The major news stories this past month concern the renewal of temporary protected status for eligible immigrants, border wall plans as a diversion from immigration reform and human suffering, and the arrest and detention of a Texas child soon after emergency surgery.
- Temporary Protected Status: The Trump Administration has announced that it will not renew the temporary protected status (TPS) extended to Nicaraguans in the U.S. who came here after Hurricane Mitch hit Central America in 1998, and that it will expire in 14 months. Officials have deferred a decision on Hondurans with TPS, and have yet to weigh in on the TPS of Salvadorans and Haitians under the same program. TPS allows beneficiaries to work in the U.S., but does not automatically lead to permanent residence status. In all, some 310,000 immigrants who have lived and worked in the U.S. for almost 20 years will be affected by these decisions. A second article covers unsuccessful White House attempts to end the TPS program altogether: (1) https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/06/us/politics/immigrants-temporary-protected-status-central-americans-haitians.html?_r=0, (2) https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/09/us/politics/kelly-duke-immigration-protection-honduras.html?emc=edit_th_20171110&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=68564230&_r=0.
- Controversy Over Border Wall: Following up on President Trump’s promise to build a border wall, the Department of Homeland Security has begun constructing prototypes in earnest. As Joanna Williams, KBI Director of Education and Advocacy, and other partner Jesuit organizations point out in this article, the wall is a distraction from more urgent immigration issues and the suffering of migrants at a time of ongoing violence and poverty in their countries of origin and escalating anti-immigrant rhetoric from the Trump Administration: https://www.americamagazine.org/politics-society/2017/10/12/jesuit-groups-call-trumps-border-wall-distraction-migrants-suffer.
- Child Detained After Surgery: Rosa Maria Hernandez, an undocumented 10-year-old with cerebral palsy, was on her way from her Laredo, Texas home to a Corpus Christi hospital for emergency gall bladder surgery when U.S. Border Patrol agents stopped her ambulance at a checkpoint. The officers then followed the ambulance, waited at the hospital, and after surgery and recovery took the young girl into custody for 11 days before returning her to her parents. The public outcry over this shameful incident has been emphatic, and the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops weighs in on the inhumanity and senselessness of the arrest: https://www.americamagazine.org/politics-society/2017/10/30/bishops-appalled-border-patrol-agents-detaining-child-cerebral-palsy.
The Department of Homeland Security has begun building prototypes for Trump’s promised border wall. View from the Tijuana side, Mexico, October 12, 2017.