Things That Matter

Young Man Is Suing Federal Government Because Being Detained Is Stopping Him From Renewing DACA Status

In November, the Supreme Court finally heard from the attorney’s representing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) community. It was a moment that was a long time coming. For the past three years, or we should say since Donald Trump was elected as president, the DACA community has lived a life of limbo and uncertainty as DACA has been attacked. So, while we wait for the decision from the Supreme Court, which should be at some point early next year, some DACA beneficiaries are still fighting for their lives. 

Twenty-four-year-old Jesus Alberto Lopez Gutierrez is suing the government because he continues to be in ICE detention.

Credit: @immigrationlaw / Twitter

In May 2019, Lopez Gutierrez was on his way home to Chicago from a camping trip with friends when they were pulled over. An Iowa police officer found that Lopez Gutierrez was in possession of marijuana. He was arrested on the spot. What made the issue more complicated was that Lopez Gutierrez was undocumented. 

While the drug charges were dropped, Lopez Gutierrez was still taken to ICE detention. You may be wondering if this 24-year-old man had DACA protection. Well, he did.

Credit: OCADIL / Facebook

Lopez Gutierrez had DACA in 2013, but when it expired in 2015, he had not renewed his application. Then Trump became president, and no one was safe. Soon after his election, people with DACA were being detained. Now, attorney’s for Lopez Gutierrez say he must be released in order to reapply for DACA. 

“Jesus has spent more than seven months in immigration detention. Under ICE’s policies, they should have released him. If they only released him, he would be able to get DACA again to apply for renewal and avoid deportation. Instead, they are keeping him in jail, violating the U.S. Constitution,” his attorney Wally Hilke said this week at a press conference, a local Chicago radio station reports. 

The lawsuit filed is against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and two agencies within that department. Lopez Gutierrez’s attorney says he must be released because he qualifies for temporary protection from deportation.

Credit: @DetentionWatch / Twitter

A couple of pro-immigration organizations are assisting Lopez Gutierrez in his fight to get released, including Organized Communities Against Deportations (OCAD) and Mijente

“We are asking that Beto be released from detention,” Xanat Sobrevilla of OCAD told the radio station. “His immediate freedom is necessary. Beto is missed by his family and community. We will pursue and continue fighting until Beto is back home in Chicago.”

They also instructed supporters how they can assist by calling to get him released.

“Just a reminder that we’re still pushing for Jesus Alberto to be transferred to Chicago as this is the next immediate step in his Fight for Freedom. In order to make that happen, we need to pressure Eric Ouellette to transfer Jesus to Chicago, and we know they won’t act in our favor unless the community is constantly pressuring them.”

Mijente has also started a petition to show their support for Lopez Gutierrez.

Credit: Mijente

“As the youngest member of his nuclear family, Jesus contributes the majority of his wages to ensure his family’s financial stability,” Mijente stated on their website. “He is in charge of providing care and physical support for his aging parents, both diagnosed with diabetes and his elderly grandmother, who requires constant care and assistance. Jesus would spend most of his days working but, in his free time, he likes to go running in the neighborhood park and enjoys camping trips with his friends. Since his detention in May, Beto’s family and community launched a campaign to stop his deportation, but by September, the immigration judge overseeing his case ordered his removal. But Beto is not giving up, with the support of his legal team he decided to sue the agencies that are keeping him locked up and away from his family.”

Mijente adds that the ICE detention in Minnesota, which is where Lopez Gutierrez is being detained, has the jurisdiction to release him.

Credit: Mijente

“ICE’s top officials in Minnesota have the authority to release Jesus from detention so that he has the opportunity to apply for DACA. Sign the petition to demand Minnesota ICE Field Director Peter Berg to release Jesus Lopez immediately from Freeborn County Jail in Minnesota on his own recognizance and allow him to proceed with his DACA renewal process.”

READ: This Deported Veteran Has Returned To The US And Is Now An American Citizen

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9-Year-Old Migrant Girl Drowns While Trying to Cross the Rio Grande in the U.S.

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9-Year-Old Migrant Girl Drowns While Trying to Cross the Rio Grande in the U.S.

Photo via Getty Images

On March 20th, U.S. Border Patrol agents found a 9-year-old migrant girl unresponsive along with her mother and sibling on an island in the Rio Grande.

U.S. Border Patrol agents attempted to resuscitate the family. The agents were able to revive the mother and her younger, 3-year-old child. The Border Patrol agents transferred the 9-year-old migrant girl to emergency medics in emergency medics in Eagle Pass, Texas, but she remained unresponsive.

In the end, the 9-year-old migrant girl died–the cause of death being drowning.

The mother of the two children was Guatemalan while the two children were born in Mexico.

The death of the 9-year-old migrant girl is notable because this is the first migrant child death recorded in this current migration surge. And experts worry that it won’t be the last.

And while this is the first child death, it is not the only migrant who has died trying to make it across the border. On Wednesday, a Cuban man drowned while trying to swim across the border between Tijuana and San Diego. He was the second migrant to drown in just a two-week period.

Why is this happening?

According to some reports, the reason so many migrants are heading towards the U.S. right now is “because President Trump is gone”. They believe they have a better chance of claiming asylum in the U.S.

Another factor to take into consideration is that a large number of these migrants are unaccompanied minors. According to migrant services volunteer Ruben Garcia, Title 42 is actually having the opposite effect of its intent. President Trump enacted Title 42 to prevent immigration during COVID-19 for “safety reasons”.

“Families that have been expelled multiple times that are traveling with children,” Garcia told PBS News Hour. “Some of them are making the decision to send their children in by themselves, because they have families someplace in the U.S., and they know their children will be released to them.”

Is there a “border crisis”?

That depends on who you ask. According to some experts, the numbers of migrants heading to the U.S./Mexico border aren’t out-of-the-ordinary considering the time of year and the fact that COVID-19 made traveling last year virtually impossible.

According to Tom Wong of the University of California at San Diego’s U.S. Immigration Policy Center, there is no “border crisis”. “This year looks like the usual seasonal increase, plus migrants who would have come last year but could not,” Wong says.

As the Washington Post explained: “What we’re seeing right now is a predictable seasonal shift. When the numbers drop again in June and July, policymakers may be tempted to claim that their deterrence policies succeeded.”

What is the Biden Administration planning on doing about it?

As of now, it is pretty evident that the Biden Administration has not been handling this migrant surge well, despite ample warning from experts. As of now, President Biden has put Vice President Harris in charge of handling the issues at the border.

As of now, the game plan is still very vague. But in the past, the Biden Administration has stated that they plan to fix the migrant surge at the source. That means providing more aid to Central America in order to prevent further corruption of elected officials.

They also want to put in place a plan that processes children and minors as refugees in their own countries before they travel to the U.S. The government had not tested these plans and they may take years to implement. Here’s to hoping that these changes will prevent a case like the death of the 9-year-old migrant girl.

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Biden Administration’s Handling Of The Border Criticized By Both Sides Of The Aisle

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Biden Administration’s Handling Of The Border Criticized By Both Sides Of The Aisle

The Biden administration inherited more than an out of control pandemic when they got to work in January. The former administration also left the Biden administration an orchestrated crisis at the border. For some, President Joe Biden is not acting fast enough to fix the problem.

President Biden announced that Vice President Kamala Harris will lead the response to immigration at the border.

The approach, according to Politico, is going to be a two-pronged approach to effectively curb irregular immigration. First, the vice president will focus on stopping the migration journey by addressing the issues in the countries that people are fleeing. Particularly, Vice President Harris will be focusing on the issues in the Northern Triangle countries, which are El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

At the same time, the vice president will be working with the countries directly to solve the root problems. Vice President Harris will be working to strengthen the nation’s relations with Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

“I can think of nobody who is better qualified to do this,” President Biden told reporters at the White House.

There is a lot of talk about the U.S.-Mexico border right now from both Democrats and Republicans.

Bruno Lozano, the Democratic mayor of Del Rio, Texas, is calling on the Biden administration to take steps to curb the issue. Mayor Lozano was a guest on Fox News recently and spoke about what he saw as an influx of migrants coming into his town. Mayor Lozano told Fox News that the number of people coming to the border has strained Customs and Border Patrol in his city.

“You have a breach on national security levels that have never before been seen in modern history and you’re not even batting an eye about it, you’re not even calling it a ‘crisis‘, you’re calling it a quote-unquote challenge,” Mayor Lozano, told the New York Post on Sunday. “It’s a slap in the face.”

Some residents of Del Rio are critical of their local leaders shifting blame for their own shortcomings.

The brutal winter storm that recently shut down Texas depleted many municipalities of their resources. Residents in Del Rio are putting the blame on their local leaders who have tried to pass the buck. Weeks after the winter storm crippled Texas, grocery store shelves remained empty and residents felt overlooked.

Mayor Lozano has been pleading with President Biden to step up and help them deal with the influx of migrants. Del Rio has one processing center for migrants and the increase has left the city and the processing facility strained.

The Biden administration has faced backlash after photos of detention centers show people sleeping on floors.

There have been several reports that the Biden administration is building new places to hold migrants that have come to the border seeking asylum. The administration is currently taking in unaccompanied minors who are arriving at the border while preventing other migrants from crossing the border.

The Biden administration promised to change the approach to the border, but Title 42 has been left intact. Title 42, which was enacted by the former administration at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, keeps people from entering the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an order that invoked Title 42, which closed the border indefinitely due to public health concerns.

At the root of the attention is the claim that there is a surge of migrants.

Some Republican politicians are claiming that news of more lenient immigration laws is prompting a “surge” of arrivals. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California claims that what is happening is a “crisis … created by the presidential policies of this new administration.”

Yet, a Washington Post report debunks the idea that there is a sudden surge. Rather, what is happening, according to the report, is a usual seasonal trend. CBP has reported a 28 percent increase in apprehensions at the southern border in January and February but data shows an annual spike in migrants from March to May every year.

The issues on the border are complex and will require a lot of time and energy to handle effectively and compassionately. The Biden administration promised to tackle the complex issue of immigration during the campaign.

READ: Biden Is Counting On Mexico’s President To Help With Immigration But That’s A Risky Move

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