‘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

Focus Is On Europe’s Refugee Crisis While Similar U.S. Crisis Lingers

Likely Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is coming out strong on the European refugee crisis, with The Boston Globe reporting she says it calls for  “… an international effort to assist the migrants should be coordinated by the United Nations. She praised Pope Francis, who has called on all Catholic parishes and religious communities to welcome in the migrants.
As reported in Politico on 8/7/15: US citizens Esmeralda Tepetate, 10, with her brother Sebastian, 2, whose parents are originally from Mexico, holds a sign that says "stop separating families" during a rally for comprehensive immigration reform, Friday, Nov. 7, 2014,  outside of the White House in Washington. After the midterm elections immigration groups are pushing for executive action. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

As reported in Politico on 8/7/15: US citizens Esmeralda Tepetate, 10, with her brother Sebastian, 2, whose parents are originally from Mexico, holds a sign that says “stop separating families” during a rally for comprehensive immigration reform, Friday, Nov. 7, 2014, outside of the White House in Washington. After the midterm elections immigration groups are pushing for executive action. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

 
‘‘The whole world has to take some responsibility,’’ Clinton said. Meanwhile a federal judge in California has found our family detention centers illegal and ordered the mothers and children held there released by October 23
 
And that is a separate issue from the more than 400,000 immigration cases backlogged in the U.S. system that includes tens of thousands of refugee-status cases. So, with all due respect, the refugee crisis is not limited to Europe.

ACLU Leader Outlines Immigration Lawsuit Argument

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.

With armed “citizen groups” starting to patrol the U.S.-Mexico border and angry crowds protesting the arrival of children into their communities, the ongoing “unaccompanied children immigration” crisis is growing worse. Clearly, this is a tragic worst-case example of what happens with “rationing justice” in our civil courts, and California has the biggest caseload backup with tens of thousands of kids awaiting a day in court.

 
In a major Los Angeles Times opinion piece, the director of the ACLU of Southern California outlines theories behind this week’s lawsuit against the U.S. Government, filed by his group and other civil rights groups. Among other issues, the groups argue for legal representation, saying that 
“… the appointment of counsel is the only way to ensure that children with potentially valid claims can present the necessary arguments and proof. Given the complexities of immigration law and the language and cultural barriers immigrants face, it should surprise no one that attorneys matter in immigration proceedings. A 2012 study of New York immigration courts showed that immigrants who proceed without representation are five times more likely to lose their cases than those who have counsel.”
 
The ACLU director also argues that, while we may use the term “immigration,” these children are more accurately classified as refugees fleeing for their lives. These are the emerging talking points on the escalating crisis, and you can find them here: Kids caught at the border deserve due process, including lawyers