Migratory Notes 170

Elizabeth Aguilera
Jul 2 · 14 min read

#Letusgohome, USCIS standstill, virtual border wall

Image for post
Image for post
Cuban asylum seeker Dailin Tapia Muñoz miscarried a pregnancy while in Juarez under the Remain in Mexico program, possibly from the stress and trauma she experienced. The doctor now uses her medical skills to help other migrants, but risks exposing herself. “,” she said. Photo by Emily Kinskey for The Texas Observer

Know someone who might like Migratory Notes? Please help us spread the word: Here’s the and here’s. Got a story we should know about, send it on!

Marie Deus, a mother and kitchen worker in a Boston hospital, always carried hand sanitizer and masks in her purse, even before the pandemic. That’s why her friends and colleagues were so surprised when she collapsed from COVID-19 symptoms. At first, doctors suspected she had been exposed at work, but her job was only one risk factor. “,” writes Eric Boodman for Stat News. Data from the hospital and elsewhere revealed that where one lives increases risk more than profession. Many Haitian migrants like Deus live in multi-family homes in Mattapan, a section of the city with the second-highest rate of COVID infections.

Dailin Tapia Muñoz was in an El Paso holding cell when the first reports of the coronavirus arrived at the border in March, reports The Texas Observer. “Two other pregnant women shared her cell in March — one looked like she could give birth any minute,” write Acacia Coronado, Emily Kinskey, and Anna-Cat Brigida. “: ‘Can you imagine being seven and nine months pregnant, sleeping on the floor and eating only a bag of juice and a bread with burger twice a day?’” Reported in Juárez, Matamoros, and Nuevo Laredo, the story is the first part of a Pulitzer Center-supported series on the impact of COVID-19 on immigrants along the detention to deportation pipeline. You can also read the story in Spanish.

Coronavirus Immigration Closures
: USCIS, which processes citizenship, green card and asylum applications, issued furlough notices to 13,000 employees this week that could last up to three months. The by August 3, reports BuzzFeed News. In recent weeks, the agency has implemented caused by the pandemic, but the delays will only get worse with furloughs, reports AP.

American to actually travel, including some U.S. residents, reports The Wall Street Journal. “Nearly every foreigner wishing to travel to the U.S. faces a simple but impassable hurdle: Most American embassies and consulates remain closed,” Michelle Hackman writes. “While a precise figure is difficult to estimate, hundreds of thousands of people worldwide may be stuck since March because they can’t get their visas stamped or attend the necessary interviews to have visas issued.”

Skilled Visa Ban
For some who were already stuck outside the country, Newsy reports. Thousands of families affected by new restrictions on temporary work visas have had to seek answers on social media after the relevant agencies failed to notify those affected about the changes, reports BuzzFeed News. “It’s a phenomenon that’s played out since the beginning of the Trump era: ,” writes Hamed Aleaziz.

The ban could backfire for Trump. His stated goal is to help American workers during the pandemic, but research shows these types of , reports The Washington Post. In fact, they could actually lead to job losses if businesses close. There also may be election consequences, , a fast-growing voting bloc, reports Politico.

Temporary Visa Ban
In Idaho, after Trump’s order cutting these visas, reports Newsy. The companies say there are not enough local workers who want to take on these short-term positions.

Remain in Mexico, Asylum & Refugees
The Trump administration is preparing a new , such as COVID-19 or Ebola, based on potential public health threats, reports The Washington Post.

A federal judge . The judge, a Trump appointee, ruled that .

A judge in Los Angeles ordered last week the by July 17 after at least 11 children and parents at these facilities have tested positive for COVID-19. The judge cited the 1997 Flores settlement agreement that limits the time minors can spend in U.S. custody in the ruling, but the agreement does not apply to parents. Democratic lawmakers sent a letter to DHS , rather than separating them. ICE previously denied parole to children in these facilities because parents did not consent to being separated.

At least in Adelanto in June, reports the Palm Springs Desert Sun. The detainees were immediately tested and isolated, according to ICE. The agency has been criticized for continuing transfers during the pandemic.

A judge who already served a 15-year sentence, reports The New York Times. When the government could not deport him because he is a stateless Palestinian, it sought to detain him indefinitely under the Patriot Act.

The U.S. has sent , often failing to properly test for COVID-19 before the flights, reports The Intercept. These policies have had devastating public health impacts on countries including Haiti and Guatemala and caused diplomatic tensions. Guatemala is now only receiving in each flight, reports The Miami Herald.

This week, advocates protested these pending deportations::

COVID-19 and Immigrant Communities
In the early days of the pandemic, the , writes Michelle García in The Nation. Looking ahead, she writes, journalists risks making the same mistakes when covering climate change, which will cause millions to migrate, if it continues to cover news based on a white, elite worldview.

Playing five sports — football, volleyball, soccer, softball and boxing — has helped Dalia Hurtado cope with the separation from her parents and siblings who live in Mexico, reports the LA Times. She has been a trailblazer at her East Los Angeles high school as the . But now that outlet is gone, as is the ability to visit her family in Mexico. “I’m laughing with my teammates and all that, then when I get home it’s like, damn. Realidad. I try my best not to think about it,” Dalia said.

Border Wall
Since the pandemic began, the in an attempt to carry out the campaign promise of building 500 miles by the end of the year, reports the LA Times. Landowners who oppose construction on their land must still show up in court even if they have fears of the coronavirus. Meanwhile, the administration contracted , reports The Washington Post. “The administration’s deepening commitment to the technology, raises an obvious — if awkward — question for homeland security officials as Trump spends billions of taxpayer dollars to speed up his border wall project,” writes Nick Miroff. “If the Anduril system can spot migrants and smugglers from miles away and guide U.S. agents right to them, what is the point of building a costly physical barrier in isolated border areas where there are few crossings?”

Opponents of the wall scored a legal win last week when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that because it uses funds without authorization, reports NBC News. But they also faced a legal setback. On Monday, the Supreme Court on the grounds that a 1996 law that waives environmental protections for border construction is unconstitutional because it gives too much power to the executive branch, reports Reuters.

Immigration is an International Issue
The who rely on money sent home from migrants working in the U.S., reports The New Humanitarian. Some Venezuelan migrants have decided to go home because of the lack of work, but more mouths to feed and less income from abroad is only expected to exacerbate the country’s humanitarian crisis.

Courts & Justice
Hearings in this week, despite concerns from lawyers, judges and elected officials that doing so still poses a public health risk, reports WBUR. The Executive Office of Immigration Review announced the .

Immigration judges filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the Justice Department for , reports Reuters.

A recent spotlight on national policing brought on by Black Lives Matter protests has also led to questions about the , reports KTSM.

as they move from county to county, reports the Voice of San Diego. The seizures are a result of incongruent state and federal cannabis law.


Immigration Resources & Opportunities

Coronavirus Resources

Recently released immigration books (got one, )

Newsletters, Podcasts, & Facebook Groups

  • podcast covers the coronavirus impact on immigrant communities from Chelsea, MA to the Bronx, New York.
  • is a podcast about the “subcultures, creativity and struggles” at the US-Mexico border from KPBS
  • is a podcast exploring the experiences of Latinx people in the U.S. south.
  • Salvadoran investigative media outlet has launched an English-language newsletter with reporting from Central America.
  • Podcast tells stories of Latino life “from the homeland to the heartland.”
  • is a weekly newsletter by the Hope Border Institute on news and analysis from the border.
  • 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).
  • Center for Migration Studies is a weekly digest of news, faith reflections, and analysis of international migration and refugee protection.
  • from the Migration Policy Institute offers a series of newsletters.
  • Documented NY’s newsletter aggregates information on immigration in New York and nationally.
  • Politico’s newsletter: a daily read on employment and immigration.
  • , a podcast with “conversations on immigration and refugees that go beyond the predictable soundbites.”
  • , a podcast from the International Rescue Committee.
  • America’s Voice discusses immigrant politics and organizing.
  • 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.

* is a co-founder and the editor of Migratory Notes. She is an assistant professor of Journalism at and senior fellow at the (CCM) 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 published , a report for the Center for Community Media. You can find her on Twitter

* is co-founder and executive editor of Migratory Notes. She is a multimedia reporter for where she covers the health and welfare of California’s next generation after covering health care and social services, including immigration, for several years for the digital outlet. 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 . 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 the Washington Post, The Guardian, Univision, LA Times, and Al Jazeera, among others. 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

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

Migratory Notes

At a time of rapidly shifting policies, we publish a weekly…

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.

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.

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

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store