Awareness - April 11, 2023 - We Welcome

Awareness - April 11, 2023

Biden administration to pilot expedited asylum screening program at Mexico border

The program will use asylum officers to conduct credible fear screening interviews with migrants at U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facilities in anticipation of the end of Title 42. Migrants will be given access to legal service providers, however which providers they will be allowed to contact remains unclear. The program is set to begin with a small group of migrants next week. CBP policy limits detention of migrants to 72 hours and the plan is to complete the screenings within that time period. 

Legal advocates are concerned about how the program will work because CBP facilities do not allow attorneys inside. “Advocates have been calling on the Border Patrol to permit in-person physical access to clients held in Border Patrol detention for decades. And the agency has always resisted this,” Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, policy director for the American Immigration Council, said. “Getting into one of those facilities is nearly impossible, even if you have a client that’s detained there. So most of this representation would almost by design have to be over the phone. And that is just far less effective, especially when we’re talking about people who often do not have a lawyer in the first place and are simply seeking to have one.”

Florida Governor DeSantis pushes toughest immigration crackdown in the US

The Florida legislature is considering legislation that would make it a felony for people to shelter, hire or transport undocumented immigrants and require hospitals to ask the immigration status of patients and report it to the state, among other measures. DeSantis has also proposed eliminating in-state college tuition for undocumented students and DACA recipients. 

Pastors and others who minister to immigrants are pushing back, stating that the proposed legislation would criminalize their work with immigrants. "We have schools, we have Sunday school, we have church vans that bring them to worship, we have soup kitchens that we sometimes drive people to who are undocumented because they need food. Sometimes we take them to their lawyer," said Gabriel Salguero, pastor of The Gathering Place in Orlando. The bills are expected to pass quickly because Republicans have a supermajority in both the state House and state Senate.