Category Archives: Migration

Trump team seeks data on border walls

NY Daily News – In a wide-ranging request for documents and analysis, President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team has asked the Department of Homeland Security to assess all assets available for border wall and barrier construction. The team also asked about the department’s capacity for expanding immigrant detention and about an aerial surveillance program that was scaled back by the Obama administration but remains popular with immigration hardliners.

Haitians at border face harsh reality

NPR – Desperate Haitian immigrants have been massing along the U.S.-Mexico border for months seeking humanitarian relief. In the past year more than 5,000 have sought entry into the United States — a 500 percent increase over the previous year. But the U.S. welcome mat is gone, and the new wave of Haitians is in for a harsh reception.

Program helps Central Americans travel in Mexico

El Paso Times – Mexico is expecting a surge of Central Americans traveling from the U.S. to their home countries for the holidays. To help the Central Americans travel safely to their home countries and get cleared faster by Mexican customs, the Mexican government for the first time has implemented a pilot program, “Amigo Centroamericano,” or Central American Friend.

Mexico prepares for wave of deportations from U.S.

AP – Mexico is starting to seriously contemplate the possibility that millions of its migrants could be deported, and the picture is not pretty. Under proposals put forward by President-elect Donald Trump, Mexico could see millions of people streaming back with no jobs available; the country might lose some of the billions of dollars in remittances sent home annually; and some jobless deportees could swell the ranks of drug cartels, sparking more violence.

Barely half illegal border crossers from Mexico caught

AP – Immigration authorities caught just over half the people who illegally entered the U.S. from Mexico last year, according to an internal Department of Homeland Security report that offers one of the most detailed assessments of border security ever compiled. The report found that 54% of people who entered illegally between border crossings got caught in fiscal 2015. That’s much lower than the 81% success rate that Homeland Security cited publicly using a different counting method.

Half million U.S. kids live in Mexico with deported parents

Fox News Latino – In the last seven years, approximately 4.2 million Mexicans have returned to their home country from the U.S. with an order of deportation. Of these, one out of four ends up bringing the entire family back to Mexico — or at least part of it. This explains why there are currently 498,000 U.S.-born minors living in Mexico, many of them Spanish illiterate and struggling to adapt to an entirely different school system.

Africans given visas to reach U.S. border

AP – Mexican immigration authorities say 424 migrants from African countries arrived at the southern state of Chiapas over two days last week. The National Immigration Institute issued them 20-day transit visas that will allow the migrants to reach the U.S.-Mexico border, where they plan to request asylum.

Mexico taking control of “La Bestia” migrant train

AP – The Mexican government says it is taking control of a battered rail line long used by Central American migrants heading north toward the United States. Fewer migrants have been hopping the freight cars on the line since government agents began raiding the trains in 2014.

U.S., Mexican deportations have fueled humanitarian crisis

 A father holds his sleeping son after they and other undocumented immigrants were detained by border patrol agents near Rio Grande City, Texas. (John Moore/Getty Images)
A father holds his sleeping son after they and other undocumented immigrants were detained by border patrol agents near Rio Grande City, Texas. (John Moore/Getty Images)

By Nina Lakhani / The Guardian

Mass deportations and inadequate asylum procedures in Mexico and the US have fueled a humanitarian crisis where desperate Central Americans seeking refuge from rampant violence are routinely preyed upon by criminal gangs and corrupt officials, according to a new report by the International Crisis Group (ICG).

The tide of people fleeing Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala – three of the five most dangerous countries in the world – continues apace despite beefed-up border control measures implemented after Barack Obama declared the 2014 surge in undocumented migrants a humanitarian crisis. Last year, Mexico deported 165,000 Central Americans, while the US expelled 75,000.

To avoid detection, vulnerable people – who include increasing numbers of women and unaccompanied children – are forced to pay higher fees to smugglers, crooked officials, and kidnappers, and use riskier, more isolated routes through Mexico, according to the report Easy Prey: Criminal Violence and Central American Migration. Once deported, many simply try again rather than face hunger and violence at home, creating a revolving door of vulnerable migrants and refugees.

The report comes after the US, for the first time, recognized that the surge in people currently fleeing Central America includes potential refugees, not just economic migrants. The Obama administration has announced a new scheme whereby Costa Rica will offer temporary protection to 200 eligible Central American refugees at a time before they are settled in the US or another country.

British firm aims to open detention center near border

The Guardian – The British security firm Serco successfully lobbied public officials in a small Texas county near the Mexico border to propose that the federal government open a family detention centre in the jurisdiction. The billion-dollar company, implicated in numerous immigration detention centre scandals in the UK and Australia.

California sees surge in Chinese illegally crossing border from Mexico

A pair of fences separates Mexico, left, and the U.S. at the border south of San Diego.
A pair of fences separates Mexico, left, and the U.S. at the border south of San Diego.

By Tatiana Sanchez / San Diego Union-Tribune

The number of Chinese immigrants illegally crossing the Mexican border into California has skyrocketed in recent years, the result of a lucrative smuggling industry, mass migration from China and a diversifying pool of migrants settling in the United States.

Between October and May, the first eight months of the fiscal year, Border Patrol agents in the San Diego sector apprehended an estimated 663 Chinese nationals, compared with 48 in the entire previous fiscal year and eight in the year before that, according to data provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Before then, “we just weren’t getting [Chinese nationals],” said Wendi Lee, a spokeswoman for the Border Patrol.

Lee said criminal organizations involved in smuggling maximize their profits by transporting Chinese immigrants, often charging premiums to get them across the border.

“We’re talking anywhere from $50,000 to $70,000 per person,” Lee said. “The farther you travel … the more arrangements these criminal organizations have to make, the more expensive it will get.”

China has become one of the world’s leading sources of immigrants, according to a February report by the Migration Policy Institute.

On the Mexico border, a surge of migrants expected before a “Trump wall”

Mexicans paint graffiti on a portrait of Donald Trump on a section of border fence.
Mexicans paint graffiti on a portrait of Donald Trump on a section of border fence.

By Joshua Partlow / Washington Post

To save time, Adriana Zavala would take a shortcut down an empty lane on the way to school, until the afternoon last September when the tattooed Salvadoran gangsters blocked her way.

The threats she began receiving that day — sell our drugs to your classmates or we’ll rape you — propelled the teenager, her father and 13-year-old sister to begin a five-month odyssey from El Salvador that has ended, for now, in McAllen, Texas. They are among thousands of migrants arriving at the U.S. border in what authorities fear could be another surge of Central American families.

On the U.S. campaign trail, illegal immigration is a hot-button topic, with the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump, vowing to build a 1,000-mile border wall. But along this stretch of Texas border, where migrants climb over and walk around existing fencing, such proposed solutions tend to draw scorn, even from Trump fans. And the politician’s tough talk, people here say, might actually be attracting more migrants.

Although the overall number of migrants apprehended along the border this year has not yet reached the proportions of the 2014 flood of Central Americans, some believe that could happen, with a summer surge before the presidential election in November.

“We’re definitely on track to catch up to it, which is not a good thing,” said Chris Cabrera, a Border Patrol agent and union representative here. “The political climate has a lot to do with it.”