Immigration News


“Sustainable democracy in the world depends on the United States being a beacon of democracy…..the only shared experience we have any longer in America is through public education. Where else in this country do you have Christians and Muslims and atheists, wealthy and poor kids, from all over the world, sharing in the great American experiment? And that takes place in our commons every day. It’s not perfect. But it works.”
Paul Schmitz, principal of the high school in Willmar, Minnesota, a town of 21,000 with 30 nationalities attending public schools.

Chart: How immigration levels in the U.S. have changed since 1900, 5/15/19
By Stef L. Kight

This piece also provides excellent background on the historical shifts in U.S. immigration policies.

Family separation by the numbers

“Last February, the ACLU sued the Trump administration in federal court, challenging its illegal and cruel practice of separating the children of asylum-seekers and border-crossers from their parents. The events that followed shocked the world, as thousands of minors were locked away in immigration facilities alone while their parents were detained far away. On June 26, U.S. District Court Judge Dana Sabraw issued a preliminary injunction that ordered the government to return all children under five years old to their parents within 14 days and within 30 days for the rest.
“The government has since provided the court with data that indicates at least 2,654 immigrant children were separated from their parents or caregivers as a result of Trump administration policies. Further data was provided to the ACLU about the age and gender of those children, their country of origin, and how long those still in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) have been held. The ACLU is making this data available here to help illuminate the details of this devastating policy. For hundreds of these children, the nightmare isn’t over yet.”

Separated Children Placed in Office of Refugee Resettlement Care, 1/2019

Key Takeaway: the total number of children separated from a parent or guardian by immigration authorities is unknown. Pursuant to a June 2018 Federal District Court order, HHS has thus far identified 2,737 children in its care at that time who were separated from their parents. However, thousands of children may have been separated during an influx that began in 2017, before the accounting required by the Court, and HHS has faced challenges in identifying separated children.

Special Review - Initial Observations Regarding Family Separation Issues Under the Zero Tolerance Policy.

What We Observed: DHS was not fully prepared to implement the Administration’s Zero Tolerance Policy or to deal with some of its after-effects. Faced with resource limitations and other challenges, DHS regulated the number of asylum-seekers entering the country through ports of entry at the same time that it encouraged asylum-seekers to come to the ports. During Zero Tolerance, CBP also held alien children separated from their parents for extended periods in facilities intended solely for short-term detention.
DHS also struggled to identify, track, and reunify families separated under Zero Tolerance due to limitations with its information technology systems, including a lack of integration between systems.
Finally, DHS provided inconsistent information to aliens who arrived with children during Zero Tolerance, which resulted in some parents not understanding that they would be separated from their children, and being unable to communicate with their children after separation.”

Where Are the Children? Project, 4/2019

Thousands of children, some younger than 12 months, are separated from their families and housed in government detention centers. We believe the Trump Administration’s zero tolerance policy of separating immigrant families is immoral, unjust, and un-American. This cruel policy must end, and families must be reunited at once.

Please join us on International Children’s Day, June 9, 2019 from 10:00 am - 5:50 pm to oppose this injustice. National Mall in Washington, D.C ., between 12th and 14th Streets. The ‘Where are the Children?’ project grew out of an idea from Maryland high school student Alex Kohn, who attended an April 2018 conference held by the Unitarian Universalists United Nations Office, ‘A Just Migration for All.’ After Alex and his friends got home, they hung up children’s pajamas at their own Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Columbia, Maryland, to call attention to the fact that the government is violating a decades-old, court-approved agreement that migrant children should not be detained for more than 20 days and must be released to their parents or a family member.

​Indivisible Howard County, part of a nationwide progressive movement to preserve American democracy, decided to elevate the pajama project to national attention with a planned artistic display on the National Mall. The goal of the project is to raise awareness of the lost, separated, and detained children held by the Department of Health and Human Services, Customs and Border Control. ​The trauma these children are experiencing should be stopped immediately, and they should be reunited with their families.

Prior Weeks' News

ACLU calls six-month deadline for identifying separated families ‘absolutely critical, 4/26/19

The Trump administration separated many more families at the Mexican border than initially acknowledged. Migrant children removed by the USG from their parents are part of a group of children, including unaccompanied minors, who number 47,000. The Trump administration asked a federal judge for two years to go through its records and identify the children; the judge set a six-month deadline.

Jared Kushner’s ‘neutral’ immigration plan, 4/24/19

White House adviser Kushner is working on a plan to revise the U.S. legal immigration system, deal with asylum laws, and allow for seasonal guest worker programs.

Three-year-old found alone at the border is one of many ‘heartbreaking’ cases, 4/24/19

Three-year-old found alone at the border is one of many ‘heartbreaking’ cases.” In the first half of the current fiscal year, U.S. Border Patrol agents apprehended 35,898 unaccompanied children, compared with 50,036 during the entire 2018 fiscal year. This article explains why parents are turning their children over to smugglers who often abandon them in the desert.

Restore the Family Case Management Program for asylum seekers, 4/17/19

This program was a successful alternative to detention for asylum seekers who had passed the “credible fear” test: Trump abolished it in 2017. The FCMP offered services tailored to family needs, including transportation, education about rights and responsibilities, and planning for safe repatriation when required. It achieved 99 percent compliance for check-ins and 100 percent compliance for court hearings.

CASA responds to DeFilippo column on immigration, 4/25/19

Frank DeFilippo is a political commentator from Baltimore who’d written an Op-Ed piece stating that ”unlike the previous waves of immigrants who came to America legally, the newly arrived…..are no longer inclined to assimilation but are more satisfied with living within a blocked-off ethnic mosaic and preserving their own cultures.” CASA, a Baltimore-based immigration advocacy group, refuted many of the canards about immigrants that DeFilippo had presented as true. CASA’s answer is particularly strong on the economic contributions immigrants make to our society.

Trump is wasting our immigration crisis. The system needs to be fixed, but the ‘wall’ is only part of the solution, 4/23/19

Veteran reporter and columnist Friedman visited the Mexican border, talked to many immigrants and Border Patrol officers, and offers some answers here to a highly complex problem.

An armed militia was detaining migrants at the border. The FPI arrested its leader, 4/22/19

The “United Constitutional Patriots”, a vigilante group, has been stopping and detaining people crossing the Mexican border. When the group’s videos began circulating on the Internet, the FBI arrested its leader on charges of being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition

Bonus Item

The game of Getting Legal: why you can’t just ‘get in line’ for citizenship if you’re undocumented.

A succinct and highly informative infographic on the U.S. immigration process.

The unlawful ambitions of Donald Trump’s immigration policy, 4/17/19

Trump and his aide Stephen Miller see the “credible fear” interview asylum seekers are entitled to under U.S. law as a loophole that needs to be close.

Under Trump, immigration enforcement dominates Homeland Security mission, 4/17/19

One more account of Trump’s firing of Kirstjen Nielsen as head of DHS: she spent too much time working on cybersecurity, not on closing the border.

In new effort to deter migrants, Barr withholds bail to asylum seekers, 4/16/19

U.S. law says you can ask for asylum even if you’re in the country illegally. We’ll see what the courts say about the attorney general’s latest decree.

Bonus Item

“Alone: A snapshot of family separation through the eyes of a child.”

This four-minute video from the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service shows what it feels like to be separated from your parents and placed in foster care