KBI Responds to Trump’s Executive Order and Calls for Protection of Human Dignity at the Border

January 25, 2017
For Immediate Release
Contact: Fr. Sean Carroll, SJ
520-287-2370, scarroll@kinoborderinitiative.org

We at the Kino Border Initiative reaffirm our commitment to work toward binational solidarity and humane, just and workable migration policies, especially considering today’s executive actions that instead cause division, dehumanization, and injustice.

We are deeply concerned about the Trump Administration’s plan to dramatically expand border enforcement, including hiring an additional 5000 agents. Every day we receive our brothers and sisters who are deported to Nogales, Sonora and we witness firsthand the suffering caused by dramatic increases in border policing. In our 2015 report, Our Values on the Line, we found that one third of people surveyed have been subject to degrading treatment or abuse when detained by US Border Patrol. We have continued to see similar patterns and in the past 14 months have filed 45 complaints on behalf of migrants who report abuse to us. Dramatically and hastily expanding this agency without adequate training and accountability will only make the situation worse, not promote safety.

We also stress the urgency of the US responsibility to protect individuals fleeing violence. Every day, men, women and children who are forced to leave their homes arrive at our aid center and for many their only option to seek safety is to ask for asylum in the United States, much like the Holy Family had to flee to Egypt shortly after Jesus’ birth in order to protect Our Lord. The people we accompany to request asylum are already being routinely rejected by Customs and Border Protection officials, subject to harsh and unnecessarily prolonged detention, and given little access to due process in pursuing their legal claims. Today’s executive orders will only make their situation worse. Instead, our moral and religious principles urge us to welcome people seeking protection.

Rather than focusing solely on security, we must recommit ourselves to work with our brothers and sisters in other countries to address the reasons people migrate in the first place, especially the extreme poverty and violence that force people from their home communities. In his address to the U.S. Congress, Pope Francis in 2015 invited us “to avoid a common temptation nowadays: to discard whatever proves troublesome.” Working toward peace, justice, and prosperity is a challenging task, but God calls us to this holy work, rather than to approaches that only sow division and cause more suffering.

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The Kino Border Initiative (KBI) is a binational organization located in Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora, Mexico.  The KBI’s vision is to help make humane, just, workable migration between the U.S. and Mexico a reality. 

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Joint Statement to Mexican Authorities on Access to Asylum at the Border

Osorio Chong, Secretary of Governance
Ardelio Vargas Fosado, Comissioner of the National Migration Institute
Luis Raúl González Pérez, President of the National Commission of Human Rights
To civil society
To the media

The below signing organizations have learned of and presented complaints about the following issues:

People who are fleeing from their country and seek protection in the United States are being turned away by Mexican and US authorities. In cities such as Tijuana, Mexicali and Nogales, people seeking asylum are rejected by US authorities if they do not appear on the lists controlled by the National Institute of Migration in Mexico. It is illegal for Mexican authorities to control who can or cannot present themselves on the southern border of the United States to ask for asylum. Mexican authorities do not have the ability or training to participate in the process and, when they do so, commit serious errors and violations of migrants’ human rights.

These actions restrict access to the right to seek asylum, which is protected by international conventions and treaties. The denial of this right creates heightened risk and vulnerability for people who are at the border seeking asylum, because Mexican migration authorities do not allow asylum-seekers who do not have a legal immigration status in Mexico to add their names to the lists, threatening them with deportation and, in some cases, say that they will be turned over to police.

This practice affects Central Americans, Mexicans and Africans, adults travelling alone as well as families and unaccompanied minors. The fact that they are forced to remain in border cities for longer, without legal status, exposes them to kidnapping and extortion, since there are not adequate mechanisms to protect them. Moreover, it leads migrants to take greater risks in an attempt to arrive to the United States as they face the danger of crossing the desert and contact organized criminal networks in order to cross.

We denounce Mexican and US authorities for their role in these anti-refugee policies as they deny individuals and families the right to protection and asylum.

As civil society and defenders of the rights of migrants, we call on the National Migration Institute in Mexico to create a mechanism that protects the rights of people seeking asylum and protection during their displacement. We ask the National Migration Institute to grant temporary legal status to all people who arrive at the border to ask for asylum in the United States.

Contacts for Media:

Fr. Pat Murphy (Vice-president of the Coalición Pro Defensa Migrante, Tijuana): 01 (664) 682-5180 / 01 (664) 382-7685 / casadelmigrantetijuana@gmail.com

Fr. Álvaro Salvador Gutiérrez (Coordinator of Human Mobility in the Diocese of Mexicali): 01-686-5616029 / elpadrematrix@hotmail.com

Marla Conrad (Co-coordinator of the Network of Migrant Shelters and Human Rights Centers in the Northern Region, Nogales): 01-631-316-2086 / marlaconrad@gmail.com

Signed by   Coalición Pro Defensa del Migrante | Juntos en el Camino | Casa Migrante Maná | Casa del Migrante la Divina Providencia | Centro Comunitario de Ayuda a Migrantes | Centro Comunitario de Atención al Migrante y Necesitado | Iniciativa Kino | Comedor Guadalupano | Centro de Recursos para Migrantes | Casa de Atención al Migrante Éxodus | Derechos Humanos Integrales en Acción | Uno de Siete Migrando | Casa Migrante Nazaret | Casa Monarca | Casa Nicolás | Casa del Forastero Santa Martha | Frontera con Justicia A.C. [Casa del Migrante de Saltillo] | Casa del Peregrino | Casa Emmaus: Casa del Emigrante | Albergue Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe | Albergue Senda de Vida | Casa San Juan Diego y San Francisco de Asís

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Report Indicates Asylum Seekers Deported to Danger Without a Hearing

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 3, 2016

Nogales, AZ and Nogales, Sonora – A report released August 2, 2016 from the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), Barriers to Protection: The Treatment of Asylum Seekers in Expedited Removal, confirms the first-hand testimony that the Kino Border Initiative (KBI) has gathered about individuals who are wrongly deported to danger. It shows that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) ignores migrants when they express fear and that they issue expedited removals to many individuals who should be afforded the opportunity to seek asylum. They deport these individuals back to the dangerous, life-threatening situations they fled without ever having a credible fear interview.

The USCIRF found through interviews and observations that CBP officers and agents often fail to ask individuals whether they are afraid of returning to their country, ignore migrants’ responses when they express fear, and are highly skeptical of migrants’ stories of the violence they flee. The report also found that Border Patrol’s internal guidance on their role inaccurately says that agents are responsible for determining whether and individual has credible fear, when that is in fact the role of an asylum officer. Many of the recommendations that USCIRF made in their last report in 2005 have not been followed, which is why these troubling trends continue and KBI constantly receives first hand testimony of individuals who have had their rights ignored.

HISTORY OF REMOVALS: The use of expedited and summary removals has been expanded several times between 1996 and 2004, allowing immigration agents to issue removal orders without an individual seeing an immigration judge. At the time of this expansion, both advocates and congressional representatives were concerned that the use of these orders would unjustly impact individuals migrating for fear of persecution.

KBI FINDINGS: According to KBI’s intake surveys, from January to June 2016, 5% of deported Mexican men and 7% of deported Mexican women in KBI’s aid center in Nogales, Sonora reported the violence they face in Mexico as their primary reason for migration. That means that every month this year, around forty Mexican individuals who were deported to Nogales, Sonora were entitled to have their cases considered by an asylum officer and an immigration judge but were not afforded that opportunity.

COMPLAINTS FILED BY THE KBI: Since November of 2015, the KBI has filed ten complaints on behalf of individuals who expressed fear of returning to Mexico, but instead of being given the opportunity to speak with an asylum officer, they were deported by Border Patrol agents, Customs and Border Protection officers, or Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. These complaints include the following cases:

  • A Mexican woman who fled her native country when she was threatened by the same group that kidnapped, tortured, and killed her brother. She crossed the border five times and every time expressed her fear to Border Patrol agents. Her concerns were consistently dismissed. One agent responded by saying that in the US there are school shootings, so there is no reason to think she would be safer here. On another occasion, an agent said that the kind of violence she described does not occur in Mexico City. Five times over the course of several months, she was removed to Mexico with no opportunity to seek asylum.
  • A Mexican man who fled due to persecution and harassment he had suffered on the basis of his sexual orientation. He said that when he was detained while crossing the border, he insisted for several minutes that he was fleeing persecution and would like to seek asylum. Instead he was given an expedited removal order.
  • A Mexican woman who fled because criminal gangs had infiltrated her town and were targeting and raping women. She reported that when she expressed fear of returning to Mexico, the Border Patrol agent responded that there are also gangs in the United States, so she has no reason to believe she would be safer here.

Under US law and international law, each of these individuals deserved to have their claims of fear evaluated by a qualified asylum officer in a credible fear interview. But that right was denied.

CONFIRMATION OF FINDINGS: KBI’s experience and the findings of USCIRF’s recent report are consistent with earlier reports, including ACLU’s 2014 report, “American Exile” and Human Rights Watch’s 2014 report, “You Don’t Have Rights Here.” These reports reflect a pattern that demands urgent action by the Department of Homeland Security and the US Congress. These injustices should be addressed by decreasing use of expedited removals, re-training agents on their obligations, and regularly recording interviews between migrants and Border Patrol agents to monitor compliance and address issues.

CONTACT: Joanna Williams, jwilliams@kinoborderinitiative.org, 520-287-2370

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Our Values on the Line: “Migrant Abuse and Family Separation at the Border”

This week we released our report based on a statistical study of migrants in the comedor. In “Our Values on the Line: Migrant Abuse and Family Separation at the Border”, we find that that U.S. Customs and Border Protection is not fulfilling its obligation to protect the civil and human rights of migrants apprehended, detained and deported back to Mexico. Please read the report, share it with your friends, and send the link to your Congressional representative with a note about why we must have a more humane approach to border enforcement. Thanks
Link to report: —> www.jesuits.org/valuesontheline

The latest report from the Jesuit Conference and the KBI comes out this month.

The latest report from the Jesuit Conference and the KBI comes out this month.

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Press Packet

* About the Kino Border Initiative   KBI.About

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* Frequently Asked Questions   KBI.FAQs

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* KBI History   KBI.History

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* Father Sean Carroll Bio   KBI.SeanCarrollBio.new

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Fifth Annual Kino Border Initiative Dinner

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Download the whole information and registration package at this following link:

Fifth Annual Kino Border Initiative Dinner

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Kino Border Initiative’s 2013 Annual Report

Download the KBI 2013 Annual Report

KBI 2013 Annual Report

KBI 2013 Annual Report

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Director of Education and Advocacy ~ Job Description

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Director of Education and Advocacy Job Description  <– click on link to open word.doc

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Kino Border Initiative ~ Associate Director Job Description

Associate Director Job Description 

Click on link to see full document.

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About the Kino Border Initiative

The Kino Border Initiative (KBI) is a bi-national non-profit organization located on the U.S. and Mexico border of Ambos Nogales that exists to address the immediate needs of deported migrants, to educate about the reality of immigration at the border, and to promote humane border and immigration policies that affirm the dignity of human beings and protect human rights. Learn more by visiting our website at www.kinoborderinitiative.org or Facebook at www.facebook.com/Kino.Border.lnitiative.

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Working Toward a Just and Humane Immigration Policy

By: Roxane Ramos

The Jesuits of the United States, Jesuit Refugee Services/USA, and the Kino Border Initiative have issued a statement welcoming President Obama’s recent executive action to end the legislative gridlock and place pressure on Congress to make immigration reform the priority the American public know it to be. Though the President’s order will provide temporary stays of deportation to as many as five million undocumented migrants who live in fear of discovery and separation from their families, there are still crucial aspects of the immigration issue that remain unaddressed—legal pathways to citizenship, refuge for those facing life-threatening violence, and relief for another 6 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. A permanent solution is needed to repair our long-broken immigration system, and the KBI continues to advocate for comprehensive, just and compassionate policies that recognize the dignity of the human person, offer safety to those in danger, and keep families together. We encourage you to read on and join our efforts.

Click on link for official statement.   http://www.jesuit.org/news-detail?TN=NEWS-20141121032132

U.S. Jesuits Join Catholic Bishops in Welcoming Obama Administration’s Plan to Provide Immigration Relief

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