North America

North America

DHS Overestimates Visa Overstays for 2016; Overstay Population Growth Near Zero During the Year

This paper compares US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) estimates for visa overstays in fiscal year 2016 with estimates from the Center for Migration Studies (CMS). It finds that DHS has overstated the number of people from roughly 30 counties who have overstayed their temporary visas, half of them participants in the US Visa Waiver Program (VWP). In particular, the DHS estimates for 2016 include significant numbers of temporary visa holders who left the undocumented population, but whose departure could not be verified. Thus, the actual number of visa overstays in 2016 was about half of the number estimated by DHS.  The paper also shows that the population growth of visa overstays was near zero in 2016 after adjusting DHS estimates to account for unrecorded departures. The country-specific figures in this paper should help DHS improve verification of departures of temporary visitors and also to reassess decisions about admission to the VWP.

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The Mixed Motives of Unaccompanied Child Migrants from Central America’s Northern Triangle

This paper examines the mixed-motive migration of unaccompanied minors from Central America’s Northern Triangle states (Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador). Using data from a 2016 survey carried out in 10 shelters for unaccompanied child migrants run by a Mexican government child welfare agency, the paper identifies the immigrating minor’s motives, which are oftentimes mixed. Some of the key findings include:

  • Around one-third of the child migrants surveyed had mixed motives, including both forced and voluntary reasons for migrating.
  • Violence appears most often as a reason for migrating among minors with mixed motives, as opposed to the search for better opportunities, which appears more often as an exclusive motive.
  • Significant differences between the three nationalities are observed: relatively few Guatemalan minors indicated violence as a motive, and few displayed mixed motives, as opposed to Hondurans, and especially Salvadorans.
  • The minors fleeing violence, searching for better opportunities, and indicating both motives at the same time were largely mature male adolescents. The minors mentioning family reunification as their sole motive were predominantly girls and young children.
  • Violence was the motive that mixed the most with other motivations.

The results indicate that binary formulations regarding forced and voluntary migration are often inadequate. The implications of these findings include the need to consider forced reasons for migrating in the context of mixed-motive migration, the need for in-depth, individual asylum screening, and the need for more flexible policy approaches that are inclusive of mixed-motive migration.

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Life at the Border: Celebrating 30 Years of Mission at the Casa del Migrante in Tijuana

2017 marks the 30th anniversary of the Centro Scalabrini – Casa del Migrante, a migrant shelter in Tijuana, Mexico. To commemorate this milestone, the Casa released a book, Vidas en Vilo (Lives in Limbo). In this reflection, Fr. Pat Murphy, c.s., the Casa’s director, describes the publication which recounts the history of the Casa, offers an analysis of social demographics of those being deported through Tijuana, and a collection of testimonies from guests at the Casa (i.e., the deportees, Central Americans in transit, and candidates for political asylum).

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Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians in Peril
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) faces a November 23, 2017, deadline to determine whether to extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Haiti, first granted following a devastating earthquake in that country in January 2010. Haiti was extended for six...

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Stefan Vogler of Northwestern University reviews Gendered Asylum: Race and Violence in U.S. Law and Politics, by Sara L. McKinnon. Professor  McKinnon exposes racialized rhetorics of violence in politics and charts the development of gender as a category in American asylum law. Starting...

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J. Dwight Hines of Point Park University reviews The Last Best Place? by Leah Schmalzbaue. Professor Schmalzbaue explores the multiple racial and class-related barriers that Mexican migrants must negotiate in the unique context of Montana’s rural gentrification. These daily life struggles and inter-group power...

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