Trump is about to create a massive refugee crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border. Even as the administration riles its voter base with cooked-up stories of an invading caravan of Central Americans, the Department of Homeland Security is preparing to release thousands of asylum-seekers already here — stranding them in border towns from Texas to California.
Immigration attorney Bridget Cambria said the mass release could be an attempt to pressure undoing of the Flores settlement that limits how long our country can hold immigrant children in custody.
“They see an emergency coming with the caravan and they have a narrative they want to use to make sure we continue much higher enforcement and the No. 1 target is obviously Flores,” Cambria said. “If they can purport to have a surge they can use it as a reason to try to get rid of it altogether.”
RAICES, a Texas immigration legal services nonprofit, and other nonprofits are asking for donations to help immigrants to our country with legal help and safe housing and transportation.
The 1997 settlement in Flores v. Reno prevents detaining minors for longer than 20 days and has forced the Trump administration to release most parents with their children. The agreement is named after Jenny Lisette Flores, then 15, who was stripped searched and housed with adult men in government custody.
Families could be left on the streets in border communities as the Trump administration stops helping families arrange transportation and manufactures a humanitarian crisis.
Annunciation House, a nonprofit in El Paso, Texas, is renting motel rooms to house more people.
“This week we will have received 1,300 people and so they’re asking can we ramp up even beyond 1,300 which we want to do, but it’s really, really challenging to do that,” said Ruben Garcia, the founder and director of Annunciation House.
Sister Norma Pementel, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, is talking with officials in McAllen, Texas, about setting up tents. Her group is handling as many as 500 people a day and is taking those they can’t accommodate to Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle, a Catholic sanctuary that can hold up to 1,800 people.