Child Welfare

Protecting Immigrant Communities Newsletter: 6/1/20

June 1, 2020 | Texas

[This is a bi-weekly publication produced by Senior Policy Associate, Cheasty Anderson. New issues will be posted here on this blog or you can subscribe to have them delivered directly to your inbox.]


Dear Partners and Friends,

Thank you so much for wanting to stay up to date on what’s happening. Here’s the latest roundup of immigration-related news, and our bi-weekly action opportunity. 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 .

Lead Stories:

Immigrants were largely overlooked in the US’s coronavirus response. The latest relief bill aims to fix that.
Here are five ways the Heroes Act would help immigrants impacted by the pandemic. Read about it here.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Noncitizens and Across the U.S. Immigration System
This pandemic and the federal government’s response to it have affected nearly every part of the U.S. immigration system. Learn about disruptions and possible adjustments through this report.

In a certain undercount, more than 1,000 migrants in ICE custody now have the coronavirus
Coronavirus infections for migrants in ICE custody have increased around 800% from a month ago. The enforcement agency has tested only 8% of the 27,908 immigrants it holds in detention. Read more about it here.

Action Items:

Act Now: Free Immigrants From ICE Detention
Urge Acting ICE Director Matthew Albence to free detained migrants by clicking this link and following the action items listed. This action is urgent as two immigrants in detention have already died due to COVID-19. Detained migrants are at a heightened risk of contracting COVID-19 as detention facilities fail to provide them with adequate care. Action items include signing a petition, calling the ICE office, tweeting your support, and volunteering to sponsor a refugee individual or family.

RAICES: #Families4Families and Report @DHS_Wolf
ICE is taking advantage of fear associated with COVID-19 by asking detained parents to sign a form that would permit their children to be separated from them and released from detention, while forcing the parents to remain detained indefinitely. To shine a light on this injustice, take a family selfie to support families in detention. Post your selfie on your social media and include the hashtags #DontLookAway and #Families4Families. Access the RAICES Social Media Toolkit for more information and a printable sign for your selfie.

Take further action by reporting @DHS_Wolf on Twitter and @homelandsecurity on Facebook. Get these accounts deactivated for promoting abuse and hate. RAICES has created sample tweets and Facebook posts to use on your accounts.

DACA Decision Digital Rally and Community Webinars
In anticipation of the Supreme Court’s upcoming DACA decision, United We Dream will host informational webinars including the Home is Here Digital Rally, a DACA Update Webinar, and a Webinar for Educators. RSVP here to learn how the Supreme Court’s decision will affect you, those around you, and what you can do about it.

Texas Border Collaboration Network Monthly Webinar
Attend this webinar on June 16th to understand the current situation in the countries of origin of asylum-seekers. Click here to enhance your knowledge of the factors of migration, including the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Digital Organizing for Border Wall Activists – Texas Civil Rights Project
Register for this June 3rd webinar to learn about the fundamentals of digital organizing and creating a powerful digital campaign – particularly for those working in the immigration context.

COVID-19 Resources for Immigrants:

Children’s Defense Fund Public Charge & COVID-19 Conversation
Are you and your community confused about public charge, especially during the pandemic? CDF made English and Spanish language video explainers to help. See this informative video to answer questions like:

  • What do the rules say?
  • What programs are safe to use?
  • How can I best protect my family during this time?

Share this video, available in both English and Spanish , with your networks. You can also download the presentation slides here to access all the information and resources referenced during the video.

Protecting Immigrant Families Campaign FAQ on COVID-19 Relief Legislation and Immigrants
The PIF Campaign has developed a new FAQ document which provides answers about public charge implications for families who are seeking assistance during the COVID-19 crisis and answers to questions about immigrant eligibility for programs under new and existing policies.

National Employment Law Project COVID-19 Resources for Immigrant Workers
NELP’s COVID-19 Resources for Unemployed and Frontline Workers includes information specifically for immigrant workers.

Informed Immigrant’s Resources for the Undocumented Community During the Coronavirus Outbreak
These English and Spanish language pages include national and state-based resources including food distribution sites, mutual aid funds, and health care accessible to undocumented and mixed status families. Please read and share to connect immigrant families with resources during this difficult time.

Other Recent News of Interest:

Second immigrant dies of coronavirus complications while in ICE custody
An immigrant in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody died of coronavirus complications on Sunday while waiting to voluntarily depart to his native Guatemala, becoming the agency’s second detainee to die from the virus.

Faced with choice, migrant parents in ICE detention refuse to separate from children
The agency presented parents with the option to release their children in response to a court order.

Hundreds of migrant children, teens deported under pandemic border policy: report
In recent weeks, more than 900 undocumented minors have been returned to their home countries. In some cases, these minors have been sent home without notifying parents.

Stop expelling and separating immigrant children and parents during COVID
The separation of children and families at the border was deemed unconstitutional with an executive order to stop back in June 2018. So why are children still at risk of the government separating them from their parents?

Fearing retribution from Trump’s green card policy, mixed status families may opt out of coronavirus care
Families are avoiding publicly available coronavirus testing and treatment out of fear of Trump’s public charge rule.

11 immigrants sue ICE, seeking release from Alvarado detention center where coronavirus has spread
“An immigration sentence shouldn’t be a death sentence,” lawyer says; federal judge orders U.S. attorney’s office in Dallas to respond by May 29.

Immigrant workers have borne the brunt of covid-19 outbreaks at meatpacking plants
How dire conditions in meatpacking inspired broad worker and immigrant advocacy in the early 20th century.

Recently Released Asylum Seekers Talk About Detention During the COVID-19 Pandemic
As the coronavirus first spread throughout Texas’s ICE facilities, migrants grew increasingly desperate for release.

The HEAL Act Expands Access to Health Care Regardless of Immigration Status
Senator Cory Booker introduced legislation to expand immigrants’ access to health care by removing current barriers to insurance and healthcare programs.
National Immigration Law Center

Rep. Jason Crow & 14 colleagues urge ICE to grant humanitarian release to vulnerable individuals during the pandemic
The response from ICE failed to respond to the congress members’ requests through vague, non-specific language.

Trump’s preferred construction firm lands $1.3 billion border wall contract, the biggest so far
The contract is currently under review following Democratic lawmakers’ concerns regarding improper White House influence.

USCIS Seeks Surcharge to Immigration Applications
The government agency is set to run out of money this summer and seeks to add surcharges in response.

I Do Not Want to Tell This Story
The deadly conditions in Central America, exacerbated by COVID-19, will continue to lead migrants north. Under heavy enforcement, migrants do their best to avoid detection when crossing the border, pushing them into the dangerous Brooks County desert where not all survive.

DHS begins collecting DNA from undocumented immigrants after whistleblower complaints
The Trump administration has begun implementing a 2005 law after years of pushback inside the agency.

Trump administration weighs suspending program for foreign students, prompting backlash from business, tech
The Trump administration may suspend OPT, a program for foreign students to stay in the U.S. to get 1 or 2 years of occupational training after their education.

10 Years Old, Tearful and Confused After a Sudden Deportation
Since the coronavirus broke out, the Trump administration has deported hundreds of migrant children alone — in some cases, without notifying their families.


Thanks so much for reading and staying informed.