Migratory Notes 102

Arranged marriages and ICE, Trump in El Paso, Enforcement Backlash

Daniela Gerson
Feb 14 · 12 min read
“With borders hardening around the world, more people than ever are taking on the slippery, often tortuous challenge of proving their relationships to the authorities, ,” Niki Seth-Smith writes for openDemocracy. “I’m one of them, or fear I soon will be”. Photo credit: .

Know someone who might like Migratory Notes? Please help us spread the word: Here’s the and here’s . Got a story or an immigration-related resource or opportunity we should know about?

#MustListen/ #MustRead
Many stories of family separation and the Central American caravans have been reported, but the podcast “” stands out in its intimate and gripping portrayal of one boy’s journey and his mother’s quest to bring him to safety. After gangs in El Salvador tried to recruit 15-year-old Vladi he , Monica Campbell reports for PBS Frontline and PRI’s The World. Campbell travels between Vladi’s mother in Northern California and his place in limbo at a shelter in Tijuana at a moment when young asylum seekers are facing more obstacles to enter the U.S. (The piece also covers legal efforts to provide representation to kids in immigration hearings.)

Matchmaking has been a Chinese tradition for thousands of years, and in the US it has sometimes also been used to help overcome immigration obstacles. But fears of government scrutiny of arranged marriages has some Chinese immigrants resisting the practice, reports City Limits. “” writes Theodora Yu.

The Washington Post tracked the network of undocumented workers from Trump’s summer retreat to Costa Rica. The Post interviewed six people from Santa Teresa de Cajon, Costa Rica, . Workers now back in Costa Rica who helped build the course remember it as grueling work. But the hours they put in constructing Trump National Golf Club helped them buy homes and start businesses. And their hard work supported Trump in building his empire. “Many of us helped him get what he has today,” one former worker said. A total of 16 people throughout Latin America told the Post they had worked at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster and management knew they were undocumented.

Budget Negotiations
On Monday night, lawmakers to avoid another shutdown that includes $1.375 billion for 55 miles of border fencing rather than the $5.7 billion Trump demanded.

During negotiations . Democrats , reports Vox. But the proposal only limits detentions of people apprehended inside the country, meaning that , leading to more people in detention instead of less as the proposal intends, reports The Daily Beast.

El Paso Rally
In response to Trump’s visit to El Paso this week, those cheering the president and the counter protest led by Texas Democrat and possible presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke, reports the Washington Post. El Paso Times : The number of people at his rally was inflated, crime stats from Ciudad Juarez were correct.

and turned themselves into authorities, El Paso Times reports. Border Patrol said it was the first mass crossing in the area, following similar actions in New Mexico.

Smugglers are offering migrants the option of where U.S. authorities would make them wait in cities like Ciudad Juarez and Tijuana for an opportunity to apply for asylum, reports The Dallas Morning News. “This is the newest market, if you will, of desperate people who will try to get to the United States, and they [smugglers] are sophisticated in terms of how they are marketing themselves and using what they hear and see from the U.S. government,” said one immigration expert from a Washington-based think tank.

Last week the U.S. secretary of defense authorized , reports Voice of America. Then on Monday, California Governor Gavin Newsom called border troops “political theater” and , reports LA Times.

, when the Carter administration was criticized for building a “razor-sharp wall” that could sever body parts, reports The Intercept. Since then, the border fence has grown, each time with different measures meant to deter migrants through stories of harm caused by trying to pass. The Trump administration will by March 31, border residents oppose the plan, reports Quartz. Border enforcement uses a wide range of technology, , that go far beyond a barrier constructed along the border, reports the Washington Post.

Two organizers of a migrant caravan making its way through Mexico were deported to Honduras last week in what group members say is a , reports Arizona Republic.

Three months after a caravan of an estimated 6,000 Central Americans reached Tijuana, few are still waiting at the border. , reports Arizona Republic. Meanwhile, members of a separate caravan have been in Piedras Negras, a Mexican border town across from Texas, reports AP.

Asylees & Refugees
Two transgender women, Roxsana and Charlotte (pseudonym), became friends when traveling in the caravan, but only Charlotte survived, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. Roxsana died in ICE custody in May 2018 and Charlotte now faces the long process of applying for asylum, showing how LGBT migrants are .

The Trump administration plans to send asylum seekers to Ciudad Juarez under the “Remain in Mexico” policy, but a recent attack against the police station there has , reports Texas Monthly.

Mexican authorities have begun detaining minors who are escorted by lawyers to U.S. ports of entry to seek asylum, in what lawyers are calling a , reports BuzzFeed News.

TPS & Special Visas
Migrants from Honduras and Nepal filed a lawsuit Monday against the U.S. government for . The two countries were not included in a previous lawsuit that blocked TPS termination for people from El Salvador, Nicaragua, Sudan, and Haiti. Hundreds protested in front of the White House on Tuesday to , reports the Washington Post.

To address an overloaded immigration court system, special one-time , such as family or limited-time humanitarian visas to ease the current crunch, Roberto Suro and T. Alexander Aleinikoff recommend in an opinion piece in the LA Times. Suro is a Migratory Notes board member.

Local law enforcement in Davie, Floria believe that a for kidnapping and robbery because they are unlikely to report criminal activity to police because of their immigration status, reports South Florida Sun Sentinel.

A lawsuit filed Tuesday asks the government to end the , arguing they infringe on an immigrants’ constitutional rights, reports The New York Times. The lawsuit cites cases of immigrants unable to communicate with their lawyers, uncomfortable sharing private details of their cases while in detention, and facing technical glitches that prevented their access to a fair trial. , 14 percent more than the year before, reports WNYC.

Worn down by immigration quotas and anti-immigrant policies laid out by DOJ, some , reports BuzzFeed News.

A month after the Tornillo tent camp for minors was closed, in Homestead, Florida, where they say children are being locked up for long periods of time because of a legislative loophole, reports Miami Herald.

Letters from San Diego residents to immigrant detainees, which have helped immigrants find friendship and comfort in difficult circumstances, were made public last week, reports The New York Times. The letters show the . (It’s not the first time a San Diego resident has written to young detainees: .)

Trump is not the first president to expand the detention system. , reports The Marshall Project.

ICE has , reports the Charlotte Observer. “The agency said it’s been forced to adopt a ‘new normal’: one that resulted in the arrest of hundreds of immigrants living here illegally this week,” writes Teo Armus. In response, made up of volunteers who approach suspected ICE agents to ask them to identify themselves, reports Winston-Salem Journal.


Immigration Resources & Opportunities

Recently released immigration books (got one, )

Newsletters, Podcasts, & Facebook Groups


Reporting resources, tools and tips

If there’s a story or immigration-related opportunity you think we should consider, please send us an .

That’s all for Migratory Notes 102. If there’s a story you think we should consider, please send us an email.

* is a co-founder and the editor of Migratory Notes. She is an assistant professor of Journalism at and West Coast Director of the (CCEM) at the at City University of New York (CUNY). Previously she was a community engagement editor at the LA Times; editor of a trilingual hyperlocal publication, Alhambra Source; staff immigration reporter for the New York Sun; and a contributor to outlets including WNYC: New York Public Radio, The World, Der Spiegel, Financial Times, CNN, and The New York Times. She recently wrote for Refugees Deeply. You can find her on Twitter

* is a co-founder and the executive editor of Migratory Notes. She is a multimedia reporter for covering health and social services, including immigration. Previously she reported on community health, for Southern California Public Radio. She’s also reported on immigration for the San Diego Union-Tribune, where she won a Best of the West award for her work on sex trafficking between the U.S. and Mexico; and before that she covered a variety of beats and issues for the Denver Post including urban affairs and immigration. This week,. You can find her on Twitter

* is a special projects editor for Migratory Notes. She currently covers public education for Chalkbeat Chicago. She was project manager for Migrahack 2016 in Chicago. She has also produced and for Scrappers Film Group; worked as a fellow with City Bureau, where she won a March 2016 Sidney Hillman award for; and covered race and poverty issues for the Chicago Reporter. Her work has appeared in The Guardian, The Atlantic, Pacific Standard and Chicago magazine among others. You can find her on Twitter

* is a staff writer for Migratory Notes. She is a freelance reporter covering immigration and human rights in Mexico and Central America. She began covering immigration as a journalism student at USC Annenberg and later moved to Central America to work as a reporter. She has covered the region since 2015 and has been based in El Salvador since January 2018. She has also worked as a Spanish-language writer for Fusion out of the Mexico City office. Her work has appeared in Washington Post, The Guardian, Univision, LA Times, and Al Jazeera, among others. You can find her on Twitter

*Migratory Notes Advisory Board:,,,,, ,,

Migratory Notes

At a time of rapidly shifting policies, we synthesize exceptional immigration journalism.

Daniela Gerson

Written by

Ass’t Prof @CSUNJournalism and Senior Fellow @CCEMNewmarkJ. Co-creator #MigratoryNotes. Subscribe for free: https://bit.ly/2tkethJ @dhgerson

Migratory Notes

At a time of rapidly shifting policies, we synthesize exceptional immigration journalism.