Protecting Immigrant Communities Newsletter – March 16, 2021

March 16, 2021 | Texas

Dear Partners and Friends, 

Thank you so much for staying up to date on what’s happening. Here’s the latest roundup of immigration-related news, and our bi-weekly action opportunities.  Please let me know as things cross your desk that you think might be of value for our next newsletter, and as always, feel free to forward to folks who might want to join our list. If you wish to unsubscribe from this list, follow this opt-out link.

Lead Stories:

House Democrats introduce bill providing citizenship to Dreamers

On March 3rd, congressional lawmakers introduced The American Dream and Promise Act that would provide protection from deportation and an eventual path to permanent legal status for Dreamers. The bill would also provide a path to legal status for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders, this would result in a combined estimated 2.5 million people who would be eligible for legal status under the bill.

The Hill

Biden Administration Says It Will Shorten Detention of Migrant Families

On March 4th, the Biden administration announced it plans to convert certain family detention facilities into rapid processing hubs. The intention is to repurpose ICE’s three family detention centers in Berks, Pennsylvania; Dilley, Texas; and Karnes City, Texas.

The New York Times

Biden rescinds Trump’s ‘public charge’ rule

On March 9th, the Supreme Court dismissed a dispute over the legality of the Trump administration’s ‘public charge’ rule, which sought to allow officials to deny admission, visa renewals, or permanent residency to noncitizens based on their use of certain public benefits. The decision follows a joint request filed by the Biden administration, and leaves several appellate court rulings in place that found that the public charge rule violated federal immigration law.

The Hill

Biden reopens program for some Central American children to join parents in U.S.

On March 10th, the Biden administration announced that beginning on March 15, it will restart the Central American Minors (CAM) program. The CAM program, created under President Obama in 2014, allowed parents with legal status in the U.S. to apply to have their children in El Salvador, Honduras or Guatemala to join them in the U.S. if they faced threats of violence in their home countries. President Trump ended the program in 2017.

Los Angeles Time

Action Items:

Please save the date and join Detention Watch Network and partners for the #FirstTen to #CommunitiesNotCages Week of Action during the week of March 22!

The #FirstTen to #CommunitiesNotCages campaign demands immediate executive action from President Biden to shut down ten detention centers as a first step to abolish immigrant detention completely.

Here are some planned events during the week of action:

March 23 (12pm PT/2pm CT/3pm ET):  Facebook Live

March 25 (11am-1p PT/1-3pm CT/2-4pm ET): Twitterstorm

March 26 (11am-1p PT/1-3pm CT/2-4pm ET): Phone Zap to demand President Biden and DHS Secretary Mayorkas to shut down #FirstTen detention facilities during Biden’s first year in office.

To participate please fill the form as soon as possible, no later than March 18. Once you fill out the form, DWN staff will reach out with more information.

Sign this letter to Demand Sec. Mayorkas terminate all 287(g) agreements, Secure Communities programs and stop the use of ICE detainers

The ACLU of Texas and ILRC are partnering to send this state-wide sign-on letter. These programs and policies continue to funnel our communities into the arrest-to-deportation pipeline and it is imperative that they are terminated. Sign-on using this form by Wednesday, March 17th EOD.

Resources and Reports:

Public Charge Regulation Summary

This summary by the National Immigration Forum provides an overview of the Trump administration’s final rule that would redefine the meaning of the legal term “public charge.” The Public Charge rule, which took effect on February 24, 2020, was an effort by the Trump administration to reduce the number of people who are eligible for legal permanent residency, by redefining what it means to be dependent on government benefits, or “likely” to become a “public charge” in the future.

Special Report: How Trump administration left indelible mark on U.S. immigration courts

Reuters released a special report of a big challenge that the Biden administration is confronting in courts: “the legion of immigration judges Trump’s administration hired”. The report presents that the judges hired under Trump ordered deportations in 69% of the cases. President Biden promised to double the number of immigration judges and other staff.

A Profile of Immigrant Women in the Workforce

On Women’s History month, the latest Center for American Progress(CAP) column, in partnership with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), highlights the experiences and many contributions of immigrant women in the U.S. You can find a digital toolkit with sample tweets HERE.

Other Recent News of Interest:

Opinion | No amount of detention is safe for a child. Here are better solutions for migrant kids.

A pediatrician and humanities researcher at the University of Texas published an Opinion piece about the damages of detention on children. She exposes the cruel situation that kids experience in detention centers like Carrizo Springs, and presents the lasting consequences.

The Washington Post

Migrant children facility used to house minors separated from family

Migrant children arriving with other relatives who are not their parents are separated until federal officials can confirm if they are related, and they are classified as ‘unaccompanied minors’. The process to vet a sponsor or adult can take several weeks or months.

USA Today

Children packed into Border Patrol tent facility for days on end

In Donna, Texas, the Border Patrol tent facility is in packed and inhumane conditions with some children sleeping on the floor. Some of the children and teenagers had been detained for a week or longer.

PBS News

US immigration: Disaster agency Fema brought in to help with child migrant surge

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is going to “help receive, shelter and transport children” for the next 90 days due to the increase in children arriving at the border. As of March 8th, the U.S. immigration facilities held 3,200 children.

BBC News

As Many Americans Get COVID-19 Vaccines and Financial Support, Undocumented Immigrants Keep Falling Through the Cracks

Undomented immigrants still have no direct access to federal pandemic relief and even in situations or locations where the COVID-19 vaccine is available to everyone, they are reluctant to come forward. The immigrant community is in a vulnerable position concerning their health and  the economic crisis.


Good News:

State Department Will Review Visa Applications of Those Denied Under Travel Bans

On March 8th, the Biden administration started reviewing the applications of certain individuals who were denied visas during the Trump administration by the ‘Muslim Ban’. Under the review system, individuals who had their applications denied as a result of the restrictions on or after January 20 will be able to seek re-adjudication without needing to re-apply.

Law 360

Immigration arrests have fallen sharply under Biden, ICE data show

On March 9th, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reported that arrests fell by more than 60 percent in the month of February. The drop in arrests appears to reflect changes following the issuance of new interim immigration enforcement priorities under the Biden administration.

The Washington Post

Biden administration rescinds Trump-era immigration policy to alleviate surge of unaccompanied minors

On March 12th, the Biden administration terminated a Trump-era agreement between HHS and the Department of Homeland Security that allowed information obtained from potential sponsors to be shared with ICE. The goal is to end the “chilling effect” that discouraged sponsors of unaccompanied migrant children to come forward.


Thanks so much for reading and staying informed. 

Best wishes,

Cheasty Anderson, M.A., Ph.D.

Senior Policy Associate

Children’s Defense Fund–Texas 
1910 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd
Austin, Texas 78702