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Florida Democrats Still Seek Closure of Glades County Detention Center

Plus: Guatemala adjusts its immigration law to punish traffickers, and COVID-19 infections surge among immigration detainees

A group of 17 Democratic Congress members have renewed their call for the Biden administration to end a federal contract with an Immigration and Customs Enforcement jail in Florida, which has a reputation for alleged human rights abuses. The lawmakers, led by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Shultz, said the situation has gotten worse since July, when they first called for a termination of contract. “Reports of abuse of both local residents detained and those transferred in from across the country have unfortunately escalated since that time,” the letter states. “People’s lives continue to be in danger every minute that the Glades Detention Center remains open.” Law360

In other national immigration news…

Guatemala Adjusts Immigration Law, Increasing Prison Time for Human Traffickers to 30 Years

Legislators in Guatemala have made changes to the country’s immigration law, increasing sentences for human traffickers from 2-5 years to as much as 30 years in prison. Culprits will also pay between $13,000 to $26,000 for each human they’ve been caught trafficking through Guatemala. Still, some lawmakers say the move will not address corruption within the country, which has been labeled as one of the root causes of illegal migration to the U.S. border. Reuters

COVID-19 Infections Surge Among Immigration Detainees

Advocates are calling for migrants to be released as COVID-19 infections surge in federal immigration centers. Last week, 3,100 or about 14% of those detained were infected, which marks a 48% increase from the peak of 2,100 last May. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials say most detainees were already infected before being taken into custody, but medical experts and lawyers are saying the coronavirus is spreading and booster shots have not been made widely available to detainees. Washington Post

Biden’s ‘Secret’ Flights of Migrants Debunked as Customary Procedure

Recent news about the Biden administration’s supposedly secret flights of immigrants have been falsely misconstrued, according to Immigration Impact. It is not uncommon for the Department of Homeland Security to arrange flights to the location immigrants will wait in prior to attending court hearings, or for the department to purchase tickets for their families to transport them before they are released. But misinformation about the commonality of this practice can lead to dangerous situations, including a recent one where several right-wing activists barricaded a hotel in Florida following a viral video of Latino men being dropped off in buses. Immigration Impact

US hospitals could benefit from unused visas amid demand for foreign nurses

As hospitals struggle to staff up amid the pandemic due to burnout and retirement, many are looking overseas for health care workers. An immigration attorney in Omaha, Nebraska, Amy L. Erlbacher-Anderson, said she has seen a greater need for foreign nurses in the past two years than she has in 18 years. There is a high chance the nurses will get approved to come because there are many visas available. Owing to the closure of consulates during the pandemic, relatives of American citizens could not obtain visas, and by law, these unused slots now go to workers. Ap News.

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