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

December 9, 2020

  • The Trump administration is proposing a far-reaching overhaul of the asylum system that would make it harder for applicants to win humanitarian protection in the U.S. and would allow the government to quickly deport many more asylum seekers at the border. The proposal, made public Wednesday by the Justice and Homeland Security Departments, would mean most asylum applicants are no longer entitled to a full court proceeding to hear their claims, as they are now.

Tags: Human Rights, Migration, U.S. Policy

December 9, 2020

  • The number of unaccompanied migrant children arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border has nearly doubled in recent weeks, and smugglers are using riskier tactics to get them across, a top U.S. Border Patrol official says. Agents are apprehending an average of 153 young migrants a day at the border since October, up from about 80 a day earlier this year, Deputy Chief Raul Ortiz, Border Patrol’s second in command, said in an interview with USA TODAY.

Tags: Border and Migration Politics, Migration, U.S. Policy

December 8, 2020

  • Two whistle-blowers have accused contractors building President Trump’s border wall of smuggling armed Mexican security teams into the United States to guard construction sites, even building an illegal dirt road to speed the operation, according to court documents unsealed by a federal judge on Friday.

Tags: Border and Migration Politics, Fencing, U.S. Policy

December 8, 2020

  • Congress will vote this week on a one-week stopgap measure to fund the federal government in order to give negotiators more time to reach agreement on government appropriations and emergency stimulus legislation for the ailing American economy.

Tags: Border and Migration Politics, Fencing, U.S. Policy

December 3, 2020

  • An El Paso immigrant detention facility has the largest current detainee COVID-19 outbreak of any Immigrations and Customs Enforcement facility in the United States. As of Nov. 30, 44 detainees at El Paso Service Processing Center have COVID-19, according to ICE’s website. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 301 detainees in El Paso have tested positive for the virus. The next largest outbreak is 35 at a detention facility in Pearsall, Texas.

Tags: Human Rights, Migration, Public Health, U.S. Policy

December 2, 2020

  • Legal advocates tasked by a federal judge with helping to find migrant families separated at the U.S. border in 2017 and 2018 say that after months of pleas, the government last week handed over new data that could be critical to helping them find the families.

Tags: Human Rights, Migration, U.S. Policy

December 2, 2020

  • President Trump’s vision for a wall along the Mexico border will remain unfinished when he leaves office in January. The president-elect, Joe Biden, has pledged to stop construction after he is inaugurated, leaving Trump’s monumental project half-built and broken up by gaps. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials and military planners at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have had urgent meetings in recent days to prepare for Biden’s likely stop-work order, according to officials at both agencies who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the conversations publicly.

Tags: Border and Migration Politics, Fencing, U.S. Policy

December 2, 2020

  • Texas Democrats plan to hold President-elect Joe Biden to his campaign pledge not to build “another foot of wall” to separate the nation’s southern border from Mexico. The state party’s executive committee on Saturday is scheduled to consider a resolution asking the incoming Democratic administration to rescind Republican President Trump’s 2019 emergency order that allowed him to divert billions of federal dollars to the project he had pushed for throughout his presidency.

Tags: Border and Migration Politics, Fencing, U.S. Policy

December 1, 2020

  • Human smugglers are exploiting the enforcement policies that President Donald Trump’s administration set in motion along the U.S.-Mexico border, including large-scale restrictions to stop the spread of COVID-19 and the ongoing construction of physical barriers. Those U.S. policies — coupled with the precarious living situations for thousands of migrants that the pandemic has exacerbated in Mexico — are creating ripe conditions for smugglers. The result is a dramatic rise in human smuggling activity across southern Arizona over the past year, according to multiple federal and local law enforcement agencies in the state.

Tags: Border and Migration Politics, Migration, Public Health, U.S. Policy

November 26, 2020

  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials have shut down the South Texas warehouse where chain-link enclosures were deplored as “cages” during the Trump administration’s crackdown on migrant families and children. The facility will undergo renovations until 2022, CBP officials said.

Tags: Border and Migration Politics, Migration, U.S. Policy

November 24, 2020

  • Three Mexican nationals tied to cross-border trucking companies were charged in San Diego federal court following the discovery of a massive cache of drugs, cash and ammunitions stockpiled at an Otay Mesa truck yard, the U.S. attorney’s office said. The cumulative seizure — $3.5 million in cash, 685 kilograms of cocaine, 24 kilograms of fentanyl, about 20,000 rounds of .50-caliber ammunition and hundreds of body armor vests — is believed to be the largest of its kind in the Southern District of California, federal prosecutors said. 

Tags: Border and Migration Politics, Drug Seizures, Narcotrafficking, Organized Crime, U.S. Policy

November 24, 2020

  • Construction workers are topping the U.S.-Mexico border wall in El Paso with reams of concertina wire, creating a dangerous additional obstacle to illegal crossings. The U.S. Border Patrol’s El Paso Sector put up the razor wire “to dissuade individuals from scaling the border wall and to reduce the risk of injuries sustained from falling off the barrier,” said Roger Maier, a spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Patrol’s parent agency.

Tags: Border and Migration Politics, Fencing, U.S. Policy

November 19, 2020

  • Border Patrol agents are already seeing a Biden surge in illegal immigration at the southwest border, officials said, with the numbers surging 21% over the last month alone. Acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan said worsening economic conditions south of the border are largely responsible for the uptick, but he also blamed “perceived and or anticipated shifts in policies” here in the U.S.

Tags: Border and Migration Politics, Migration, U.S. Policy

November 19, 2020

  • U.S. authorities made more than 69,000 arrests and detentions last month along the border with Mexico, a 21 percent increase from September and the highest total for any October since 2005, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection figures released today. The increase was partly fueled by a soaring number of repeat arrests along the border resulting from the Trump administration’s practice of quickly “expelling” people to Mexico after they enter the country illegally.

Tags: Border and Migration Politics, Migration, U.S. Policy

November 19, 2020

  • The Trump White House blocked the Justice Department from making a deal in October 2019 to pay for mental health services for migrant families who had been separated by the Trump administration, two current and two former senior administration officials told NBC News. 

Tags: Human Rights, Migration, U.S. Policy