Immigration update

October 31, 2019

Read in Spanish

More border wall construction as spending debates continue

Congress passed a continuing resolution last month to keep the federal government running until November 21. Another continuing resolution until December or into 2020 is likely. One significant point of debate continues to be funding for more border walls. In Fiscal Year 2019, Congress approved $1.375 billion and President Trump transferred an additional $6.7 billion from military accounts. For FY 2020, a House spending bill has allocated no money for new walls while a Senate bill contains $5 billion plus funds for an additional 6,800 detention beds.

Meanwhile, border wall construction continues in TexasNew Mexico and Arizona. Millions of gallons of desert groundwater are being pumped out for mixing concrete foundations, impacting farmers and imperiling endangered species. A federal judge is expected to halt some construction but the specifics remains uncertain and any injunction could be overturned by the Supreme Court.

Take action

Cut funding for detention and walls

Other ways to take action:

Schedule a meeting with your legislators while they are in their home districts (tips)

  • Next recess: Nov 25-29

Write a letter to the editor (tips)

Take action webpage

Photo above: MCC Borderlands Learning Tour participant Klaudia Smucker, from Lancaster, Pa., walks along the U.S.-Mexico border in Douglas, Arizona in October 2018. Vehicle barriers (shown to the left) are currently being replaced with pedestrian fencing/walls (right) in Arizona and New Mexico. MCC photo/Laura Pauls-Thomas

Local stories

Arizona: When 48,000 asylum seekers needed help, a coalition of 40 churches came to their aid 


Texas: Summit: Deterrence not the answer to humanitarian crisis (San Antonio Mennonite Church)

Send us your local stories and events

News & resources


A federal judge blocked a new policy that would have allowed immigration officials to detain children for longer than 20 days. The Trump administration has promised to resume some foreign assistance to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras in exchange for tentative agreements that would force migrants to request asylum in those countries rather than in the U.S. One such agreement, between the U.S. and El Salvador, would extend work permits for Salvadorans in the U.S. with Temporary Protected Status.

The president of the National Association of Immigration Judges and members of Congress have raised serious concerns about new tent courts at the border—hastily erected facilities where judges appear via videoconference, access to attorneys is restricted and migrants are sent back to Mexico regardless of whether that puts them in further danger. A surge of Mexican families are requesting asylum but, with border officials allowing only a few families to enter each day, thousands are sleeping in tent camps outside border crossings. Hundreds of African migrants are stuck in southern Mexico due to a security crackdown.



A federal court blocked the implementation of a new fast-track deportation policy. Many immigrants are traveling hours to immigration court hearings only to discover the dates printed on their paperwork are ‘dummy dates.’ Immigration officials say they are not conducting raids but an analysis by the American Immigration Council shows otherwise. The Department of Justice prosecuted a record-high number of immigration-related crimes in Fiscal Year 2019.


The Guardian: Detained: How the U.S. built the world’s largest immigrant detention system


DACA: Supreme Court hearing November 12 | There is no aristocracy in citizenship

Public charge resources: Public charge update: What advocates need to know now | Kaiser Family Foundation study |

Health insurance required for visas: Trump proclamation could bar an estimated two-thirds of legal immigrants | Resources from NILCMPI

Green card limits: Bill to erase per-country limits for green cards could get Senate vote — but in some ways pits immigrant groups against one another

Refugees: Trump administration imposes 18K limit on refugees, the lowest ever | Executive order requiring state/local consent for refugee resettlement

Peace Science Digest: Special issue: Refugees and migrants

Climate and migration: Migration as a climate change adaptation strategy (report)

DHS leadership: Kevin McAleenan resigns as acting Homeland Security secretary

Upcoming events

Nov. 3-8: Learning Tour: South Texas Borderlands

Nov. 3-18: MCC Bolivia Motorcycle Learning Tour

Nov. 5-16: MCC migration learning tour to Honduras and Guatemala

Immigration resources

Invite MCC staff to speak

Update created October 31, 2019, by Tammy Alexander, Senior Legislative Associate for Domestic Affairs.

Did you receive this update from a friend? 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.​

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s