Awareness - September 26, 2022 - We Welcome

Awareness - September 26, 2022

Possible legal implications of Governor DeSantis transporting migrants

Since Florida Governor DeSantis chartered a private flight to transport 48 Venezuelan asylum seekers to Martha’s Vineyard earlier this month, there has been a firestorm of discussion not only about the ethics of the move, but also its legality. Reporters have spoken to multiple people who were on the flight who stated that they had been misled about where the plane was going and what support was waiting for them when they arrived. 

Last week, the sheriff of Bexar County in Texas, where the asylum seekers were initially approached, announced that his office was launching a criminal investigation into the incident. Sheriff Salazar stated during a news conference, “What infuriates me the most is what we have is 48 people here legally — they have every right to be here and they were preyed upon. Lured with promises of a better life and with the knowledge they would cling to anything that was offered for a better life and were exploited and hoodwinked to make the trip to Florida for what I believe was political posturing. When you're playing with human lives, people that have every right to be here, that does tend to bother me quite a bit.”

Last week a Florida lawmaker filed a lawsuit against Governor DeSantis, alleging that his use of funds to transport immigrants from Texas to other states was illegal. Three of the Venezuelan asylum seekers who were transported on the flight also filed a lawsuit last week, claiming that Governor DeSantis and other officials involved had “designed and executed a premeditated, fraudulent, and illegal scheme centered on exploiting this vulnerability for the sole purpose of advancing their own personal, financial and political interests.” The asylum seekers allege that they were manipulated and deceived with false offers of money, work, and other benefits if they agreed to join the flight.

Border data shows a slight increase in overall encounters as more asylum seekers arrive from Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua

Last week, CBP released August data showing a slight increase in border encounters since July with 203,597 total encounters. With repeat crossings remaining high (22%), just 157,921 of those encounters were with unique individuals. As we have seen in recent months, arrivals from Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua continue to increase. Individuals from these three countries made up 35% of all unique encounters in August, a 175% increase from August 2021. Since asylum seekers from these three countries are not allowed to be expelled under Title 42, there has also been a drop in the number of overall Title 42 expulsions (36% in August, down from over 50% earlier this year) as the demographics of originating countries shift.

The number of Venezuelans arriving is especially noteworthy - there were 44% more Venezuelans encountered in August than in July, and the total is 400% higher than in May. Excluding Mexico, more migrants were apprehended from Venezuela in August than any from other countries.

TPS Redesignated and Extended for Burma/Myanmar

DHS announced on Monday that Temporary Designated Status (TPS) for Burma will be extended and re-designated due to ongoing conflict in the country. This will allow for those in the United States who already have TPS to have an extension on that protection through May 25, 2024 and the redesignation is effective on November 26th.