November 27, 2017

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Reflecting on the humanity of migrants

Sacrifice, bravery, survivor—these words kept running through my mind as I sat in migrant shelters in Mexico City and Tapachula, near Mexico’s southern border with Guatemala. Hearing the litany of dangers people faced as they crossed highways, forests, deserts and borders to find safety and security, I was struck most by their courage. Read more: English | Spanish

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Local stories, events and resources

Ohio: PeaceLab podcast: How Columbus Mennonite Church became a place of sanctuary.

Virginia/Montana: Two candidates who came to the U.S. as refugees won elections to the Virginia statehouse and as mayor of Helena, the capital city of Montana. Read more from HIASCWS.

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Updates and news

DACA / Dream Act: On Nov. 2, President Trump and Senate Republican leadership announced they oppose adding the Dream Act or similar legislation to year-end spending bills. A handful of House Republicans held a press conference calling for legislation by year’s end. Faith leaders and Dreamers participated in civil disobedience actions. An estimated 915 Dreamers per day will lose DACA protections starting in March. More resources below.

Sensitive locations: Twenty senators and 84 House members signed letters to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) demanding answers in the case of a couple processed for deportation after bringing their baby to a hospital. A 10-year-old with cerebral palsy was detained after surgery at the same hospital.

Temporary Protected Status (TPS): On Nov. 20, the Trump administration announced it would end TPS for Haitians in 18 months. Earlier in the month, a decision was made to end TPS for Nicaraguans in 12-months. No decision was made on TPS for Hondurans, resulting in an automatic 6-month extension.

Border militarization: Contractors have completed work on eight border wall prototypes. Documents obtained by the Texas Observer show that planned wall construction in Texas would cut through neighborhoods, a historic chapel, parks, and wildlife areas. Additional walls could push jaguars and other endangered wildlife toward extinction.

Central American migration: The Trump administration canceled a refugee program for vulnerable children in Central America. Children who have made it to the U.S. wonder, in this BuzzFeed report, why the U.S. government is so afraid of them. Plaintiffs are seeking to expand a lawsuit alleging the Trump administration is regularly turning away asylum seekers, in violation of U.S. and international law.

Enforcement: President Trump’s executive order to punish sanctuary cities by cutting federal funding was found unconstitutional by a federal judge. Meanwhile, the SAFE Cities Network launched with 11 communities providing public defense to immigrants in court, including Chicago and Columbus, Ohio. A recent study of a similar policy in New York shows a 12-fold increase in immigrants winning cases.

Detention: Seventy members of Congress signed a letter to DHS with concerns about the increased detention of pregnant women. Private prison company GeoGroup held its annual leadership gathering at a Trump-owned resort in Miami.

Refugee/travel bans: new lawsuit seeks to challenge the latest 90-day refugee ban barring admission from 11 countries (approximately 80 percent of Muslim refugees to the U.S. in the past two years have been from 9 of the 11 blocked countries). A federal court allowed the most recent travel ban to take partial effect, blocking travelers from six majority-Muslim countries unless they have a bona fide relationship with family or an entity such as a business or college. 

Canada: Border crossings of immigrants into Quebec, Canada, to seek asylum have decreased from 5,530 in July to 1,720 people in September. Additional resources about seeking asylum in Canada.

Other issues:

Upcoming events

February 26 - March 2, 2018: Advanced immigration law training

April 20-23, 2018: Ecumenical Advocacy Days: A World Uprooted

June 4-8, 2018: Immigration law training

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DACA / Dream Act




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Update created November 27, 2017, by Tammy Alexander, Senior Legislative Associate for Domestic Affairs.

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