Guest Commentary published in The Baltimore Sun on May 22, 2023
"The border comes to Baltimore"
by Aadhithi Padmanabhan
"This month, the administration began implementing a range of sweeping new policies at the Southern border. The centerpiece of the new approach is an asylum ban that blocks most migrants from accessing asylum if they traveled through a third country without seeking protection there.
But tacked on to this major policy change — which mimics similar, Trump-era restrictions — is a set of lesser-known programs that could also fundamentally reshape how our nation treats people seeking refuge at our borders.
One of these programs, called “Family Expedited Removal Management” or “FERM,” would subject some asylum-seeking families to “continuous monitoring” as the government processes their applications for humanitarian protection.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement is rolling out FERM in four “destination cities”: Chicago, Newark, Washington, D.C., and our own Baltimore.
What will continuous monitoring of Baltimore’s newest residents look like? As first reported by the Los Angeles Times, continuous monitoring means curfews for the families and ankle monitors for one of the parents. If families enrolled in FERM flunk initial asylum screenings, ICE plans to swiftly deport them..."
Assistant Professor Aadhithi Padmanabhan directs the Maryland Carey Law Federal Appellate Immigration Clinic, which is part of the Chacón Center for Immigrant Justice.