HAPPY 2020!

And now some news from the past couple of weeks.
Our next meeting will be held on at 7:15PM, Monday, January 13 at the Congregational Church, 1180 Great Plan Ave, Needham.  There is free parking behind the church.  If you have an item you wish to discuss, please contact me as soon as possible so I can add it to the agenda.
The Minutes from the Dec 9th meeting are attached.


MEDICAL RECORDS OF THOSE IN CUSTODY:  A recent review by Politico found that, “The Department of Homeland Security’s inadequate medical technology and record-management for the thousands of migrants who pass through its custody are contributing to poor care and even deaths, according to lawsuit records reviewed by POLITICO.” Further, the reporting found “persistent complaints from experts and advocates for migrants rights who say attention to the medical needs of asylum seekers is indifferent at best. Recent reports indicate that Customs and Border Patrol rejected a CDC recommendation to administer flu shots to people in its custody; two children later died of flu in the agency’s facilities.”  Immigration and Customs Enforcement records of custody between 2013 and 2018 revealed malfunctioning software and troubling gaps in use of technology, such  as failure to properly document patient care or scribbling documentation in the margins of forms. Those reviews echo persistent complaints from experts and advocates for migrants rights who say attention to the medical needs of asylum seekers is indifferent at best.  For the full article see:  https://www.politico.com/news/2019/12/01/medical-records-border-immigration-074507
CNN reports that US Customs and Border Protection has released a long-awaited plan to improve medical screening for migrants in federal custody, but doctors say it lacks details and criticized the fact that it only applies to children. The plan has three phases, most of which rely on undefined interviews and assessments to identify health problems in the first stages of apprehension and custody. Over the last year, several people died while in ICE custody, including four children. And yesterday, ICE announced that a 40-year-old native of Angola died in its custody in New Mexico. Details of the person’s condition and actions taken by the agency before his or her death haven’t been released.

ASYLUM APPLICATIONS REJECTED FOR MINOR REASONS:   The Guardian reports that USCIS is returning applications for asylum without processing them over the equivalent of failing to dot an “i” or cross a “t.” It is not clear how many applications have been refused over minor issues, but AILA says such reports have grown more frequent since October, when USCIS modified the language on its website to state it would decline to process an asylum application “if you leave any fields blank.” That little-noticed revision has had a big impact.  For full article see:  https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/dec/23/us-immigration-trump-asylum-seekers?utm
EXPEDITED DENIAL OF ASYLUM APPLICATIONS:  CBS News reports that the Trump administration has expanded an experimental program, dubbed Prompt Asylum Claim Review, or PACR, that is designed to expedite the processing and deportation of asylum seekers from all over the world, implementing the new policy in the busiest sector of the U.S.-Mexico border, Texas’s Rio Grande Valley. Hundreds of asylum seekers have been subject to the policy since it debuted as a pilot program in the El Paso sector in October.  SEE:  https://www.cbsnews.com/news/immigration-program-expediting-deportations-of-asylum-seekers-at-border-expands/?utm
INSURANCE PROCLAMATION ENJOINED:  On November 26, 2019, U.S. District Judge Michael H. Simon granted the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction, thus enjoining the government from taking any action to implement or enforce Presidential Proclamation No. 9945, “Presidential Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry of Immigrants Who Will Financially Burden the United States Healthcare System until the court resolves the case on the merits or orders otherwise.  This means that, outside of very limited exceptions, if anyone is applying for an immigrant visa, including a diversity visa, on or after November 3, 2019, (s)he no longer  must demonstrate to the consular officer at the time of interview that (s)he will be covered by approved health insurance within 30 days of entry into the United States or have the financial resources to pay for reasonably foreseeable medical costs. According to DOS, inability to meet this requirement would have resulted in the denial of the visa application.
JAN 9, 2020: Immigration Justice Community Forum
Thursday, January 9, 2020, 7:30 – 9:00 pm, Temple Beth Shalom, 670 Highland Ave, Needham
Speakers from Unitarian Universalist Mass Action (part of the Safe Communities Coalition) and Agencia Alpha, an educational, social service and advocacy organization for the immigrant community in Boston, will present an overview of current legislation and will share their stories about the impact of federal immigration policy in their lives. A Q&A session will follow the speakers. There will be an opportunity for participants to engage in an advocacy action during this event. The Task Force is a co-sponsor of this event.
JAN 26, 2020: “I Am Every Migrant Child: Reflections of a World War II Orphan” On Sunday, January 26, 2019 at 3:00 PM at Temple Beth Shalom, 670 Highland Avenue in Needham, author, survivor, and renowned speaker, Sylvia Gutmann will share her story as a migrant child and how that experience resonates today. Following a question and answer session, we will learn how we can help migrants and refugees fleeing for safety to the United States. Copies of Sylvia’s book, “A Life Rebuilt: The Remarkable Transformation of a War Orphan” will be available for purchase for $20, cash or check. This event is free and open to the public. Sponsored by Temple Beth Shalom Tzedek, the Needham League of Women Voters, the Needham Area Immigration Justice Task Force, and the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston (JCRC).The Task Force is a co-sponsor of this event.
RSVP: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/i-am-every-migrant-child-reflections-of-a-world-war-ii-orphan-tickets-85832381965?utm-medium=discovery&utm-campaign=social&utm-content=attendeeshare&aff=escb&utm-source=cp&utm-term=listing
Hope to see you on Jan 13th
Gerry Rovner