Migratory Notes 76
Child detention is like “summer camp,” toddler dies upon release, cashing in on foster care
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!
For the past year, parents deported from Oakland to Mexico have been raising their children long-distance, providing homework reminders and nutritional advice over daily video chats. PRI’s The World’s story, reported from both places, illustrates how one family copes with the forced separation that has impacted thousands of mixed-status families annually.
Children in Detention
As children are being released from detention, serious concerns are emerging about treatment:
- A migrant toddler died after being released from immigration custody in Texas, reports The Washington Post. The American Immigration Lawyers Association did not yet have information on the cause of death or whether it was connected to medical care at the detention facility.
- Police reports and call logs from 70 of the 100 shelters housing migrant children show patterns of abuse, predatory behavior and missing children dating as far back as 2014, a ProPublica investigation found. “If you’re a predator, it’s a gold mine,” said one advocate. “You have full access and then you have kids that have already had this history of being victimized.”
- A 6-year-old girl separated from her mother was allegedly sexually abused in detention, reports The Nation. She was then made to sign a form saying she had been told to stay away from her abuser.
- The government must transfer nearly all migrant children, many minors separated from their parents, out of a Texas detention facility that has been using psychotropic drugs on children in its care without a proper medical diagnosis or parental consent, a federal judge ruled Monday in response to a lawsuit filed on behalf of the detained minors.
- In a different case, a federal judge will appoint a special monitor to look at the conditions faced by children in detention centers along the U.S.-Mexico border, reports NPR.
- Not everyone wants to stay. One mother who made it through the border and is seeking asylum would like to return to her native country but can’t afford it, reports the LA Times. Family separation left her family thousands of miles apart. At around the same time she entered legally with her baby, her husband crossed into the U.S. illegally with their other child. The pair were separated and the father was deported. That child has since been reunited with his mother, who wants nothing more than to go home and never return to the U.S.
Officials from five federal agencies involved in family separation were asked at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing whether they thought the policy was a success. Their response: silence. In response to allegations of abuse at family detention centers, an ICE official compared the detention centers to “summer camps.” Much of the rest of the hearing was marked by the officials’ (who represented DHHS, the DOJ, USCIS, ICE and CBP) inability to give clear data or explain why some children remain in custody.
Ongoing Family Separation
“Deleted family units” is the term CBP officials used for separated families. The Washington Post reports on the core problem with the family reunification effort: failure to record, classify and keep track of separated families. The New Yorker breaks down what categories the 914 parents deemed ineligible for reunification fall into — those who waived their parental rights, have a “prohibitive criminal record,” are outside the U.S., and those who are still up for further evaluation.
Judge Sabraw chastised the administration for “losing” hundreds of parents, reports NPR. Children still waiting are asking: “What about me?” reports NBC News.
For the 463 migrant children whose parents were already deported, there is no plan or specific allocation of resources to reunify them, reports The Atlantic.
A lawsuit contends that several fathers have been separated from their children for a second time, allegedly for refusing to close their children’s asylum case and be deported together, reports Vox. The fathers “were presented with forms that gave them three ‘options’ for their families’ cases — with the option for deporting the child along with the parent already selected. One parent says the check mark had been made in pen; two others report that they were told they had to sign the form with that option selected,” writes Dara Lind.
Children reunited with their parents are showing signs of trauma from the separation, including anxiety, introversion and regression, reports The New York Times. Some migrant children are pretending to handcuff and vaccinate toys or people around them.
Frontline takes a deep dive into the family separation crisis in their latest film, along with an exploration of how Obama dealt with child migrants.
An immigrant detainee with a mental health diagnosis killed himself after 21 days in solitary confinement at Stewart Detention Center in Georgia. It’s only the latest such tragedy in ICE detention, reports The Intercept in a deep dive into the man’s story.
A Yemeni immigrant, separated from his family due to the travel ban, shot himself at Fat Boys Grocery in Louisiana on July 18. His family blamed the pain of being divided from his children and wife. Four days later, due to a class action lawsuit in federal court to reissue visas for Yemenis in Djibouti, his family was finally able to travel to the United States; they arrived a week after his funeral.
A “Little LA” is growing in Mexico City, populated by deportees who do not speak Spanish well. Not everyone is happy about it, reports the Dallas Morning News. “There isn’t a [expletive] Little LA. This is Tabacalera,” a waiter told Alfredo Corchado. “That’s what these imbeciles call it, but they can’t even speak Spanish. I even doubt they’re Mexican. Where are their documents? They come back and act as though they can teach us something. “ But others, feel they are “agents of change” creating a new iteration of the “American Dream” in a changing Mexico. Previous stories on Little LA: PRI’s The World, WSJ, Time
Follow the Money
Cayuga Centers is the largest provider of foster care for unaccompanied minors, despite its troubled history of negligent care and under-experienced employees, reports The New York Times. Its government contracts for working with immigrant children took it from a $1.1 million deficit in 2013 to $48.7 million in annual revenue in 2017.
Democrats are increasingly coming under fire from constituents for taking money from private prison corporations, in part because of growing anger at family separation. Even ostensibly pro-immigrant politicians like California Gov. Jerry Brown get contributions from GEO Group and CCA, reports Mother Jones.
Naturalization applications fell by more than 7,000 in the first quarter of 2018compared to 2017, but backlogs for getting citizenship are getting worse, reports Quartz.
DNA to ID Deportees
Canada is using ancestry DNA websites to establish the nationality of immigrants it wants to deport, reports Vice. Immigration agents are using the websites to find family members of a targeted individual and determine their country of origin. It’s a process many critics say is flawed because ethnic origin isn’t necessarily connected to country of citizenship.
From Immigration Detention to Knight-Wallace Fellow
Mexican journalist Emilio Gutiérrez-Soto, who was freed from immigration detention on July 26 after being held since December, 2017, will be a Press Freedom Fellow at the University of Michigan. Mexico is the second most dangerous country for journalists after Syria and Gutiérrez is seeking asylum following death threats.
Jobs, Fellowships & Awards
- WDET and Feed in 2 Worlds Detroit are seeking food reporting fellows. (Metro Detroit)
- Feet in 2 Worlds is looking for its next managing editor. (New York City)
- The San Francisco Chronicle is hiring an immigration reporter.
- The Atlantic is seeking an immigration reporter. (LA, Texas, DC or NY)
- Cascade Public Media in Seattle is hiring a race/immigration producer.
- A donor is looking for the right book project to support with free publication and marketing services. If you’re working on a project with the intention of using it to raise awareness and raise funds for a nonprofit helping families, please email firstname.lastname@example.org a few sentences about your project and your contact info.
- Freedom for Immigrants is hiring for several California-based positions, including development director and immigration bond fund coordinator.
- ProBar Immigrant Children’s Assistance Project is hiring various positions: an unaccompanied children legal service specialist, legal assistant, legal director, and staff attorney.
- Immigrant Justice Corps is hiring for several attorneys and a social worker.
- Define American is hiring a development manager for fundraising and strategic growth.
- The League of Kitchens is hiring a fellow for recipe writing and testingas part of a program where immigrants teach cooking classes.
- FWD.us is hiring for several positions, including press and campaign manager positions
- WBEZ is hiring a radio reporter to cover race, class and communities
- ProPublica is offering student scholarships to a host of conferences, including NABJ, AAJA, and others
Immigration Resources & Opportunities
Recently released immigration books (got one, send it over)
- Deportation in the Americas edited by Kenyon Zimmer and Cristina Salinas explores deportation policy and its global impact
- We Built the Wall: How the US Keeps Out Asylum Seekers from Mexico, Central America and Beyond by Eileen Truax
- Vanishing Frontiers: the Forces Driving Mexico and the United States Together by Andrew Selee explores the two countries intertwined histories.
- Homelands: Four Friends, Two Countries, and the Fate of the Great Mexican-American Migration by Dallas Morning News border correspondent Alfredo Corchado
- My Family Divided: One Girl’s Journey of Home, Loss, and Hope by Diane Guerrero with Erica Moroz
- From Here and There: Diaspora Policies, Integration, and Social Rights Beyond Borders, by Alexandra Délano Alonso, is the first book-length guide about consular services.
- Undocumented Lives: The Untold Story of Mexican Migration, about the Mexican government’s support for migration. PRI profiled the book’s author.
- The Making of a Dream: How a group of young undocumented immigrants helped change what it means to be American by Laura Wides-Muñoz covers the growth of the Dreamer movement.
Newsletters, Podcasts, & Facebook Groups
- The Global Nation newsletter and Facebook group from PRI’s The World.
- Refugees Deeply: a thrice-weekly newsletter on migration and displacement.
- 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 City.
- 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 a weekly update on global migration.
- Radio Public curates a list of podcasts about immigration and migration.
- 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.
- Moving Stories is an app and curriculum to capture and share immigrant stories.
- Re-imagining immigration has resources and lessons to teach about migration, immigration, refugees, and civic empowerment through history, literature, and the sciences
- The Advocates for Human Rights and the Immigration History Research Center at UMN free curriculum that helps students learn about U.S. immigration through personal narratives: Teaching Immigration with the Immigrant Stories Project
- Imm-print publishes an Immigration Detention Syllabus.
Reporting resources, tools and tips
- Tools for covering ICE from the Columbia Journalism Review
- Documented covers New York City’s immigrants and the policies that affect their lives
- Migration Reporting Resources (Global Investigative Journalism Network)
- Resources for Investigating Visas (Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting)
- Reporting on Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Immigrants (90 Days, 90 Voices)
- Immigration Data Resources: An extensive, and growing, list of immigration resources curated by PRI’s Angilee Shah and shared as part of her presentation on finding immigration stories at NICAR 2018.
- Tips on covering immigration when you do not live near the border(Daniel Connolly, from IRE 2017)
If there’s a story or immigration-related opportunity you think we should consider, please send us an email.
*Daniela Gerson is an assistant professor at California State University, Northridge with a focus on community, ethnic, and participatory media. She is also a senior fellow at the Democracy Fund. Before that she was a community engagement editor at the LA Times; founding 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 How can collaborations between ethnic and mainstream outlets serve communities in the digital age? for American Press Institute. You can find her on Twitter @dhgerson
*Elizabeth Aguilera is a multimedia reporter for CALmatters 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. Her latest story is What ice cream flavors can teach us about the changing California Dream. You can find her on Twitter @1eaguilera
*Yana Kunichoff is an independent journalist and documentary producer who covers immigration, policing, education and social movements. 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
Copyright © 2018
Sent from a roaming newsroom
Los Angeles, CA 90026