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According to federal officials, more than 28,000 Afghans applied for temporary admission into the U.S. for humanitarian reasons, but only 100 of them have been approved so far. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has struggled to keep up with the rapid surge in applicants for humanitarian parole, and has promised it’s boosting staff to address the backlog. But Afghan families and immigrant groups say the delay is threatening the safety of their loved ones. Chaiara St. Pierre, an attorney at the International Institute of New England, said each application requires a $575 filing charge, which means USCIS has received $11.5 million from Afghans in the last few months. The Associated Press
In other national immigration news…
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Connecticut Woman’s Scam Cost Immigrants $300,000
Khatija Khan, a South Windsor, Connecticut, woman, pleaded guilty in federal court to an immigration fraud scheme that cost victims $326,212, according to the Department of Justice. Khan and her husband ran two organizations that claimed to assist clients with immigration issues. According to a news release from Leonard C. Boyle, acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut, Khan charged clients “significant amounts of money.” The release states, “Many of these clients are aliens residing in the U.S. without legal status and had limited education, a limited ability to understand English and little to no knowledge of the documents that Khan and her husband were filing … on their behalf.” Hartford Courant
Second Migrant Caravan on its Way to Southern Border
A migrant caravan departed Tapachula, Mexico, last week with a goal of reaching the U.S.-Mexico border. According to Mexican news reports and social media, roughly 3,000 individuals from Haiti and Central America left what they called their “open-air prison” near the Guatemalan border. The first caravan, led by Arizona activist Irineo Mujica, started off with 4,000 migrants and has slowly diminished as Mexican authorities offered humanitarian visas to 1,400 migrants and groups hitched rides on commercial buses or trucks to the north. Luis Garcia Villagran, a leader of the Center for Human Dignity and the second caravan, said a third group of 6,000 individuals will likely depart soon. Border Report
UCF Student Shares Immigration Experience Via Animated Film
Ana Beltran, a University of Central Florida animation and visual effects graduate student, plans to tell the stories of immigrants living in the U.S. through 3-D animation. Beltran came to the U.S. from Venezuela with her family at a young age; she said she didn’t understand what was going on at the time yet trusted her parents’ judgement. Her film is about an extraterrestrial alien girl named Echo who left her home planet with her mother to search for a new life. “I got the idea because when you immigrate to the United States you are classified as an alien by the immigration system,” Beltran explained. Spectrum News
Illinois’ Immigration Detention Ban Remains Up in the Air Due to Lawsuit
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) signed a law back in August banning cities and counties statewide from renting out beds to Immigration and Customs Enforcement and requiring counties with ICE detention contracts to terminate them by Jan. 1. But shortly after Pritzker signed the law, Kankakee County and McHenry County filed a lawsuit in federal court to challenge it as unconstitutional. The two counties have made millions of dollars every year from their ICE detention contracts. The state dismissed the case, yet the counties appealed and asked a judge to issue a temporary injunction that would let them keep their ICE contracts while the case is litigated. Daily Herald
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