A chronology of events related to U.S. border governance and migration

May 28, 2020

  • CBP paints 450 feet of the new border wall in San Luis, Arizona, to test the operational benefits of painting the wall black as the president continually suggests. Depending on what paint is used, it could cost up to $1.2 million per mile to paint the wall. There do not appear to be significant structural advantages to the project.

Tags: Fencing

May 28, 2020

  • Buzzfeed reports that after ICE’s abrupt deportation of Hector García Mendoza to Nuevo Laredo, he has gone missing. Nuevo Laredo has a reputation as a dangerous place for migrants, with many reports of kidnappings, extortion, and assault by cartels. ICE deported García Mendoza the same day a federal judge put a hold on his deportation.

Tags: Deportations, Human Rights, Migration, Nuevo Laredo

May 28, 2020

  • “Sanitation tunnels” near the port of entry in Nogales, Sonora, are received with skepticism. The “tunnels” are inflatable arches that drivers walk through to be sprayed with disinfectant. They have been installed across Mexico near hospitals, clinics, and police stations. Mexican Health Secretary Hugo López-Gatell calls the tunnels a waste of money that could unintentionally spread COVID-19, as the chemicals can cause people to cough.

Tags: Nogales, Public Health

May 27, 2020

  • According to a CBP spokesman, about half of the 250 landowners in the path of the 69-mile project planned for Laredo, Texas have signed rights of entry to allow the government to survey for the wall. There has not been much construction in Texas due to private property disputes. The administration has sued landowners throughout the year and progressed into the second round of lawsuits in some regions.

Tags: Fencing, Laredo

May 27, 2020

  • The University of Texas at Austin’s Strauss Center releases an incredibly detailed report on migrant deaths in south Texas over the last two decades. The report compiles 2,655 cases in the region collected from 1990 up until 2020, with an additional 615 cases accounting for deaths in the Rio Grande. 

Tags: Human Rights, Migrant Deaths, Migration

May 26, 2020

  • Despite the president’s recent claim that “up to over 200 miles of brand-new beautiful border wall,” the Washington Post reports that according to CBP data, 194 miles of wall have been built. Only 16 of the 194 miles that have been constructed were built in places where fencing did not already exist.

Tags: Fencing

May 26, 2020

  • Voice of San Diego reports on increasing immigration checkpoints in rural northeastern San Diego, California. It focuses on the racial profiling and improper treatment of people by CBP agents.

Tags: Organizational Culture, San Diego

May 25, 2020

  • At this point, no one at the migrant border camp in Matamoros, Mexico, has tested positive for COVID-19. The camp is receiving support from Global Response Management (GRM). Many of the nurses and doctors running the border clinics in Matamoros are Cuban asylum seekers themselves.

Tags: Asylum, Humanitarian aid, Migration, Public Health, Shelters

May 25, 2020

  • The Trump administration’s 69-mile border construction plans in Laredo, Texas, would cut right through the city’s historic downtown. The Laredo City Council leads the charge against the wall, as the federal government recently sued the city for refusing access to 1,000 acres of city-owned riverfront. The issue is currently pending before a local federal judge. 

Tags: Fencing, Laredo

May 25, 2020

  • Local ranchers near Nogales, Arizona, and conservationists criticize the Trump administration’s recently awarded $1.3 billion contract to Fisher Sand and Gravel for 42 miles of border construction in the area. The administration waived multiple protective land laws for the project and it would disrupt cattle ranching Forest Service land used by locals for generations.

Tags: Environment, Fencing, Nogales

May 21, 2020

  • UNICEF releases a report regarding the over 1,000 unaccompanied children expelled to Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, or Honduras since March. UNICEF calls on the U.S. to end the deportations of unaccompanied children, as well as those “without prior adequate protection and health screenings.” UNICEF urges governments to take additional concrete measures to protect the wellbeing of uprooted children in general.

Tags: Expulsions, Human Rights, Migration, Public Health, Unaccompanied Children

May 21, 2020

  • Amnesty International releases a report on family separations throughout the border closure due to the pandemic. It focuses on three “family residential centers” in the United States: the Berks County Residential Center in Pennsylvania, the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas, and the Karnes County Residential Center in Karnes City, Texas.

Tags: Detention, Family Separation, Human Rights, Migration

May 20, 2020

  •  The ACLU criticizes the indefinite extension of the order enabling the deportation of thousands throughout the pandemic. The ACLU states that CBP has unjustly been able to prevent 99.99% of migrants from applying for asylum due to acquired internal CBP guidance, which directs agents to turn away anyone who can not “make an affirmative, spontaneous, and reasonably believable claim that they fear being tortured in the country they are being sent back two.”

Tags: Asylum, Deportation, Human Rights, Migration, Public Health

May 20, 2020

  • Sin Embargo reports on how Ciudad Juárez is attempting to mitigate the spread of coronavirus among migrants. The operation includes a “filter hotel,” established on May 9, where migrants who arrive in the city quarantine with frequent checkups before being allowed to access a migrant shelter. It is supervised by specialists and doctors, many of whom are migrants themselves. The “hotel” has a capacity of 108 people and has hosted 22 people so far.

Tags: Migration, Public Health, Shelters

May 20, 2020

  • NPR releases a two-part series investigating the increasing pressure put on refugees seeking safety in the United States from the southern border. It follows migrants waiting in Ciudad Juárez who are living through the United States’ rapid policy changes, and also focuses on the support the Trump administration receives from the Mexican government despite public rejection of U.S. policies. 

Tags: Asylum, Expulsions, Human Rights, Migration, Shelters

May 19, 2020

  • CBP and ICE announce that Mexican migrants caught crossing the border into the United States will now be expelled via air flight to Mexico City instead of back to border cities. The expulsion policy will stay in place indefinitely and will be reviewed every 30 days.

Tags: Expulsions, Migration, Public Health

May 19, 2020

  • DHS Secretary Chad Wolf announces that the border restrictions between the U.S. and Mexico will be in effect until June 22, extending the March order for the second time. At this time, Mexico has reported nearly 52,000 cases and 5,300 deaths, while the United States has 1.54 million confirmed cases and almost 91,000 confirmed deaths. 

Tags: Migration, Public Health