Mexico: Fire in migrant detention center kills 40 – National & International News – TUE 28Mar2023


Afghan allies living in US fear being sent back after bill stalls.

McCarthy demands debt talks with Biden without having released a budget.

Mexico: Fire in migrant detention center kills 40.



Afghan allies living in US fear being sent back after bill stalls

When Kabul fell to the Taliban in August 2020, tens of thousands of Afghans crowded the airport hoping to leave the country. In the end, about 78,000 relocated to the US as part of Operation Allies Welcome. Many of these were former Afghan contractors who worked for the US military in the country. Their cooperation with the US presence in Afghanistan made both them and their families targets for assassination by the Taliban.

Currently, the Republican-controlled House is making quite a show of their intention to hold the Biden administration accountable for the chaotic last days of the US military occupation in Afghanistan. One of their favorite talking points is the fact many thousands of former Afghan allies weren’t able to make it out.

And yet, most of the tens of thousands of Afghans that are already living safely in the US are in peril of being sent home. This is because Senate Republicans have stalled a bipartisan bill called the Afghan Adjustment Act, which would give these allies a path to permanent US residency.

If Congress fails to act on this by September, over 70,000 will be sent back to Afghanistan. There, their best case scenario means returning to a country with rampant food shortages and runaway inflation where mere survival will be a constant struggle. The worst-case scenario is that the Taliban will simply kill them as soon as they return.

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McCarthy demands debt talks with Biden without having released a budget

With the fight over the fast approaching debt ceiling still looming, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has once again called for a closed door meeting with President Biden to hammer out a deal to avert a catastrophic federal debt default. The White House responded that McCarthy has yet to release a budget proposal, despite Biden’s repeated urging to do so.

Biden released his own ambitious budget proposal earlier this month. His budget both reduces the federal deficit by $3 trillion over 10 years while expanding services for low and middle income Americans. Biden’s budget envisions these benefits being funding by increases in taxes for individuals making over $400,000 a year. This means repealing many of the tax breaks for high-income earners passed under Donald Trump, which will add $4 trillion to the budget over 10 years

While McCarthy has not released his budget proposal, the House Freedom Caucus, which includes 37 hardline conservative Republicans, has released its own budget proposal. The Freedom Caucus proposal keeps all of Trump’s tax cuts for the wealthy in place and instead reduces non-defense spending for government services across the board. It also repeals the $80 billion allocated by Congress last year to boost IRS enforcement against high-income tax dodgers.

McCarthy has neither endorsed the Freedom Caucus plan nor disavowed it. However, he has rejected Biden’s budget as “unserious”, despite having offered no plan himself.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says spending cuts will do far less to reduce the deficit than tax increases.

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Mexico: Fire in migrant detention center kills 40

In Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, TX, a fire broke out in a Mexican-run migrant detention center, killing at least 40 people. Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador says the migrants started the fire themselves by setting mattresses alight as part of a protest. However, Mexico’s attorney general is still investigating what happened.

The facility housed 68 men from Central and South America. Guatemalans made up the largest proportion of the group and 28 Guatemalans were among the dead. Reports indicate that the men lit the mattresses in protest after learning that Mexico would be deporting them.

The migrants at the detention centers have either begun the asylum application process or are awaiting an opportunity to cross into the US to begin the process.

It’s not entirely clear what justification Mexican authorities gave for the deportations, but it might be due to overcrowding. Migrant detention in Ciudad Juarez have been overrun with new Central and South American migrants arriving every day. From the other direction, the US is pressuring Mexico to prevent as many migrants as possible from crossing into the US.

These competing pressures and poor conditions in Mexico’s migrant centers have created more tensions and sparked other protests recently. Earlier this month, thousands of migrants attempted to rush over the border into El Paso. Some had heard a false rumor that US Customs and Border Patrol were welcoming asylum seekers that day. Others expressed frustrations with the long waits and with the Department of Homeland Security’s buggy new app for booking asylum appointments at the border.

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