Asylum-seekers / Refugees

Asylum-seekers / Refugees

Bodily Inertia and the Weaponization of the Sonoran Desert in US Boundary Enforcement: A GIS Modeling of Migration Routes through Arizona’s Altar Valley

This paper explores the impact of the US Border Patrol’s strategy of “Prevention Through Deterrence” along unauthorized migration routes in the Sonoran Desert. Using Geographic Information System (GIS) modeling of the Sonoran Desert, Arizona, and an analysis of comprehensive activity logs of the use of clean drinking water along migration routes between 2012 to 2015, it finds that migration routes shifted to increasingly rugged and more dangerous terrain. Coupled with everyday interference with clean drinking water sites provided by humanitarian organizations, this deterrence policy maximizes the physiological harm experienced by unauthorized migrants. It also explains the persistence of mortality of unauthorized migrants, and the increase in the rate of mortality over time. The paper concludes with several policy recommendations for US Customs and Border Protection, including: 1) making interference by border officials and vandalism of humanitarian aid a fireable offense; 2) the formation of a border-wide agency tasked with search-and-rescue and emergency medical response; and 3) ending Prevention Through Deterrence as a nationwide strategy.

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Access to Counsel and the Legacy of Juan Osuna
On November 15, 2018, CMS hosted an event on access to justice, due process and the rule of law to honor the legacy of Juan Osuna, a close colleague and friend who held high-level immigration positions in four administrations over...

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Access to Justice in a Climate of Fear: New Hurdles and Barriers for Survivors of Human Trafficking and Domestic Violence

Kathryn Finley, managing attorney for the Tahirih Justice Center’s greater Washington, DC office, writes on the particularly high hurdles and barriers faced by immigrant survivors of violence in accessing the US legal system. This paper relies on examples gathered from Tahirih Justice Center’s direct work with immigrant survivors of gender-based violence. It also reviews the dynamics of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking for immigrant victims, and the immigration remedies available to victims of these crimes. Additionally, this paper explores the detrimental impact of the administration’s enforcement initiatives on immigrant victims of crime and on public safety.

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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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