immigration

Foreign Business Owners In U.S. Caught In Travel Limbo Over Pandemic

Jul 22, 2020
Audrey Jowett
Lauren Witte / Fresh Take Florida

Suzie Wells was reluctant to leave her husband in Boca Raton after he was released from the hospital following a severe asthma attack. With her mother suffering kidney failure in London, her husband assured her that she should be with her mother for her last days.

Reversal Leads To Uncertainty For International Students

Jul 15, 2020
University of Florida
University of Florida

The Trump administration on Tuesday rescinded rules that could have put thousands of foreign students in Florida at risk of deportation if their fall semester classes were held entirely online during the coronavirus pandemic.

Updated at 6:34 p.m. ET

In a swift reversal, the Trump administration has agreed to rescind a directive that would have barred international college students from the U.S. if their colleges offered classes entirely online in the fall semester.

A 51-year-old immigration detainee died Sunday at a Palm Beach County hospital after testing positive for the coronavirus. The Mexican national’s death is Florida’s first reported COVID-19 death of a detainee.

The detainee — identified by U.S. Immigration and Custom’s Enforcement late Monday as Onoval Perez-Montufa — was transported to a hospital about two weeks ago from the Glades County Detention Center in Moore Haven, a facility that is now among the top 10 centers with the highest number of COVID cases.

Since taking office, President Donald Trump has ended protections for immigrants from six countries affected by natural disasters, war, or other dangerous conditions.

In Florida, about 3,000 of the people at risk for losing legal Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, work in the health care industry. TPS allows them to live and work in the U.S. These people will be sent back to their home country when the Department of Homeland Security terminates their status.

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An organization representing immigration attorneys is suing the Trump administration, saying it puts lawyers and immigrants at risk by not relaxing legal deadlines during the coronavirus pandemic.

U.S. and Mexican officials say that the two countries are working on an agreement to halt nonessential travel across their shared border while keeping vital trade links open as part of an effort to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in a tweet on Thursday referring to the disease caused by the virus, said he was working closely with his Mexican counterpart, Secretary of Foreign Affairs Marcelo Ebrard, "on travel restrictions that balance protecting our citizens from further transmission of #COVID19."

To help stop transmission of the coronavirus, many federal immigration facilities have closed as of Tuesday night. But many are staying open in South Florida.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials announced on Wednesday agents will temporarily postpone most arrests due to the coronavirus pandemic. Instead the agency will focus on only pursuing people who pose public safety risks and individuals subject to mandatory detention on criminal grounds.

It is unclear how long the new strategy will be in place but officials explained in a statement the move is designed to "ensure the welfare and safety of the general public as well as officers and agents."

Child Migrant Detention Facility Shuts Down

Oct 29, 2019
Homestead immigration facility
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

The Trump administration announced Monday that it is shutting down one of the largest U.S. facilities for child migrants, which had come under intense criticism because of its regimented conditions and the contractor's ties to a freshly departed White House official. 

Immigration laws pushed by the Trump administration are having significant impacts on the psychological well-being of young people in America and sometimes can even lead to suicidal behavior, a researcher from the University of South Florida said.

Immigration advocates say 7,200 Florida children could be harmed if their parents lose Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – or DACA - benefits that allow them to stay in the country. 

The United States Supreme Court will consider oral arguments Nov. 12 in a case brought by the Trump Administration that would take away those benefits. 

Thousands of college-age students come to Florida every year as part of a federal cultural exchange program that has been accused of fostering abuse and exploitation, including cases of human trafficking, according to a national report released this summer.

A new Department of Homeland Security rule means immigrants legally in the United States may no longer be eligible for green cards if they use food stamps, Medicaid and other public benefits.

Florida Policy Institute analysts say that’s already having a “chilling effect” on immigrants coming into the country, individuals now worried about applying for medical and housing assistance.

When Austin Savage heard about the migrant children who said they didn't have toothbrushes, soap or enough to eat at a nearby Border Patrol station, the concerned resident headed to the store. He loaded up a van full of toiletries, diapers and other supplies and drove to the facility in Clint, Texas.

But he said the agents in the parking lot refused to speak to him.

"The agents were just choosing to ignore us," Savage said, adding that he tried on Sunday to deliver the donations and again on Monday. "And neither attempt was successful."

The Trump administration has proposed expanding a policy that would deny green cards to immigrants who access certain public benefits, like food stamps and Medicaid.

That would expand the list of services that some people seeking green cards get penalized for using.

Democrats in Congress spoke out against the proposed regulation in Sunrise Monday morning.

“This proposed rule change has sewn confusion and prompted immigrant families to start avoiding programs they need to raise healthy and productive children,” Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said.

A recent series of stories by the Miami New Times found that police in Miami-Dade County have made tens of thousands of arrests for small amounts of marijuana, even after a 2015 policy allowed them to issue civil citations for those same offenses.

Those optional arrests have at times led to life-changing consequences for the suspects.

The last time the federal government asked about citizenship status on the U.S. census was 1950. Now federal officials plan to do it again in 2020.

Tampa Bay Times

(The Conversation is an independent and nonprofit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts.)

Maria RodriguezOregon Health & Science University and Jens HainmuellerStanford University


A study was recently published by an associate professor of social work at Florida Gulf Coast University, and it looks at how the people living in Immokalee feel about their health.

an elderly person's wrist
Hal Yeager / Kaiser Health News

The number of legal immigrants from Latin American nations who access public health services and enroll in federally subsidized insurance plans has dipped substantially since President Donald Trump took office, many of them fearing their information could be used to identify and deport relatives living in the U.S. illegally, according to health advocates across the country.

Every Thursday night, Peggy Mustelier drives to the muggy, buggy edge of the Everglades to visit a man without a country.

More than 35,000 Florida residents have lost the health insurance they enrolled in under the federal health law because they didn’t prove U.S. citizenship or legal residency status by Sept. 5, the Miami Herald reports. 

The clock is ticking for hundreds of thousands of people who have unresolved issues affecting their coverage under the new health care law. Florida has the most cases at 93,800.

The Obama administration said Tuesday that letters are going out to about 310,000 people whose citizenship or immigration details don't match what the government has on file. 

These consumers need to send in their documentation by Sept. 5. Otherwise their coverage will end Sept. 30.

Four years after Russian efforts to sow division in the U.S., Rubio warned: "I’m not sure that we’re any less vulnerable than we once were."
AP

While U.S. Sen.Marco Rubio and other Florida lawmakers tout their support for an overhaul of immigration policies, a showdown over emergency room care for illegal immigrants continues in Florida.

Two young adults who were brought to this country illegally as children turned themselves in so they could investigate accusations of human rights abuses inside a privately-operated 700-bed facility for illegal immigrants.