At USC, Law Students Provide Immigration Legal Advice

Legal assistance for asylum seekers arriving at the U.S. border has been an issue, whether that means trained volunteers or lawyers. How about a legal clinic staffed by law students looking for experience? The University of Southern California student newspaper reports that “… in January, the year-round USC clinic — the only one of its kind among Southern California law schools — will mark its 15th year of offering representation to asylum clients… since 2001, the clinic has taken on more than 170 clients. Approximately 120 of them, one-third of whom identify as LGBT, have received either asylum, withholding of removal or protection under the Convention Against Torture.”
 
While the Immigration Clinic clients receive life-saving legal representation, its students receive valuable experience.
 

‘Border Kids’ Immigration Influx Is Once Again On The Rise

As reported by NPR: Detainees sleep and watch television in a holding cell where hundreds of mostly Central American immigrant children are being processed at a U.S. Customs facility in Nogales, Texas.

As reported by NPR: Detainees sleep and watch television in a holding cell where hundreds of mostly Central American immigrant children are being processed at a U.S. Customs facility in Nogales, Texas.

A Texas newspaper reports that the number of unaccompanied children being apprehended at the southern United States border – I’ve dubbed them “border kids” – is once again on the increase. Reporter Dylan Baddor at the Mount Pleasant Daily Tribune writes that in the Border Patrol’s Big Bend sector of Texas, “the number of unaccompanied children apprehended trying to enter the country during that period averaged 24 between 2010 and 2014. This year agents tallied 319.”
 
Statewide, says the report, 7,390 unaccompanied children were caught crossing in those two months, and 85 percent increase over the same period last year. The newspaper quotes Marc Rosenblum, a deputy director at the Migration Policy Institute in Washington D.C., saying that“… we’re clearly seeing a significant uptick.”
 
The Border Kids crisis became a national focus last year and prompted the Obama Administration to fast-track the cases, sometimes moving them to the “front of the line” in a backed-up immigration court system. Current estimates are that more than 450,000 cases are backlogged in the courts, which are actual civil procedures held as part of the U.S. Justice Department.
 
See the Daily Tribune story here: http://www.dailytribune.net/site/about.html

VICE News Looking Hard At Migrant Family Lockups

The VICE media network has made a living off covering stories under-reported by mainstream (or, more accurately, “more mainstream”) media, and it is focusing on American jails this week. Mostly that is going to involve criminal lockups, but the VICE News is reporting on the family lockups facing a federal judge’s order to release families – and how the government is likely to work around that order.
 
The report notes what other have missed: “With tens of thousands of migrants flooding into Europe in recent months, it’s easy to forget that the US faced its own refugee crisis last summer when scores of children and mothers bolted from Central America amid heightened gang and drug violence. Desperate for a safe haven, the families mounted buses and trains through Mexico and then poured across the Texas border, seeking political asylum.” To that we would add: Last summer? How about now?
 
VICE gives some context: “… to combat the influx, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) launched an “aggressive deterrence” strategy last July designed to discourage more people from coming. The solution, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson announced, was to lock up Central American moms and kids as they fought their asylum cases in court. Previously, DHS did not detain such families, but rather allowed them to pay a small bond as an assurance they would show up to their court dates.
 
The new DHS strategy spawned a massive, long-term family detention system for Central American people seeking asylum in the US. The agency contracted the nation’s two biggest private prison companies to open facilities in southern Texas that hold about 3,000 people combined and cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars to operate. Many families have spent seven or eight months in detention while awaiting their day in court.”
 
Check out what very likely is going to happen next here.

What Should We Call Those Migrant Refugee Immigrants Seeking Asylum?

Words matter, and the U.S. media has been struggling to settle on what to call all those folks seeking to leave a very bad place in hopes of a better life. Actually, that would not qualify for “refugee” status, which requires a human to be fleeing war zones or natural disasters. Migrant is a wider net, but loses some of the urgency. “Immigration” carries its own weight. Those seeking asylum, with those political overtones, are yet another situation.

The NPR ombudsman offered an on-air outline of how that standards-leading group approaches the wording. The one thing that seems clear is that just leaving a place because it sucks does not gain the benefits of other status.

See the report here: ‘Refugee’ Or ‘Migrant': How To Refer To Those Fleeing Home