Biden's DHS pick reveals immigration vision during virtual summit
Alejandro Mayorkas — President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee tapped to lead the Department of Homeland Security — gave the public a first glimpse Thursday of how he’ll approach his new post overseeing the country’s “broken immigration system.” His public comments via Zoom during a virtual bipartisan immigration summit held by the American Business Immigration Coalition, a national business and immigration organization, are his first since being nominated last week. Mayorkas emphasized that immigration reform will require Republicans and Democrats to work together in 2021 — a stark contrast to the ...
COVID-19 outbreak infects more than half of inmates at Pa. prison for elderly and infirm
PHILADELPHIA — The State Correctional Institution Laurel Highlands, housed in a former state psychiatric hospital, is part prison, part long-term-care facility for many of the oldest and sickest men in Pennsylvania’s prisons. Now, it’s the epicenter of a COVID-19 outbreak tearing across the state prison system.In the last month, 444 prisoners at Laurel Highlands — more than half its population — have tested positive. That’s in addition to 49 confirmed cases among staff. Eight men incarcerated there have died of COVID-19 just since mid-November.A spokesperson for the state Department of Correct...
The Philadelphia Inquirer
US citizenship test will be harder. Here's where to find the new questions and answers
The new civics education test that immigrants who apply for citizenship through naturalization starting in December must take orally is longer and more complicated than its previous version. It consists of 128 questions and answers.In the revised naturalization test announced by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the officer who is serving at the time of the eligibility interview with USCIS will ask each applicant a total of 20 questions. An immigrant must answer 12 out of 20 questions correctly to pass the civics portion of the naturalization test.Previously, the USCIS off...
'Secret prison within a prison': Report details solitary confinement practices at Northwest detention center in Tacoma
OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Northwest detention center in Tacoma holds people in solitary confinement on average more than any other dedicated U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility, according to a new watchdog report.The report by the University of Washington’s Center for Human Rights also contends that the center — in violation of ICE’s own policies — imposes solitary confinement on inmates with mental-health issues, or who are exercising their First Amendment rights by going on hunger strikes.The report is based on federal government records and documents by the company that opera...
The Seattle Times
Suddenly, this small South Carolina town has no police. Why do critics, officers blame the mayor?
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Situated in the southeast of Lexington County near where Interstate 77 ends at Interstate 26, the town of Pine Ridge has a small police department protecting its population of 2,000 people. At most, the town would normally have three full-time officers on staff, supplemented by part-time officers.But Pine Ridge has been without a functioning police department since Oct. 13, when Lt. Vincent Silano, the town’s interim police chief and only serving full-time officer, resigned after only five months on the job. Silano is the fourth chief to step down in the last three years, and ...
The State (Columbia, S.C.)
'Do they just not care?' Miami immigrants troubled by surge of Latino support for Trump
MIAMI — Unable to vote because of her immigration status, Maria Elena Hernandez, a Nicaraguan janitorial worker with temporary protected status (TPS)Along with fellow members of her union, a local chapter of Service Employees International, Hernandez spent the days leading up to Nov. 3 knocking on doors across Miami-Dade and talking to voters about Joe Biden, whom she considers to be more “in favor of workers and immigrants” than President Donald Trump. For years, Hernandez has also encouraged immigrant co-workers eligible for citizenship to complete the naturalization process, so that they ca...
Under Trump, hundreds of small changes in immigration rules have had a huge impact
PHILADELPHIA — Immigration lawyers call it the “no-blank-space policy.”In 2019, the Trump administration imposed a rule requiring immigrants seeking asylum or other humanitarian relief to fill in every space on the application, even if the question doesn’t apply to them. If they leave one spot empty — say, they don’t write down a middle name, because they don’t have one — the document is rejected.That causes more than delay in refiling. It can derail entire claims and open the door to deportation. Last week two national immigrant advocacy groups filed a federal class-action lawsuitBut the blan...
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Commentary: Immigration is the story of our families
President-elect Joe Biden is expected to restore protection to “Dreamers,” provide a pathway to citizenship for other immigrants, rescind his predecessor’s travel bans and allow in more refugees. It is a welcome break from the cruelty of his predecessor, who separated children from their parents and put them in cages.Immigration is often discussed as an abstract political concept. But for so many of us, it’s the story of our family.My mother, Violetta Tironi, born in Milan, Italy, in 1931, was a studious girl who liked sports. Her father, Sergio, was a police officer. Her mother, Giuseppina, w...
Tribune News Service
Michael Smolens: Biden plans big changes in immigration system — some won't be easy
Nearly 15 years ago, then-Sen. Joe Biden voted to fund hundreds of miles of new fencing along the border with Mexico.He was joined by Sens. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and other Democrats.One of the first things President-elect Biden said he will do after being sworn in on Jan. 20 is halt the construction of President Donald Trump’s border wall, though he doesn’t plan on tearing down what has been built so far.About $15 billion has been spent on the project and 450 miles of wall have been constructed, all but 12 miles of it replacing some kind of existing barrier.Biden has pledged to quickly...
The San Diego Union-Tribune
Immigration advocates make some election gains, but face pushback
For cities and counties looking to protect immigrants living in the United States illegally from deportation, November’s election results were a double-edged sword.Some sheriffs were elected in cities and their suburbs in part by touting their opposition to federal deportation efforts. And the Biden administration likely will support so-called sanctuary cities and allow local officials more say in adjudicating who gets deported, experts say.But Republican-dominated state legislatures that have favored strict immigration policies kept GOP majorities in the election. They may clamp down on the n...