CMS Essays

CMS Essays

Refugees Have Few Options, We Have a Lot More

Omar al-Muqdad – a prominent journalist, documentary filmmaker, and former Syrian refugee – writes a regular blog for CMS titled, “Dispatches from the Global Crisis in Refugee Protection.” This series covers the Syrian Civil War, the experiences of Syria’s immense and far-flung refugee population, the global crisis in refugee protection, religious persecution, and US refugee and immigration policies. Mr. al-Muqdad’s work has been featured by the BBC, CNN, and in many other media outlets. Resettled in the United States in 2012, Mr. al-Muqdad became a US citizen in Spring 2018. CMS features this series in its weekly Migration Update and on its website.

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Does the United States Need to Invest More in Border Enforcement?

Despite the largest immigration enforcement budget in US history, the Border Patrol is set to apprehend the highest number of border crossers in more than a decade. This essay argues that the administration’s enforcement-only approach cannot successfully address this humanitarian crisis, and does not deserve any additional funding. Instead, the administration should respond to the conditions driving Central American and Venezuelan asylum seekers, provide protection for those fleeing violence and other impossible conditions, and create a strong, well-resourced US asylum system.

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Overstays Exceeded Illegal Border Crossers after 2010 Because Illegal Entries Dropped to Their Lowest Level in Decades

This essay by CMS Senior Fellow Robert Warren examines the number of nonimmigrants who overstayed their visas to the United States. It demonstrates that the number of visa overstays has not spiked, but has remained in the 200,000 to 400,000 range since 2000. Moreover, visa overstays leave the undocumented population at significant rates, including through emigration and adjustment to lawful permanent resident status. Of those who overstayed their non-immigrant visas in 2000, less than one-half were living in the United States as undocumented residents in 2017.

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US Admissions Ban Endangers and Separates Families
Omar al-Muqdad — a prominent journalist, documentary filmmaker, and former Syrian refugee — writes a bi-monthly blog for CMS titled, “Dispatches from the Global Crisis in Refugee Protection.” In this blog, al-Muqdad shares the story of Remi Hassoun, a Syrian refugee resettled in Maryland after a vetting process that involved 15 months of waiting and interviews with US immigration and United Nations officers. Despite reaching safety in the United States, Hassoun cannot leave or otherwise see his family. While life may become easier as a US citizen, he worries that he may never reunite with his mother and sisters due to the Trump administration’s ban on admissions of people from specific countries, including Syria.

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Access to Counsel and the Legacy of Juan Osuna

In this essay, Ingrid V. Eagly, Professor of Law and Faculty Director of the David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law, describes Juan Osuna’s many contributions to access to justice for immigrants. Osuna served on the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) and then as director of the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). Eagly recounts his efforts to call attention to the need for legal representation. In particular, she details Osuna’s support for the federally funded Legal Orientation Program (LOP), which educates immigrants on their rights and provides them with self-help trainings and referrals to pro bono counsel. She also highlights Osuna’s work to secure counsel for particularly vulnerable migrants, including unaccompanied minors. Eagly’s essay is the latest contribution to a CMS series on the issues to which Osuna devoted his professional life.

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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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Moving Away from Crisis Management: How the United States Can Strengthen Its Response to Large-Scale Migration Flows

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.

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