Making the Case for Asylum Seekers

The KBI’s commitment to asylum seekers remains steadfast as research reveals the great need for advocacy in this area and a new legal fellow takes up the challenge of helping to build strong cases for those seeking asylum.

As part of its humanitarian aid and advocacy efforts on behalf of migrants, the Kino Border Initiative has worked with partner organizations to promote the rights of asylum seekers. This month, the KBI expands this programming with its first legal fellow, co-sponsored by the Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project (FIRRP). The fellow will provide legal representation to asylum seekers who arrive at the KBI comedor and shelter, and support research and advocacy to improve the asylum process and advance asylum law.

ASYLUM: SOME BACKGROUND

The option to enter into an asylum process is recognized as a basic human right. As established by the United Nations in 1951, a person qualifies for asylum when they demonstrate a well-founded fear of persecution in their home country, currently or in the future, based on race, religion, nationality, social group, or political opinion. The U.S. agreed to this Protocol and further formalized these requirements in the Refugee Act of 1980. Nevertheless, there have been inconsistencies in applying the law and in providing people with access to the asylum process. For example, research from the KBI and other organizations shows that Customs and Border Control (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) repeatedly fail to screen for asylum claims or screen inadequately, and many individuals and families who express fear of returning to their homelands are deported back to the dangerous situations they fled. Between November 2015 and March 2017, the KBI filed 22 complaints on behalf of individuals who expressed fear of returning to Mexico, but were turned back or deported without being interviewed by an asylum officer.

The reasons people seek asylum are varied, but ultimately arise from scenarios in which individuals not only fear for their safety, but their lives. Violence in various forms—murder, rape, extortion, incarceration and torture, armed conflict—perpetrated by criminal gangs, tribal adversaries, or state-sanctioned forces and targeting specific groups, create untenable conditions in which to live, work, and raise children. A general rise in violence, such as the spike in homicides in Mexico, is not sufficient to meet the criteria for asylum; asylum applicants must show that they are particularly targeted for one of the reasons listed in the U.N. Protocol, and that the country where they live is unable to protect them.

And so the woman threatened by a group who tortured and killed her brother, a man suffering persecution and harassment for his sexual orientation, and a woman from a town where gangs are targeting and raping women—to name a few cases in which the KBI filed complaints for failure to provide asylum access—all have grounds to submit asylum claims. Though they each expressed fear about returning to their home country of Mexico, they were deported without ever being screened by an asylum officer who, unlike CBP agents or ICE officials, is specially trained for this sensitive task.

OBSTACLES TO SEEKING ASYLUM

Obstructing access to the asylum process or providing misinformation about it is human rights violation and a life-and-death matter, plain and simple. There is no way to track exactly how many potential asylum seekers are turned away at the border, poorly screened, or deported without screening, but based on data collected from intake surveys at the comedor during the first eight months of 2016, the KBI estimates that approximately 40 Mexican individuals are deported to Nogales, Sonora each month without being afforded an interview with an asylum officer and despite reporting violence as their main reason for migration. And this statistic does not include potential asylum seekers from other countries of origin who experience similar obstacles.

Through testimonies from those deported and other data, the KBI has identified three major sources of obstruction for asylum seekers, and therefore, areas for more focused attention and action: (1) inadequate screening and rejection of initial claims by CBP; (2) the nature and conditions of long-term detention in ICE facilities; and (3) access to legal representation.

At the border and in the short-term detention facilities run by CBP, a number of factors converge, complicating or preventing initial access to the asylum process. They include:

  • Detention conditions in which individuals are held for several days as they await expedited removal, a consolidated process that rushes people through deportation proceedings without adequately considering grounds for claims. The cells are sparse, intimidating, and lacking the privacy in which those detained can feel encouraged to report fear. Moreover, according to KBI statistics, 14% of men and 20% of women report experiencing verbal abuse while in CBP custody, subjecting them to further intimidation.
  • Poor training of CBP staff who often fail to identify or report expressions of fear. While an asylum officer is the official tasked with investigating asylum claims and conducting credible fear interviews, CBP agents can ensure that people are appropriately referred to the asylum process through specialized training in trauma awareness, greater sensitivity (for example, having female officers interview female migrants), and more widespread use of language services when indigenous individuals are interviewed.
  • Willful dismissal or discouragement of asylum claims. Even when detained individuals express fear, CBP agents often ignore these indicators, discourage claims, or provide false information about the asylum process, such as asserting someone’s ineligibility or directing them to present themselves at a port of entry. Greater oversight, video recording, and spot checks for compliance would help deter these abuses, and will be even more necessary with the planned expansion of CBP, a concern for training since the rapid addition of 5,000 more agents means qualification and training standards may fall.

Some of these obstacles also apply in the detention centers operated by ICE, but long-term detention presents other stresses and issues for those detained. Detentions have become more prolonged (averaging 404 days, and costing taxpayers $158 per day for each detainee), due in part to the unprecedented backlog in immigration courts. In addition, conditions are worse, as privately-run centers make expenditure decisions about staff supervision, health care, and occupancy based on profit rather than humane treatment. Family members are often separated and sent to different facilities, routing their asylum cases separately when they’d be strongest if considered together. The KBI and other organizations call for the elimination of detention as the primary means of securing court appearances, and espouses the use of community-based compliance methods, such as release on recognizance and posting bond.

Finally, many asylum seekers fail to submit claims to begin with or lose their cases when granted a hearing due to a lack of legal counsel and expertise. Access to attorneys with the knowledge and experience to build a compelling asylum case and navigate the intricacies of asylum law is one of the major prerequisites to a successful asylum claim. Migrants in detention are four times more likely to be released if they have legal representation. Of those who remain in detention, 21% who have legal representation qualify for legal relief compared to 2% without legal representation.[1] This is a major reason for expanding advocacy to include the new KBI/FIRRP legal fellow who will represent asylum seekers served by the KBI and in need of counsel.

In addition, informed and strategic legal defenses help to advance asylum law and the manner in which future cases are tried by establishing new precedents. For example, seeking asylum based on domestic violence proved impossible for decades—domestic abuse survivors were not recognized as a persecuted group. But a landmark case in 2014 brought by a U.C. Hastings legal team changed that by winning asylum for a Guatemalan woman who suffered brutal assaults, rapes, and burns by her husband. Her lawyers asserted that the government failed to intervene or protect the woman, thereby discriminating against her and violating her human rights. At that time, the Board of Immigration Appeals issued the precedent decision of recognizing domestic violence as grounds for asylum and women who flee such persecution as members of a particular social group. With up to half of detained immigrant women fleeing domestic violence (based on estimates from advocacy organizations), this precedent supports asylum seekers and their lawyers in litigating these cases and, ultimately, in saving lives.

For the KBI, this legal realm—working on individual asylum cases while establishing law-reforming, life-altering precedents—is the next area of dedicated advocacy on behalf of asylum seekers. While continuing to work toward more compassionate immigration law through legislative means, the KBI recognizes that some of the most powerful changes can come about in a courtroom. As the new legal fellow joins the KBI staff, we enhance our ability to more directly serve those fleeing violence and persecution, and help them attain safer, better lives in the U.S.

[1] According to data from the Executive Office for Immigration Review.

KBI staff document abuses and help migrants understand their rights and options, including access to asylum. Here, Marla Conrad, Advocacy Coordinator in Mexico, meets with a woman staying at Casa Nazareth.

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Maria’s Story: An Update on Her Asylum Case

Maria came to the KBI with her four children last fall after a two-year journey, fleeing extortion and kidnapping threats from a criminal gang in her native Honduras. We shared her story as advocacy and church groups in Green Valley, AZ welcomed her and supported her through the asylum process. Now, we happily report on the successful outcome of her case.

As a small business woman in Honduras, Maria was able to support her four children as a single mom. But when the local arm of an international gang began extorting monthly payments from her, threatening to kidnap her kids if she failed to pay, she packed up and fled north, arriving in Nogales, Sonora after two years of travel with periodic stops to earn money for the journey.

Maria and her family stayed at Casa Nazareth for three months while KBI advocacy staff worked with partner organizations to secure a pro-bono lawyer and prepare her asylum case. A sponsor makes the asylum process much easier and eliminates the stresses of long detention or the burden of a high bond as a family awaits their hearing date. Fortunately, the Green Valley–Sahuarita Samaritans and the Good Shepherd United Church of Christ of Sahuarita stepped in to sponsor Maria and her children, offering them a place to live and day-to-day support—transportation, translation services, financial assistance, and other neighborly help—throughout the waiting period. The whole family became an integral part of the community, and Maria has been volunteering with the Good Shepherd Food Bank while her children have been active in school sports and other activities.

In March, Maria’s attorneys presented her family’s case to an immigration judge. After so many steps and deadlines in the process, now the only thing left to do was wait.

Then in June, they got the good news. Asylum was granted! And the weight of worry—about deportation and its dangers, her children’s well-being and ongoing education, maintaining continuity for the family during an uncertain time—was lifted. After 3,000 miles of travel and a year of preparing and presenting their cases for asylum, Maria and her children can finally put down roots in a neighborhood where they are already part of the fabric of life there. She now has the security and stability to make plans and look forward to the future. Maria’s story illustrates the unyielding courage and commitment it takes to seek asylum, the power of individuals and community groups to positively impact an immigrant family’s possibilities, and in very practical terms, the great benefit of solid legal representation to fulfill a family’s dream of a better life.

The support of a community and access to legal representation offers much-needed support to parents and children seeking asylum.
Photo by Victor M. Espinosa/Creative Commons.

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KBI Media Report: July 2017

Our report this month includes a revealing interview with a veteran immigration agent, a pastoral letter offering encouragement and community actions to support more humane immigration policies, and more information about a major change in Arizona immigration courtrooms as well as the tragic migrant deaths in Texas.

      • An Inside Look at ICE: A long-time Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent, with the condition of anonymity, goes on the record to describe emerging issues at the agency, particularly the latest push to arrest entire immigrant families and unaccompanied minors, allowed to stay in the U.S. when they arrived, who have turned eighteen. The picture he paints is one of decreasing standards and increasing impunity, creating an atmosphere in which abuses and human rights violations can go ignored or even be encouraged. His commentary reveals a man now demoralized by his job and an agency undergoing disturbing changes: http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/a-veteran-ice-agent-disillusioned-with-the-trump-era-speaks-out/amp.
      • Removed Shackles: In Arizona, federal defendants are no longer required to wear shackles when appearing in court, based on a decision by the 9thS. Circuit Court of Appeals. The demeaning and largely unnecessary practice goes back 15 years, and the decision to remove restraints will affect not only those facing criminal charges in federal courtrooms, but also thousands of immigrants whose cases are fast-tracked through Operation Streamline. Read more about this decision and policy shift here: http://tucson.com/news/local/shackles-no-longer-required-on-all-federal-defendants-in-tucson/article_d75314b7-b8c9-5fec-a646-d3a95ae0dd85.html.
      • Pastoral Letter on Migration: In an online conversation organized by the Hope Border Institute, Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso discussed his pastoral letter on migration, the first from a U.S. Catholic bishop on this subject in several years. In the letter, Bishop Seitz addressed the need for accompaniment of migrants, as espoused and exemplified by Pope Francis, and proposes a number of initiatives to help guide Catholic communities in this effort and called for a moratorium on detention and deportation. Learn more details about the pastoral letter and watch Bishop Seitz in conversation here: https://ignatiansolidarity.net/blog/2017/07/18/pastoral-letter-migration/.
      • Smuggling and Migrant Deaths: The recent deaths of 10 individuals crossing the border in the back of a crowded and stultifyingly hot 18-wheeler shocked and saddened all who support migrant rights and human dignity. In addition, 30 others were hospitalized when the truck was discovered in San Antonio. The tragedy highlights the life-threatening conditions migrants can be subject to when crossing, the dire circumstances they flee wherein the dangers of the road ahead are preferable to remaining in their countries of origin, and the criminally negligent treatment they receive from smugglers. This article provides more information and context about this heartbreaking story: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jul/30/texas-san-antonio-migrants-truck-deaths.

At the Paso del Norte International Bridge in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, activists and migrants protest and mourn the deaths of 10 migrants, found in a trailer in Texas, and the deaths of 5 Guatemalans in the Rio Bravo. July 28, 2017.
Photo by Herika Martinez/AFP/Getty Images.

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KBI August Announcements

This month, the KBI welcomes a new legal fellow dedicated to working on asylum cases, and congratulates Father Sean on his graduation from his Global Executive MBA program. In addition, we were pleased to host three high school immersion groups.

  • New Legal Fellow: Rocío Castañeda joins the KBI as the new legal fellow, a position co-sponsored by the Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project (FIRRP) to build cases and provide legal representation for asylum seekers. Rocío earned her undergraduate degree in Anthropology and her J.D. from Loyola University in Chicago. In between those studies, she received full accreditation to represent immigrants in immigration matters for jobs with the National Immigrant Justice Center in Chicago and the South Texas Pro Bono Representation Project (ProBAR) in Harlingen, Texas. Her extensive experience includes working with unaccompanied minors, clerking with a firm specializing in removal defense and appeals, and since 2014, working as a managing attorney with FIRRP. The KBI is extremely pleased to welcome Rocío, with her impressive dedication and specialized skills, to this new fellow position. It is something of a homecoming for Rocío as well—she grew up in Nogales, Sonora, and attended Lourdes Catholic School, where the Kino Teens got their start. ¡Bienvenida, Rocío!
  • Father Sean’s Graduation: After fourteen months of study, many group projects, and six two-week modules held in cities around the globe, Father Sean Carroll, S.J. graduated in July from GEMBA, an international business program, with an MBA degree. Jointly administered by Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business and Walsh School of Foreign Service (Washington, D.C.), and ESADE Business School (Barcelona, Spain), the program has added to Father Sean’s considerable business skills and offered a wealth of experience to draw on in his leadership of the KBI. ¡Felicitaciones, Father Sean!
  • Immersion Experiences: Three groups of high school students—from California and Illinois—spent part of their summer breaks at the KBI participating in immersion experiences to learn more about the border and the migrant experience.
Immersion Group # of participants # of days at the KBI
St. Ignatius College Prep
San Francisco, CA
11 participants  14 days
Loyola Academy
Wilmette, IL
9 participants 6 days
St. Ignatius College Prep
Chicago, IL
12 participants 7 days

Rocío Castañeda, Esq., is the new KBI/FIRRP legal fellow.
Photo courtesy of the Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project.

July marked the graduation of the ninth GEMBA class. Here they are at Georgetown University after receiving their degrees; Father Sean is fourth from the right, front row.

Father Sean completed the 14-month GEMBA program in July, receiving an MBA degree and garnering greater business skills and insights to benefit the KBI.

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Support the Legal Fellow Program

With the start of the legal fellow program this month, a partnership with the Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project, the KBI expands its support of asylum seekers, and commits to exploring ways to advocate more broadly through the impact of carefully prepared asylum cases. We thank our donors for the support that has made this commitment to providing legal representation possible. And since this fellow position will be funded on a year-to-year basis, we continue to rely on your generosity to make this a sustainable effort. If you would like to donate to the KBI to fund this position, or any of our aid, advocacy, education or research programs, you can make a contribution here: https://www.kinoborderinitiative.org/get-involved/donate/. As always, we are exceedingly grateful for all the ways you support the KBI’s work.

The KBI offers direct aid and advocacy services to deported migrants who come to the comedor. Now, the new KBI/FIRRP legal fellow will litigate asylum cases for individuals and families served by the KBI.
Photo by Andrea Cauthen.

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A Comic Book to Raise Awareness

Migrant: Stories of Hope and Resilience, a new publication from the KBI and the Hope Border Institute, brings the reality of the border and a range of migrant experiences to a wider audience, in engaging and thought-provoking graphic-novel form.

In June, the Kino Border Initiative branched out in a new direction—publishing an educational comic book in collaboration with the Hope Border Institute, Migrant: Stories of Hope and Resilience. Graphic novel and comic book creators Jeffry Odell Korgen and Kevin C. Pyle approached the KBI with the innovative and timely idea of presenting migrant stories in illustrated form last year. As authors of a wage theft comic and other social justice titles, they knew how to put together an engrossing and informative work. And so, an artistic and educational project commenced, drawing stories from migrant testimonies and other materials from advocates and educators in the field.

Migrant: Stories of Hope and Resilience presents a range of migrant accounts that encourage readers to identify with the challenges migrants face, question assumptions about their lives and reasons for migrating, and tackle the complicated questions posed by our current immigration system. The stories give narrative life to the threats of violence experienced in home countries, extortion wielded at the border, the effects of militarization, and the impact of family separation, among other scenarios. There are also educational sections that outline topics such as migrant rights and advocacy efforts.

We urge all our supporters to read a printed or electronic version of Migrant: Stories of Hope and Resilience. The book is an ideal springboard for discussions about immigration and advocacy in classrooms, church groups, and community gatherings. The KBI and many of our partner organizations are distributing the 48-page, softcover, bilingual version at a cost of $3/book plus shipping and handling; just contact us at 520-287-2370 or ifuentes@kinoborderinitiative.org. Or download Migrant for free, in English (http://bit.ly/2rRuR8J ) or Spanish (http://bit.ly/2rCGdcE ). As always, thank you for your support in our education and advocacy efforts!

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS:

Editorial Board: Dylan Corbett (Hope Border Institute), Fr. Sean Carroll & Joanna Williams (Kino Border Initiative), Joanne Welter, Kevin C. Pyle, Jeffry Odell Korgen.

Editor: Jeffry Odell Korgen

Writers: Jeffry Odell Korgen & Kevin C. Pyle

Art Director and Production Manager: Kevin C. Pyle

Published by: Kino Border Initiative and Hope Border Institute

Funded in part by: Catholic Campaign for Human Development

Migrant: Stories of Hope and Resilience documents a range of migrant experiences.

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New KBI Report about Failed Oversight of Migrant Complaints

Please read this article from the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States about the latest KBI report, “Intake without Oversight: Firsthand Experiences with Customs and Border Protection Complaints Process.” It summarizes the most important points and addresses why CBP oversight failures are such a grave concern.

Kino Border Initiative Report Shows Pattern of ‘Failed Oversight’ in Customs and Border Protection Complaints Process

July 11, 2017 — A new report from the Kino Border Initiative (KBI) and the Jesuits of Canada and the U.S. reveals the inadequacy of the Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) complaint and oversight system in investigating abuse allegations by migrants.

KBI, an immigrant aid and advocacy organization in Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Mexico, co-sponsored by the Jesuits and five other U.S. and Mexican church groups, files complaints on behalf of individuals in their aid center who report having been mistreated during their migration journey. “Intake without Oversight: Firsthand Experiences with Customs and Border Protection Complaints Process” is based on findings from 49 complaints filed by KBI from October 2015 to March 2017. Of these 49, KBI was notified of findings for only 13.

“Investment in an effective oversight process is necessary both to protect the human dignity of individuals crossing the border and to enhance the training and professionalism of agents and officers,” said Father Sean Carroll, SJ, executive director of KBI.

Despite some progress in improving the complaint process, KBI found that most complaints were only investigated by management at the local level and not by the independent oversight bodies tasked with accountability, such as the Office of the Inspector General.

The report highlights several cases, including a 21-year-old who alleges he was dragged and punched by Border Patrol in November 2015 and was not allowed to file a complaint while in Border Patrol custody. After KBI filed a complaint on his behalf that same month, the only communication it received was a notification from the Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties that the complaint was included in their information collection.

Another case is of a woman who was eight months pregnant and had an injured ankle when she was detained by Border Patrol in December 2015. While in custody, she informed agents that she was pregnant and asked for food and medical attention. She received undercooked food and crackers every six hours and no medical care. When KBI filed a complaint on her behalf in January 2016, the local station found it to be unsubstantiated because agents did not notice that she was pregnant and said they did not remember hearing requests for food or medical attention.

The report also offers a look at the types of abuse reported, including failure to refer migrants to the asylum process (22 complaints); denial of medical care (12); use of force (10); and family separation (10).

KBI said its experience with the complaint process “reflects a pattern of failed oversight that necessitates reform by the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Congress.” The report recommends increasing funding for the Office of Professional Responsibility; establishing a complaint hotline accessible from CBP holding cells; and regularly recording interviews between migrants and Border Patrol agents.

To read the full report, click here.

Over the last year and a half, the KBI has filed 49 complaints with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol on behalf of migrants who experienced mistreatment while in custody; KBI has information on the progress of only 13.
Photo courtesy of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States.

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KBI Media Report: June 2017

This month’s news stories highlight ways in which U.S. government policy both domestically and abroad separates families, expends resources to create unnecessary suffering, and violates human and constitutional rights.

  • Immigration Bills Passed in the House: The U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of two Trump-backed immigration bills. The No Sanctuary for Criminals Act expands the range of federal funds that could be withheld from sanctuary cities refusing to cooperate with immigration authorities (though requiring local police to enforce immigration law is widely considered counterproductive and dangerous to community safety since the policy discourages undocumented victims and witnesses from reporting crimes). The second bill, known as Kate’s Law (for Kathryn Steinle who was shot and killed by an undocumented immigrant in 2015), increases prison terms for those who re-enter the U.S. without documentation. Despite the great tragedy endured by victims of violent crimes and their families, this legislation—which would penalize vast numbers of non-violent individuals simply seeking reunion with their families—does not address the issue and diverts attention from the reality that U.S.-born citizens commit such crimes at much higher rates than immigrants. Both bills bring up constitutional questions, likely to be debated when the Senate votes. Here are more details: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/29/us/politics/house-passes-strict-immigration-bills-at-trumps-urging.html?emc=edit_th_20170630&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=68564230&_r=1.
  • Supreme Court to Rehear Detention Case: The U.S. Supreme Court has announced that it will rehear Rodriguez v. Jennings regarding a lower court ruling that detained immigrants are entitled to a bond hearing every six months. This development points to the possibility of detainees being stripped of their right to post bond and be released to await their court dates. Longer detentions are already the norm (averaging 404 days, and costing taxpayers $158 per day for each detainee), and the number of detainees over the past 20 years has increased four-fold while immigration courts are experiencing an unprecedented backlog. A reversal of the lower court decision would only worsen this scenario, at taxpayer expense and with greater burdens on vulnerable immigrants. Read more here: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/06/supreme-court-delivers-a-bad-omen-for-immigrants-in-detention/.
  • S. Policies to Deter Central American Migration: The Trump administration is moving to create conditions in Central American countries and Mexico that will discourage migration by shifting support and incentives away from political and humanitarian projects and toward law enforcement. The strategy is reminiscent of earlier “drug war” policies that prioritized militarization and crackdowns over human rights concerns. This article explains more: http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-fg-trump-latin-america-20170614-story.html.
Embed from Getty Images The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to rehear a case about bond hearings for immigrant detainees could result in the violation of detainee rights and greater numbers of people held in detention for longer terms. Photo by Getty Images/John Moore.

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KBI July Announcements

This past month, the KBI hosted the second annual Kino Teens Leadership Days and three immersion groups, and joined partner organizations in announcing the release of an important report on the dangers and abuses of migrants in Sonora, Mexico. In addition, Father Sean appeared on PBS’s Arizona Horizon, and will soon head off to New York City and Washington, D.C. to complete his international business program.

  • Kino Teens Leadership Days: During June 26–30, the KBI hosted 15 students from 10 high schools across the U.S. for the second annual Kino Teens Leadership Days. Participants attended workshops, heard migrant testimonies, gave presentations, volunteered in the comedor, and hiked a portion of the migrant trail. The 5-day conference covered a wide range of immigration and advocacy topics, among them mixed-status families, DACA, unaccompanied minors, asylum, detention, deportation, and deaths in the desert. This focused time allows the students to experience the reality of the border firsthand, discuss immigration issues with their peers, and reflect on ways to accompany migrants and affect change. These young people are not only the advocates and leaders of tomorrow—they’re taking their dedication, new skills, and greater awareness back home to engage and motivate their high school communities today. ¡Bravo, jóvenes!
  • Immersion Experiences: During their summer breaks, groups from three high schools from across the country visited the KBI for immersions.
Immersion Group # of participants # of days at the KBI
Jesuit High School of Sacramento, Carmichael, CA 12 participants  6 days
Gonzaga College High School, Washington, D.C. 10 participants 6 days
Jesuit High School

Portland, OR

11 participants 4 days

 

  • New Report on Abuses of Migrants: The KBI’s Father Samuel Lozano de los Santos, S.J. and Sister María Engracia Robles Robles, M.E. participated in a press conference to announce the release of a report on migrant abuses in Sonora, Mexico, entitled “Y la impunidad continua” (“And the impunity continues”). Along with other representatives from other organizations in the Red Migrante Sonora (Sonoran Migrant Network), they outlined the report’s findings and the urgent need for greater protection, security, services, and justice for migrants who are readily identifiable targets of violent and life-threatening crime at and near the U.S.–Mexico border. Read more at: http://www.nogalesinternational.com/news/group-s-report-decries-impunity-for-abusers-of-migrants-in/article_ddd1c2a6-5224-11e7-af9a-03f7718faa07.html. And the report, written in Spanish, can be downloaded at: https://www.kinoborderinitiative.org/es/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Informe-RMS.pdf.
  • The KBI on PBS: On a recent episode of the Phoenix-based news magazine, Arizona Horizon, Father Sean Carroll, S.J. was interviewed by host Ted Simons and offered a moving synopsis of the KBI’s origins and mission. View the segment here, with thanks to Maddie Larkin for helping to set up the interview: http://www.azpbs.org/arizonahorizon/play.php?vidId=10866.
  • Graduation on the Horizon: In late July, Father Sean will be attending his last GEMBA (Global Executive MBA) module in New York City and Washington, D.C., the culmination of fourteen months of study, remotely and sometimes collaboratively, with two-week modules held in cities around the globe. Look for graduation photos in the next newsletter. Congratulations, Father Sean!

Leadership Days participants make a list of values, gifts, and needs at the start of the five-day gathering.
Photo by Teresita Scully.

Leadership Days teens attend Mass with the migrants in the comedor.
Photo by Teresita Scully.

Throughout the conference, participants give presentations on a range of immigration topics.
Photo by Teresita Scully.

The 15 Leadership Days participants pose for a group portrait with the KBI’s Joanna Williams (far left).
Photo by Teresita Scully.

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Advocating for Migrant Rights

The KBI’s latest report, “Intake without Oversight: Firsthand Experiences with Customs and Border Protection Complaints Process,” out this month, is a compilation of lapses and failures in the CBP’s complaint and oversight process as well as a check list of recommendations for addressing this urgent matter. You can read more from the Jesuit Conference about the report’s findings in this newsletter and download the entire report here: http://jesuits.org/Assets/Publications/File/IntakeWithoutOversight_v06.pdf

When migrants are apprehended by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), humane protocols and basic human rights are the standards to be followed. Yet violations occur, and the KBI has filed 49 complaints with the CBP on behalf of migrants from October 2015 through March 2017. Of these, only 13 have been investigated further or resolved. Please lend your voice to the KBI’s advocacy efforts calling for better accountability and oversight by accessing this Jesuit Conference action alert: http://cqrcengage.com/jesuit/app/onestep-write-a-letter?2&engagementId=374633.  Thank you for joining us in support of migrant rights.

When migrants experience abuses or human rights violations while in U.S. Customs and Border Patrol custody, they can file a complaint. Though the KBI has filed 49 such complaints in the past year and a half, only 13 have been investigated or resolved.
Photo courtesy of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States.

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