Healey Joins Other Attorneys General In Suing Immigration Services Company (WBUR) – Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey joined her counterparts in Virginia and New York Monday in suing an immigration services company accused of preying on immigrants held in federal detention centers. The suit, which was filed jointly with the Consumer Federal Protection Bureau, claims Libre by Nexus misleads immigrants and conceals the costs of its bond payment services.
The complaint outlines a business model in which Libre allegedly targets civilly detained immigrants who are eligible for bond by charging expensive fees up front and subsequent monthly payments that are not credited toward the cost of bond. The complaint also charges that the company falsely presents itself as being aligned with the federal government, specifically U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Healey says her office knows of more than 200 former Libre customers in the state. She described immigrants who received harassing text messages and were threatened with deportation if they missed payments to Libre.
Democratic lawmakers unveil Biden-backed immigration overhaul bill (CBS News) – After weeks of deliberations, congressional Democrats and the White House on Thursday unveiled their long-awaited immigration overhaul bill. The 353-page U.S. Citizenship Act would create a two-tier legalization program which would automatically make farmworkers, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders and undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children eligible for green cards. After three years, they could apply to become U.S. citizens.
All other eligible unauthorized immigrants would be able to request temporary deportation relief and work permits while being placed on an eight-year pathway towards U.S. citizenship. Petitioners would all need to undergo background and national security checks, as well as file taxes and pay application fees.
The plan would not benefit new arrivals, as all prospective applicants would need to prove they were in the U.S. before January 1, 2021. The secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would be allowed to issue humanitarian waivers to this requirement for immigrants deported during the Trump administration as long as they prove they lived in the U.S. for at least three years before their deportation.
Border arrests rose in January, in latest sign of migration wave that could test Biden (The Washington Post) – U.S. authorities made nearly 78,000 arrests and detentions along the border with Mexico in January — the highest number for that month in at least a decade and more than double the amount from a year earlier. It is a sign of the immediate challenge President Biden will face as he attempts to undo the policies of former president Donald Trump.
The recent influx in Central American migration could test Biden’s plans to repudiate his predecessor’s immigration policies and make the United States more welcoming to asylum seekers and refugees. White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Wednesday that Biden is monitoring trends at the border and the administrations is discouraging migrants from traveling to the United States during a pandemic and before the administration has time “to put in place a humane, comprehensive process for processing individuals.”
The number of apprehensions has been growing since Biden took office, according to the latest U.S. Customs and Border Protection statistics, and rose 6 percent between December and January, a period that typically brings a holiday lull.
Immigrants In Sanctuary At Churches Hope Biden Offers Relief (Associated Press) – For over three years, Maria Macario has lived in the white steepled First Parish church in Bedford. The 55-year-old Guatemala native moved in to avoid deportation, living in a converted Sunday school classroom with a kitchenette.
She’s among dozens of people from Colorado to North Carolina who have taken sanctuary as a last resort to stay in the country. Their actions have been extreme, particularly those who have declared their whereabouts. Many immigrants without legal status, who were increasingly fearful and anxious during the Trump years, upended their daily routines to evade detection, including avoiding driving. Newly hopeful, they’re trying to capitalize on the moment, even with setbacks like a Texas judge’s ruling blocking the Biden administration from enforcing its deportation moratorium and uncertainty over whether Congress will tackle immigration reform.
The modern sanctuary movement began in the 1980s as Central Americans fleeing war and poverty came to the U.S. and churches stepped in to offer protection. It was long an unwritten rule that churches, playgrounds and schools were off-limits to immigration agents. The Obama administration put it to paper in 2011, largely prohibiting arrests and searches there.