Last updated December 17, 2020. Download a PDF packet of infographics at bit.ly/wola_border.
As the Homeland Security Department completes its 2020 fiscal year, a walk through some of the prominent findings from the year-end data.
Details ICE’s practice of holding migrant families and children under contractors’ custody in border-town hotels before expelling them under measures put in place due to COVID-19.
Over 3,000 unaccompanied children have been summarily expelled back to Mexico or Central America, with no way even to track what’s happened to them. Some first spend days in hotels guarded by unlicensed contractors.
- The New Humanitarian releases a briefing on how the actions of the Trump administration to cut off access to asylum will outlast the pandemic and affect not only asylum seekers but regions of Latin America that have suffered outbreaks due to the United States’ expulsions.
- According to unpublished government data obtained by CBS News, the United States allowed only 39 unaccompanied migrant children to stay in the country in the month of May when there were over 1,000 arrests of unaccompanied children. Jennifer Nagda, a policy director at the Youth Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights, argues that because of these record-low rates, the Office of Refugee Resettlement can and should offer refuge to unaccompanied children during the pandemic, as the Office now has ample bed capacity.
- The Texas Civil Rights Project and ACLU file a lawsuit on behalf of a Salvadoran teenager arguing that the expulsion policy violates several federal laws, including one designed to shield minors from violence and exploitation.
An overview of the dangers and illegality of the Trump administration’s quick expulsions of asylum seekers during the COVID-19 border closure.
- 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.
- Led by Amnesty International, multiple NGOS release an explainer on U.S. deportations and expulsions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- 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.
Debunking the public health claims the Trump Administration is using as justification to continue turning away asylum seekers at the border.
- Over 50 public health experts sign a letter for Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and CDC Director Robert Redfield urging U.S. officials to withdraw the order first issued on March 20 that has enabled the mass expulsion of asylum seekers. As the nation’s leading public health experts at the forefront of the response to the novel coronavirus, they stress that the order is based on “specious justifications” and fundamentally fails to protect public health.
A memo explaining how, even in a public health emergency, U.S. border authorities c0uld be attending to asylum seekers and unaccompanied children instead of expelling them.
- The Washington Post reports that, according to unpublished U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services data, only two people seeking humanitarian protection at the southern border since March 21 have been allowed to stay. Over 20,000 migrants have been “expelled” in the same timeframe.
CBP photo of apprehended migrants being expelled under COVID-19 border restrictions.
- CBP releases federal enforcement statistics which show a 50% decrease in unauthorized border crossings in April. Border authorities detained 16,789 people compared to 34,064 in April 2019. 14,416 people were quickly expelled as CBP continues their new method of rapid processing and expulsion to minimize detentions.