Calls to end pandemic asylum restrictions as Ukrainians reach Mexican border – National & International News – MON 14Mar2022

Last week, a Ukrainian woman with three children arrived to the US-Mexico border at Tijuana. After being initially turned back, the family was allowed entry to seek asylum in the US.

 

 

Calls to end pandemic asylum restrictions as Ukrainians reach Mexican border. Student loan repayment pause may be extended. Ukraine: Russia installs friendly mayors in captured cities.

 

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Calls to end pandemic asylum restrictions as Ukrainians reach Mexican border

At the start of the pandemic, the Trump administration implemented Title 42, allowing US border agencies to turn back asylum seekers at the border due to the public health emergency. The Biden administration has largely kept these restrictions in place. But now that Ukrainians are attempting to enter the US from the Mexican border, calls are growing to do away with this rule.

Last week, a Ukrainian woman with three children in tow was initially denied entry at the border near Tijuana. Eventually, US border authorities allowed the woman and her children to enter the US and apply for asylum.

Since Title 42 is a public health order rather than an immigration policy order, the Department of Homeland Security says it is up to the Centers for Disease Control to decide when to lift it. The current order will expire in April. On Friday, the CDC announced that unaccompanied children would no longer be expelled under Title 42.

Unequal treatment

The lawyer representing the Ukrainian family is Blaine Bookey of the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies at UC Hastings College of Law. Bookey also represents several Haitian families who’ve been denied the chance to seek asylum in the US under Title 42. One of the Haitian families Bookey represents is also a mother with three children. One of the children, a 3-year-old, suffers from a painful skin condition. Bookey said, “You couldn’t have a starker contrast” in the two families’ treatment by CBP.

“I think that there is no way around it”, Bookey said. “It’s racist policies that are being applied to black and brown people differently than being applied to others. And that was the intention behind this policy under the Trump administration and Stephen Miller and is very unfortunately being carried over by this administration”.

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TIME Magazine: Surge of Russians and Ukrainians seeking asylum at Mexican border (opens in new tab).

 

Biden administration may extend student loan repayment pause again

Unless the White House acts, federal student loan repayments will resume on May 1. But there are signs that the Biden administration wants to delay lifting the pause on repayments once again. Last week, the Department of Education sent a memo to the private companies that manage federal student loans. The memo instructed the companies not to send out notices to borrowers to remind them of the May 1 restart of repayment schedules. This is significant because these notices have to go out a certain amount of time before payments can resume, and that time is running out if the May 1 deadline stands.

There was no official announcement of an extension of the repayment pause. However, the White House may be concerned about allowing payment schedules to resume with inflation already stretching many Americans’ budgets. Additionally, one of Biden’s campaign promises was to reduce student debt by $10,000 per borrower. There has been growing frustration among many Democrats that this has not come to pass. A further delay on repayments will give the White House time to come to a final decision on whether to follow through with this.

White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain hinted last week that Biden was considering partial debt forgiveness. Klain said, “The President is going to look at what we should do on student debt before the pause expires, or he’ll extend the pause”. Klain also said that the administration will come to some decision on whether to forgive some of the debt before payments resume.

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INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Ukraine: Russia installing friendly mayors in captured cities

Ukraine says Russian forces have kidnapped the mayors of two southern Ukrainian towns under their control. The mayor of the city of Melitopol, Ivan Fedorov, was last seen being dragged away by several armed men with a bag over his head. The Russians have installed a new mayor, Galina Danilchenko. In her first public appearance Danilchenko urged Melitopol’s residents not to take part in “extremist actions”. She also said she would establish “basic mechanisms under the new reality”. Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba says Russian forces have also seized Yevhen Matveyev, the mayor of Dniprorudne. President Volodymyr Zelensky says this is part of Russia’s effort to create “pseudo-republics” within Ukraine to divide up the country.

China denies arming Russia

After Russia announced it had sought military help from China, Beijing denied receiving any such request. Today, US diplomats met with Chinese diplomats in Rome to attempt to dissuade them from arming Russia. Beijing has denounced reports that it is arming Russia as “malicious disinformation”.

The US is anxious to prevent Russian and Chinese relations from solidifying into global bloc to oppose Western interests. US national security advisor Jake Sullivan also wants to discourage China from providing Russia with economic support that would blunt the impact of Western sanctions.

 

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