The Biden administration announced a new policy which would prevent ICE from detaining or arresting people who are pregnant or nursing, or who had a baby within the previous year. Though immigration advocates have applauded the policy change, some worry about the longevity of this decision as it was made through an executive order and could be easily reversed by future administrations. Under the Trump administration, the number of pregnant immigrants in detention had increased dramatically, after an Obama-era policy, which called for their detainment only under extreme circumstances, had been overwritten. This new policy also does not apply to pregnant, nursing, or postpartum immigrants being held in CBP custody.
Testimonials from a court case on Monday revealed inadequate and unlivable conditions for migrant children being held in emergency shelters along the border. The testimonials described overcrowding, spoiled food, a lack of clean clothes, and an absence of mental health resources available for the children, many of whom are struggling with depression, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts. Some children have been held for months in these emergency shelters. Despite the Biden administration’s promises of a more human approach to immigration, many testimonials indicate that they are struggling to provide for these children’s most basic needs.
The U.S.-Mexico border is seeing record numbers of Venezuelan migrants—an estimated over 6,000 migrants crossed the border last month, a sharp contrast to the fewer than 1,000 migrants that have crossed the border each year for the past decade. Typically, Venezuelans have flown into the U.S. but are not taking much more desperate measures to seek entry as Venezuela’s human rights crisis deepens.
Mexico faces an escalating humanitarian emergency due to the unprecedented number of migrants travelling through Mexican territory. At the border, the Mexican government must—but has failed to—develop a strategy to accommodate for the tens of thousands of migrants in transit or expelled by U.S. authorities, instead, outsourcing the responsibility to underequipped private and religious organizations. The problem only continues to worsen as migrant populations are on the rise.
According to several interviews conducted by lawyers at the soft-sided facility in Donna,Texas, unaccompanied children there are being denied showers, phone calls with family members, and time outside.
Two migrants sustained serious injuries after falling from the border wall near New Mexico and were expelled to Mexico instead of receiving medical attention, despite not being able to stand on their own.
The Remain in Mexico program subjects children and adults to serious, long-term harm and trauma and should be dismantled immediately, according to a report released by Human Rights Watch and several university health centers. The report details various forms of abuse inflicted on dozens of participants and urges Joe Biden to quickly end the program.
According to a report published by The Intercept, at least three asylum-seeking mothers who gave birth in the US (making their children legally U.S. citizens) were told by CBP agents that they would be sent to stay with family but instead were sent back to Mexico without being processed or having an opportunity to have their claims heard.
Close to 200 Cuban migrants staged a protest at the border in Ciudad Juarez, calling to be let into the United States. Many have been waiting at the border for months as a result of the Remain in Mexico program.
2020 was the deadliest year on record for migrants crossing into Arizona, with 225 remains of migrants found so far according to Humane Borders and the Pima County Medical Examiner. This is likely due to a combination of border wall construction forcing migrants to take remote routes, increased CBP hostility to humanitarian groups, and soaring temperatures.
- U.S. border officials have expelled at least 66 unaccompanied migrant children without a court hearing or asylum interview since a federal judge ordered them to stop the practice, the Trump administration conceded.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- US Customs and Border Protection held more than five dozen children, some under the age of 1, in facilities along the US-Mexico border for over three days during the last two months, according to a new federal court filing.
- 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.
- A federal judge ordered the Trump administration to halt its practice of “expelling” underage migrants who enter the United States without a parent, a ruling that also cast doubt on the broader legality of the emergency public health measures the U.S. government has used since March to impose strict border controls. U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan’s preliminary injunction requires the Trump administration to once more process the humanitarian claims of minors who cross the U.S. border alone, rather than returning them to Mexico or flying them back to their home countries without due process.
- A federal judge blocked President Trump’s policy of turning away migrant children at the border as public health risks, ruling that the expulsion of thousands of children without due process exceeded the authority that public health emergency decrees confer.
- Lawyers working to reunite migrant families separated by the Trump administration before and during its “zero tolerance” policy at the border now believe the number of separated children for whom they have not been able to find parents is 666, higher than they told a federal judge last month, according to an email obtained by NBC News. Nearly 20 percent, or 129, of those children were under 5 at the time of the separation, according to a source familiar with the data.