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Immigration

Report: Migrant children desperate to escape ‘tent city’ in Texas

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By Jenny Goldsberry

After crossing the border alone, children sheltered at Fort Bliss in Texas are attempting to escape according to report from CBS News Wednesday. Federal officials are now placing some children in 24-hour surveillance to keep them from escaping and also self-harming. The facility is made up of tents housing hundreds of migrants.

The Department of Homeland Security recently changed how the U.S. processes unaccompanied minors found at the border. Children are now sheltered by Human Health Services rather than Customs and Border Protection.

“They do not belong in a Border Patrol station,” DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said at the time. “Children belong in the shelter of Health and Human Services.”

As a result, migrant children have spent less and less time with Border Patrol. Back in March, each child spent an average of 133 hours in the custody of CBP. Now, in May, the average decreased to 26 hours per child. But, there is no data on how much time is spent in the custody of HHS.

“There’s very little communicated to these kids about the process and amount of time they’ll be here,” a federal government employee who volunteered at the “tent city” told CBS News. “So they live in constant doubt, uncertainty and fear about what’s gonna happen to them.”

“They’ve gone from a small cage at Border Patrol to a larger cage at Fort Bliss,” another federal government employee familiar with the site told CBS News. “It’s a juvenile detention facility.”

Read the full article here.

You can follow Jenny Goldsberry on Twitter @jennyjournalism.

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Economy

NY Lawmakers want to tax tech giants to get $500M to fund unemployment benefits for illegal migrants

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New York lawmakers are debating over a proposed Democratic initiative that would pave the way for a multibillion-dollar fund designed to provide unemployment benefits for illegal immigrants. Spearheaded by state Senator Jessica Ramos, a Queens Democrat, the proposal has ignited passionate discussions within the Senate Finance Committee, where it currently awaits further deliberation.

The Center Square reports the proposal would utilize a $500 million trust fund earmarked specifically to offer jobless benefits for individuals who find themselves ineligible for traditional unemployment payments and other public assistance programs. To finance this ambitious endeavor, proponents of the plan are advocating for the imposition of a novel tax targeting tech behemoths like Google and Amazon. This tax, aimed at digital advertising revenue, is projected to generate hundreds of millions of dollars to sustain the fund.

Ramos has alluded to her belief that migrants are a fundamental contribution to the state’s economy. Despite their authorization to work, payment of taxes, and active involvement in the labor force, undocumented immigrants face a glaring disparity—they are excluded from accessing vital safety nets like unemployment benefits if they lose their jobs.

In a social media post, Ramos cited the expiration of federal unemployment insurance for freelancers and the depletion of the Excluded Workers Fund. She argues vehemently for a safety net aligned with the evolving dynamics of the labor market, one that extends support to all workers, regardless of their immigration status.

The proposed fund, aptly named the Unemployment Bridge Program, outlines comprehensive eligibility criteria encompassing a spectrum of marginalized workers—from undocumented migrants to freelancers and individuals recently released from incarceration or immigrant detention. By establishing clear guidelines and procedures, the program endeavors to streamline the application process, ensuring equitable access to unemployment benefits for those in need.

The initiative comes in the wake of prolonged deliberations regarding jobless benefits for undocumented immigrants and nontraditional workers in New York. Amid the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, the state previously allocated $2.1 billion to the Excluded Workers Fund, offering a lifeline to those excluded from conventional unemployment benefits.

Gov. Kathy Hochul’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2025 underscores a commitment to supporting asylum seekers, with significant allocations directed towards housing and legal assistance. The proposal has met with opposition from Republicans, who argue for prioritizing legal residents and taxpayers in the allocation of state resources. Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt contends that limited resources should be reserved exclusively for those who have contributed to the state’s tax base.

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