Things That Matter

Sponsors Of Immigrant Children Face Major Challenges In Transportation Fees

Families and sponsors caring for migrant children separated from their families are paying a huge price to help reunite families. The U.S. government is asking them to dig deep into their pockets to shell out money to bring them together. For a migrant child to leave an immigration facility, parents and other relatives are required to pay a huge fee. The fee covers a round trip for an escort to accompany the children on their trips, according to report from The New York Times.

Relatives have paid upwards of $2,000 per child to cover transportation costs and at times aren’t able to afford these costs, The New York Times reports. The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), housed within the Department of Health and Human Services, is responsible for these high and incurring fees.

Over several weeks, the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy saw more than 2,300 migrant children separated from their parents. The children are then sent to centers around the country thousands of miles away. Sponsors covering transportation isn’t a new policy, according to Business Insider. It has been halted in the past. However it’s now being applied to parents whose children were taken away under Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy.

The policy has since been stopped by an executive order when the Trump administration bowed to public outrage.

The payment requirement was waived under the Obama administration when large numbers of families began arriving in 2016. Family members who will live in the home of a migrant child are also being forced to provide fingerprints to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

The New York Times describes a Salvadoran woman originally being asked to pay $4,000 to fly her 12-year-old niece, 10-year-old nephew and an escort from Texas to California. She had to convince the detention shelter she couldn’t afford the payment.

“The government is creating impossible barriers and penalizing poverty,” Neha Desai, the director of immigration at the National Center for Youth Law in Oakland, California, told The New York Times.

The fees have also impacted potential sponsors from bringing children to their homes. Aside from being asked to pay high fees to transport the children, some are being told they need to live in better neighborhoods, according to The New York Times.

President Trump signed an executive order last month supposedly rolling back the child separation practice he created — seeking to replace it instead with indefinite family detention — but a judge last week ordered that families be reunited within 30 days. But so far, nothing has happened to get the order done.

Read more from The New York Times by clicking here.


READ: The Dangerous Way Trump Wants To Deal With Undocumented Immigrants And Their Children

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This Migrant Mother Spent Three Years In Church Sanctuary But Now She’s Free

Things That Matter

This Migrant Mother Spent Three Years In Church Sanctuary But Now She’s Free

Lawyers are working hard to get a deportation order removed against a woman who just left a church sanctuary after three years in the refuge. Although she was previously denied asylum in the U.S., advocates are hoping that under new direction from the Biden administration, her case will be reviewed and she’ll be able to stay with her family in Ohio – where she’s lived for more than twenty years.

A mother of three is back with her family after living three years inside a church.

A mother of three who sought refugee inside an Ohio church from immigration authorities has finally been able to leave three years later. Edith Espinal, who herself is an immigrant rights advocate, had been living at the Columbus Mennonite Church since October 2017 to avoid being deported to Mexico. She’s now out of the church and back with her family following a meeting with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials, who have agreed that she’s not an immediate priority for deportation.

“Finally, I can go home,” Espinal told reporters after meeting with the officials. With tears of relief, she celebrated the small victory in the presence of dozens of supporters who accompanied her to the ICE building.

“But it is not the end of her case. We’re still going to have to fight,” her attorney Lizbeth Mateo said.

ICE has agreed to hold off on her deportation proceedings pending her asylum request.

Espinal was released under an order of supervision, meaning that while she’s not considered an immediate priority for deportation, she must periodically check in with ICE officials to inform them about her whereabouts.

She has lived in Columbus for more than two decades and had previously applied for asylum, citing rising violence in her home state of Michoacán. But she eventually was ordered to leave the country, which is when she sought refuge inside the Columbus, Ohio church.

“We’re going to continue pressing the Biden administration to do the right thing, and try to get rid of that order of deportation against Edith, so she can walk freely like everyone else does without fear,” Mateo said during the press conference.

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The Rio Grande Claims Life Of An 8-Year-Old Boy As Migrants Risk Arctic Conditions To Cross Into U.S.

Things That Matter

The Rio Grande Claims Life Of An 8-Year-Old Boy As Migrants Risk Arctic Conditions To Cross Into U.S.

Texas is seeing an unprecedented weather crisis as much of the state is plunged into bitterly cold conditions. But that hasn’t stopped many migrants and refugees from attempting to cross into the U.S. for protection.

Many migrants cross the Rio Grande (or Río Bravo en Mexico) between Texas and the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. Crossing the Rio Grande is always a dangerous undertaking but now, thanks to the freezing weather, it’s an especially perilous journey and it’s claimed the life of another child.

An 8-year-old boy has drowned while crossing the river with his family.

Authorities have reported that an 8-year-old Honduran boy has become the latest victim in a string of drownings at the Rio Grande, between the the U.S. and Mexico. Despite the unprecedented weather, migrants continue to attempt to cross the dangerous river to reach the U.S.

The child was with his family attempting to cross the river when he drowned on Wednesday, just as Texas was gripped by Arctic conditions which have killed more than 30 people and left millions in Mexico and Texas without power, water and food. The boy’s parents and sister apparently made it to the U.S., but were returned to Mexico by U.S. Border Patrol.

According to Mexican immigration officials, the boy “couldn’t withstand the pounding water, which covered him and kept him submerged for several meters”. His body was recovered but attempts to revive him were unsuccessful.

The Rio Grande is notoriously dangerous for people attempting to cross the border.

The journey across the Rio Grande has always been a perilous one, with hundreds of people, many of whom could not swim, having drowned over the years after being caught by the deceptively deep waters and strong current.

Add in the current winter storm currently blanketing the entire state of Texas, has produced significant snow and prolonged freezing temperatures, has made the crossing even more dangerous.

In fact, earlier in the week, the river had claimed another victim. A woman from Venezuela died trying to cross the river in the same area after getting trapped in below-freezing currents. Three others suffered hypothermia: one was treated by the Red Cross in Mexico, while the other two made it the US border.

Drownings are just one of the dangers migrants face.

Apart from the potential for drownings, migrants face a wide range of dangerous while attempting to cross from Mexico into the U.S. In late January, 19 bodies were found shot and burned in a vehicle near the town of Camargo, also across the border from Texas.

There’s also the threat of violence from drug cartels and smugglers, corrupt officials, and other extreme elements, such as heat during the summer.

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