MCC photo/Saulo Padilla

A former Benedictine monastery in Tucson, Ariz., is now used as a shelter by MCC partner Catholic Community Services for families seeking asylum in the United States. Families typically spend one or two nights in the shelter while they arrange bus travel to stay with relatives or friends in the U.S.

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Number of families seeking asylum on the rise

The number of families and individuals seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border has continued to rise, stretching the capacity of border officials and nonprofits in the region. MCC signed on to a statement raising concerns with White House plans to cut foreign assistance to Central America, arguing that such an action will fuel migration, not address it. Federal courts temporarily halted and then lifted an injunction on the “Remain in Mexico” plan, where some asylum seekers are required to wait in Mexico while their cases wind through U.S. courts.

More asylum seekers will be denied bond hearings under a new decision from Attorney General William Barr, though the policy will likely be constrained by available detention space. President Trump is once again considering sending migrants released from detention to sanctuary cities, a move that is both legally and logistically questionable. A recent court settlement will allow more than 2,000 children in Central America to reunite with family in the U.S.

Proposals for humane and effective solutions

Other resources

It’s far more complicated than a wall. It’s an issue that is many faceted… To a person, whether you were talking to customs folks, whether you were talking to border protection folks, whether you were talking to those farmers, every one of them said we need a comprehensive immigration policy in this country because what’s going on right now isn’t working.

—Sen. Jon Tester (D-Montana) in the Billings Gazette


Local stories, events and resources

Arkansas: Governor Hutchinson signs two bills in support of DACA immigrants (House Bill 1552 grants nursing licenses to DACA students and House Bill 1684 grants in-state college tuition to those with DACA and other immigrant visas)

Florida: Bill banning ‘sanctuary cities’ in Florida narrowly approved by Senate committee

Iowa: What I've learned of hope (reflections on the fourth anniversary of Mennonite pastor Max Villatoro’s deportation)

Kansas: Proposal to create limited KS driver’s license for undocumented immigrants | World War II refugee recounts her history

North Carolina: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department is trying to distance itself from immigration enforcement. But it’s not that simple.

Utah: New law protects from deportation noncitizens convicted of a misdemeanor (H.B. 244)

Washington: Seattle choir travels to the border to support immigrants and refugees

Send us your local stories and events


Take action

Schedule a meeting with your legislators while they are in their home districts (tips)

  • Current congressional recess: April 15-26
  • Next recess: May 27-31

Write a letter to the editor (tips)

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Your gift welcomes newcomers to the U.S.

 

When I asked to be let into this country because my family was in mortal danger, a Border Patrol agent told me I was weak … ‘I don’t care if one of your kids dies,’ he said. I wonder what that agent would have done if someone had threatened to murder his children. Wouldn’t he have risked everything to ensure their safety?

—Sindy Flores, a migrant from Honduras, in The New York Times


MCC Articles

Builders of walls, be they made of razor wire or bricks, will end up becoming prisoners of the walls they build.

—Pope Francis, quoted by Reuters


News & resources

DREAM and TPS

The American Dream and Promise Act of 2019 (H.R. 6), to provide a path to citizenship for Dreamers and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders, is likely to come up for a vote in the House in late May or early June (sign up for MCC action alerts to be notified of upcoming votes). The Senate has now introduced similar legislation. At the last minute, the Trump administration extended Deferred Enforced Departure status to about 4,000 Liberian immigrants, protecting them from deportation for one year. A federal judge placed a temporary injunction on ending TPS for Haitians, finding that federal officials acted arbitrarily and violated their own procedures in terminating the program. The government is expected to appeal the decision.

Resources

BORDER

Construction has reportedly begun on 13 miles of new border barriers in Texas, part of a planned 90 miles with Fiscal Year 2018 and 2019 funding that will run through more than 13,000 acres of federally protected wildlife refuge lands along the Rio Grande River. The Department of Defense approved the transfer of $1 billion from military personnel accounts to fund construction of 57 miles of border fences and walls, likely in New Mexico and Arizona. The House of Representatives filed a lawsuit to stop such fund transfers, arguing it violates the constitutional separation of powers.

President Trump threatened to close the U.S.-Mexico border but instead gave Mexican officials one year to slow the flow of migrants and illicit drugs or else the U.S. will impose auto tariffs and close ports of entry. Trucks and tourists are already waiting extra hours at border checkpoints as customs officers have been moved to help with the influx of asylum seekers. Ten-hour delays have been reported, impacting the estimated $1.7 billion in goods that cross the border each day.

Resources

ENFORCEMENT and DETENTION

More than 200 immigrants were arrested at a consumer electronics repair company in Allen, Texas, on April 3 as the number of large-scale worksite raids increases. A number of high-level officials inside the Department of Homeland Security have been forced out in recent weeks, reportedly because they did not implement tougher enforcement policies.

Resources


Upcoming events

May 6-11: Learning Tour: South Texas Borderlands

May 22-26: Borderlands Learning Tour

June 10-14: Advanced Asylum Law Training and Mock Trial


 
 

Update created April 24, 2019, by Tammy Alexander, Senior Legislative Associate for Domestic Affairs.

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