White House.” The extensive report detailed Harris’ role in immigration policies. Fernando García, executive director of Border Network for Human Rights, met with Harris when she visited El Paso, Texas, in the summer. He said he was optimistic about Harris’ possible influence on immigration policy. Yet García said months later, she “disappeared.” “We haven’t heard any substantive messaging push for better immigration policies,” García told CNN. “We haven’t seen her leadership.” CNN 

In other federal immigration news…

Top CDC Official Said Migrant Expulsion Policy Wasn’t Necessary

According to a transcript released Friday, a former senior official for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told a congressional committee that the border policy issued last year that expelled migrants and blocked them from seeking asylum wasn’t necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Anne Schushat, the second-highest ranking CDC official until her departure in spring, said the migrant expulsions that former President Trump approved in March 2020 lacked an adequate public health rationale. “The bulk of the evidence at that time did not support this policy proposal,” Schuchat said of the policy that the Biden administration continued to use. CBS News 

Private Prison Companies Becoming Immigration Detention Centers to Stay Open

President Biden has started to terminate federal contracts with private prison companies, but they’ve discovered a loophole to stay open: holding detained ICE detainees. In his first week in office, Biden signed an executive order banning new private prison contracts, but it didn’t include immigrant detention centers. So when it closed, Pennsylvania’s Moshannon Valley Correctional Center, owned by private company GEO Group, reopened as an immigration detention center. Local officials throughout the U.S. told CNN that prison companies are looking for a similar pathway to keep open several private families with contracts on the edge of expiring. CNN

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