Democrats debate the repeal of Section 1325 – what you need to know about the immigration law that criminalizes unauthorized border crossings

By Kit Johnson, University of Oklahoma

During the first Democratic presidential debate of the 2020 race, former Housing and Urban Development secretary Julián Castro challenged all candidates to join his call for the repeal of a controversial immigration law. The law, Section 1325 of Title 8 of the U.S. Code, makes entering the United States “at any time or place other than as designated by immigration officers” a federal crime. It’s among the most prosecuted federal crimes in the United States. Thousands of defendants are charged with violating Section 1325 each month. The government shouldn’t “criminalize desperation,” Castro argued.

Fate of pregnant women at border sparks congresswoman’s outrage

At least nine pregnant migrant women have been sent from El Paso to Ciudad Juárez under the Trump administration’s controversial “remain in Mexico” policy for some asylum seekers, then taken out of the program and allowed to go free in the United States after court hearings. The practice of sending pregnant women to Ciudad Juárez, which has averaged five murders per day in recent weeks, drew criticism at a recent congressional hearing. Kevin McAleenan, the Department of Homeland Security acting secretary, said at the May 22 hearing that Border Patrol agents have the discretion to exempt pregnant women from the Migrant Protection Protocols program but are not required to do so. “This administration is putting pregnant women in danger. Do you know how dangerous it is to be sent to Juárez, Mexico?” Rep. Nanette Barragan, D-California, asked McAleenan at the hearing.

Tired but determined volunteers sustain El Paso’s migrant relief services

As U.S. border officials detain thousands of migrants along the U.S.-Mexico border every day, another group waits for the men, women and families who have often been walking for days: volunteers. In El Paso, where Border Patrol agents apprehended 136,922 migrants between October 2018 and May 2019, residents have responded to the influx of migrants with meals and shelter. But it’s been eight months since the latest surge of Central American migrants started. Volunteer coordinators have had to adapt their efforts to a timeline that has no end in sight. “The current volunteers are starting to get fatigued,” Christina Lamour, director of community impact for United Way of El Paso County, said.

Obispos y lideres de fe de la frontera Mexico-EE.UU se unen en solidaridad con los migrantes

EL PASO — Obispos Catolicos de la frontera Texas-México se reunieron para conversar sobre temas relacionados con inmigración que se viven a diario en ciudades fronterizas. “La migración forzada, es producto de un modelo económico que mantienen nuestros políticos en el mundo hoy, junto con los empresarios. Es una explotación del hombre, es un descuido total de la vida humana,” dijo Raúl Veda, Obispo de Saltillo. La conferencia en Febrero formo parte de un evento que se llevo acabo durante tres días a finales de Febrero y los obispos concedieron una misa para la justicia y la paz en la frontera en el Muro Fronterizo entre Anapra y Sunland Park. Los obispos en el grupo “Tex-Mex” se reúnen al menos dos veces cada año, pero esta ocasión fue mas urgente por las políticas de la administración Trump respecto a los solicitantes de asilo político, la muerte de dos niños inmigrantes de Guatemala en Diciembre cuando estaban a cargo de U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), y la batalla del presidente el presidente Donald Trump para construir un muro al largo de la frontera.

Juarez dining scene gets Cuban touch amid migrant surge

JUAREZ, Mexico – Cuban migrants waiting their turn to seek asylum in the U.S. are finding some comfort at Little Habana, a restaurant serving homestyle Cuban food in this city on the border next to El Paso, Texas. Cristina Ibarra was operating a Mexican food restaurant called El Mariachi when she noticed the growing demand for Cuban food. She hired migrants who knew the authentic way to make the different dishes and opened Little Habana on Ramón Corona street downtown. The Cuban workers are grateful for an opportunity to earn enough to pay for their basic needs as they wait to hear from the U.S. about their asylum status.

Guatemalan family first to be deported from U.S. in Trump’s ‘remain in Mexico’ program

A 30-year-old Guatemalan woman and her two sons on Friday became the first people to be deported from the United States while taking part in a controversial Trump administration program that requires some migrants to remain in Mexico while their U.S. immigration cases are heard. “Over there (in Guatemala), if they do something to me my children have somewhere to go. Over here (in Mexico,) they have nothing if something happens to me,” Karla told immigration judge Nathan Herbert in El Paso. Borderzine is not using her full name because she said her family faces threats in Guatemala. More: On Mexico’s southern border, migrants seek to survive one day at a time

‘Uncaged Art’ exhibit gives voice to migrant children detained in Tornillo tent city
Karla, her 9-year-old son Eddin and her 11-month-old son Ian entered the United States in El Paso on March 25, according to court documents.

Salvage cars destined for Mexico outnumber people in this Texas border town

TORNILLO, Tx — This small town in eastern El Paso County has less than 2,000 residents, but is far from being tranquil as a jangly parade of used vehicles bound for Mexico are hauled through its streets every day. “The amount of traffic that goes by the front of the house is terrible because a lot of those guys are pulling two or three cars. Parts are falling off of them, it’s a hazard for us” said longtime Tornillo resident Jay Martin. El Paso County Commissioner Vince Perez said the vehicles started moving through Tornillo in huge numbers when the U.S. port of entry with Mexico opened in 2016. Previously, used vehicles were being imported into Mexico through port of entry at Santa Teresa, N.M., but when the Tornillo port opened it was designated as the sole crossing point for this sector.

Central American women fleeing violence experience more trauma after seeking asylum

Laurie C. Heffron, St. Edward’s University

The number of Central American women who make difficult, often harrowing, journeys to the United States to flee domestic and gang violence is rising. I’m a social science researcher and a social worker who has interviewed hundreds of women after they were detained by immigration authorities for my research about the relationship between violence against women and migration. I find that most female asylum seekers experience trauma, abuse and violence before they cross the U.S. border seeking asylum. What these women go through while detained by Customs and Border Protection or Immigration and Customs Enforcement can take an additional physical, social and emotional toll.

Ideas para reducir su tiempo de espera en los cruces internacionales

CIUDAD JUAREZ — Cruzar de Ciudad Juárez a la ciudad vecina de El Paso, es un fenómeno necesario; ya sea para estudiar, trabajar o incluso por motivos personales como visitar a familiares. Algunas personas solo dan uso de los puentes internacionales solo para aprovechar precios y/o servicios no disponibles en su ciudad de origen.

El hecho de tener todos los documentos necesarios y en línea para cruzar, no te garantiza un viaje cómodo y rápido. Para eso, existen varias opciones disponibles para los viajeros internacionales: Santa Fe (Centro), Zaragoza (Ysleta), Santa Teresa y Córdova-Américas, mejor conocido como “El Puente Libre” A diferencia de los demás cruces internacionales en esta frontera, El Puente Libre se distingue por ser gratuito. Eso es una de las razones por lo que los tiempos de espera suelen ser más pesados con una espera de 20 a 25 minutos más en comparación de a los demás cruces internacionales. De acuerdo con información de U.S. Customs and Border Protection, CBP, los tiempos de espera en puente suelen variar dependiendo del tiempo, con un promedio de 25 a 40 minutos y en horas pico con un promedio de 1 hora y media o más.

International commuters worry about possible border shutdown

By Marisol Chavez and Valeria Olivares
University of Texas at El Paso students are experiencing as long as five hours to cross from Juarez and are becoming more anxious as President Donald Trump threatens to close the border. “It’s stressful to think that you might be in Juarez and then the border might shut down,” said Arlen Ozuna, a UTEP student and El Paso Country Club employee. “You’re not going to be able to go to school, you’re not going to be able to go to work.”
The longer and slower lines at the international bridges are affecting people who cross the border regularly for school, work, shopping and even visiting family. At a news conference last week in El Paso, Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said he was moving 750 officers from international bridges throughout the Southwest to assist in migrant processing effort. He acknowledge this would disrupt the movement of goods and people across the border, especially over the Semana Santa (Holy Week) period. Long lines have been reported this week at bridges between the U.S. and Mexico throughout the Southwest border.