An El Paso man who has been allowed to stay in the United States under the Obama administration’s DACA program celebrated a Supreme Court decision Thursday that allowed the program to continue. But he also noted he and other people who came to the United States as children without legal authorization still face an uncertain future. “At the end of the day we just don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow. It’s hard living on a tightrope,” said David Gamez, 24. Josue Tayub is a 36-year-old DACA recipient and nurse who works in the intensive care unit at an El Paso hospital.
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.
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.
Stacey Wilson-Forsberg, Wilfrid Laurier University and Iván Francisco Porraz Gómez, ECOSUR
The day we arrive in Ciudad Hidalgo, Chiapas, the southern Mexican state that borders Guatemala, all is quiet. A violent confrontation had occurred just the day before: Central American migrants, mostly from Honduras, had thrown rocks at Mexican migration officials who attempted to stop their entry into Mexico over the international bridge. Many of the migrants hope their final destination will be a better life in the United States. As we approach the town, we chance upon a small caravan of about 30 men, women and children walking along the road in the scorching sun. They are in rough shape and we decide not to take photos today.
In 1997, my students and I traveled to Croagh Patrick, a mountain in County Mayo, as part of a study abroad program course on Irish literature I was teaching for the University of Dayton. I wanted my students to visit the place where, each July, thousands of pilgrims pay homage to St. Patrick, who, according to lore, fasted and prayed on the summit for 40 days. While there, our tour guide relayed the story of how St. Patrick, as he lay on his death bed on March 17 in A.D. 461, supposedly asked those gathered around him to toast his heavenly journey with a “wee drop of whiskey” to ease their pain.
EL PASO – Here’s a sense of the scene Sunday evening at the Greyhound bus station about two hours after ICE dropped off more than 150 destitute, scared and confused Central American asylum seekers. Mothers traveling alone with small children clinging to them. Fathers traveling with children who are never more than inches away from each other. Over and over they ask to use my phone. They have phone numbers memorized, or scrawled on worn scraps of paper for family or contacts in the U.S. I dial South Carolina, then New Jersey, Tennessee, California.
EL PASO – Chaos loomed when Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents dropped about 100 Central American migrants at the Greyhound station of this border city without notice Friday night. The families were in a strange city, many with little money and limited ability to contact loved ones for help. Then they were helped by angels. Ruben Garcia, the founder and director of the Annunciation House program that has housed and fed migrants for more than 40 years, knew since Wednesday that ICE planned to begin a new policy of essentially dumping migrants on border city streets. The migrants had been detained for several days in what are supposed to be short-term holding cells along the border in El Paso, and border authorities are struggling to cope with a fresh surge of Central American families coming to the United States to flee poverty, violence and corruption in their home countries.
Costs of detaining migrant children at shelters in Tornillo, Texas, and other locations around the country are skyrocketing, with the Trump administration now saying it may cost $100 million a month just to operate the 3,800-bed tent facility outside of El Paso. The administration has not yet provided an accounting of how much in total it has been spending to detain children who either were separated from their parents or apprehended after crossing the border without a parent or guardian. But information provided so far indicates the amount is substantial, forcing the government to transfer hundreds of millions of dollars targeted for medical research, treatment and other programs so that it can care for a rapidly growing number of children in government custody. I have been writing about these issues for Texas Monthly and the Washington Post since June, when the government opened what was then a 400-bed shelter in Tornillo. While the world’s attention was focused on the controversial family separation policy, less attention was paid to other important changes to policies on how migrant children were treated.
A federal judge has given the government and American Civil Liberties Union until Thursday to develop a plan for reuniting hundreds of children who still haven’t been reunited with their parents weeks or months after being separated at the border. “The judge is making clear to the government that this must be a collaborative effort and that the government cannot place all the responsibility on the families, especially when it was the government that deported these parents in the first place,” ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt said in a statement. According to court filings, the government has custody of 431 children whose parents were deported earlier this year without the children they brought with them to the United States. Another 79 children are listed as “adult released to the interior,” and another 94 are listed as “adult location under case file review.”
These 604 children between the ages of 5 and 17 are among the 711 declared “ineligible” for reunification last week as the government declared that it had complied with an order by U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw of San Diego to reunite families separated at the border by U.S. Border Patrol agents. The ACLU filed a lawsuit in February that resulted in Sabraw’s reunification order.
Along the dry, rocky desert of El Paso, Texas–past all the food chains and shopping malls–a brown fence stretches for miles. The fence marks the southern U.S. border that separates El Paso from its Mexican sister city, Juarez. Antonio Villaseñor-Baca is 22-years-old and was born and raised in El Paso. His hometown is a huge “borderplex” that spans the Rio Grande River. Antonio has an uncle in Juarez, and while growing up, his dad would take him back and forth a lot.
Volunteers at Casa Vides, a shelter for migrants in El Paso, explain how the non-profit provides comfort for people trying to navigate the U.S. immigration system. Casa Vides is one shelter in a sanctuary network for refugees and homeless poor managed by the faith-based Annunciation House. This video story was produced as part of a collaborative reporting project with Borderzine staff and Youth Radio. http://borderzine.com/2018/06/summer-job-at-el-paso-migrant-shelter-proves-vastly-different-experience-for-notre-dame-students/
Life in a border city can be like a relationship status on social media. It’s complicated. More than 1 million people live in the El Paso-southern New Mexico region. Another 1.3 million live across the border in Juarez, Mexico. We are separated by an international boundary set along the path of a formerly meandering river.
By Billy Cruz, Youth Radio
EL PASO – When I arrived at Casa Vides, a migrant shelter in El Paso Texas, I found a two-story brick building close enough to the border that I could walk to it. The building was almost a perfect cube shape, and as I knocked on the heavy wooden door, I wondered to myself, “Is this really where undocumented migrants are being housed?”
But I wasn’t there to interview migrants this time — Casa Vides wouldn’t permit me to talk to any of them in order to protect their privacy. I was there to talk to two college students who live and work with the migrants for the summer. https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.youthradio.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/27123940/YOUTH-RADIO-MIGRANT-SHELTER-VISIT-FINAL.mp3
Casa Vides is a place that provides refuge for two types of people: those who evaded border patrol, and those who were caught — handed over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement — and then released while their cases are still pending. Casa Vides provides food, shelter, and legal support to around 40 residents at a time and is run by the faith-based non-profit organization, Annunciation House.
Confusion has reigned in the days since the Trump administration ended its controversial practice of taking children away from parents arrested at the Border. One El Paso nonprofit group has taken the lead on efforts to reunify parents and children, and to make sure the world knows their stories. At 2:45 p.m. on Sunday, a Department of Homeland Security bus pulled up outside Casa Vides, a shelter run by Annunciation House, and disgorged 32 people who had been held on misdemeanor immigration charges until the charges were dropped Thursday and Friday. Annunciation House, which provides shelter and legal services for migrants and refugees, would help them begin what promises to be an arduous process of reunifying them with their children. Annunciation House Executive Director Ruben Garcia said he believed this was the first large-group release of parents who had been jailed under the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration enforcement policy. The group of migrants were connected with legal help, focused on getting their children back.
EL PASO – The pressure to curb the growing backlog in immigration courts threatens the rights of detained immigrants, especially those seeking asylum, lawyers and immigration judges say. The Executive Office of Immigration Review recently established completed case quotas for immigration judges to decrease the backlog, but immigration judges say the move will increase the backlog due to potential appeals. Immigration attorneys said this is an effort to speed up the deportation of hundreds of thousands of people. “Make no mistake, the outcome this administration truly desires from mandating quotas on an understaffed adjudicatory agency with a needlessly overstuffed docket is to transform it into a deportation machine,” said Jeremy McKinney, a North Carolina immigration attorney who is secretary of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. The move calls for immigration judges to complete at least 700 cases per year, a number that was called unreasonable by immigration judges.
A Trump administration official on Friday wildly misstated border apprehension figures in justifying the decision to deploy National Guard forces to the border. “Our apprehensions in Fiscal Year 2017 were at the lowest level in 45 years. That said, we have experienced a significant increase over the past 12 months. A 1,200 percent in apprehensions, including the number of family units and unaccompanied children,” Ronald Vitiello, the deputy commissioner for Customs and Border Protection, said at a news conference in El Paso. When asked for data on the 1,200 percent increase claim, a CBP spokesman said Vitiello had misspoken.
EL PASO – Hundreds of students cross the border from Ciudad Juarez to El Paso daily, carrying heavy backpacks and books and dreams of a better life. Heightened anti immigrant rhetoric across the country and various immigration enforcement executive orders from President Donald Trump have added more stress and uncertainty to their daily lives. Over 1,000 Mexican students attend the the University of Texas at El Paso and about half commute to campus from their homes in Juarez, across the Rio Grande from El Paso, according to a previously published story. The commute is a hardship for many because of the long and complicated commute from their home in Juarez, a walk or a car ride across an international border bridge to have their documents checked, followed by a bus ride to the UTEP campus some five to 10 minutes from downtown El Paso,
Related: In 2016, commuting daily from Mexico to attend school in the U.S. was no big deal for students who budgeted their time well
Most must wake up before dawn to make it to an early morning class, and often don’t return home to Juarez until well past the dinner hour. Depending on the amount of foot or car traffic on the international bridge, the crossing time can vary from 20 minutes to two hours.
In 2016, the United States welcomed 96,874 refugees, including 15,479 from Syria alone, according to the US Department of State’s Refugee Processing Center. Nearly 60 percent of those refugees were children. As these families settle into the country and children enroll in local schools, teachers face the unique challenge of ensuring refugee students feel welcomed, while also meeting their educational needs.
As the ESL and bilingual coordinator at American College of Education (ACE), I frequently share my experience in working with refugee, immigrant and foreign language-speaking students and offer teachers these top five tips below.
1. Establish a safe space in your classroom. You must be vigilant and stop any bullying immediately.
For years Casa del Migrante, a shelter in Ciudad Juarez, has been a haven and a crossing point for immigrants coming from the south, but the uncertainty of new immigration policies under the Trump presidency is convincing some of them to remain at the border indefinitely. In 2015 the shelter received 5,600 immigrants. Last year the number increased to more than 9,000, officials said. Ana Lizeth Bonilla, 28, sways back a stroller back and forth watching her two year-old son, Jose Luis, as he sleeps. “Now, we’re just waiting for her,” the pregnant woman says as her arm rests on her baby bump.
EL PASO – Lawmakers from this border community are concerned about the harm that would result if Texas begins requiring law enforcement and other agencies to act as immigration agents. The Texas Senate on Feb. 9 passed SB4, which Sen. Jose Rodriguez, D-El Paso, called “a thinly disguised attack on immigrant communities.”
The so-called “anti-sanctuary cities” bill would allow the state to penalize cities over policies that obstruct enforcement of immigration law or discourage police agencies from inquiring about a person’s immigration status. The Texas House is now considering its version of the bill. The senator says he, along with other opponents of the bill, offered amendments to decrease the negative impacts the passage of bill would have on health, safety and social life of communities.
Cuban refugees continue to seek asylum in the U.S., traveling from Juarez, Mexico to El Paso for a third straight week, with many staying in El Paso longer than expected, which could strain local organizations that traditionally provide services such as food, shelter and legal advice to immigrants. Elizabeth O’Hara, communications director of Catholic Diocese of El Paso, said about 300 Cuban migrants have been arriving each day since May 9 for a total of about 3,000 in the last three weeks. “Some of them will stay 24-36 hours, but now we’re seeing some of them staying longer,” O’Hara said, adding that the first wave of refugees seemed to be better off financially. “Most of the first ones to arrive had money left so they could bounce out of El Paso faster.”
That seems to be the case as well at the Ysleta Lutheran Mission, which is housing up to 80 refugees at a time. Karla Gonzalez, Ysleta’s chief operating officer, said most immigrants will just pass through El Paso on the way to family or friends in other parts of the country.
WASHINGTON – The United States has long thought of itself as a melting pot, mixing cultures and customs from countries around the world. But it has often resisted adding more ingredients to the stew. The history of immigration laws dates to the first in 1790 that allowed free white immigrants to become citizens after two years of living in the U.S. With comprehensive immigration reform still a matter of political and social debates, an important turning point in the history of how the United States arrived to its current deadlock can be found a half century ago. Oct. 3 marked the 50th anniversary of the Hart-Celler Immigration Act of 1965, the historic law that changed the cultural makeup of the United States.
In the early morning, I usually listen to the news as I drive to school. This route takes 20 minutes, and I stay fixed to the radio listening to bad news mixed with humor in order to start the day with a laugh. But then, my program goes into a break and the first thing that comes out is an advertisement for Tecate Light using Spanglish. We are exposed to this dialect in advertisements, music, television, and radio and in our bicultural communities it is not uncommon to hear Spanglish and that is how some companies aim their campaigns at young Hispanic consumers. The problem with Spanglish
Spanglish is a linguistic phenomenon that occurs by taking parts of English words and mixing them with parts of Spanish words.
Washington, D.C. – A Spanish-language website and database to document incidents of undocumented immigrants killed by law enforcement on the southern border of the U.S. is among four media startups to receive a $12,000 grant from J-Lab. EncuentrosMortales.org is the idea of D. Brian Burghart, editor and publisher of the Reno News & Review, who created FatalEncounters.org, a crowd-sourced database attempting to track police use of deadly force in the United States. EncuentrosMortales.org will collect public records and media reports of undocumented people killed during interactions with law enforcement officers. “I’m very excited to be able to move forward with EncuentrosMortales.org. Law-enforcement-involved homicides along the U.S. border is an important and underreported issue, and I hope we can bring together technology, languages and volunteers to get a much better idea of our government’s activities,” he said.
El Paso – Alexi Cruz may not have realized he had friends in this border community until he was on the verge of being deported. Cruz, 24, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico who has lived in the U.S. since he was 14 years old, was detained in early November by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after his car broke down on the way to Arizona. He was on his way from his home in San Antonio to see his mother in Arizona because authorities had apprehended his sister. His wife, Anayanse Garza, said that Cruz sought help after his car broke down in New Mexico near the Arizona border and was questioned by law enforcement officers about his residential status. The Border Patrol was called to pick him up.
It’s a sweltering summer Sunday night in El Paso, Texas, at the city’s new downtown baseball stadium, where the local Triple-A team, the Chihuahuas, is leading the visiting Tacoma Rainiers at the seventh-inning stretch. As the hammerlock of the day’s 102-degree heat begins to release its grip on this high-desert town, a sellout crowd of 8,607 fans rises to its feet to sing and sway along to “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.’’ Immediately after, trumpet-charged mariachi music blasts over the sound system and the crowd roars with glee as Chico the Chihuahuas’ mascot dances onto the field, wagging his tail and making the team’s signature “Fear the Ears’’ gesture with his paws. Ah, béisbol – still America’s pastime in a new America. And if there is a city that characterizes our new America, it’s the very old town of El Paso, circa 1659. I spent a week there this summer studying at the University of Texas at El Paso and its Dow Jones Multimedia Training Academy.
WASHINGTON – A surge of unaccompanied children arriving from Central America at the U.S.-Mexico border will not be given legal status, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said this week. “I wish to make clear that those apprehended at our border are priorities for removal. They are priorities for enforcement of our immigration laws regardless of age,” Johnson said. Johnson held a press conference Thursday in which he laid out an 11 point plan to accommodate the children that includes a request for more temporary shelters and preliminary health screenings. As many as 60,000 children could arrive at the U.S.-Mexico border this year.
BROOKS COUNTY — For the first time, an aid group is deploying water stations in the Brooks County brush in an effort to prevent migrant deaths, and finding creative ways to work with private ranchers who don’t usually fling the gates wide for outsiders. It’s a fledgling movement — only two stations are in place so far — but the rising interest from human rights groups is another indicator of the mounting death toll. It is also a sign of Brooks County’s emergence as a kind of new Sonoran Desert, where water stations have long been a fixture in southern Arizona. As migration patterns and U.S. border enforcement strategies have changed, the migrant trail has shifted, too, leading them on foot through the county’s barren, 944 square miles of private ranches to avoid the Border Patrol checkpoint south of Falfurrias. Nearly 80 bodies have been recovered in the county in 2013, approaching the record 129 in 2012.