• “People Actively Hate Us”: Inside the Border Patrol’s Morale Crisis

    For decades, the Border Patrol was a largely invisible security force. Agents called their slow-motion specialty “laying in” — hiding in the desert and brush for hours, to wait and watch, and watch and wait. Two years ago, when President Trump entered the White House with a pledge to close the door on illegal immigration, all that changed. “No longer were they a quasi-military organization tasked primarily with intercepting drug runners and chasing smugglers,” four New York Times journalists write. “Their new focus was to block and detain hundreds of thousands of migrant families fleeing violence and extreme poverty — herding people into tents and cages, seizing children and sending their parents to jail, trying to spot those too sick to survive in the densely packed processing facilities along the border.”

  • Major Impact Expected from Supreme Court Asylum Decision

    While legal challenges continue to make their way through the nation’s 9th Circuit Court of Appeals — which includes the southern border states of California and Arizona —  the Supreme Court ruled that, in the interim, the Trump administration could begin denying asylum claims to migrants at the country’s southern border who did not first seek protection in another country along their route. The policy would affect asylum-seekers at the border, who are largely from Central America, as well as an increasing number of migrants from outside the Western Hemisphere.

  • U.S. Supreme Court Ruling Erodes Protections for Asylum Seekers, UN Says

    The U.N. refugee agency is expressing concern about the negative impact of Wednesday’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court on people seeking asylum in the United States. The ruling affirms the Trump Administration’s policy that denies asylum to anyone who does not seek protection in countries through which they pass before reaching the U.S. border.

  • New EU Office Criticized by Liberals, NGOs as Conveying a "Xenophobic Message"

    EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen was accused by liberal and leftist members of the European Parliament, and by several international organizations, of creating a new position which conveys a xenophobic message. The new office – the official name is The Office for Protecting Our European Way of Life — has been the subject of bitter criticized within Brussels and throughout the EU. von der Leyen defended he decision saying: “Our European way of life is holding up our values,” she told reporters. “The beauty of the dignity of every single human being is one of the most precious values.”

  • Get Ready for the Venezuela Refugee Crisis

    With its economy in free fall, after having already contracted by half this decade, and with its future politics completely up in the air as President Nicolas Maduro clings semi-constitutionally to power, Venezuela teeters on the brink. “Even if things do not get that bad, it is easy to imagine scenarios in which ten million Venezuelans become refugees — with many millions inside the country struggling just to stay alive as food supplies dwindle and public health conditions deteriorate even further,” Juan Carlos Pinzón Bueno and Michael O’Hanlon write.

  • How Immigration Can Make Some U.K.-Born Residents Feel Worse Off Even If They Aren’t

    Worries about the effects of immigration are prevalent in politics across Europe and the U.S. In the U.K., for instance, concerns over immigration dominate much of the Brexit debate. For many, immigrants are seen as a source of competition for jobs and access to public services (irrespective of whether this is true or not). Peter Howley writes in The Conversation that despite the intuitive appeal of this argument, empirical evidence to support it is lacking. The explanation for the negative perception of immigration is rather found in subjective well-being, and the effects of immigration on subjective well-being were found to be more negative and more notable in certain subgroups. These groups include relatively older people (those over 60), those with low household incomes, and/or the unemployed. “The main concern with these findings is that if – despite positive economic benefits– immigration is associated with adverse effects on the subjective well-being of certain groups in society, then this makes the challenge of integration more difficult,” Howley writes.

  • How Climate Change Is Driving Emigration from Central America

    Migration from Central America has gotten a lot of attention these days, including the famous migrant caravans. But much of it focuses on the way migrants from this region – especially El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Honduras – are driven out by gang violence, corruption and political upheaval. These factors are important and require a response from the international community. But displacement driven by climate change is significant too.

  • HHS IG: Migrant Children Separated from Parents "Suffered Significant Distress"

    Migrant children who were separated from their parents by U.S. agents at the U.S.-Mexican border last year suffered significant distress, feelings of abandonment and other serious mental health issues, the inspector general’s office at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said in a disturbing report released Wednesday.

  • Europe’s Fear of Refugees Is the Only Thing That Can Save Syria

    Since last April, the Syrian government has been on a rampage, deliberately targeting civilians in Idlib province, and continuing a deliberate campaign of destroying medical facilities. Bashar al-Assad’s regime and his Russian allies have bombed health facilities 521 times since the start of the conflict. Yet, at last month’s G-7 summit in France, Idlib went unmentioned in the discussions over global security. “The West, it seems, is haunted more by the specter of the refugee than by the suffering of children. To break through this apathy, Syrians will have to use the only leverage available to them: The threat to flee toward Europe once again,” Muhammad Idrees Ahmad writes in Foreign Policy.

  • Harvard Student’s Deportation Raises Concerns About Border Device Searches and Social Media Surveillance

    Media outlets reported this week that an international student at Harvard University was deported back to Lebanon after border agents in Boston searched his electronic devices and confronted him about his friends’ social media posts. EFF argues that these allegations raise serious concerns about whether the government is following its own policies regarding border searches of electronic devices, and the constitutionality of these searches and of social media surveillance by the government.

  • What Ending the Flores Agreement on Detention of Immigrant Children Really Means

    Last week, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued its final rule on custody of two groups of noncitizen children, establishing different procedures for the treatment of children accompanied by at least one parent at the border prior to arrest and “unaccompanied alien children” (UACs) who crossed the border and were arrested without a parent. the core of the DHS final rule echoes a position taken earlier by the Obama administration: Protections for UACs in the 1997 Flores Settlement Agreement (FSA) do not apply to accompanied minors.

  • Anthropologist Chronicles Israel's Deportation Campaign

    The United States is not the only country using deportation to deal with a large number of undocumented illegal immigrants. A new book details nearly twenty years of similar deportation campaigns against undocumented migrant communities by another nation — Israel.

  • “Offshore Processing” in Guatemala: A Deeper Look at the U.S. Asylum Deal

    For more than twenty years, a little-noticed provision of U.S. law allowing for the transfer of asylum seekers to a third country for processing lay dormant, until late last month when the United States and Guatemala signed an agreement that essentially replicates Australia’s so-called “offshore-processing” system. The U.S.-Guatemala agreement represents a far different choice of policy direction than a “safe third country” agreement. Rather, bears a striking resemblance to Australia’s “regional processing” agreement with Nauru, a tiny island country in Micronesia where Australia sends those attempting to travel to the country by boat seeking asylum.

  • How a Struggling Coffee Market Pushes Guatemalans North

    Last year, Stephanie Leutert traveled to the Guatemalan highlands to visit the towns that were sending the most people per capita to the United States. She was curious about why Guatemalans were leaving their communities and what factors contributed to these decisions. In each town, she never found a single answer but, rather, various overlapping reasons that included a changing climate, low wages, few opportunities for employment, a desire for family reunification, distrust in political leaders and a lack of safety, among others. Yet there was one unexpected theme that she kept hearing about in the highlands: a changing coffee sector and low international coffee prices.

  • U.S. to Allow Indefinite Detention of Migrant Children

    The administration said on Wednesday that it would remove limits on how long migrant children can be detained. The move would allow for migrant families detained at the Mexican border to be held until their asylum case is processed, which can take up to several months. In order to allow for indefinite detention, DHS said it would terminate the 1997 Flores Settlement Agreement, a legal ruling that barred the government from holding migrant children in detention for more than twenty days.