Immigration News Articles on Key Issues, August 2022


Compiled by the staff of the Corporate Responsibility office of the Benedictine Sisters, Boerne,Texas




DHS To End ‘Remain In Mexico,’ Allow Asylum Seekers To Enter U.S.

By Nick Miroff, Washington Post, August 8, 2022 


  • The Department of Homeland Security said late Monday, August 8, it is preparing to quickly end the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” program and will no longer send asylum seekers back across the border to await a decision on their applications for U.S. protection. 


  • The announcement came after U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk lifted his injunction blocking Biden officials from ending the program, formally known as the “Migrant Protection Protocols” or MPP. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled June 30 that the Biden administration had the authority to terminate the program, opening a path for DHS to finally bring a close to one of the Trump administration’s most contentious border measures. 


  • DHS officials said asylum seekers waiting in Mexico for their appointments in the U.S. immigration court would be allowed to cross the border on the day of their hearings and stay in the United States while awaiting an outcome. “As Secretary [Alejandro] Mayorkas has said, MPP has endemic flaws, imposes unjustifiable human costs, and pulls resources and personnel away from other priority efforts to secure our border,” the DHS statement read. 


  • President Biden quickly ended the program after taking office, but Kacsmaryk last fall sided with several state officials who sued the administration to force a restart of MPP. Between December 2021 and early July, about 5,800 asylum seekers were sent back to Mexico to await their U.S. court dates, the latest DHS records show. Most were adults from Nicaragua and Venezuela. Under President Donald Trump, his administration used MPP much more aggressively, sending nearly 70,000 back to Mexico after negotiating the program with Mexican authorities and implementing it in late 2018. Trump officials said the returns were necessary to prevent migrants from using the U.S. asylum system to avoid detention and deportation. 


  • Asylum seekers with pending claims are typically allowed to live and work in the United States while awaiting a response. The process can drag out for several years because U.S. immigration courts are swamped by backlogs. In its ruling, the Supreme Court determined in a 5-4 opinion that Kacsmaryk went too far by requiring Biden to keep in place policies that infringe on his ability to enforce immigration laws and shape foreign policy, given that MPP relied on agreements with Mexico.



Amid Migrant Surge, San Antonio Officials Asked Border Agency To Pause New Arrivals To City

By Andrea Drusch, San Antonio Report, August 4, 2022


  • So many migrants are passing through San Antonio on their journey from the U.S.-Mexico border that local officials asked U.S. Customs and Border Protection to halt arrivals at its new migrant resource center for several days at the end of July. 


  • Border Patrol and nonprofit groups bring asylum-seeking migrants to San Antonio from Del Rio and Eagle Pass so that they can catch flights or buses elsewhere in the country to meet family members or sponsors. “We let Border Patrol and nonprofits know that that 600 a day really is our capacity that we feel like we can handle,” said Melody Woosley, director of the city’s Department of Human Services. “We’ve gotten more, but we keep reminding those nonprofits that that’s our capacity.” 


  • Faced with record high numbers of migrants passing through San Antonio after being processed by federal authorities, the city’s human services department opened a Migrant Resource Center on July 7. Migrants waiting to travel to destinations throughout the U.S. had caused crowding at the airport and bus station. From July 22 to 24, the city requested a halt in new arrivals. But the Migrant Resource Center continued to process arrivals during those days, Woosley said. “We had a few days where we asked the border nonprofits and Border Patrol to not bring new migrants so that we could catch up,” said Woosley. “I think they understand,” she said. But “they have capacity also. Sometimes they don’t have a choice but to send the buses.” 


  • Nearly 25,000 migrants passed through San Antonio in July, with 11,000 coming to the migrant center, according to city officials. Individuals who have tickets to continue their journey immediately when arriving in San Antonio are taken directly to the airport or Greyhound Bus station; all others come to the migrant resource center. Woosley disputed a report from Breitbart suggesting that the city was considering busing migrants back to the border or elsewhere, as Gov. Greg Abbott has done, leaving them in cities where they have no family or connections. “We did not put migrants on buses and drive them back [to the border],” said Woosley, who pointed to the city’s partnership with nonprofit groups that help migrants make their way to their intended destinations. “When Catholic Charities helps a client purchase a ticket, they make sure there’s someone on the other side, either a shelter bed or a family member,” said Woosley. 



The Border's Toll: Migrants Increasingly Die Crossing Into U.S. From Mexico

By Mica Rosenberg, Kristina Cooke and Daniel Trotta, Reuters, July 25, 2022


  • Last year was the deadliest for migrants crossing the border, with 728 fatalities recorded by the United Nations, which started counting in 2014. The U.N. has counted 340 more this year, apace with 2021’s grim record. In Arizona, deaths last year were the highest in four decades of data collected from local medical examiners. In the San Diego area, Scripps Mercy hospital reported a roughly five-fold jump in admissions for wall-related injuries after Trump built the higher border wall, data shared with Reuters show. 


  • CBP has not published data on deaths on its website since fiscal year 2020. Following congressional mandates, CBP changed how it counts fatalities along the border last year to include only those who die in custody, during arrests or when agents were nearby. The agency told Reuters there were 151 such “CBP-related” deaths in the 2021 fiscal year, a previously unreported number. Bodies discovered by CBP or others are not currently included in the agency’s data. 


  • A University of California at San Diego (UCSD) Medical Center study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association on April 29 found the higher border wall was associated with more deaths and severe injuries as well as increased costs for the hospital. 


  • From 2019 to 2021, after the higher wall sections were completed, there were 375 UCSD admissions due to falls, a more than five-fold increase compared to the previous three-year period. In 2021, 225 deceased migrants were found along Arizona's some 400-mile long border with Mexico, data from Humane Borders shows, the most since the earliest record kept in 1981. Rescues by border agents along the southwest border have topped 14,000 since the start of the 2022 fiscal year, more than recorded for the full 2021 fiscal year.





Number Of Migrants Crossing Border Is Dropping, In Part Due To U.S. Agents Helping Nab Human Smugglers In Central America

By Julia Ainsley, NBC News, July 29, 2022


  • Arrests of undocumented migrants crossing the U.S. southern border have fallen by nearly 14 percent from an all-time high in May, driven in part by an increase in U.S.-assisted arrests of smugglers in Central America, far from U.S. soil, according to internal briefing materials obtained by NBC News.  


  • Agents from Customs and Border Protection, as well as Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, some of them in Central American countries, were responsible for the arrests of an average of 240 smugglers in a single week in June, according to the materials, prepared by the Department of Homeland Security for a White House briefing. Agents working outside the U.S. provide intelligence to local law enforcement on smugglers to target for arrests, according to the document. 


  • More than 1,300 DHS personnel are focused on targeting smugglers, and the agency has spent more than $50 million on the effort since April, a DHS spokesperson said.  The number of smuggler arrests in Central and Latin American countries increased in June, and the number of undocumented migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border began to fall from May’s high of more than 7,700 daily apprehensions. By the end of June, the numbers had fallen by 14 percent, and they have stayed relatively stagnant. In the first two weeks of July, the average number of undocumented migrants being stopped at the southern land border every day was 6,800, according to preliminary figures shared internally at CBP and obtained by NBC News.  


  • Seasonal trends are also responsible for the drop, as in most years fewer migrants make the journey during the hot summer months. Human smugglers, also known as coyotes, are often connected to drug cartels and charge migrants thousands of dollars to be transported to the U.S. on dangerous journeys on which some are kidnapped, assaulted or left for dead.


  • Smuggler networks are so widespread throughout the region that it is extremely rare for an undocumented migrant to cross the U.S. southern border on foot without the help of a smuggler. In a statement, a White House official said, “President Biden is taking historic action to disrupt the criminal smuggling networks that are profiting off of migrants, and he brought 20 world leaders together for the first time to do it with him. In just the last two weeks, these efforts resulted in 706 smuggler arrests, and helped prevent up to 1,900 migrants a day from falling prey to dangerous smugglers.”



First On CNN: Human Smugglers Peddle Misinformation To U.S.-Bound Migrants On Facebook, Watchdog Says

By Priscilla Alvarez, CNN, July 27, 2022


  • Human smugglers frequently misrepresent immigration policies and conditions along the US-Mexico border in Facebook and WhatsApp social media posts targeting US-bound migrants, according to a report released by a tech transparency group. 


  • In its new report, the Tech Transparency Project found migrants predominantly relied on word of mouth and online platforms to get information about the route to the U.S. that was often misleading. Posts on Facebook and WhatsApp, which are included in the report, claim that border authorities are letting pregnant women into the U.S., display favorable conditions for border crossings by misrepresenting the state of rivers where migrants will have to pass and offer fake documents. 


  • "Some of the false information posted online about environmental conditions appeared to influence survey respondents' decision-making about their own migration attempts," states the report, which includes interviews with migrants. Migrants, who were interviewed in a survey and who provided some of the posts, said they were aware of the misinformation being disseminated and the accompanying risks, according to anecdotes included in the report. 


  • "What smugglers will do is they will infiltrate those online communities. They will provide information -- very oftentimes manufactured information -- that there's an opportunity to enter the U.S.," said John Cohen, who previously served as temporary head of the Department of Homeland Security's intelligence division. "Last month, the Biden administration also launched an "unprecedented" operation to disrupt human smuggling networks. The operation included deploying hundreds of personnel throughout Latin America and a multimillion-dollar investment. 


  • From April 1 through July 22, authorities arrested 3,533 individuals connected to human smuggling networks and 262 busts, including stash houses, tractor trailers, and compartment and rail car loads, according to the Department of Homeland Security. Of the 200 migrants interviewed, many said they received information about migrating and the journey to the US southern border via word of mouth and platforms, like Facebook and WhatsApp. The posts at times look like travel ads, listing a series of services and guarantees or promising easy journeys. Most pages use descriptors like "coyote," a commonly used term used for human smugglers, to signal the service being offered. Pages are also sometimes categorized as "travel company" or "product/service." Smugglers also advertise on local buy-sell groups where ads show up along with posts about motorcycles and furniture, according to the report. 


  • Facebook's policy prohibits content that "offers to provide or facilitate human smuggling." A Meta spokesperson said the platform removes misinformation when flagged by experts and outlined efforts to fact check information. The spokesperson also noted that WhatsApp, which is an encrypted messaging service, relies on users reporting misinformation. A Peruvian migrant who traveled with his family, including two-year-old daughter, told CNN he felt deceived by the smugglers, adding the travels were more difficult than anticipated. He and his family paid $800 just to cross the river into the U.S. A Colombian migrant similarly shared the challenges of coming to the U.S. He had paid $16,000 to a smuggler for the journey. Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, a professor at George Mason University who studies human smuggling, said smuggling fees can range from $3,000 to $20,000, depending on the circumstances. But in general, migrants will have to pay a fee to cross the US-Mexico border.



Smuggling Migrants At The Border Now A Billion-Dollar Business

By Miriam Jordan, New York Times, July 25, 2022


  • The deaths of 53 migrants in San Antonio last month who were packed in the back of a suffocating tractor-trailer without air conditioning — the deadliest smuggling incident in the country to date — came as tightened U.S. border restrictions, exacerbated by a pandemic-related public health rule, have encouraged more migrants to turn to smugglers. 


  • While migrants have long faced kidnappings and extortion in Mexican border cities, such incidents have been on the rise on the U.S. side, according to federal authorities. More than 5,046 people were arrested and charged with human smuggling last year, up from 2,762 in 2014. Over the past year, federal agents have raided stash houses holding dozens of migrants on nearly a daily basis. 


  • Teófilo Valencia, whose 17- and 19-year-old sons perished in the San Antonio tragedy, said he had taken out a loan against the family home to pay the smugglers $10,000 for each son’s transport. Fees typically range from $4,000, for migrants coming from Latin America, to $20,000, if they must be moved from Africa, Eastern Europe or Asia, according to Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, an expert on smuggling at George Mason University. 


  • For years, independent coyotes paid cartels a tax to move migrants through territory they controlled along the border, and the criminal syndicates stuck to their traditional line of business, drug smuggling, which was far more profitable. The enterprises have teams specializing in logistics, transportation, surveillance, stash houses and accounting — all supporting an industry whose revenues have soared to an estimated $13 billion today from $500 million in 2018, according to Homeland Security Investigations, the federal agency that investigates such cases. Migrants are moved by plane, bus and private vehicles. In some border regions, such as the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, smugglers affix color-coded bands to the wrists of migrants to designate that they belong to them and what services they are receiving.





Deadly San Antonio Immigrant Smuggling Was Billed As ‘VIP’ And ‘Special’

By Steven Santana, MySA, August 2, 2022


  • A collection of texts, photos, and video messages show that more than 60 immigrants collected thousands of dollars to pay for what  smugglers billed as a "VIP" trip across the Texas-Mexico border. Instead, 53 of those immigrants died after being abandoned in the back of hot semi-truck on a San Antonio road on June 27.  


  • Two of the Mexican immigrants that died, Pablo Ortega, 19, and Julio Lopez, 32, received texts from the smugglers promising a "special" and "secure" trip that promised beer, safe houses with video games, and a week at a hunting ranch, Reuters reported. Ortega paid $13,000 and Lopez paid $12,000 to the smugglers for the transport, their families told Reuters.  The wife of one of the victims, Adriana Gonzalez, told Reuters that she heard the smugglers tell her husband that they wouldn't travel through the desert and there wouldn't be any danger. Data from the Mexican government says that price is $2,000 to $7,000 higher than the average payment.


  • Families of the victims that spoke to Reuters also give us a look at who the immigrants were and why they wanted to come to the U.S. Ortega wanted to make it to Florida to meet up with his mom, and to make money to send back to his pregnant girlfriend carrying what would have been his first child. Lopez, who was a sawmill worker from Chiapas, also wanted to earn money to send back to his family to pay for autism care for his youngest of three children.  Two men, Homero Zamorano Jr., 46, of Pasadena, Texas, and Christian Martinez, 28, of Palestine, Texas, were indicted in July in the deaths of the 53 victims. If convicted, they could face life sentences or the death penalty, as well as 20 years for serious injury indictments.



Migrants Escape From Suffocating People-Smuggling Trailer In Mexico

By Tamara Corro, Reuters, August 1, 2022


  • Mexican authorities rescued nearly 100 migrants who escaped from a stifling trailer being driven by a people smuggler in the coastal state of Veracruz, officials said on Thursday, July 28. About 400 migrants were being transported in the trailer, near the small town of Acayucan, when they began to suffocate, authorities in the area told Reuters. 


  • "They broke through the roof of the trailer because they were suffocating and since there was a gas station nearby, the employees there helped them escape," said Jose Dominguez, director of civil protection in nearby Oluta. "Most of them jumped off," paramedic Cristobal Cisneros said, adding that many had been treated for ankle or knee fractures.


  • Dominguez said a 911 call came in at around 9:20 p.m. on Wednesday, July 27 and a total of 94 migrants were found after a search of the truck and nearby brush where some had tried to hide. Thirty-two of those found were from Guatemala, while five Hondurans, four Ecuadorians, two Indians, one Salvadoran and one Nepali were among those on the trailer, Dominguez said, adding that the rest were not identified because they had "left" the scene. 


  • Guatemala's foreign ministry issued a different number on Thursday, saying 89 of the rescued migrants were Guatemalan, 55 adults and the rest minors. According to paramedic Kenya Diaz, some migrants sought help, while others decided to run away, making identification difficult.



Six Migrants Rescued From Tractor-Trailer In Falfurrias, Texas

By MaryAnn Martinez, New York Post, July 29, 2022 


  • Six immigrants were rescued from the back of a produce-filled tractor-trailer in Texas, as they were being smuggled in an operation similar to the tragic incident that left 53 migrants dead in San Antonio in June, officials said. 


  • The transport vehicle was discovered Wednesday, July 27, at a Border Patrol checkpoint in Falfurrias, Texas, about an hour north of McAllen, Texas, the agency said. It was flagged for secondary inspection and searched after a Border Patrol K-9 alerted agents to something suspicious. Inside, the agents found the half-dozen migrants hidden among a cornucopia of fruit — including one man crammed under a stack of various produce and others surrounded by boxes of raspberries, photos of the incident show. All of the migrants appeared to be in good health, unlike the deadly smuggling attempt in San Antonio in June, in which 64 immigrants were trapped in the back of a tractor-trailer with no air conditioning and 53 died. 





 Supreme Court Prevents Biden Administration From Reinstating Limits On ICE Arrests

By Camilo Montoya-Galvez, CBS News, July 21, 2022


  • On July 21, the Supreme Court prevented the Biden administration from immediately reinstating rules that instructed U.S. deportation agents to prioritize the arrest of certain unauthorized immigrants, including those determined to pose a risk to public safety or national security. 


  • In an unsigned order, the high court rejected a request by the administration to pause a ruling by a federal judge in Texas last month that forced the administration to stop enforcing the arrest guidelines issued by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in September 2021. Mayorkas' memo directed Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents to focus on apprehending and deporting migrants deemed to threaten national security or public safety, as well as migrants who crossed a U.S. border unlawfully after November 2020. The rules effectively exempted immigrants who have been living in the U.S. without legal permission for years from ICE arrest and deportation, as long as they did not commit serious crimes.


  • Last month, however, U.S. District Court Judge Drew Tipton declared Mayorkas' guidelines unlawful and set them aside, granting a request by Texas and Louisiana. The administration asked the New Orleans-based 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to pause the ruling, but the appellate court denied the request. In its request to the Supreme Court earlier this month, the Justice Department said Tipton's order contradicted the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling. It also said Tipton's ruling was part of a broader trend of lawsuits that "enmesh the Judiciary in policy disputes between States and the federal government that should be — and, until recently, were — resolved through the democratic process."





ICE Is Developing New ID Card For Migrants Amid Growing Arrivals At The Border

By Priscilla Alvarez, CNN, July 22, 2022


  • The Biden administration is developing a new identification card for migrants to serve as a one-stop shop to access immigration files and, eventually, be accepted by the Transportation Security Administration for travel, according to two Homeland Security officials. 


  • The initiative is part of an ongoing effort by the Biden administration to streamline processes that have often led to confusion among immigrants who are in removal proceedings -- and comes as officials grapple with growing arrivals at the US-Mexico border. But officials say the card, likened to a photo ID, will facilitate accountability in the immigration process. The card -- dubbed a "Secure Docket Card" -- is expected to include name and nationality, as well as a QR code to access a new portal with relevant immigration information. That portal is intended to provide a simpler way for individuals to update their information and check in with federal authorities as they go through the immigration process.


  • The card is expected to also be provided to immigrants in detention. "Fifty percent of the problems that migrants have in just staying accountable in the process is because we're not communicating well," one DHS official said. "People are going to be smoothly, efficiently, humanely working through the immigration process." The card can be used as identification but can't be used to register to vote. Only US citizens can vote. Eventually, the card could also be utilized at airports for travel in the future, the official said. TSA currently accepts some immigration documents as valid identification to travel. 


  • "The ICE Secure Docket Card (SDC) program is part of a pilot program to modernize various forms of documentation provided to provisionally released noncitizens through a consistent, verifiable, secure card. The secure card will contain a photo, biographic identifiers, and cutting-edge security features to the mutual benefit of the government and noncitizens," an ICE spokesperson said in a statement. "Specifics of the program are still under development, but a primary goal of the SDC is to improve current, inconsistent paper forms that often degrade rapidly in real world use. Pending the outcome of the pilot, ICE will consider further expansion," the spokesperson added. A recent report from the House Appropriations Committee report mentioned the so-called ICE Secure Docket Card program and the $10 million appropriated to get it off the ground. The card will also supplement those who are enrolled in "alternatives to detention," or ATD, according to the DHS official. A rapidly growing number of people have been placed in ATD following a shift away from detention and the arrival of more nationalities that can't be turned away under a Trump-era pandemic emergency rule.





White House Defends Construction On Border Wall

By Devan Markham and Nexstar Media Wire, The Hill, August 2, 2022 


  • The White House is defending a Homeland Security decision to close four gaps in the border wall in an open area of southern Arizona near Yuma, one of the busiest sectors for illegal crossings. The Biden administration authorized the completion of the Trump-funded U.S.-Mexico border wall on Thursday, July 29, 2022. The president had pledged during his campaign to cease all future wall construction, but the administration later agreed to some barriers, citing safety. The Department of Homeland Security said Thursday [July 29] the work to close four wide gaps in the wall near Yuma will better protect migrants who can slip down a slope or drown walking through a low section of the Colorado River. Homeland Security said that the area presents safety and life hazard risks for both immigrants and agents, particularly around a section of the Colorado River. A 5-year-old girl recently drowned while crossing the Colorado River in Yuma near this section, where the wall is scheduled to be reinforced. And authorities have reported 235,230 migrant encounters in the Yuma sector since October of 2021.





ACLU Calls On Feds To Investigate Abbott’s Policy Transporting Migrants Back To Border

By James Barragán, Texas Tribune, August 8, 2022


  • The American Civil Liberties Union is calling on the federal government to stop cooperating with Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order authorizing state troopers to transport migrants back to the border ports of entry – escalating a debate over the state’s authority to enforce immigration laws. 


  • The request by ACLU Texas and the group’s national leadership for the Biden administration to investigate the state’s latest immigration policy comes a week after The Texas Tribune reported on how state troopers are transferring suspected migrants to the port of entry in Eagle Pass and turning them over to federal immigration authorities. 


  • Abbott had authorized the practice in a July 7 executive order but provided little clarity on how the migrants would be transported and under what authority they were being detained. Immigration law enforcement is a federal responsibility but Abbott’s order is taking unprecedented steps that are encroaching on that authority. 


  • Local law enforcement authorities have previously turned over immigrants in their custody at the request of federal immigration authorities. But they have traditionally held them at the location where the immigrants already were, like a jail or detention center. Abbott’s order authorizes Texas Department of Public Safety officers to drive migrants to the border ports of entry where immigration authorities can more easily process the immigrants. The ACLU on Monday, August 8, called for an investigation by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. The ACLU asked the agency to: monitor the Eagle Pass port of entry to ensure federal agents are acting appropriately; collect and publicize data on the purported state authority for the transfer of people from Texas DPS to federal immigration agents; identify gaps in U.S. Customs and Border Protection policies related to this practice and issue relevant recommendations; and take all appropriate steps to identify and address civil rights violations that could be occurring as a result of Abbott’s order. The civil liberties group also called on the federal government to stop taking migrants transported by state authorities into their custody. 
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“This Is Horrific,” New York City Mayor Says Of Greg Abbott’s Policy As Second Busload Of Migrants From Texas Arrives

By Sneha Dey, Texas Tribune, August 7, 2022


  • When a second busload of migrants arrived in New York City from the Texas border on Sunday, August 8, Mayor Eric Adams was there to greet them — and again slam Gov. Greg Abbott for the move. 


  • “This is horrific, when you think about what the governor is doing,” Adams said at the Port Authority bus terminal, where 14 migrants were dropped off early Sunday morning, Politico reported. Officials had expected 40 people to be on the bus, but Adams said some migrants appear to have gotten off at other stops along the route. Adams said some migrants were forced onto the bus, including families who wanted to go to locations other than New York, according to Politico. Since April, Abbott has been sending newly arrived migrants to Democratic-leaning cities on the East Coast to put pressure on the Biden administration to secure the southwest border. 


  • More than 6,000 migrants have arrived in Washington, D.C., from Texas, prompting Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser to ask the U.S. Department of Defense to deploy the National Guard to help with the migrants. On Friday, August 5, Abbott announced that buses would start going to New York City; 50 migrants arrived in the city on Friday.



Legal Questions Shroud Gov. Greg Abbott’s Move To Bus Migrants Back To The Border

By James Barragán and Uriel J. García, Texas Tribune, August 1, 2022


  • State and local law enforcement have long transferred custody of undocumented migrants to federal immigration authorities after they’ve been arrested. But previously it’s been the federal government’s job to pick them up. Abbott’s decision to arrest migrants and actively bring them back to the border, essentially forcing such a handoff, represents a broadening of the state’s role in the immigration enforcement process. 


  • But experts disagree on how significant it is or whether it’s intruding on a federal responsibility and stretching the legal limits of the state’s efforts on the border.  “There are ongoing questions about what authority they have to bus people from one location to another,” said Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, policy director at the American Immigration Council. “Legally speaking, is that immigration enforcement? I still don’t know.” 


  • Getting answers has been difficult. Although the program [Operation Lone Star] has been operating since July 9, state and federal officials have ducked questions about how it works, refusing to say where the migrants are being transported to and from, what they are being arrested for and what happens to them after they are turned over to federal immigration authorities. The only way The Texas Tribune was able to confirm that federal authorities are accepting custody of the migrants was by staking out the Eagle Pass port of entry and witnessing the exchange in person. 


  • Abbott announced his plans in early July to authorize DPS troopers and National Guard service members stationed at the border to arrest migrants caught crossing the border illegally and return them to the ports of entry. They immediately raised alarms for immigrant rights advocates who said Abbott’s plan was veering into the federal government’s purview over immigration enforcement and could lead to violations of the migrants’ civil rights because it was unclear what authority state officials were using to hold them under custody.


  • A spokesperson for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which oversees Border Patrol, didn’t answer questions about how Abbott’s latest order affects agents’ work on the ground. Instead, the spokesperson referred to comments made by Chris Magnus, Customs and Border Protection commissioner, earlier this month during a news conference in Washington in which he responded to a question about Abbott’s order.



Texas Gov. Abbott Sent More Than 5,100 Migrants To Washington. Now, DC Mayor Says Her City Is At A 'Tipping Point'

By Colin McCullough, Sonnet Swire and Dan Berman, CNN, July 29, 2022


  • Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser is asking for aid from the DC National Guard to help with migrants being sent by bus from Texas, according to a letter obtained by CNN affiliate WUSA. The mayor's office says the city is now at a "tipping point."


  • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has been organizing buses to bring migrants to DC in an effort to highlight his criticism of Biden administration's immigration policies. According to Abbott's office, more than 5,100 migrants have arrived in Washington from Texas on more than 135 buses. The first bus arrived in mid-April, but city officials and non-government organizations working with the migrants -- who travel voluntarily -- have been increasingly concerned about the pace of arrivals over recent weeks. 


  • The mayor's office is requesting to convert the DC Armory, Joint Base Bolling, Fort McNair or another "suitable federal location in the National Capital Region" into a processing center for the migrants. The regional welcome center established to aid the migrants in Montgomery County, Maryland, is at capacity, according to the request. 


  • Abbott's office says that DC's request for help proves his point about the need for the White House to better address its immigration policies. "Washington, DC, finally understands what Texans have been dealing with every single day, as our communities are overrun and overwhelmed by thousands of illegal immigrants thanks to President (Joe) Biden's open border policies," Abbott's press secretary Renae Eze said in a statement to CNN. "If the mayor wants a solution to this crisis, she should call on President Biden to take immediate action to secure the border -- something he has failed to do," Eze added.





4 Migrant Parents File Lawsuit Alleging Trump’s Child Separation Policy Traumatized Them

By Julia Ainsley, Didi Martinez and Jacob Soboroff. NBC News, July 25, 2022


  • Three mothers and one father separated from their minor children after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border during the Trump administration sued the U.S. government seeking damages for the trauma they say they experienced from the ordeal, according to a federal court filing in Arizona. 


  • The filing marks a change in strategy for the migrant families who previously sought a settlement with the Biden Justice Department only to have those negotiations fall apart last fall.  “Each of the four plaintiff families were separated with no notice, no information, and no plan for reunification,” attorneys for the plaintiffs wrote in the filing.  “For weeks, the parents and children were detained separately, sometimes thousands of miles apart. For weeks, the parents and children begged to be reunited. And for weeks, the government —due to a combination of ineptitude and cruelty — refused to provide information on their loved ones’ whereabouts, well-being or whether they would ever see each other again.” 


  • Separately from this lawsuit, lawyers representing separated families are advocating that they have the right to permanently stay and work in the United States. They claim the trauma they experienced should entitle them to protections, but so far the Biden administration has not agreed to that carve out for the more than 5,000 families separated by the Trump administration. 



It Will Now Be Harder For Unaccompanied Immigrant Children To Languish In Government Custody

By Adolfo Flores, BuzzFeed News, July 28, 2022 


  • On July 28, the U.S. reached a settlement that establishes fingerprinting deadlines for parents and sponsors trying to get unaccompanied immigrant children out of government custody. Under the settlement, which expires in two years, the government has seven days to schedule fingerprinting appointments and 10 days to finish processing them. 


  • The Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), which houses immigrant children who cross the border alone, will also be required to regularly release reports that would, for the first time, track how long fingerprinting takes. 


  • In 2018, the Trump administration started requiring every household member where an unaccompanied child would be living to undergo fingerprinting and an extensive background check, instead of only the sponsor. The policy also required that parents be fingerprinted, which had previously only been done when there was a safety concern. 


  • The widened scope of who was required to be fingerprinted increased the amount of time immigrant children spent in ORR custody by weeks and in some cases even months.  The settlement's deadlines establish measures that would make it difficult for a future administration to reinstate a fingerprinting policy like the one named in the lawsuit, said Stephen Kang, an attorney for the ACLU, which took part in the legal action.



Biden Administration Task Force Reunites 400 Migrant Families Separated Under Trump

By Julia Ainsley and Jacob Soboroff, NBC News, August 2, 2022


  • The Biden administration has reunited 400 children with their parents after they were separated as migrants crossing the southern border under the Trump administration, said Michelle Brané, the executive director of the Family Reunification Task Force.  


  • More than 5,000 families were separated under Trump’s 2018 “zero tolerance” policy and a 2017 pilot program and advocates estimate over 1,000 remain separated. Because the Trump administration did not keep records of which children were separated and where they were sent, the task force and lawyers working on behalf of separated families have had a difficult time identifying families to offer them the chance of reunification.  


  • In the majority of recently reunited cases, Brané said, the parents were deported while the children remained in the U.S. Now, parents are given the opportunity to come to the U.S. on paid travel, bring other members of their family who are dependent on them, and live and work in the U.S. legally for three years. Brané said the reunification also includes mental health services for families both before and after reunification. She said many of the families have suffered from profound mental health issues after their separation and counseling is often needed before they reunify. 





Abbott's Border Buses Cost $1,400+ Per Rider, Taxpayers Could Be Stuck With Bills

By Scott Friedman, Eva Parks and Jose Sanchez, NBC DFW, June 15, 2022


  • NBC 5 Investigates has obtained state records showing the cost of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s plan to bus undocumented immigrants from the border to Washington D.C. has cost more than $1,400 per rider so far. It's a price tag that is higher than the cost of a first class plane ticket from some Texas border towns to the nation’s capital.  


  • The documents, obtained through an open records request to the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM), show busing costs exceeded $1.6 million in April and May, and the total bill may be higher. The records suggest the state has not received invoices for all of the trip expenses yet. Passenger logs TDEM provided show 1,154 passengers were transported in the early months of the program. That means the approximate per-passenger cost has been at least $1,442. In an online search this week, NBC 5 Investigates found plane tickets from border towns McAllen and Del Rio, Texas, to Washington D.C. for about $200-$300. First class tickets were in the $800-900 range, still less than the cost of a seat on the Republican governor’s border buses.  Our search showed that even a coach plane ticket and a night at a five-star hotel near the White House could cost about half of the price of the state-funded bus trips.



TWO MORE Buses Carrying 95 Migrants Arrive In NYC A Day After Mayor Eric Adams Threatened To 'Send Busload Of New Yorkers To Texas' To Unseat Gov. Greg Abbott

By Melissa Koenig, Dailymail, August 10, 2022 


  • Two more buses carrying illegal immigrants arrived in the Big Apple on Wednesday, August 10, just one day after Mayor Eric Adams threatened to send New Yorkers to Texas in an effort to unseat its Republican governor. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott began sending buses of undocumented immigrants to New York City last week in protest of President Joe Biden's plan to end a pandemic-era program that allowed border agents to more easily thwart crossings. 


  • He has already bused in thousands of people from Texas, and on Wednesday two more buses pulled into the Port Authority at around 7.45am carrying 95 people each. At least five of the incoming migrants were women, one of whom was pictured carrying two young children. City officials said Abbott did not provide them with any warning about when the migrants would come, but they were prepared at the scene to offer medical evaluations and other services as they decide what to do with these new arrivals. 


  • In his news conference on Tuesday, August 9, New York City’s mayor announced that the city's shelter system has been overwhelmed by 4,000 immigrants who have flooded into the city looking for shelter and work. The city's daily shelter census is now running over 50,000 people a day, which is about 10 percent higher than normal, NBC 4 New York reports.



Record Numbers Of Migrants Cross Southern Border, With Two Million Annual Total In Sight

By Michelle Hackman, Wall Street Journal, August 15, 2022


  • Border Patrol agents have made about 1.82 million arrests at the southern border in the government’s fiscal year that began in October, new figures published Monday, August 15, show, the second year under the Biden administration that arrests hit a record.


  • In July, agents arrested about 182,000 migrants crossing the border illegally, with about two-thirds of those arrested being single adults. About 22% of those arrested involved repeat border crossers. The monthly figure suggests that, if trends at the border hold, arrests for the fiscal year, which ends in September, will likely eclipse two million for the first time. 


  • July marked the second month of declining arrests, down 19% from the high in May. It’s not clear what is driving the decline, though it is likely a mix of stepped-up immigration enforcement by Mexico and an effort by the U.S. government to prosecute migrant smugglers, experts said. Part of the explanation for the historic numbers is supply and demand. The pandemic hit Latin America’s economies harder than any region in the world, experts say, throwing millions of people out of work and creating a far greater supply of people willing to take low-wage jobs in the U.S. 


  • At the same time, the U.S. economy rebounded quickly, creating strong demand for the kinds of low-paying jobs that migrants normally take. Smugglers also told migrants that President Biden’s immigration policies would prove more lenient, an idea that took hold once word spread through WhatsApp chats and Facebook posts that at least some people who had attempted to reach the U.S. were allowed to stay. Another factor behind the surge, however, is more surprising: a U.S. policy meant to deter migration appears to have backfired. At the outset of the pandemic, the Trump administration implemented a little known health law from the 1940s called Title 42 that allowed it to quickly expel any migrants at the border on grounds they might bring Covid-19 into the U.S. The Biden administration recently attempted to end the policy, but was blocked by a federal court.



'We Can't Wait Any Longer!' Arizona Governor Doug Ducey Starts Building $6m Makeshift Border Wall

By Harriet Alexander, and Associated Press, August 13, 2022


  • Arizona began moving in shipping containers to close a 1,000-foot gap in the border wall near the southern Arizona farming community of Yuma on Friday, August 12, with officials saying they were acting to stop migrants after repeated, unfulfilled promises from the Biden administration to block off the area. 


  • The Yuma sector of the border, 126 miles long, has seen an almost 300 percent increase in 'border encounters' - migrants arrested by Customs and Border Protection agents - this year, compared to the same time frame in 2021. The spike is the highest recorded by any of the nine sectors: two in California, two in Arizona, one in New Mexico and Texas, and four solely in Texas. 


  • Yuma has seen the third highest total number of 'encounters' this year - beaten only by Del Rio and the Rio Grande sectors, both in Texas. The move by Arizona comes without explicit permission on federal land, with state contractors starting to move in 60-foot-long shipping containers, stacking two of the 9-foot-tall containers on top of each other early Friday.  They plan to complete the job within days, and the containers will be topped with four feet of razor wire, said Katie Ratlief, deputy chief of staff for the governor, Doug Ducey. The state plans to fill three gaps in the border wall constructed during former President Donald Trump's tenure in the coming weeks, totaling 3,000 feet.



COVID Delays Cause U.S. Immigration Backlogs To Spiral 

By Andrea Castillo, Los Angeles Times, August 4, 2022


  • Immense backlogs are grinding U.S. immigration processes to a crawl. Unprecedented delays processing millions of visas, work permits, green cards and naturalization petitions, as well as cases languishing in immigration courts, are so severe that experts say they can’t be resolved without significant reforms. It has been more than three decades since Congress approved a major overhaul to the U.S. immigration system, which involves a patchwork of pathways spread across multiple federal agencies depending on factors including a person’s country of origin, family ties and profession. 


  • The Trump administration implemented time-consuming changes — longer application forms, requests for additional evidence, more scrutiny for renewals — that extended existing backlogs to unmanageable levels at every step. One study from the Cato Institute estimates that 1.6 million people who, have been sponsored by relatives for a green card, will die before they can come to the U.S. legally. 


  • Applications pending with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services increased since the start of the pandemic by a third, reaching nearly 8.6 million in March. Immigration courts have 1.8 million pending cases, up 25% from the beginning of the fiscal year, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a nonpartisan research center at Syracuse University. As U.S. consulates reopened after pandemic closures, wait times for visa appointments skyrocketed. 


  • The State Department reported last month that nearly 410,000 immigrant visa applicants, whose cases are otherwise complete, still don’t have an interview scheduled. That’s compared with an average of 61,000 applicants who were in the same position in 2019. Wait times for visa interviews now vary widely among consulates, according to a Cato report last month. Tourists and business travelers wait 247 days on average, up from just 17 days before the pandemic. At the Santiago, Chile, consulate, the wait can take up to 886 days — 2½ years.



'A Living Hell': Migrant Detainees Detail Alleged Mistreatment In A Florida ICE Facility As Groups File Federal Complaint

By Belisa Morillo, Noticias Telemundo, August 12, 2022


  • Guillermo De León Serrabi, a 22-year-old Salvadoran who was held at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Baker County Detention Center, alleges he has lost part of his hearing because of beatings he received at the hands of guards at the facility. His allegations are part of a federal complaint filed by 16 civil rights organizations against practices at the detention center, which is located in Macclenny, Florida. The complaint was sent to several Department of Homeland Security agencies and the Miami ICE office.   The groups cite "inhumane conditions," including excessive use of force and physical assault, verbal abuse, "racialized harassment" and medical neglect. The federal complaint is calling for ICE to terminate the contract with Baker County, which runs the facility. It is also asking for an investigation, the release of some of the detainees -- especially those held over 120 days -- and a halt to any scheduled deportations.



What Is DACA? Who Are The Dreamers? Qualifications, Path To Citizenship, Explained.

By Anna Kaufman, USA TODAY, August 16, 2022


In the coming weeks a decision from a panel of federal judges in New Orleans is anticipated, determining whether the DACA program will continue on. 


  • What is DACA? DACA is a U.S. government program that allows for work authorization and puts a temporary hold on deportation for those who were brought into the country illegally as children. 


  • What does DACA stand for? DACA is an acronym for Deferred Action for Childhood arrivals. 


  • What are Dreamers? Dreamers, or DREAMers, is a commonly used name in political discourse to describe the group of people impacted by the DREAM Act. DREAMers refers to the larger population of undocumented youth brought to the United States as minors, while DACA refers only to those who applied for and received the Obama-era program. The DREAM Act, or the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, would have provided a path to legal status for those who are undocumented and came to the US as children. It was first introduced in 2001, and since over 10 versions have tried to make it through Congress but none have passed.


  • Who qualifies for DACA? According to the Undocumented Student Program at the University of California Berkeley, to be eligible to receive DACA, the qualifications are: 
    • Under 31 years old as of June 15, 2012
    • Arrived in the US prior to your 16th birthday
    • Physically present in the US on June 15, 2012 and at the time of DACA application
    • Lived continuously in the US from June 15, 2007 to present 
    • Arrived in the US without documents prior to  June 15, 2012, or legal status expired as of that date
    • Enrolled in or have graduated from high school or earned a GED/certificate of completion. Having been honorably discharged from the Coast Guard or military also qualifies you as does a technical and trade school completion 
    • Have not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors.


  • Does DACA have an age limit? According to the United States Department of Homeland Security, the DACA age requirements are as follows:
    • You must have been under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012, to be considered for DACA.
    • You must be at least 15 years of age or older at the time of filing, if you have never been in removal proceedings, or your proceedings were terminated before your DACA request.
    • You can apply for DACA if you are under 15, if you are in removal proceedings, have a final removal order,or have a voluntary departure order, and are not in immigration detention.


  • How long does DACA last? DACA lasts two years before recipients need renewal. It is suggested you apply for renewal four to five months prior to the expiration date, however, as requests take awhile to process. The expiration date can be found on the I-797, Notice of Action received upon approval of your original DACA request. 


  • Is DACA still available?  Yes and no. While those who have received DACA in the past can renew, new initial applications for DACA are not being granted. In July of 2021, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas held that the DACA policy was "illegal.” That same court then temporarily stayed its order, making so that those who had received DACA on or before July 16, 2021, when the court made its decision could be granted renewal requests. Currently, DHS will still accept both initial and renewal applications but is prohibited from granting any of the initial requests and their accompanying asks for employment authorization. 


  • Can DACA recipients travel? DACA recipients can travel within the fifty states, and to US territories but to travel internationally 'advance parole; from US Citizenship and Immigration Services need to be granted prior to departure. 


  • How much does DACA cost? U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services lists the filing fee for DACA as $495. The fee covers employment authorization and biometric services and there is not option to waive it. 


  • Can DACA recipients marry a US citizen? Yes. The U.S. doesn't have rules against non-citizens marrying citizens. This union will be legally binding just like any other. 


  • Can DACA guarantee a green card or citizenship? No. DACA is strictly a program for deferral of deportation and work authorization. It does not guarantee a path to citizenship though this has been a wish list item for legislative champions of immigration reform for years.



Governor Ducey Issues Executive Order To Fill Gaps In Border Wall
Office of Governor Doug Ducey, August 12, 2022


  • On August 12, 2022, Governor Doug Ducey issued an Executive Order directing the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs to immediately fill the gaps in the Yuma border wall. 


  • Fortifying the border will be 60 double-stacked shipping containers, reinforced with concertina wire at the top.  The shipping containers will reach about 22-feet high. The state-owned, 8,800-pound, 9-by-40-feet containers will be linked together and welded shut. The panels of the border wall constructed during the Trump administration are 30-feet high. 


  • The barrier mission delivers on the most meaningful border security legislation in Arizona history, which passed the Arizona Legislature this year. Of the $335 million investment in the Arizona Border Security Fund to construct and maintain a border fence, it will take $6 million to fill the thousand-foot gap in Yuma. The Yuma Sector saw 235,230 migrant encounters from October 2021 to June 2022 – an ominous acceleration for the sector which already experienced the highest yearly increase among all sectors in fiscal year 2021.



Abbott Hasn't Raised Enough Private Funds To Cover Chartered Migrant Buses To East Coast, Reports Say

By Shepard Price, San Antonio Express-News, August 16, 2022


  • A state government fundraiser to help bus migrants to Washington, D.C., and New York City has raised over $100,000 in private donations but, according to reports, does not match the costs associated with the initiative. The fundraiser was set up as part of Gov. Greg Abbott's "Operation Lone Star" border mission, which includes busing migrants to "sanctuary cities." 


  • As of July 22, Texas has raised $118,297. Officials have not provided an updated total since then. According to officials, the state has bused more than 6,900 migrants to the nation's capitol and another 360 to New York since April. The amount the state has raised falls short of the costs it has incurred, according to media reports. The Washington Examiner, an American conservative website, says Texas received nearly $7 million in receipts from busing and security contractors in mid-July. NBC Dallas reported that buses coming from the border region charged $1,400 per rider in April and May. When the plan was initially launched in April, Abbott's office cited an "outpouring of support from across our state and the entire country of people wanting to help and donate to the operation," according to the Texas Tribune. Initially, the state raised $63,000 in its first week but only $55,000 since. The fundraiser states that any unused border transportation funding will be applied to Texas border wall funding. The fundraiser began in April. According to the Texas Tribune, busing is voluntary for migrants, and Texas cities and counties must also request the transportation for those immigrants who want to stay in the U.S.



Gov. Abbott Is Helping Migrants Stay In U.S. By Busing Them To NY

By Benjamin Wermund, Washington Bureau, August 16, 2022


  • By busing immigrants seeking asylum in the United States to New York City, Gov. Greg Abbott is giving them a free ride to a place where they are likely to have a much easier time making their cases to stay in the country than if they were to remain in Texas. 


  • In Texas’ largest immigration courts, in Houston, judges are notoriously hard on asylum cases. Since October, they have denied 83 percent of them, according to data from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University. The courts in New York City, meanwhile, have approved 82 percent of asylum cases in that time, well above the national average of roughly 50 percent. “Abbott is practically ensuring that these migrants will be allowed to stay in the country,” said Austin Kocher, a Syracuse University professor who studies immigration data. “He’s doing them a favor.” 


  • Asylum-seekers pleading their cases in Houston, meanwhile, are among the least likely in the nation to win. Immigration judges in Houston denied between 89 percent and 100 percent of cases from fiscal years 2016 to 2021, according to a Syracuse University analysis of over 223,469 asylum decisions nationwide. The courts in Houston are not the only immigration courts in Texas, but they are the biggest in the state and the most comparable to New York. The courts in Houston and New York are two of six sets across the country that decide roughly half the nation’s asylum cases.