Latino Voices

Latino Voices

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT ENDS CASE QUOTAS FOR IMMIGRATION JUDGES IMPOSED BY TRUMP ADMINISTRATION

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: immigration court, Creative Commons image by NC-ND

October 21, 2021 (San Diego) – The U.S. Justice Department, under the Biden administration, has ended case quotas for immigration judges imposed during the Trump administration, CNN reports. 

The Trump-era performance metrics had required judges to complete 700 cases a year to receive a satisfactory rating, among other benchmarks. But that policy led to complaints from judges who argued that the quotas valued haste over due process.  

WHITE HOUSE LIFTS RESTRICTIONS FOR VACCINATED TRAVELERS FROM CANADA AND MEXICO

By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  international border crossing at San Ysidro, via U.S. Customs & Border Patrol

October 13, 2021 (Washington, D.C.) - The White House has announced an easing of COVID-related Title 19 travel restrictions along the U.S. borders with Mexico and Canada. Starting next month, non-essential travel across borders will be permitted for travelers who are fully vaccinated. Essential travelers will have to show proof of vaccination starting in January.

BIDEN TAKES STEPS TO PROTECT DREAMERS, AIMS TO REOPEN DACA APPLICATIONS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo via San Diego Immigrants Rights Consortium

October 1, 2021 (Washington D.C.) – A federal district court judge in July declared the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program illegal in part because the Obama administration did not allow public comments by publishing the rule in the Federal Register. Judge Andre Hanen let stand the program for those already enrolled, but blocked new applications.

So now the Biden administration’s Department of Homeland Security has published the regulation, which is open for public comments until November 29.  The department has also appealed the court decision.

BORDER PATROL AGENTS AND OFFICERS TO BEGIN WEARING BODY CAMERAS

Source: USCBP

August 6, 2021 (Washington D.C.) --  U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has begun outfitting an initial group of agents and officers with body-worn cameras to better enhance its policing practices and reinforce trust and transparency.

ACLU AND JEWISH FAMILY SERVICE URGE A STOP TO SPLITTING FAMILIES AT THE BORDER

East County News Service

July 29, 2021 (San Diego) - The ACLU Foundation of San Diego & Imperial Counties (ACLUF-SDIC) and Jewish Family Service of San Diego (JFS) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on July 13, calling on him to direct border agents to stop separating families seeking asylum at the U.S. border with Mexico.

BORSTAR AGENTS RESCUE MAN LOST IN REMOTE WILDERNESS NEAR DULZURA

East County News Service

July 22, 2021 (Dulzura) --  Members of U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) San Diego Sector’s (SDC) Border Patrol Search, Trauma and Rescue (BORSTAR) team rescued a Mexican citizen yesterday who was lost in East County San Diego and suffering from a heat emergency.

LOCAL IMMIGRANT ADVOCATES SPEAK OUT ON DACA COURT RULING

"Our contributions to this country are innumerable. Yet, there’s no path to citizenship for us. We pay taxes, build the economy, and contribute to our communities during a pandemic. Yet, we are rejected and insulted once more. Every day that we live without a path to citizenship, is a day filled with anxiety and fear.” -- Dulce Garcia, an undocumented immigrant and attorney who chairs the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium.

By Miriam Raftery

July 22, 2021 (San Diego) – San Diego immigrant advocates are reacting in shock to a federal judge’s ruling which orders the Biden administration to halt approval of any new Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) applications. The judge also issued a stay temporarily protecting those already granted DACA protections from deportation – but warned that Congress must act to make protections permanent, or the stay might be lifted.

DACA was created through an executive order by President Barack Obama, protecting thousands of young people brought to the U.S. illegally as children to stay here, hold jobs and attend school. Known as “Dreamers,” many have been here nearly their entire lives. The ruling creates an uncertain future for 305,000 DACA recipients and another 854,000 eligible for DACA in southern border states, according to the Southern Border Communities Coalition. Some have been in the U.S. for many years, and some are now married or parents of U.S. citizens.

UNIDENTIFIED MIGRANT FOUND DEAD IN REMOTE DULZURA AREA

Update July 28, 2021: The deceased man has been identified as Victor Sosa-Soto, 33,  of Villa Hidalgo, Mexico, according to the San Diego Medical Examiner.

Story and photo by Miriam Raftery

Photo: Grave of an unknown migrant in Hemet, one of 10,000 people estimated to have died crossing the U.S.-Mexico border since 1994, according to Border Angels. The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the rate is increasing, with more migrants dying crossing the border in the first three months of 2021 than in all of 2019.

 

July 18, 2021 (Dulzura) – On June 30, a search and rescue group found the body of a male believed to be from Mexico, part of a group of undocumented immigrants crossing the international border.

U.S. TO STOP DETAINING PREGNANT OR NURSNG IMMIGRANTS, EXCEPT IN EXTREME CIRCUMSTANCES

By Miriam Raftery

July 10, 2021 (San Diego) – A Trump-era executive order that required detention of pregnant undocumented immigrants has been blamed for putting lives of women and babies at risk, with many women suffering miscarriages in detention centers. On July 1, Tae Johnson, acting director of U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued a statement reversing that policy in nearly all situations.

The rule goes farther than the Obama administration policy that limited detention of pregnant migrants.  The Biden administration directive also bans most detentions of nursing mothers and mothers with infants under one year of age, to allow bonding with newborns. Now, most women awaiting outcomes of immigration or asylum cases will be released.

An exception is provided, however, for anyone required under U.S. laws to be detained, such as foreign nationals convicted of terrorist acts or certain other serious crimes. In such cases, a pregnant or nursing woman detained would be required to receive adequate medical care.  The new directive also prohibits restrains in most cases, including banning the shackling of pregnant women while in labor, an action that has drawn international outcry.

HOW COVID-19 SWEPT CALIFORNIA’S MARIACHIS

As work dried up for mariachi bands, many musicians put themselves at risk for coronavirus transmission. Over 50 Mariachi musicians have died of COVID-19 in the past year.

 

By Jacqueline Garcia, Cal Matters

 

CalMatters is a public interest journalism venture committed to explaining how California’s state Capitol works and why it matters

 

Photo courtesy of Mariachi Nuevo Guadalajara

 

July 2, 2021 (San Diego) - Hundreds of mariachis come to Boyle Heights in Los Angeles from across the United States and Mexico, in search of work. They gather at Mariachi Plaza, a small park with a bandstand and kiosk that holds a special place in their hearts because it was donated by the Mexican State of Jalisco, the birthplace of this music. They wait for people to call or stop by to hire them.

HARRIS VISITS GUATEMALA, MEXICO IN FIRST FOREIGN TRIP AS U.S. VICE PRESIDENT

Source:  Voice of America

Photo:  Photo: Vice President Kamala Harris in Guatemala City, via her Twitter feed

June 28, 2021 (Guatemala/Mexico) - The United States is set to announce Monday new measures to fight drug smuggling and trafficking as Vice President Kamala Harris meets with leaders in Guatemala to discuss migration and security issues. 

TORTILLAS THROWN AT HIGH SCHOOL TEAM LEADS TO CALLS FOR ACCOUNTABILITY AND MOVING CIF CHAMPIONSHIP

By Briana Gomez

Photo: Screenshot via 10 News of rally outside Coronado High School at which activists from multi-racial communities called for action including moving the CIF championship

June 23, 2021 (Coronado) -- Two press conferences were held Tuesday after Coronado High School received backlash for racist remarks and actions against Latinx students from an opposing basketball team.

ISSA, VARGAS LEAD BIPARTISAN CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION VISIT TO OTAY MESA PORT OF ENTRY PROJECT

Representatives Issa, Vargas, Jacobs, Levin and Peters also  conducted key meetings with local, state and federal U.S. officials

East County News Service

Photos via SANDAG on Twitter

June 11, 2021 (Otay Mesa) -- At the invitation of Congressmen Darrell Issa and Juan Vargas, the San Diego Congressional delegation – including Congresswoman Jacobs and Congressmen Mike Levin and Scott Peters – visited the Otay Mesa Port of Entry II project to view construction progress and receive briefings on the facilities and port operations.

CHICANO FEDERATION PRESIDENT SHARES CONCERNS OVER IMMIGRANT ISSUES INCLUDING VACCINE HESITANCY, CAPSIZED MIGRANT BOAT

By Briana Gomez

Video: https://youtu.be/c6TDH8NW_DM

May 25, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) -- The capsizing of a boat filled with undocumented immigrants a few weeks ago off San Diego’s coastline raised questions about immigration policies in Southern California. At least three people died and 23 were injured in the incident. Eight of the migrants were taken in for treatment at the Sharp Healthcare system; some were at Sharp Grossmont in La Mesa.

FATAL BORDER PATROL SHOOTING IN CAMPO

By Miriam Raftery
 
May 19, 2021 (Campo) – A San Diego man has died after being shot following a pursuit by U.S. Border Patrol agents. 
 
Silvestre Vargas Estrada, 26, was driving a vehicle with two men as passengers during the pursuit on May 14 shortly before 10 p.m. According to Lt. Thomas Seiver with the Sheriff’s homicide unit, “The pursuit ended in a gas station parking lot at the intersection of State Route 94 and Buckman Springs Road in Campo. A confrontation ensued, resulting in three agents discharging their firearms.”

EAST COUNTY PEOPLE’S FORUM CITES DISPARITIES IN VACCINE ACCESS, CONCERNS OVER REDISTRICTING

By Briana Gomez

May 9, 2021 (El Cajon) - The East County People’s Forum launched by the East County Justice Coalition took place over Zoom on May 4, 2020. The Coalition launched a call for transparent & inclusive city planning in El Cajon.

COMMUNITY COLLEGES SEEK RETURN OF STUDENTS POST-COVID: NEW ENROLLMENT DOWN 20% AMONG LATINO STUDENTS

By Suzanne Potter, California News Service

April 11, 2021 (Sacramento) -- Community colleges nationwide are bracing for another drop in enrollment this year, especially among students of color.

Data from the National College Attainment Network shows only about 55% of high school seniors have applied for federal financial aid.  And the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center reports in 2020 first-time enrollment was down 13% overall and almost 20% among Latino students.

Paul Fiest, Vice Chancellor for Communications and Marketing at California Community Colleges, said the pandemic has severely disrupted potential students' lives.

SAN DIEGO SHELTERING NEW MIGRANTS AT CONVENTION CENTER, LOCAL HOTELS AMID BORDER SURGE

By Chris Jennewein, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo:  CC via Bing

March 23, 2021 (San Diego) - City and county officials announced Monday that the San Diego Convention Center will be used for three months to temporarily house unaccompanied immigrant minors amid a surge along the border.

COUNTY RESIDENTS GRADUATE FROM FIRST SPANISH LANGUAGE SHERIFF'S ACADEMY

CHP RELEASES NAMES OF SURVIVORS IN IMPERIAL VALLEY CRASH THAT KILLED 13 MIGRANTS AND INJURED 12

By Miriam Raftery

 

Photo via U.S. Customs and Border Patrol: hole cut in border fence, where the ill-fated SUV is believed to have entered the U.S.

 

March 4, 2021 (Holtville) – The California Highway Patrol today released names of a dozen survivors of a horrific collision near Holtville on Tuesday when a semi-truck carrying a load of gravel struck a Ford Expedition SUV with 25 people inside. The crash killed 13 of them, including the driver of the SUV.

BIDEN ALLOWS ASYLUM SEEKERS IN MEXICO TO ENTER U.S. PENDING HEARINGS, BUT MOST WILL STILL FACE WAITS BEFORE ADMISSION

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo: Asylum seekers encampment; CC by NC
 
February 14, 2021 (Washington D.C.) – President Joe Biden has issued an executive order to reverse former President Donald Trump’s “wait in Mexico”  policy, an action that endangered the safety of migrants encamped in unsanitary conditions and in some cases, preyed upon by thieves, traffickers and other criminals. The policy also made it hard for asylum-seekers to find lawyers or even to learn when their asylum hearings in U.S. courts were scheduled. 

PRIVATE IMMIGRATION PRISONS NOT INCLUDED IN BIDEN BAN

By Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service

Photo by Miriam Raftery: Otay Mesa Detention Center, where immigrants and refugees are housed

January 28, 2021 (Tacoma, Wash.) -- President Joe Biden signed an executive order this week ending the federal use of private prisons, but the order does not include privately run immigration facilities, like the Northwest ICE Processing Center in Tacoma and the Otay Mesa Detention Center San Diego County.

FDA PUTS ALL MEXICAN-MADE HAND SANITIZERS ON IMPORT ALERT DUE TO DANGEROUS INGREDIENT

By Miriam Raftery

January 28, 2021 (San Diego) – Over half of all hand sanitizers from Mexico have been found to contain toxic ingredients, many at dangerous levels, and 84% of samples tested failed to comply with FDA regulations. So on January 26, the FDA announced a nationwide import alert on all hand sanitizers made in Mexico to prevent them from entering the US. Until the agency can review products’ safety.

GROUPS “FLOORED” BY BIDEN IMMIGRATION PROPOSAL

By Suzanne Potter, California News Service

Photo: Creative Commons by SA

January 20, 2021 (Sacramento) -- On his first day in office, President Joe Biden is pressing for bold immigration reform, proposing a path to citizenship for an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants.

The proposal would apply to people who have a clean criminal record and were in the United States before Jan. 1. If approved, this would be the first so-called "mass legalization" since 1986, during the Reagan administration.

Carlos Guevara, associate director for immigration policy for the group Unidos US, said there's a lot of pent-up demand for change in the immigration system.

FEDERAL JUDGE DELIVERS 'HUGE VICTORY' FOR IMMIGRANTS, ORDERING TRUMP ADMINISTRATION TO FULLY RESTORE DACA

Update December 10, 2020: The Trump administraton has officially begun accepting new DACA applications again, under the court's order.

By Jessica Corbett

Originally published by Common Dreams under a Creative Commons

December 6, 2020 (Washington, D.C.) - Immigrant rights defenders celebrated Friday after a federal judge delivered yet another blow to the Trump administration's drawn-out effort to kill Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, an Obama-era program that protects certain undocumented residents who were brought to the United States as children from deportation.

HOPES RESTORED FOR DREAMERS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Dreamers rally; CC by SA-NC

November 23, 2020 (San Diego) – The fate of some 650,000 young immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, or “Dreamers,” has been in limbo during four years of the Trump administration.  But now a court ruling and a proposed key appointment by President-Elect Joe Biden give Dreamers hope of avoiding deportation.

ART PROTEST AGAINST ICE: MOVING IMAGES OF CHILDREN AND OTHER MIGRANTS WHO DIED IN U.S. CUSTODY

Writer/Photographer Briana Gomez
 
“I think that we’ve experienced here locally deaths of children– father, daughter; we’ve had similar issues,” said Martha Sullivan, organizer.
 
November 1, 2020 (San Diego) -- An art protest against U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Border Patrol took place Wednesday in downtown San Diego. The protest, held on Mexico’s Day of the Day, aimed to draw attention to deaths of immigrants in U.S. custody. Tensions have risen locally after the death of a Mexican citizen at the San Ysidro Border last week.
 
At least 21 people died in ICE custody in the fiscal year ending July 30, nearly double the deaths in fiscal 2019, CNN reported last month.

SAN DIEGO NONPROFIT LEADS SUIT CHALLENGING TRUMP'S 'REMAIN IN MEXICO' REFUGEE POLICY

By Chris Jennewein, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo:  Asylum seekers gather in Tijuana in 2018. Photo by Chris Stone

October 28, 2020 (San Diego) - Jewish Family Service of San Diego is leading a federal lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s controversial “remain in Mexico” policy to keep asylum seekers out of the United States.

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