Migratory Notes 138

Elizabeth Aguilera
Nov 1, 2019 · 14 min read

TPS saved, zero refugees, quickie asylum

Borderless, Chicago’s only news outlet focused on immigration news and stories, launched this month with a series of asylum stories from people who now call Chicago home. Illustration by Danbee Kim of Oori Studio and courtesy of Borderless, formerly 90 Days, 90 Voices

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

Futuro Studios’ Latino USA and the LA Times team up in a three-part series about 1994’s California’s Prop 187, the anti-immigrant proposition that had the unintended consequence of a progressive transformation of the state’s political map. A group of conservative political consultants drafted the “Save Our State” initiative to prevent undocumented immigrants from using healthcare, education and other public services. “What the group didn’t know at that moment was that Latinos weren’t going to take 187 quietly, that both sides were getting ready to gear up for one of the most dramatic fights in California’s political history — one that still resonates all over the country today,” says LA Times reporter Gustavo Arellano, who also writes about how it was also a pivotal personal moment. The rallying cry against Prop 187 has helped define California’s identity today as one of the major opponents to Trump’s immigration policy.

TPS, Special Visas & Citizenship
On Monday, U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador Ronald Johnson and Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele made a joint announcement that work permits for an estimated 200,000 Salvadorans with TPS would be extended for a year. Work permits will now last until January 2021 and Salvadorans will have another 12 months afterward to return to their home country. Bukele called the decision a “quid pro quo” in exchange for El Salvador’s cooperation on immigration issues, reports El Faro (in Spanish). El Salvador signed other agreements with U.S. officials that include exchanging biometric information and allowing ICE to “assess” the country’s police force. Salvadorans with TPS called the announcement a “temporary joy” and said they are planning a trip to D.C. to lobby for a path to citizenship, reports The Dallas Morning News. Litigation against the cancellation of TPS is ongoing.

The number of U.S. service members who became naturalized citizens decreased by 50 percent from 2016 to 2018, reports Newsy. Possible reasons fewer active duty service members and veterans may not be applying include Trump administration policies that have made it difficult to qualify by requiring additional background checks and increasing the required service time, reports Military Times.

Asylum & Refugees
The Trump administration delayed refugee admissions for the third time this month, meaning that the U.S. will admit no refugees in October, reports CNN. About 500 flights have already been canceled and additional travel arrangements will have to be rebooked at the expense of taxpayers. “It made me lose hope that I will see them again here,” one Congolese refugee in Montana, who is waiting to reunite with his daughter and mother, told The New York Times. He is now considering returning home to be with his family despite the dangers. The White House is expected to finalize the refugee cap this week.

The U.S. is testing a secret pilot program that would resolve asylum cases within 10 days instead of the months or years the process currently takes, reports The Washington Post. Critics say the program violates due process and requires more oversight.

Immigration is an International Issue
The Trump administration could send Honduran and Salvadoran asylum seekers back to Guatemala as early as this week so they can seek asylum there, reports The Washington Post. The U.S. entered into a highly contested agreement with Guatemala in July to send back those who did not first seek asylum in Guatemala before reaching the U.S. Under pressure from the U.S., Mexico has taken in more asylum seekers this year, but the country’s refugee agency is unprepared to process the estimated 80,000 applications, reports NPR.

The U.S. added Eagle Pass, Tx, as the sixth city where it will operate the Remain in Mexico program, even as the program continues to cause controversy in other cities, reports Voice of America. In Matamoros, Mex., a receiving city of migrants sent back under the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), Mexican officials abandoned a plan to relocate more than 1,000 migrants camped out by the Gateway International Bridge to a stadium miles away. Migrants said they didn’t want to leave for fear of missing their appointments in Brownsville, reports The Texas Tribune with support from The Pulitzer Center.

Bloomberg Businessweek analyzes three case studies — Japan, Canada and Colombia — with different approaches to the economic integration of immigrants. Japan has increased temporary work visas in response to labor shortages, but the prime minister must tread lightly to avoid backlash from citizens skeptical of new immigrants. In 2018, Canada welcomed the most immigrants in more than 100 years using a points-based immigration system. Colombia stopped issuing permits to Venezuelans in December of last year, leading Venezuelan migrants to seek work in the informal economy.

Border Patrol agents are seeing an increase in the potentially deadly practice of hiding migrants in the back of semi-trucks in an attempt to cross the border undetected, reports the Arizona Republic.

The Trump administration plans to build 166 miles of border wall in Texas by the end of 2020, but only has the rights to 16 percent of the private land needed to make that happen, reports The Washington Post. To date, only four of the 166 miles have been constructed.

Child Migrants
A 2-year-old boy from Mexico who was waiting with his family in Matamoros to seek asylum was killed in a hit-and-run over the weekend, reports BuzzFeed News. He is the 20th child to die at the U.S-Mexico border this year.

A record number of minors are migrating from Central America, reports The New York Times. Most have their sights on the U.S., but increased enforcement in Mexico and derelict conditions in U.S. detention centers means more are opting to stay in Mexico. “I left because I had nothing there and no one to protect me. At least here I am safe,” said a 16-year-old transgender migrant from Guatemala. Minors who were returned to Mexico with their parents under the Remain in Mexico program are now crossing by themselves with the hopes they will have a better chance of receiving asylum, reports The Intercept. Many of their parents have given up their asylum claims and returned to their home countries.

One legal services organization estimates that for every 10 children separated from a parent, four more have been separated from another relative, often the person who raised them, reports The Guardian. There is no known plan to reunite these families and some of the adult relatives are removed without the child.

Many children have their schooling interrupted while they wait in Mexico for their asylum cases to be heard. So a new school in Tijuana aims to provide a safe space for children under 6 and help them overcome their trauma, reports KQED. The founders hope to set them up for success later in life by laying the groundwork now. As children have been increasingly affected by the Trump administration’s immigration policies, many organizations have stepped up to support students, reports Next100.

A new report shows 85 percent of detention facilities failed to provide adequate food and water, reports The Guardian. The California professor behind the study was once undocumented himself.

Enforcement Industry
From 2006 to 2018, corporations earned more than $45 billion from contracts with ICE and CBP, reports The Nation. As immigration enforcement budgets have grown exponentially since the 1980s, private companies have raked in profits. “Besides being an enormous expenditure of taxpayer dollars, this sum also represents an unprecedented and ever-increasing reliance on for-profit companies in carrying out the government’s immigration crackdown,” writes John Washington. This week, CBP agreed to pay nearly $10 million for 33 million rounds of ammunition for its new handgun and may purchase even more rounds, reports Bloomberg.

Attorney General William Barr issued two rulings last week that will make it more difficult for immigrants to fight deportation, reports NBC News. One decision determined that two or more DUI convictions disqualify an immigrant from having “good moral character,” potential grounds to argue against deportation. The other limits state court’s ability to adjust an old sentence so as to avoid qualification for deportation (sentences of a year or longer).

Public Charge
Denying immigrants entrance into the U.S. based on their potential to become a burden on the U.S. welfare system started long before the Trump administration, reports TIME. In the 1930s, Jewish Germans trying to flee the Nazi regime were disproportionately affected by the rule because they were not allowed to take assets outside of the country, effectively barring tens of thousands of people from refuge in the U.S.

New research shows that the children of poor immigrants are more likely to improve their economic status than children of U.S. citizens of similar income, reports The New York Times. This has remained true throughout more than 100 years of immigration. This research contradicts the Trump administration’s argument and found that while immigrants might arrive in poverty they also often escape it, or their children do.

Trump Administration
The Trump administration is looking into a loophole in federal law that would allow the president to nominate a loyal immigration hardliner to fill the role of Acting DHS secretary, reports The New York Times. His two top picks, Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan and Acting USCIS Director Ken Cuccinelli, were previously thought to be ineligible under the Vacancies Act.

Trump’s re-election Facebook ads in Spanish overlook his campaign promise to crack down on immigration, reports Reuters. Instead, the ads focus on criticizing Democrats for promoting Venezuela-style socialism.

USCIS Ombudsman Julie Kirchner, who previously worked at an organization deemed an anti-immigration hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, resigned Monday, reports BuzzFeed News. The reason for her resignation is unknown.


Immigration Resources & Opportunities

Recently released immigration books (got one, send it over)

Newsletters, Podcasts, & Facebook Groups

  • BIB Daily Edition is a free aggregation of “inside immigration news” (court cases, new regulations and the like) and “outside news” (culled from the mainstream and not-so-mainstream media).
  • The Global Nation newsletter and Facebook group from PRI’s The World.
  • Center for Migration Studies Migration Update is a weekly digest of news, faith reflections, and analysis of international migration and refugee protection.
  • Migration Information Source from the Migration Policy Institute offers a series of newsletters.
  • Documented NY’s Early Arrival newsletter aggregates information on immigration in New York and nationally.
  • The Marshall Project newsletter: criminal justice news that regularly intersects with immigration.
  • Politico’s Morning Shift newsletter: a daily read on employment and immigration.
  • Give Me Your Tired, an (Im)migration Newsletter offers updates on global migration.
  • Radio Public curates a list of podcasts about immigration and migration.
  • Only Here is a KPBS podcast about the place where San Diego and Tijuana meet.
  • ¿Qué Pasa, Midwest? Podcast tells stories of Latino life “from the homeland to the heartland.”
  • Tempest Tossed, a podcast with “conversations on immigration and refugees that go beyond the predictable soundbites.”
  • Displaced, a podcast from the International Rescue Committee.
  • A is for America America’s Voice discusses immigrant politics and organizing.
  • Only in America National Immigration Forum’s podcast about the people behind immigration issues.

Curriculum & Campaigns

Reporting resources, tools and tips

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

*Daniela Gerson is a co-founder and the editor of Migratory Notes. She is an assistant professor of Journalism at California State University, Northridge and senior fellow at the Center for Community and Ethnic Media(CCEM) at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism 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 reported A Japanese American newspaper chronicles the ‘searing’ history of immigrant incarceration for PRI’s The World. You can find her on Twitter @dhgerson

*Elizabeth Aguilera is co-founder and executive editor of Migratory Notes. She is a multimedia reporter for CalMatters covering health care policy 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 worked for the Denver Post covering urban affairs and immigration. Her most recent story was California Democrats try again to provide health care to needy undocumented seniors. You can find her on Twitter @1eaguilera

*Yana Kunichoff 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 feature-length documentaries and a pop-culture web series for Scrappers Film Group; worked as a fellow with City Bureau, where she won a March 2016 Sidney Hillman award for an investigation into fatal police shootings; 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 @yanazure

*Anna-Cat Brigida 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 the Washington Post, The Guardian, Univision, LA Times, and Al Jazeera, among others. You can find her on Twitter @AnnaCat_Brigida

*Migratory Notes Advisory Board: Daniel Connolly, Maria Kari, Dan Kowalski, Paola Marizán, Mirta Ojito, Roberto Suro, Phuong Ly, Fernanda Santos

Migratory Notes

Elizabeth Aguilera

Written by

Health/Social Services reporter @CALmatters, co-founder of #MigratoryNotes. I carry a mic & a pen. Prev: @KPCC @SDUT, @DenverPost. elizabeth@calmatters.org

Migratory Notes

At a time of rapidly shifting policies, we publish a weekly concise and insightful guide to immigration news.

More From Medium

More from Migratory Notes

More from Migratory Notes

Migratory Notes 88

More on Immigration from Migratory Notes

More on Immigration from Migratory Notes

Migratory Notes 149

More on Immigration from Migratory Notes

More on Immigration from Migratory Notes

Migratory Notes 145

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade