Narrow path to asylum grows smaller; Sessions is making a broad effort to deter survivors of domestic and gang violence.

08/12/18 Los Angeles Times

pregnancy-woman-belly-hands-46207.jpegXiomara started dating him when she was 17. He was different then, not yet the man who pushed drugs and ran with a gang. Not the man who she says berated and raped her, who roused her out of bed some mornings only to beat her.

Not the man who choked her with an electrical cord, or put a gun to her head while she screamed, then begged, “Please, please don’t kill me — I love you.”

Fleeing El Salvador with their daughter, then 4, the 23-year-old mother pleaded for help at a port of entry in El Paso on a chilly day in December 2016.

After nearly two years, her petition for asylum remains caught in a backlog of more than 310,000 other claims. But while she has waited for a ruling, her chance of success has plunged.

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U.S.-Mexico border arrests fall in July, fewer unaccompanied children

08/08/18 Reuters

fence at borderU.S. border agents arrested about 8 percent fewer people in July at the southwest border than in June, but the number of migrant families detained remained nearly constant, according to figures released on Wednesday by the Department of Homeland Security.

A total of 31,303 people were arrested at the U.S. border with Mexico in July, compared to 34,095 in June. Of those detained after attempting to enter the United States illegally, about 4,000 were children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border alone, compared to about 5,100 children in June.

About 9,300 “family units” were arrested, according to the data, nearly unchanged from the prior month’s 9,400.

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Mexico troops find 150 Central Americans in back of truck

08/04/18 Reuters

mexican immigrantSome 150 Central American migrants, including 62 children, were found inside the back of trailer when the vehicle was stopped at a highway checkpoint, the Mexican government said on Saturday.

Federal police and Mexican immigration officials discovered the migrants while searching trucks on a highway in the southeastern state of Tabasco, according to joint statements from the federal police and immigration authorities.

Tens of thousands of Central Americans fleeing violence and poverty in their homelands try to pass through Mexico to the United States every year, often transported by human traffickers who subject them to dangerous conditions.

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U.S. and Mexico discussing a deal that could slash migration at the border

07/10/18 The Washington Post

US-Mexico_border_fenceWhile President Trump regularly berates Mexico for “doing nothing” to stop illegal migration, behind the scenes the two governments are considering a deal that could drastically curtail the cross-border migration flow.

The proposal, known as a “safe third country agreement,” would potentially require asylum seekers transiting through Mexico to apply for protection in that nation rather than in the United States. It would allow U.S. border guards to turn back such asylum seekers at border crossings and quickly return to Mexico anyone who has already entered illegally seeking refuge, regardless of their nationality.

U.S. officials believe this type of deal would discourage many Central American families from trying to reach the United States. Their soaring numbers have strained U.S. immigration courts and overwhelmed the U.S. government’s ability to detain them. The Trump administration says the majority are looking for jobs — rather than fleeing persecution — and are taking advantage of American generosity to gain entry and avoid deportation.

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Amid surging violence, some Mexicans choose asylum over voting

07/01/18 Reuters

child_immigrant_cbp_border_gettyAs millions of Mexicans lined up on Sunday to vote in the country’s largest election in history, others were huddled at the door to the United States, fleeing violence and bereft of hope that a new government could staunch it.

In past weeks, families escaping threats of extortion, kidnapping and murder, many from states riven by drug cartel-linked brutality, crammed into migrant shelters in the border city of Tijuana, waiting to cross to San Diego to seek asylum.

“We are overwhelmed by violence, and the proof is all these people who arrive daily, even with their children,” said Jose Maria Garcia, director of the Juventud 2000 migrant shelter in Tijuana. “They don’t… trust that whoever wins is going to do something for them.”

Camped early Sunday on the square abutting the entrance to the San Ysidro Port of Entry in Tijuana, Carmen Medina, a 26-year-old widow from the southern Mexican state of Zacatecas, said she had no interest in Sunday’s election.

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A personal perspective on Mexico’s mass exodus to the United States

06/29/18 The Washington Post

immigrationBeneath the current headlines on family separation, a larger story of long-term population shifts is unfolding. Alfredo Corchado, a reporter with the Dallas Morning News, addresses what was once the most conspicuous portion of that shift — the diaspora from Mexico into the United States — in his timely new book about immigration.

Though migrants from Mexico have lately been overshadowed by their counterparts from countries farther south, who are bearing the brunt of new “zero tolerance” policies at the border, Corchado offers broad insight into the arc of immigration over the years. His narrative makes clear that U.S. immigration policies have long been rife with contradictions and prone to backfire, and that migrations tend to proceed regardless, following their own highly complex logic. They are events with their own story line, with a beginning, middle and, perhaps, an end.

The latest story of Mexican migration spans about four decades, and this roughly coincides with Corchado’s career reporting from both sides of the border. In “Homelands” Corchado tells two stories at once — that of his life as a bicultural, naturalized American reporter and the larger saga of a migration surge that occurred at the same time.

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Trump warns against admitting unaccompanied migrant children: ‘They’re not innocent’

05/23/2018 The Washington Post

childrenPresident Trump and his top administration officials repeatedly warned Wednesday that unaccompanied migrant children arriving at the southern border are potentially exposing the nation to eventual gang crime.

Immigrant advocates have long said that the children, primarily from Central America, are fleeing violence in their home countries and seeking safe harbor in the United States. But the Trump administration has used their plight to justify cracking down on policies that allow these migrants to be released and obtain hearings before immigration judges, rather than being deported immediately.

“We have the worst immigration laws of any country, anywhere in the world,” Trump said at the roundtable held at the Morrelly Homeland Security Center. “They exploited the loopholes in our laws to enter the country as unaccompanied alien minors.”

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