Our report this month covers the conditions that drive Central American migration; due process concerns in a Texas immigration court; a halt to the U.S. policy of requiring asylum seekers to remain in Mexico as their claims are processed; and the KBI’s new migrant center, now under construction and designed for expanded services and programming.
- Reasons for Migration: For the past five years, photographer Fred Ramos has documented the political, social, and environmental conditions that have driven so many Central Americans to migrate, many to seek asylum. The selection of photographs shown here reveals the effects of civil war, gang violence, political turmoil, and climate events as well as the challenges along the migrant trail. In addition to images, this article includes descriptions from Ramos and a summary of the region’s instability: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/21/lens/central-americans-migrate-united-states.html.
- Due Process at the Border: A recent complaint filed by the American Immigration Council and other organizations alleges that judges at an El Paso immigration court are creating a hostile atmosphere that undermines the rights of migrants and asylum seekers. The complaint cites an exceedingly low number of asylum applications granted (4% compared to 35% nationally); inappropriate and biased comments by judges; and limitations on the amount of evidence considered. Read more about these violations of due process here: https://www.cnn.com/2019/04/03/us/el-paso-immigration-court-complaint/index.html.
- Halt to “Remain in Mexico” Policy: A U.S. District Court judge issued a preliminary injunction against the Department of Homeland Security’s “Migration Protection Protocols” (MPP) which requires some asylum seekers to remain in Mexico for months while their claims are processed. This policy exposes applicants to grave dangers, such as kidnapping, sexual assault, trafficking, and murder as well as other risks, such as homelessness and unemployment. From a legal perspective, the policy does not comply with federal regulatory law, as explained in the court order. The injunction was issued in a case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of 11 asylum applicants asserting that the MPP violates international treaty obligations and U.S. asylum law. More details about this story can be found here: https://www.politico.com/story/2019/04/08/judge-trump-mexico-asylum-1261832.
KBI’s New Migrant Center: The KBI’s new migrant center is now under construction, across the street from the comedor. The new space is a renovation of an existing building purchased last year, and will include a larger dining room, separate shelters for men and for women and children, and offices to meet migrant needs for legal aid, social work, and pastoral services. As the number of migrants arriving in Nogales increases, the new center will allow the KBI to extend direct aid and other programming to a greater number of people: https://www.nogalesinternational.com/news/ministry-s-new-multi-use-space-to-include-migrant-shelter/article_4accd4fe-51bf-11e9-aaea-63fe64502b78.html