Migratory Notes 139

Elizabeth Aguilera
Nov 7, 2019 · 13 min read

DACA deportation, hate crime, refugee cap

Tania Romero is in ICE detention and is a Stage 4 cancer survivor still under a doctor’s care. The mother of four has lived in the U.S. for two decades and is facing deportation to Honduras, reports the New York Times. Her son, a Yale Ph.D student, has collected thousands of signatures on a petition for her release and he told the New Yorker in a Q&A how his mom made his education possible. Photo courtesy of Cristian Padilla Romero

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ICE detained 18-year-old immigration activist Sergio Salazar the day his DACA renewal was denied. And it was no coincidence, reports The Intercept. “Salazar clearly made his way onto law enforcement’s radar through posts he made on Twitter, triggering a series of fast-moving events that led to his arrest and removal from the country, which together raise an urgent question: Did U.S. officials use deportation as a punishment for an angry 18-year-old’s political speech?” write Ryan Devereax and Cora Currier.

The U.S. has promoted microfinancing in Guatemala as a way to lift people out of poverty, but many Guatemalans use these small loans to pay for the journey to the U.S., reports The Washington Post. This cycle of debt “has also had devastating consequences for those who fail in their journeys — those who are deported before they earn enough to pay back their loans. They become ensnared by debt, losing savings, businesses and homes, which makes them more likely to try to migrate again,” writes Kevin Sieff.

TPS, Special Visas & Citizenship
More than 250,000 immigrants are facing long waits for U visas, which are granted to undocumented immigrants who assist law enforcement, because Congress only allows 10,000 to be approved each year, reports Spectrum News 1. An investigation by Reveal analyzing more than 100 agencies discovered that 1 in every 4 law enforcement agencies put up barriers to applying for a U visa, such as refusing to sign a letter proving that an immigrant cooperated with law enforcement to help police solve a crime. “A review based on hundreds of police records and nearly 60 interviews found that victims are at the mercy of whatever internal rules police choose,” Laura C. Morel writes. In Washington, a sheriff’s office believes that restaurant employees faked a robbery in an attempt to gain U visas, reports the Seattle Times. Officers said the fake reports were unusual. There is no evidence of widespread attempts to fraud the immigration system for U visas.

DHS announced Friday that it will extend Temporary Protected Status for people from six countries — El Salvador, Honduras, Nepal, Haiti, Sudan and Nicaragua — until Jan. 2021, while multiple lawsuits challenging the cancellation of TPS make their way through the courts, reports NBC News. (The news about TPS for Salvadorans was announced last week.) DHS is expected to extend the protections every nine months so long as litigation is ongoing.

Family Separation
A federal judge ruled this week that the U.S. must provide mental health services to the families that were separated at the border, reports the New York Times. The decision holds the government accountable for the psychological harm parents and their children experienced when kids were taken away and held in custody at shelters or placed in foster homes. “This is truly groundbreaking,” Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the University of California Berkeley School of Law, told Miriam Jordan. “The court is recognizing that when a government creates a danger that inflicts trauma, the government is responsible for providing a solution. It is not something I have seen a court do before.”

Migrant Deaths
On Day of the Dead in Guatemala, thousands of families were unable to properly honor their family members who have died on the journey to the U.S., reports The Center for Public Integrity. NGOs have collected more than 4,000 DNA samples, but the U.S. has been unable to find a way to use these samples to prove the identity of migrants who have died along the way. In Los Angeles, an ofrenda honored the Central American children who have died in U.S. custody or while crossing the border, reports America Magazine.

A Border Patrol officer shot and killed a man suspected of crossing the border illegally, reports Reuters. The suspect allegedly fired at the two officers first while they were chasing him on foot.

Remain in Mexico
A Mexican official last week told migrants at a tent camp in Matamoros that they would be separated from their children if they did not move to a shelter, reports BuzzFeed News. Most of the migrants were sent back to Mexico and are waiting under the Remain in Mexico program for their asylum hearings at the camp. During that time the conditions in the tent camp have been slowly deteriorating. Migrants have experienced a lack of access to clean bathrooms and have had to bathe in the river to stay clean, reports CNN.

Asylum & Refugees
The Trump administration finalized a plan to cap the number of refugees entering the country in 2020 to 18,000, the lowest since the system began in 1980, reports AP. Among those most affected by the Trump administration’s refugee cap are Iraqi refugees who helped the U.S. during the Iraq war. In fiscal year 2019, only 153 applications were approved compared to nearly 10,000 in 2014, reports The New York Times. Even though an estimated 110,000 Iraqis are waiting for approval, only 4,000 Iraqi refugees will be eligible for asylum in 2020.

Border Wall
Smugglers have been cutting through the steel bollards in the new portions of the border wall with a saw that costs as little as $100 in order to move people and drugs across the border, reports The Washington Post. This is just one of many design flaws of Trump’s $10-billion campaign promise.

At a Halloween party at the White House, kids were given red pieces of paper to write their names and place as “bricks” on a border wall mural, reports HuffPost. Some attendees said they were “horrified.” A spokesperson for the vice president said he was unaware of the display.

A new “vetting center” will allow immigration agencies to access classified intelligence to screen anyone who wants to enter the U.S., reports ProPublica. Legal experts worry immigration officials will use these powers to monitor entire populations in a discriminatory way.

As immigration enforcement has become an increasingly polarizing issue, immigrants are more likely to resist arrest and neighbors are more likely to angrily confront ICE officers, reports the LA Times. Despite Trump’s rhetoric, deportations and removals were actually higher during the Obama administration.

A Mississippi town that once courted Latino immigrants to work in chicken processing plants is now dealing with the aftermath of immigration raids that left one in ten residents fired or jailed, reports The New Yorker. But immigrants still consider Morton home. “I told them that we came here to fight for our family,” said one mother from Guatemala caught up in the raids. The Intercept produced a video highlighting the lives of those left behind.

Two doctors from Cuba detained by ICE for more than a year detailed the poor medical care in detention — including mold on the walls, incorrect diagnoses and improper use of quarantines — as part of a class-action suit, reports CNN. In response, ICE said that it provides comprehensive medical care.

Discrimination and Hate Crimes
A 42-year-old U.S. citizen suffered second-degree burns from an acid attack on Saturday being investigated as a hate crime, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The man, who was born in Peru says he is now afraid in his own city and country. He said his attacker accused him of being in the U.S. illegally and asked him why he “invaded” the U.S. A suspect has been arrested in the case.

In Indiana, a CVS employee would not accept a student’s Puerto Rican ID and questioned his immigration status when he tried to buy cold medicine, reports the Lafayette Journal & Courier. CVS has since issued an apology, reports The New York Times.

Immigration is an International Issue
DHS agents began training Guatemalan law enforcement to increase border checks and immigration enforcement as part of a bilateral agreement, reports Reuters. Anonymous sources said the Guatemalan officials lacked knowledge of their own immigration laws and basic weapon handling skills.

A new study revealed that one in four undocumented immigrants delayed going to the emergency room for days out of fear related to the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant remarks, reports Reuters.

People with Alzheimer’s are prone to wandering, a behavioral side effect that becomes more complicated for anyone living near the border, reports The New York Times. It’s unclear just how common it is, but at least four cases of people with dementia wandering across the international border have been reported by the media in San Diego since 2016.

Residents in southwestern Minnesota will vote on a referendum on whether to increase funding to their schools to accommodate the increase in immigrants in recent years, reports AP. Five similar proposals have been rejected since 2013. Supporters of the referendum accuse opponents of being racist, The Washington Post previously reported. Opponents say they do not support it on economic grounds. Another school district, Cactus, Texas, is expected to approve extra funding for education in response to more students from Guatemala and Africa, reports NPR. One judge says it is because the county has learned tolerance, little by little.

Trump Administration
Trump told reporters Friday that he named Chad Wolf as acting DHS secretary, reports BuzzFeed News. Wolf previously served as chief of staff to former DHS secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. But a legal loophole means he is not yet eligible. So the Senate is planning to hold a confirmation hearing next week to clear the way for Wolf to take on the position in an acting capacity, reports CNN. Kevin McAleenan continues in his role until after Veteran’s Day.

Changes to DACA, TPS, and H1-B visas are among the many immigration policy shifts under the Trump administration that are currently being contested in court. In a handy chart, Forbes breaks down the legal challenges to the Trump administration’s immigration policy.


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.

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