Category Archives: Immigration

A Betrayal of Migrant Children, and the Law

New York Times

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD

When hundreds of unaccompanied children — part of a recent surge of thousands of migrants stopped at the Southern border after fleeing violence and poverty in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador — were sent by federal officials to stay with relatives or other sponsors on Long Island, many found themselves blocked at the schoolhouse door. Continue reading A Betrayal of Migrant Children, and the Law

Why more and more cities are refusing to help the government deport immigrants

Washington Post

mig5Chicago doesn’t cooperate. Neither does Philadelphia. Nor Baltimore, San Diego, Newark, Milwaukee, Miami-Dade or Denver.

One by one, these cities — soon to be joined by New York City — have passed resolutions or enacted new policies refusing to hand over immigrants detained by local police to federal officials for deportation. The strategy, gaining further momentum this year with a statewide law in Colorado, is one way local governments dismayed by a broken federal immigration system have found to undermine it. Continue reading Why more and more cities are refusing to help the government deport immigrants

5 Things You Need to Know About Unaccompanied Children

Center for American Progress

Detainees play as others sleep in a holding cell at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing facility in Brownsville, Texas.
Detainees play as others sleep in a holding cell at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing facility in Brownsville, Texas.

The number of children fleeing violence by themselves to the United States from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador has skyrocketed over the past few months. No less than 47,017 children have arrived so far in 2014—a 92 percent increase from 2013—and as many as 90,000 children are expected by year’s end. These children are escaping danger in their homelands and running for safety not only to the United States, but also to neighboring nations including Panama, Belize, and Costa Rica.

As attention on this issue shifts from the nation’s southern border to inside the Beltway, it’s important to keep the following five facts in mind.

1. Violence is causing these children to flee

Violence is the leading factor forcing unaccompanied children from Central America to the United States. Honduras has become the murder capital of the world and gang violence has increased dramatically—including in El Salvador and Guatemala—over the past few years. In fact, El Salvador and Guatemala rank fourth and fifth, respectively, in terms of the highest worldwide murder rates. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of State describes the violence level in Honduras and El Salvador as “critically high.”

Interviewing more than 400 unaccompanied minors, researchers found that many of them had fled forcible ‘join or die’ gang recruitment or gang threats against themselves and their families. According to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, or UNHCR, 58 percent of unaccompanied minors “raise potential international protection” claims. This means that they have a viable claim to refugee protections under international law.

One 17-year-old interviewed by the UNHCR fled El Salvador after gang members who had killed students at his school told him “if [he] returned to school, [he] wouldn’t make it home alive.”

1. Violence is causing these children to flee

Violence is the leading factor forcing unaccompanied children from Central America to the United States. Honduras has become the murder capital of the world and gang violence has increased dramatically—including in El Salvador and Guatemala—over the past few years. In fact, El Salvador and Guatemala rank fourth and fifth, respectively, in terms of the highest worldwide murder rates. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of State describes the violence level in Honduras and El Salvador as “critically high.”

Interviewing more than 400 unaccompanied minors, researchers found that many of them had fled forcible ‘join or die’ gang recruitment or gang threats against themselves and their families. According to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, or UNHCR, 58 percent of unaccompanied minors “raise potential international protection” claims. This means that they have a viable claim to refugee protections under international law.

One 17-year-old interviewed by the UNHCR fled El Salvador after gang members who had killed students at his school told him “if [he] returned to school, [he] wouldn’t make it home alive.”

2. Smugglers and traffickers prey on these children, who are increasingly younger and female

The demographics of the children entering the United States have changed dramatically. For much of the past decade, most of the children crossing the border were older males. But many of those arriving now are female and the average age is dropping: Children under age 10—and some much younger—are now making the dangerous journey from their homelands.

Even worse, smugglers and human traffickers are taking advantage of the crisis by enticing children who are looking for a way to escape the violence to flee by acting as transportation from the home country to the United States. These people are often related to—or working in concert with—the same groups perpetrating the violence within the children’s home countries. Girls are routinely raped on the journey and gang violence along the route is common.

While some of these children do have relatives in the United States, reuniting with family was the primary goal for less than one-third according to researcher Elizabeth Kennedy. Instead, violence forced them from their hometowns and home countries.

3. This is a regional crisis

The violence currently rocking Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala is not only causing a refugee crisis in the United States. Every country in the region has also been affected as children are running for their lives and seeking safety wherever they can find it. According to the UNHCR, asylum requests from Honduran, El Salvadoran, and Guatemalan nationals have increased 712 percent in the neighboring nations of Mexico, Panama, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Belize since 2009.

Continue reading 5 Things You Need to Know About Unaccompanied Children

China Bulldozing Hundreds Of Mountains To Expand Cities

Thinkprogress

By Ari Phillips
China Bulldozing Hundreds Of Mountains To Expand Cities”

China and ClimateChina is just about the same size as the United States, but livable land is in short supply. With the population and economy still growing at a rapid clip, the government has undertaken a plan to bulldoze hundreds of mountains to create land for building on.
In a paper [ http://www.nature.com/news/environment-accelerate-research-on-land-creation-1.15327 ]published in journal Nature this week, three researchers from Chang’an University in China warn that the scores of mountains already being truncated is leading to air and water pollution, erosion, and flooding. With unprecedented plans to remove over 700 mountains and fill valleys with the debris, they warn that “there has been too little modelling of the costs and benefits of land creation. Inexperience and technical problems delay projects and add costs, and the environment impacts are not being thoroughly considered.” Continue reading China Bulldozing Hundreds Of Mountains To Expand Cities

Kenya orders all refugees into designated camps

East African

Sunday’s attack, in the Likoni district near Mombasa, came amid heightened warnings of a threat of Islamist violence in Kenya despite boosted security in major cities.
• Dadaab, where people often live in appalling conditions, is home to more than 400,000 mainly Somali refugees.
• Kakuma, a vast desert settlement, is home to more than 125,000 refugees from across the region, including Somalia.

Internal security Cabinet Secretary Joseph Ole Lenku flanked by other Security officials. Photo/EVANS HABIL
Internal security Cabinet Secretary Joseph Ole Lenku flanked by other Security officials. Photo/EVANS HABIL

Internal security Cabinet Secretary Joseph Ole Lenku flanked by other Security officials. Photo/EVANS HABIL
Kenya on Tuesday restricted all refugees on its soil to two designated camps in the wake of a weekend attack on a church near Mombasa that claimed six lives.

Kenyans were asked to report any refugees or illegal immigrants outside the overcrowded camps – Dadaab in the east and Kakuma in the northwest – to the police. Continue reading Kenya orders all refugees into designated camps

Of Tears and Terror Families Torn Apart By Community Raids in the New Orleans Area

Just South Quarterly

BY SUE WEISHAR, PH.D.
The family holds a central place in Catholic Social Teaching. Key Church teachings describe the family as “the sanctuary of life,” 1 the “essential cell of human society,”2 and the “domestic Church.”3 Given the primacy of the family in the spiritual, ethical, social, and emotional formation of children, the unprecedented increase in deportations since President Obama took office is deeply disturbing. An Urban Institute study found that one child was left behind for every two immigrants apprehended by immigration authorities in worksite raids.4

Approximately 1,100 immigrants are being deported a day—causing profound grief, anguish, and hardship for tens of thousands of children a year. If the current pace of deportations continues, the Obama administration will have deported more than 2 million immigrants by the end of 2014, a deplorable record for an American president.5 Continue reading Of Tears and Terror Families Torn Apart By Community Raids in the New Orleans Area