Daily Dispatch 11/4/2019: Monday news
November 4, 2019
“Remain in Mexico” Policy hurts families in many ways
As a result of the Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” policy, 55,000 people seeking asylum in the United States have been forced to relocate to Mexico to await their immigration hearing dates. Most of these people, including families with children, are living in very precarious situations in border towns in Mexico. In Matamoros, Mexico, just across the border from Brownsville, families live in tents next to the bridge connecting the two countries. A few weeks ago some people, tired of waiting, engaged in a protest whereby they blocked the bridge for 15 hours. The Mexican government responded to the demonstration by opening a new shelter some 30 minutes away by car from the bridge.
This past Friday, a government official from National System for Integral Family Development entered the camp in Matamoros to tell people to relocate to the new shelter and indicated that those with children who refused to relocate, risked losing their kids. Though the official seemed to be improvising on his own concerning policy, he nevertheless sent much fear through the camp. From Buzzfeed:
Esmeralda, a Guatemalan asylum-seeker with a 13-year-old daughter who declined to give her full name, said a man who identified himself as a representative of the National System for Integral Family Development (DIF) approached her and offered help. When Esmeralda declined to give him her information, the DIF representative said he could take her daughter if they didn’t go to a shelter the city had recently opened.
“I have the ability with the law, which I have in hand and can show you, to collect the girl, take her to a shelter, or repatriate her to her place of origin,” the man said in a recording provided to BuzzFeed News. “If you don’t do it voluntarily I have the ability to do it by force.”
The representative maintained children shouldn’t live in the encampment and that it was his job to protect the kids.
One can certainly agree that a tent city at the foot of an international crossing is not the best place for kids. However, the families have many reasons for staying there; reasons that may well be in the longterm interests of their kids. For one, if they move into the shelter in the city they may lose access to attorneys who have been crossing into the camps to help them prepare asylum cases. The situation speaks to the incredible insecurity these families are facing and the underlying cruelty of the Remain in Mexico policy.
Edwin, a 42-year-old asylum-seeker from Honduras with an 8-year-old daughter, said he didn’t want to go to the shelter because he doubted U.S. attorneys who go to the encampment to offer them legal aid, medical providers, and volunteers who feed them would travel to the shelter.
Until some people shut down the bridge, the Mexican government had shown little interest in helping them, other than to offer them buses that would take them to the Mexico–Guatemala border, Edwin said.
“I know we’re living in bad conditions, but we don’t have another option,” Edwin told BuzzFeed News. “But that doesn’t mean I’m going to give my daughter to the government. She’s all I have.”
It is interesting that Trump is facing impeachment for threatening military aid to Ukraine unless the government investigate Joe Biden’s son (or the business he was involved in). And yet, Trump can threaten Mexico with tariffs and the suspension of aid unless it move to make life miserable for hundreds of thousands of people, and this is just a policy debate. #justicewhere?
Judge issues restraining order against Trump health restrictions
The Trump administration issued a new rule that would deny visas to people coming the United States unless they could prove that they would have health insurance within 30 days of arriving in the U.S. or could demonstrate financial means to cover most health-related expenses. It is estimated that this new rule would cut out about two-thirds of current visa applicants, making it one of the most effective of several efforts by Trump to restrict authorized immigration. The justification for the rule was based on the faulty logic that uncovered health expenses by immigrants is a major drain on government accounts. We discussed how wrong this is when the rule was issued.
This weekend a judge in Oregon issued an injunction against the new rule pending a trial to determine its merits. This means the rule will not go into effect…yet. From CNN:
A judge in Oregon granted a temporary restraining order Saturday against a policy that would have denied immigrants a visa unless they can prove they will have health insurance.
This order comes after a group of U.S. citizens sued the Trump administration, arguing that this is a new form of “family separation.”
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Portland, Oregon, claims that the proclamation will bar hundreds of thousands of immigrants from coming to the United States, and as a result, could separate families who are immigrating via family-sponsored visas.
Justice Action Center spokesperson Esther Sung said she was encouraged by the court’s decision in a statement. “The ban would separate families and cut two-thirds of green-card-based immigration starting tonight, were the ban not stopped. It’s egregious that President Trump is attempting to flout the will of Congress and squeeze through a complete overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws without anyone noticing.”