Things That Matter

Sen. Lindsey Graham Is Proposing A New Bill To Hold Minors In Asylum For 100 Days And Twitter Slapped Him With The Best Hashtag

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham has introduced legislation aimed at changing the asylum seeking process. Specifically, Sen. Graham’s new bill would target Central American migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border to legally seek asylum. Many of the Central American migrants are fleeing deadly discrimination, sexual exploitation, and rampant gang violence. Sen. Graham’s bill seeks to make asylum a harder and lengthier process.

Sen. Lindsey Graham is setting his sights on Central American migrants with his newly proposed legislation.

Credit: @AdamShawNY / Twitter

Sen. Graham’s bill would single out Central American migrants who are arriving at the border in the four following ways:

  • The bill would end the practice of asylum seekers applying for asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border. Instead, migrants must apply for asylum in their home countries and wait for approval before traveling to the U.S.
  • His bill allows for unaccompanied minors to be sent back to their home countries. Reportedly, the unaccompanied minors would be treated like minors from Mexico and Canada.
  • Graham’s bill will allow for children to be jailed in immigration detention centers for 100 days. Currently, children can only be held for 20 days before being released to relatives they have in the U.S.
  • There is also a portion of the bill calling for 500 more immigration judges to be hired across the country.

Sen. Graham addressed reporters when he unveiled his legislation.

Graham still believes that a wall is needed on the southern border and his bill is meant to work with the wall.

“We need the wall,” Graham told reporters, according to Reuters. “A wall will not fix this.” He added: “You need to deal with the magnets and loopholes in the law that entice people to come who want to get caught.”

According to Graham, he believes that security along the border must be increased to avoid people crossing illegally. He claims that his bill would help end the humanitarian crisis at the border.

There is already growing opposition to the proposed bill.

“Under our laws, if you come as a family unit and you come with a minor child, we can only hold the family for 20 days because we don’t want to separate the family,” Graham told reporters. “ We release the entire family after 20 days. So word is out on the street in Central America that if you bring a minor child with you, your chance of being deported is almost zero, and your hearing date is years away, and we release you inside the country.”

The announcement was met with #LindseyGrahamResign tweets.

Graham is up for re-election in 2020. Constituents in South Carolina are letting the senator know how they feel about the proposed legislation. The call for resignation over the new immigration bill is a growing movement following elected officials like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez calling for Graham’s resignation.

Fellow elected officials have been calling on Graham to resign after he told Donald Trump Jr. to ignore a subpoena.

Trump Jr. has been subpoenaed by the Senate Intel Committee to testify about the president’s involvement with Russia during the campaign. Since the Mueller investigation ended, elected officials are calling for a public release that the Trump administration keeps blocking. Many speculate that Trump is fearful of what is in the Mueller report.

VIDEO: Father Begs Son To Forgive Him After They Were Separated At The Border While Seeking Asylum In The U.S.

Court Orders ICE To Release Children In Their Custody As COVID-19 Tears Through Detention Centers

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Court Orders ICE To Release Children In Their Custody As COVID-19 Tears Through Detention Centers

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

COVID-19 is spiking across the U.S. with 32 states watching as new cases of the virus continue to climb day after day. California, Arizona, Texas, and Florida are among states that have set daily new infection records. With this backdrop, a federal judge has ruled that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) must release children, with their parents, by July 17.

A judge ordered Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to release children in detention by a certain date.

U.S. Judge Dolly Gee ordered ICE to act quickly in response to the rampant COVID-19 spread in detention centers to protect the health of migrants. Judge Gee is giving ICE until July 17 to comply and release all children that have been in the agency’s custody.

U.S. Judge Gee ruled that the threat of the pandemic is great where the children are being held.

“Given the severity of the outbreak in the counties in which FRCs are located and the Independent Monitor and Dr. Wise’s observations of non-compliance or spotty compliance with masking and social distancing rules, renewed and more vigorous efforts must be undertaken to transfer (children) residing at the FRCs to non-congregate settings,” Judge Gee wrote in her order.

Concerned politicians and public figures are celebrating the judge’s order.

The order is aimed specifically at the Family Residential Centers (FRCs) and Office of Refugee Resettlement camps across the country. The virus has been running rampant in detention centers and prisons and, according to the judge, unsurprisingly the virus has made it to the FRCs.

She continued: “The FRCs are ‘on fire’ and there is no more time for half measures.”

National leaders are calling on ICE to follow the ruling by a federal judge.

The judge’s order is aimed at the three FRCs in the U.S. Two are in Texas and one is in Pennsylvania. Unaccompanied minors in various shelters are also included in the order.

“Although progress has been made, the Court is not surprised that [COVID-19] has arrived at both the [Family Residential Centers] and [Office of Refugee Resettlement] facilities, as health professionals have warned all along,” Judge Gee wrote.

This story is developing and we will update as new information arises.

READ: After COVID-19 Shut Down Flights, A Man Sailed Across The Atlantic Ocean All So That He Could See His Dad

ICE Detainees Are Leading A Hunger Strike In Solidarity With George Floyd And Black Lives Matter

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ICE Detainees Are Leading A Hunger Strike In Solidarity With George Floyd And Black Lives Matter

Paul Wellman / Getty Images

Across the country (and, in fact, the globe) diverse communities are coming together to denounce racism, expose systemic inequality, and demand justice for Black lives which have been cut short.

The call for justice knows no borders – it doesn’t respect walls or fences. You need to look no further than migrant detention centers across the U.S., where some detainees have banded together in solidarity with George Floyd and #BlackLivesMatter by conducting a hunger strike.

Immigrants in ICE’s detention facility have staged a hunger strike in solidarity with George Floyd.

Migrants paid tribute to George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement with a hunger strike at a California migrant detention center.

However, when ICE first announced the hunger strike at the Mesa Verde ICE Processing Center in Bakersfield, Calif., on Friday, they tried to minimize the act of solidarity. In a statement, ICE alleged that detainees were being coerced — both internally and externally — into a hunger strike, and detainees reportedly said they were told that the purpose of the hunger strike was to protest the repetitive cycle of the menu. 

But according to new reports, the detainees began refusing meals as a show of solidarity for Floyd and the hundreds of other Black Americans killed by police. Even inside the detention center, news of Floyd’s murder – who died while being detained by a Minneapolis police officer on May 25 and whose death sparked protests against police brutality that continue across the nation – has angered detainees.

Many migrants in ICE custody are of African descent and identify with the growing calls for racial justice.

Credit: Oliver de Ros / Getty Images

Although many view the detained migrant populations as a monolith, there are several majority communities that are in detention – and the majority at several centers are of African descent. In fact, Black people from Cameroon, Mexico, Ghana, Haiti, Jamaica, Ethiopia, Brazil, and other countries, are held across ICE detention centers.

Our Prism reports, while undocumented Black immigrants represent about 7.2% of the U.S. population, in immigrant holding facilities (a statistic very similar to American prisons) people of African descent make up the majority of those detained.

Thus, those being held have a high sensitivity and support to the civil unrest that the rest of the country is participating in. In support, they have decided to protest.

Asif Qazi, a Bangladesh immigrant who has been in captivity since February, handed a guard a written statement about their strike.

We, the detained people of dormitories A, B, and C at Mesa Verde ICE Detention Facility, are protesting and on hunger strike in solidarity with the detained people at Otay Mesa Detention Center,” Qazi wrote.

“We begin our protest in memory of our comrades George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Oscar Grant, and Tony McDade. Almost all of us have also suffered through our country’s corrupt and racist criminal justice system before being pushed into the hands of ICE,” the statement read in part.

This recent hunger strike isn’t the first time migrants have stood up for their beliefs while in custody.

Just one week ago, several detainees at a Texas detention facility went on strike to protest the close conditions in a Covid-19 world. many expressed shock and concern over so many vulnerable people being crammed into tiny areas with little access to adequate healthcare.

Norma Herrera, a community organizer for the grassroots coalition Rio Grande Valley Equal Voice Network, told CNN that one protester had missed 21 meals during a week-long hunger strike. She says he is protesting the cramped living conditions where he fears contracting coronavirus during this ongoing pandemic.

“They feel like there’s no way to protect themselves from the virus. They’re in really crowded dorms within feet of other people. They’re sharing tablets. They’re sharing phones. When they go out to recreation they share the same equipment and they’re sharing with the same people under quarantine,” Herrera said via phone with CNN. “So they feel there’s just no way to keep themselves safe.”