The Rarely Told Stories Of Sexual Assault Against Female Migrants

March 25, 2014

folk art - communityKCBX Central Coast Public Radio, 3/24/14

Migration has been changing over time. It’s believed that more and more women and children are crossing the border than was true in past years, and they’re very vulnerable. They’re apparently being subjected in large numbers – nobody knows exactly how large – to sexual assault during their journeys. And this is a story that is rarely getting told.

There are fragments of the story, which we were able to gather as we traveled along the U.S.-Mexico border. We, for example, visited a shelter in northern Mexico – in Nogales, Sonora, the Mexican state of Sonora – where one woman said her entire trip north was effectively a sexual assault. She was brought across the border by a man under false pretenses, taken to the city of Atlanta, and she says used as a prostitute for years. Now, she’s back in northern Mexico. That’s where we found her.

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Keeping American Border Safe Means Thinking in 4-D

February 5, 2014

drawing bar chartBloomberg, 2/4/14

The Internet, modern transportation systems, supply chains, climate change, and transnational groups from criminal syndicates to nongovernmental organizations all confound boundaries set down on a map. As a result, managing our borders in a way that balances security with commerce, enforcement with freedom of movement, and now the physical with the virtual world has become even more difficult. Unfortunately, much of the U.S. debate about border management still dwells on the southern border and the interdiction of undocumented immigrants and contraband.

That’s important, but the larger and more demanding task the U.S. faces is to build a border management system suited to the complexities of the 21st century. Here are some of the challenges that must be overcome:

A foreign-flagged vessel carrying containers from China to Los Angeles, one of several hundred a day that form a critical link in global supply chains, notifies the U.S. Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection of its arrival 96 hours in advance. En route, a satellite-based system tracks the ship’s position, course and speed. The vessel’s history, its owner, cargo and other information are vetted against databases for anomalies. If necessary, the vessel is held offshore until it is boarded, or met by inspectors at the dock. Containers are subject to random inspections and detection technologies, but few are actually inspected. In most cases, the analysis of shipping information constitutes the virtual clearance of the cargo into the country — a balance of security and trade that informs a new vision of the border.

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House G.O.P.’s Immigration Plan Presents Tough Choices for Obama

February 3, 2014

IMG_4496NY Times, 1/31/14

President Obama and his allies may soon confront a difficult decision: whether to abandon the creation of a new path to citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants and accept tough border security and enforcement measures that they have long criticized.

Those are some of the concessions that Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio signaled  he would demand in exchange for a willingness to overhaul the immigration system. Mr. Boehner outlined those standards in a one-page document released on Thursday, and if they lead to legislation, Democrats and immigration advocates will be pressured to compromise. Mr. Obama hinted in an interview broadcast on Friday that he was open to a plan that would initially give many undocumented workers a legal status short of citizenship, as long as they were not permanently barred from becoming citizens.

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Arizona lawmaker seeks $30M ‘virtual fence’ near US-Mexico border

January 29, 2014

Border - MexicoFox News, 1/29/14

An Arizona legislator wants the state to spend $30 million for a high-tech surveillance network near the U.S. border with Mexico. Sen. Bob Worsley, R-Mesa, said the “virtual fence” consisting of 200 radar-camera units would monitor cross-border movement by people and vehicles to see if the federal government keeps its promises to secure the border.

Under Worsley’s bill, the new surveillance system would be erected within 20 miles of the border. Funding for the project also could include the approximately $260,000 in donations that the state has already collected under previously enacted legislation for an as-yet-unbuilt border fence, the Arizona Capitol Times reported.

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Homeland Security blacked out recommendation on Border Patrol restraint

January 29, 2014

shutterstock_24590917Washington Post, 1/28/14

It’s one of the U.S. Border Patrol’s most controversial practices: shooting at migrants and suspected drug runners who throw rocks and other objects at agents. Many law enforcement experts say the best option is to take cover or move elsewhere, rather than use lethal force. A law enforcement think tank — hired last year by parent agency U.S. Customs and Border Protection to review the Border Patrol’s practices — recommended restraint when agents encounter rock throwers who don’t pose an imminent threat of serious injury or death.

But when the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general released a report in September on the Border Patrol’s use of force, officials blacked out that call for holding back in such incidents, among other recommendations, according to an uncensored copy reviewed by the Center for Investigative Reporting.

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How Detroit’s bankruptcy could affect immigration reform

January 28, 2014

bridge with trafficThe Christian Science Monitor, 1/27/14

Gov. Rick Snyder (R) of Michigan put forward a new and controversial plan Thursday to award 50,000 visas over five years to immigrants willing to settle and work in Detroit as part of his efforts to revitalize the bankrupt city. The move would require a federal action to increase in the employment-based visas for immigrants, as well as a drastic change in the way that such visas are awarded. As a result, immigration experts are skeptical that Governor Snyder’s plan will become a reality. Yet some remain intrigued by the long-shot proposal’s potential to change the national conversation around immigration reform.

Snyder is, after all, a Republican, which puts an unusual twist on the usual national debate about immigration. In recent years, much of the discussion – primarily among Republicans – has revolved around the societal costs of immigration and the strain that immigrants place on services and unemployment levels. But Snyder’s request highlights that immigrants can also be job creators, says Rick Su, a law professor at the State University of New York Buffalo Law School.

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Immigrants Seen as Way to Refill Detroit Ranks

January 24, 2014

120px-A_day_without_immigrants_-_La_Raza_unida_jamás_será_vencidaThe New York Times, 01/23/2014

For Detroit, a city that has watched a population in free fall, officials have a new antidote: immigrants.

Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan on Thursday announced plans to seek federal help in bringing 50,000 immigrants to the bankrupt city over five years as part of a visa program aimed at those with advanced degrees or exceptional abilities in science, business or the arts.

Under the plan, which is expected to be formally submitted to federal authorities soon, immigrants would be required to live and work in Detroit, a city that has fallen to 700,000 residents from 1.8 million in the 1950s.

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Reverse Migration: Why Are Mexican Immigrants Heading South?

January 22, 2014

Context Series, Wilson Center, 01/17/2014

While immigration reform efforts in Washington have been stymied by partisan politics, the pattern of movement between the United States and Mexico is changing on its own. The organization Mexicans and Americans Thinking Together (MATT) released the results of a study that reveal surprising reasons for the emergence of this new trend in migration. MATT’s Executive Director, Aracely Garcia-Granados provides highlights from the findings.


MATT Releases Key Findings and Raw Data from First-Ever Study on the Factors Driving the Return of Mexican Immigrants to Mexico

January 14, 2014

Migrant farmworkers01/14/2014

As 1.4 million Mexicans returned to Mexico between 2005 and 2010. MATT recognized a gap in the resources and services available to these migrants upon their return. In response, MATT created an initiative called Yo Soy Mexico, which works to match returning immigrants with job, education and investment opportunities in Mexico. It was as a result of its work with Yo Soy Mexico that MATT identified the need to learn more about this returning population in order to better assist them.

MATT launched its comprehensive study in mid-2013 in collaboration with Southern Methodist University and the Government of Jalisco, Mexico. The study captured data through in-depth, in-person interviews with 600 returning immigrants in the state of Jalisco. With its diverse mix of metropolitan, mid-size and rural cities, Jalisco served as a foundational model for future studies MATT is planning to conduct in additional Mexican states.

Find the results of the study here.


Boehner drafting GOP principles on immigration overhaul

January 9, 2014

REPUBLICAN PARTY ELEPHANTThe Los Angeles Times, 01/08/2014

Seeking to make an overhaul of immigration laws a priority, House Speaker John A. Boehner vowed Wednesday that he would soon release a document of conservative “principles” on the issue intended to prod Republicans to pass a series of bills this year.

The high-profile promise from the Ohio Republican, who is drafting a one-page list with his leadership team, comes as he is eager to press ahead on a topic that is important to his party’s political future. But the speaker faces continued resistance from powerful conservative groups and an intractable flank of House Republicans who oppose citizenship for the estimated 11 million immigrants in the country illegally.

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