September 26, 2019
Sweeping asylum ban goes into effect
On Sept. 11, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed a new policy to go into effect that essentially blocks all asylum seekers except those from Mexico. The decision has tragic implications for asylum seekers from Central America and beyond. Asylum seekers arriving after July 15 must have requested asylum and been denied in at least one country they traveled through in order to be eligible for asylum in the U.S.
Donate: Your gift welcomes newcomers to the U.S.
Schedule a meeting with your legislators while they are in their home districts (tips)
- Next recess: Sep. 30 – Oct. 14
Write a letter to the editor (tips)
Iowa: Family reunited after deportation: Separated for 4 years, Iowa pastoral couple planning new ministries in Mexico (Villatoro family) | What happens to Iowa nice when we start getting our hands dirty
Maine: Texan offers Mainers a practical primer on U.S. Border ‘patrolling’ (plans to expand warrantless searches in Maine)
Ohio: A morning with ICE (Columbus Mennonite Church) | Refugees still call Akron home: Despite challenges, city helps immigrants thrive
South Dakota: Restaurant owner offers meeting place, help for Latinos(Central Plains Mennonite Conference)
Send us your local stories and events
Other Anabaptist perspectives
- MWC: Pilgrims on a journey that transcends borders
- MWR: God’s presence needs us: Small acts of kindness make a big impact
- MWR: Migrant kits energize givers, amaze border volunteers
News & resources
Central American asylum seekers waiting in Mexican border towns for their U.S. court hearings are increasingly becoming targets for kidnapping by cartels seeking ransoms from U.S. relatives. Tent courtrooms have opened along the border to process migrants who return from Mexico for their immigration hearings. While Hurricane Dorian was approaching the U.S., the Trump administration prepared to transfer $271 million from disaster aid, the Coast Guard and airport security to use for more immigrant detention beds. Border Patrol agents, rather than asylum officers, are starting to screen incoming migrants to determine if they have a “credible fear” and are eligible for asylum.
The United States and El Salvador signed an agreement on September 20 that would force asylum seekers to wait in El Salvador while their cases were being processed. The agreement is similar to the “safe third country” agreement signed by the U.S. and Guatemala in July. Civil society organizations criticize these agreements as “beyond unrealistic” and dangerous for migrants.
- LAWG/KIND: Migration enforcement & access to asylum at Mexico’s southern border
- The Hill: Government watchdog details severe trauma suffered by separated children | OIG report
- USIPC: Seeking asylum: Part I
- World Magazine: A bad day in court: Migrant Protection Protocols are frustrating asylum-seekers, attorneys, and judges
- AP: ‘Everybody cries here’: Hope and despair in Mexican shelter
- Lawfare Blog: What ending the Flores Agreement on detention of immigrant children really means
- JFI: Care settings for unaccompanied children
A total of $3.6 billion will be transferred from 127 military construction projects to build border walls. The Interior Department will transfer 560 acres of public land, including wildlife refuge land, to the Army for 70 miles of new border wall. A National Park Service report determined that border fence construction could destroy several archaeological sites. After President Trump reportedly offered to pardon federal officials who violated laws to seize land in order to build sections of border wall, a federal watchdog agency launched an investigation.
Border wall construction has begun in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, one of several locations in the desert Southwest where millions of gallons of scarce groundwater will be used for concrete foundations. In Texas, 29 laws have recently been waived to speed construction in the Rio Grande Valley. Contracts have been awarded in Starr County, Texas, where construction could begin by the end of this month, including in parts of the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge. Construction in Hidalgo County, Texas, is costing nearly twice as much as Congress originally provided.
- The Guardian: ‘National tragedy’: Trump begins border wall construction in Unesco reserve
- Arizona Daily Star: Local opinion: Border wall will destroy Quitobaquito Springs, a ‘Gem of the Sonoran Desert’
- El Imparcial: A devastating wall, the new global ecological threat
- TNI: More than A wall: Corporate profiteering and the militarization of U.S. borders
- The Salt Lake Tribune: Most migrants show up for Utah immigration court dates — contrary to Trump administration claims
Family separation after hurricane: 12-year-old Bahamian girl separated from parents, ends up in Miami home for migrant kids
Medical deferred action: Feds restore protections for undocumented immigrants with serious illnesses
DACA/TPS: DACA recipients’ livelihoods, families, and sense of security are at stake this November | Ramos v. Nielsen: Frequently asked questions (TPS) | Comparison of criminal and inadmissibility grounds for American Dream and Promise Act of 2019
Low unemployment and immigration: America’s worker deserts
Court backlog: Immigration court backlog hits all-time high (1 million cases)
Nov. 3-8: Learning Tour: South Texas Borderlands
Nov. 3-18: MCC Bolivia Motorcycle Learning Tour
Photo: Hand drawn pictures and thank you letters from previous guests line the worn walls at Casa Alitas, a shelter in Tucson, Arizona, that opens its doors to migrants seeking asylum in the United States. MCC photo/Thomas Nilsson
Update created September 26, 2019, by Tammy Alexander, Senior Legislative Associate for Domestic Affairs.
Sign up for immigration action alerts and updates from the MCC U.S. Washington Office here.
Did you miss an issue of the MCC immigration update? Check the archives.