North America

North America

Immigration Detention Should Not Be a Death Sentence

The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has begun to sweep through facilities holding immigrant detainees, including detainees with underlying conditions that put them at high risk of death if exposed to the virus. The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) should immediately embark on an aggressive program of supervised release and alternative-to-detention (ATD) programs for those in its custody. Immigrant detention serves two main purposes, to ensure that non-citizens appear for their removal proceedings and, in rare cases, to protect the public. However, well-structured ATD programs can accomplish these goals for the overwhelming majority of detainees. As it stands, continued detention will endanger detainees, detention staff, court officials, health care providers, and the public. The administration should recognize the scale of this emergency and act now.

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The Use of Executive Orders and Proclamations to Create Immigration Policy: Trump in Historical Perspective

This article examines presidential immigration policy making through executive orders (EOs) and proclamations. It finds that Donald Trump’s overall volume of EOs has been remarkably similar to that of other presidents, while his number of proclamations has been relatively high. However, his immigration-related EOs and proclamations diverge from those of his predecessors in several ways. Of the 56 immigration-related EOs and 64 proclamations issued since 1945, one percent of all EOs and proclamations have been immigration related, compared to eight percent of Trump’s EOs and 2.4 percent of Trump’s proclamations. In a sharp departure from previous presidents, a greater share of Trump’s EOs and proclamations have been substantive policy-making documents intended to restrict admissions of legal immigrants and increase enforcement along the border and in the interior of the United States. This article explores Trump’s unorthodox use of executive tools to make immigration policy, circumventing Congress and even members of his own administration. It recommends that Congress reassert its power over US immigration law and policy.

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CMSONAIR | Josiah Heyman on Border Patrol Culture and a Positive Vision of the Borderlands

This episode of CMSOnAir features an interview with Josiah Heyman, Professor of Anthropology, Endowed Professor of Border Trade Issues, and Director of the University of Texas, El Paso’s Center for Inter-American and Border Studies. CMS’s communications coordinator Emma Winters asks Josiah Heyman about a CMS Essay he authored with Jeremy Slack and Daniel E. Martínez. The essay, titled “Why Border Patrol Agents and CBP Officers Should Not Serve as Asylum Officers,” examines findings from the Migrant Border Crossing Survey and concludes that US Border Patrol agents and other CBP officers should not serve as asylum officers because they “abuse migrants, physically and verbally, with significant frequency.” In the episode, Josiah Heyman also presents a positive vision of the US-Mexico border and lifts up Annunciation House as an example of the openness and generosity of border communities.

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What’s Wrong with Temporary Protected Status and How to Fix It

This paper evaluates the purpose and effectiveness of the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) statute and identifies inadequacies in the TPS regime and related protection gaps in the US asylum system. It argues that TPS has not proven to be an effective mechanism for the United States to protect foreigners from generalized conditions of danger in their home countries. It calls for changing the US protection regime to make it more responsive to the risks many asylum seekers actually face by creating a broader “complementary protection” standard and a more effective procedure for assessing individual protection claims, while reserving “temporary protection” for rare situations of mass influx that overwhelm the government’s capacity to process individual asylum claims. Considering alternative models for complementary protection from other jurisdictions, this article proposes that the United States adopt an individualized complementary protection standard for arriving asylum seekers who are not able to meet the 1951 Refugee Convention standard but who would face a serious threat to life or physical integrity if returned because of a real risk of (1) cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment; (2) violence; or (3) exceptional situations, for which there is no adequate domestic remedy.

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Reverse Migration to Mexico Led to US Undocumented Population Decline: 2010 to 2018

This paper presents estimates of the undocumented population residing in the United States in 2018. Since 2010, the total undocumented population in the United States has declined because large numbers of undocumented residents returned to Mexico. From 2010 to 2018, a total of 2.6 million Mexican nationals left the US undocumented population; about 1.1 million, or 45 percent of them, returned to Mexico voluntarily. Additional findings include the following:

  • The total US undocumented population was 10.6 million in 2018, a decline of about 80,000 from 2017, and a drop of 1.2 million, or 10 percent, since 2010.
  • Since 2010, about two-thirds of new arrivals have overstayed temporary visas and one-third entered illegally across the border.
  • The total undocumented population in California was 2.3 million in 2018, a decline of about 600,000 compared to 2.9 million in 2010. The number from Mexico residing in the state dropped by 605,000 from 2010 to 2018. 
  • The undocumented population in New York State fell by 230,000, or 25 percent, from 2010 to 2018. Declines were largest for Jamaica (−51 percent), Trinidad and Tobago (−50 percent), Ecuador (−44 percent), and Mexico (−34 percent).
  • Two countries had especially large population changes — in different directions — in the 2010 to 2018 period. The population from Poland dropped steadily, from 93,000 to 39,000, while the population from Venezuela increased from 65,000 to 172,000. Almost all the increase from Venezuela occurred after 2014.

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Empathic Humanitarianism: Understanding the Motivations behind Humanitarian Work with Migrants at the US–Mexico Border

This paper sets forth a typology to better understand the motivations of volunteers working to help migrants at the US-Mexico border who are in need of humanitarian assistance. The typology is centered on empathic concern, differentiating secular/faith-based motivations, and deontological/moral-virtue motivations. It offers four categories of humanitarian volunteers: the Missionary Type, the Good Samaritan Type, the Do Gooder Type, and the Activist Type. And, it sets forth additional self-centered (non-altruistic, or not-other-centered) types: Militant, Crusader, Martyr, and Humanitarian Tourist. This typology can help organizations working with migrants and refugees better understand and channel the enthusiasm of their volunteers and better meet the needs of the vulnerable populations they serve.

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Statelessness in the United States: A Study to Estimate and Profile the US Stateless Population

This report describes a unique methodology to produce estimates and set forth the characteristics of US residents who are potentially stateless or potentially at risk of statelessness. It also lifts up the voices and challenges of stateless persons, and outlines steps to reduce statelessness and to safeguard the rights of stateless persons in the United States.

As part of the study, CMS developed extensive, well-documented profiles of non-US citizen residents who  are  potentially stateless  or  potentially at  risk  of  statelessness.  It  then  used these profiles to query American Community Survey data in order to develop provisional estimates and determine the characteristics of these populations.

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Cynthia S. Gorman of West Virginia University reviews Refuge Lost: Asylum Law in an Interdependent World by Daniel Ghezelbash. As Europe deals with a so-called ‘refugee crisis,’ Australia’s harsh border control policies have been suggested as a possible model for...

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