This paper reviews the response of the US government to the growth in migration from Central America’s Northern Triangle states from 2011 to 2016. It also critiques the extreme border policies of the Trump administration, while recognizing that the failure of previous administrations to enact strategic, long-term changes in the US immigration system laid the groundwork for these policies. Finally, it reviews some of the lessons learned during the Obama administration on the need for a resilient and reformed immigration system.
This paper examines the characteristics of deportees from the United States and the effects of deportation on deportees, their families, and their communities. It analyzes the findings from 133 interviews with deportees at a migrant shelter in Sonora, Mexico and interviews with family members of deportees and others affected by deportation in three Catholic parishes in the United States. These findings include: 1) the deportees had established long and deep ties in the United States, including strong economic and family ties, 2) deportation severed these ties and impoverished and divided affected families, 3) most deportees planned to return to the United States, and 4) the US deportation system treated deportees as criminals and the Trump administration sought to instill fear in immigrant communities. The paper concludes with policy recommendations to mitigate the ill effects of the administration’s policies and promote the integrity of families and communities, including: using detention as a “last resort”; reducing funding to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); and limiting collaboration between police and ICE and Customs and Border Protection.