“The governor’s letter came on the heels of a federal lawsuit … alleging that new residents are brought in without being tested for the virus, forced to sleep in crowded dorm rooms with little ventilation and, when sick with a fever or cough, treated primarily with little more than Tylenol.”
While U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) says it has ramped up precautions at the Virginia facility, inmates are concerned they may not recover: “I believe that if the facility keeps being run in this way — no air conditioning, dust everywhere, dirty air, terrible food that we cannot eat, not being allowed doctor visits, not being given any medicine — I will not get better,” said Christian Alberto Santos Garcia, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
Some better news: Carlos Martinez, one of the first-ever recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in 2012, finally returned home this week after being held for nearly a year at the Eloy Detention Center, where he contracted COVID-19. Martinez had been detained — after 20 years living in the U.S. — after returning from a brief trip visiting family in Mexico, but is out now and recovering, Fernanda Echavarri reports for Mother Jones. “God works in mysterious ways,” Martinez wrote in a Facebook post announcing his release.
Welcome to Friday’s edition of Noorani’s Notes. Have a story you’d like us to include? Email me at email@example.com.
STARTUP VISA – New research from the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP) analyzes visa programs for entrepreneurs in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the U.K., finding that “startup visas” — which allow immigrant entrepreneurs whose businesses create jobs to gain permanent residence — could be a key part of America’s economic recovery in the wake of the pandemic, Stuart Anderson writes for Forbes. Yet the president and Congress have so far overlooked this opportunity: “A 2016 bill establishing a startup visa in the United States could have created 1 million to 3.2 million jobs over the course of a decade if it became law,” the NFAP study found. “In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, America needs more entrepreneurs. Foreign nationals with drive and good ideas are a great source of new business owners.”
VICTORINA – After coming forward in 2018 to reveal that the Trump family employed undocumented workers, Victorina Morales, a former employee at President Trump’s private company, is now facing deportation. Morales “had asked the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to grant her asylum because of violence in her home country of Guatemala. But the agency rejected her request, saying Morales had waited too long to apply, according to a letter from the agency,” David A. Fahrenthold and Joshua Partlow report for The Washington Post. Morales was motivated to come forward by President Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric, as she stated last year: “This is bad. This is not normal … He is acting this way knowing that we are working for him inside. … We are here to show our faces, not just for ourselves, but for the 11 million [undocumented] immigrants who are here in the country.” Morales’s immigration court date is set for August 26.
HISTORY REPEATS, AGAIN – Family separation in the U.S. is often described as a cruel and unusual phenomenon that began in 2018, but the U.S. has been forcibly separating families for centuries — whether through slavery, boarding schools for indigenous children, the deportation of immigrant parents or countless other practices. COVID-19 has offered the country a rare chance, author Gena Thomas writes in an op-ed for the Tennessean, to atone for this long and shameful history. Thomas asks the Department of Homeland Security: “Will you set America on a better path than her past has projected for her?... If we separate families for economic gain, how are we any different than the smugglers who do the same?” If recent weeks are any indication, we’re not on the road to recovery yet, but Thomas still concludes with hope: “Let us be an America known for reuniting families, not one that finds more subtle ways to tear them apart.”
NO GUARANTEE – Dozens of Mexican nationals who survived the 2019 El Paso Walmart massacre “are applying for a protective visa that paves the way for them to cooperate with prosecutors without risking deportation,” Lauren Villagran reports for the El Paso Times. Those who have faced a crime resulting in significant harm and who have agreed to work with law enforcement to seek justice are eligible for the visa, and so far 16 applications from survivors have been approved. With around 3,000 people present at the store that day, the applications will likely continue to trickle in. But with the Trump administration cracking down on legal immigration, Christi Garcia, an immigration attorney who is representing applicants from the massacre, tells her clients that “[t]hings are changing so much with immigration. I can’t guarantee anything.”
AFTER THE LAST BORDER – As the Trump administration systematically shrinks the U.S. refugee resettlement program and closes the door to asylum seekers, Jessica Goudeau’s new book, “After the Last Border,” which comes out next month, “is a much-needed nonfiction corrective to the increasingly popular fiction that refugees and immigrants are economically and culturally burdensome to the American way of life,” Michael Sandlin writes in the Texas Observer. Following two refugee women — Mu Naw, a Christian who fled genocide in Myanmar; and Hasna, who escaped war in Syria — Goudeau chronicles their journeys through the U.S. immigration system and their resettlement in Austin, Texas. The book offers both a personal look at the refugee experience and a sweeping history of refugee resettlement policy in the U.S. It’s on my list of required reading for next month.
Thanks for reading,