North America

North America

#BEGOLDEN is a powerful initiative that reminds people of the Golden Rule – to treat others as we want to be treated.

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Address by Most Reverend Salvatore J. Cordileone, Archbishop of San Francisco

On March 13, 2019, Most Rev. Salvatore J. Cordileone, Archbishop of San Francisco, delivered a keynote address at the 2019 Catholic Immigrant Integration Initiative Conference at Santa Clara Law School in Santa Clara, California. In his remarks, Archbishop Cordileone discusses: the Catholic Church’s concern for men, women, and children “on the move”; common themes found throughout the Church’s pastoral vision and the conference goals; immigrant contributions; how changing US immigration and refugee polices are affecting Catholic institutions and integration efforts; and promising and successful programs and ministries with immigrants.

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

This paper finds that the US undocumented population from Mexico declined by 1.3 million people from 2010 to 2017, including a decrease of 400,000 from 2016 to 2017. For the first time ever, Mexican nationals constitute less than half of the total US undocumented population. The paper also finds that visa overstays contributed significantly more to the population of newly undocumented residents than illegal border crossers from 2010 to 2017. It recommends that the administration and Congress work together to: 1) provide more resources to the US Department of State for their visa-issuance work and 2) pass legislation to legalize the DREAM-Act eligible population, long-term Temporary Protected Status beneficiaries, and “intending immigrants” with US citizen or lawful permanent resident family members. These findings reveal a disconnect between public discourse on the border wall and empirical data, and argue for more nuanced and evidence-based responses to undocumented migration.

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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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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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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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