• 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.

  • Adopting the Original Definition of Asylum

    Negative Population Growth (NPG), a non-profit organization advocating a gradual reduction in the U.S.(and the world’s) population, has released a research paper that examines the current asylum crisis by taking a look back at U.S. policies and where the nation stands now. The report states: “Our border is out of control, and asylum abuse is the reason. Due to a huge number of bogus asylum claims, a process designed to provide refuge to the oppressed has become an enabler for out-of-control illegal immigration… Asylum was designed to protect individuals fleeing persecution, not those fleeing poverty. Until this distinction is firmly entrenched in legal practice, our national sovereignty will be at risk.”

  • Creating an Orderly Legal Immigration Structure

    The U.S. government has allowed its asylum and border processing system to become overwhelmed. Central Americans are crossing illegally and often relying on asylum and other processing procedures at the border because they are virtually the only ways for them to enter the United States. The most realistic and humane way to control the border is for Congress and the administration to channel future immigrants into an orderly legal structure for coming to the country.

  • Court Allows Trump Asylum Rules to Take Effect in California, Arizona

    A federal appeals court’s on Friday allowed the Trump administration partially to begin and reject asylum seekers at some parts of the U.S. The administration’s rule would reject asylum of migrants who passed through a third country but failed to apply for asylum in that country. The rule does not apply to Mexican seekers of asylum. The ruling from the ninth U.S. circuit court of appeals limited a lower court’s order against Donald Trump’s policy to California and Arizona. Under the ruling, U.S. district judge Jon Tigar’s 24 July 2019 order will not apply to New Mexico or Texas. The new rule would deny asylum to those migrants who have traveled through a country considered by the United States to be “safe,” and where the migrant should have, therefore, applied for asylum before continuing the journey to the United States.

  • Asylum-Seeking Migrants Pushed Farther South into Mexico, Left to Fend for Themselves

    Migrants have been bused to Monterrey and, they say, Chiapas under an ever-changing and often brutal “remain in Mexico” program. The policy is being carried out up and down the border by the Trump Administration in a controversial partnership with the Mexican government.

  • More than 900 Children – 170 Under the Age of 5 -- Separated from Their Families at the Border

    In June 2018, U.S. District Court Dana Sabraw issued a preliminary injunction which ordered the government to halt the practice of splitting families at the border except in limited circumstances — such as concerns about a child’s safety. Kevin McAleenan, the acting DHS secretary, told Congress that family separations are “extremely rare.” In papers filed in court Tuesday, the ACLU says that 911 children have been separated from their parents, and that one in every five children separated is under the age of 5.

  • Justice Dept. Moves to Block Asylum Claims Based on Family Ties

    Attorney General William P. Barr moved on Monday to end asylum protections for migrants solely because their relatives have been persecuted, the latest attempt by the Trump administration to limit sanctuary for people seeking refuge in the United States. Barr’s decision overturned a 2018 judgment by the Justice Department’s Board of Immigration Appeals, which found that a Mexican migrant whose father was targeted by a drug cartel could be eligible for asylum.