August 7, 2020 Roundup

Statistics show that since COVID pandemic hit in March 2020, more than 2,000 unaccompanied children have been expelled under an emergency declaration enacted by the Trump Administration, which has cited the coronavirus in refusing to provide these children the protections under federal anti-trafficking and asylum laws. For the most part, many of these children were escaping gang violence in Central America and many had families already in the United States. Nonetheless, the Trump Administration decided that these children were a health threat and used the COVID pandemic to send these children right back to face the crime and violence that made them leave in the first place.

Such actions speak very poorly of the United States as a global power. The need to protect U.S borders and its citizens is a must. However, using COVID to deport children is a bit much. The pandemic is a world wide problem and U.S. actions only add to the global problem. Deporting children makes United States look heartless and frightened of its international responsibilities.

Continuing with the theme of poor choices, No More Death, a faith based organization, reports that “around sunset on July 31st, US Border Patrol raided No More Deaths’ humanitarian aid station, Byrd Camp, detaining over thirty people who were receiving medical care, food, water, and shelter from the 100+ degree heat. In a massive show of force, Border Patrol, along with BORTAC, descended on the camp with an armored vehicle, three ATVS, two helicopters, and an estimated 24 marked and unmarked vehicles.”

It is incredibly sad that even faith based organizations, in a predominately Christian country, are being “raided” by Border Patrol for helping other human beings. The group is not smuggling people; it is only providing medical help and shelter to suffering migrants. The photos posted on No More Death’s Twitter account shows agents in full military gear with armored vehicles and helicopters. One might think the forces were going into an active combat zone on another continent rather than a humanitarian aid camp at the US/Mexico border.

Lastly, I wanted to talk about this topic because thought it was just me when I started noticing that applications were being rejected when a question was left blank, even when the question did not apply to the client; for example the box for the middle name was left blank because the client had no middle name. This was not happening before, and I have been doing this 20 plus years. Apparently, it was not just me but other attorneys were also experiencing these same “no blank” rejections that turned out to be a mostly overlooked policy change by USCIS. The USCIS apparent explanation was that the “policy applications are necessary for our adjudicators to preserve the integrity of our immigration system and ensure they are able to confirm identities, as well as an applicant’s immigration and criminal history, to determine the applicant’s eligibility.” Those are fine words but the intent is false. The real reason for the policy was to reject more applications, create more work for applicants and attorneys, and thereby discourage people from applying.

Well, after some time, applicants and attorneys learned their lesson and started spending extra countless hours writing N/A in answer boxes that did not apply. So, the USCIS doubled down. They issued a small addendum indicating that “no blank” policy even extends to other agencies. For example, to get a U visa as a victim of of a crime, the applicant must get a certification from a law enforcement agency confirming the crime. If the agency leaves any blanks on the certification form, it may rejected. Now, attorneys must persuade these overworked law enforcement agencies to redo all the forms they already signed, and fill out “N/A” everywhere possible, no matter how gratuitous it seems. All this for the SOLE purpose of hindering immigrants seeking a better future. Looks like bad choices are the future.