Irregular / Unauthorized / Undocumented Migration

Irregular / Unauthorized / Undocumented Migration

US Undocumented Population Continued to Fall from 2016 to 2017, and Visa Overstays Significantly Exceeded Illegal Crossings for the Seventh Consecutive Year

This report presents estimates of the US undocumented population for 2017 derived by the Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS). It focuses on the steep decline in the undocumented population from Mexico since 2010. While the president has focused the nation’s attention on the border wall, half a million[1] US undocumented residents from Mexico left[2] the undocumented population in 2016 alone, more than three times the number that arrived that year, leading to an overall decrease of nearly 400,000 undocumented residents from Mexico from 2016 to 2017. From 2010 to 2017, the undocumented population from Mexico fell by a remarkable 1.3 million.

For the past 10 years, the primary mode of entry to the undocumented population has been to overstay temporary visas. This report provides estimates of the number of noncitizens who overstayed temporary visas and those who entered without inspection (EWIs) in 2016 by the top five countries of origin.

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Is Regular Migration Safer Migration? Insights from Thailand

This paper challenges the assumption within international development programming that regular and orderly migration is also safer for migrants. Based on data collected from Cambodian, Burmese, Laotian, and Vietnamese labor migrants recently returned from Thailand, this paper illustrates the limits of regular migration to provide meaningfully “safer” experiences. It observes that migrant workers who move through legal channels do not systematically experience better outcomes. While regular migrants report better pay and working conditions than irregular migrants, they also systematically report working conditions that do not meet legal standards, and routinely experience contract substitution. Regular migrants also have a higher likelihood of experiencing exploitation, contract breaches, harassment, abuse, and involuntary return. These findings challenge mainstream development discourses seeking to promote safer migration experiences through expanding migration infrastructure. The paper recommends: 1) re-examining the conflation of “safe” with “regular and orderly” migration and advocating for practices that increase migrant safety, 2) focusing on broadening rights offered to migrant workers, and 3) strengthening and expanding oversight of labor standards and migrant regulations.

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Immigration Authorities Systematically Deny Medical Care for Migrants Who Speak Indigenous Languages
The death of seven year-old Jakelin Amei Rosmery Caal Maquin in December of 2018 while in US Border Patrol custody has led to outrage, frustration, and a host of unanswered questions. This study — which consists of more than 1,100 post-deportation surveys with unauthorized Mexican migrants — suggests that the denial of medical attention to migrants in US custody is a widespread and systemic problem, and one that appears to affect indigenous language speakers disproportionately.

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Communities in Crisis: Interior Removals and Their Human Consequences

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.

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No Agency Adjudication?
Jill E. Family, Commonwealth Professor of Law and Government and Director of the Law and Government Institute at Widener Law Commonwealth, highlights the lack of independence of immigration agency adjudicators (i.e., immigration judges and Board of Immigration Appeals members) to interpret and apply immigration law. She proposes moving removal adjudication to an Article I court, in order to create a system with greater independence and credibility. An Article I court would focus on adjudication only and would not be a part of the Department of Justice, which focuses on law enforcement.

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