Immigration News: March 16, 2023

U.S.-Mexico border wall, San Diego sector
Photo by Amyyfory -Creative Commons license, U.S.-Mexico border wall, San Diego sector, November 26, 2021

Migrant apprehensions at the southern border were at a two-year low in February. The Biden administration claims credit for the low numbers, citing its parole-and-sponsorship program for migrants from Haiti, Nicaragua, Cuba, and Venezuela, along with rapid expulsion of migrants back into Mexico. 

[CBS] “While migrant apprehensions continue to be at historically high levels and are projected to increase sharply in May, the two-year low is a dramatic change from the situation along the U.S.-Mexico border just two months ago, when a massive spike in unlawful migration strained federal and local resources. …

“Ruben Garcia, who leads the Annunciation House, a network of shelters in El Paso, said migrants expelled by the U.S. are in danger of being victimized by criminal groups in Ciudad Juárez, one of the most violent cities in Mexico. …

“[DHS Secretary Alejandro] Mayorkas noted that approximately 740 asylum-seekers are being processed along the southern border every day under the CBP One process. Moreover, the sponsorship program has allowed 22,000 Venezuelans, 7,800 Cubans, 5,100 Haitians and 1,600 Nicaraguans to enter the U.S. as of mid-February, DHS statistics show.”

And in other news

Obama started it, Trump ended it, Biden reinstated it: the Central American Minors program aimed to allow parents in the United States on parole or Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to request refugee status for their children and limited other family members. That didn’t work. In September, the program was expanded to include parents who have applied for asylum or U visas.  It still isn’t working.

[NBC] “Yet a report by the nonprofit advocacy group found few Guatemalan children have arrived under the application expansion. 

“In stark contrast, almost half of all unaccompanied children who crossed the Mexican border into the U.S. last year were from Guatemala, including children trying to reunite with their parents in the U.S. …

“In addition, difficulty getting children in Guatemala to CAM interviews to support their application claims means few are granted refugee status. 

“The report also found that those granted parole have a difficult time getting passports to leave the country. Under Guatemalan law, both parents have to give consent for a passport.”

Jennifer Piper, Program Director, American Friends Service Committee in Denver, was one of the panelists discussing refugees and resettlement in Denver and beyond. She pointed out misconceptions that many in this country have about the U.S. role in international refugee resettlement. 

[Rocky Mountain PBS] “Piper also noted that the U.S lacks a resettlement effort compared to many other countries.

“’Most of the places that resettle migrants and refugees are countries nearby the countries people are fleeing,’ she explained.  ‘But that’s not an option for everyone. Not everyone can be safe enough in a nearby country, or have the resources needed to sustain their family.’

“Piper said this is why it’s important for Western Countries, including the U.S., to join in the international resettlement efforts.

“’I think there’s a big misconception among Americans that we are doing most of the resettling when we’re actually not, and particularly the last 8 years or so we haven’t done a big piece of it. So it’s kind of time for us to recommit to making sure people are safe from death,’ she said. ‘I believe that we do have the resources to resettle folks, and more importantly to address the root causes.’”

While the U.S.-Canadian “safe third country” agreement means that asylum seekers cannot cross from one country to the other to request asylum, there’s an exception: those who cross between border checkpoints are not covered. The busiest of those in-between crossing points is known as Roxham Road. 

[WCAX] “Canadian government figures show a record 39,000 unauthorized entries into Quebec from the U.S. in 2022, nearly all of them through Roxham Road.

“In January alone, crossings neared 5,000. Compare that to about 2,300 a year before. …

“But the traffic isn’t just going in one direction. U.S. Border Protection released images of folks entering the U.S. Mexican consular officials say Mexicans are flying to Canada and walking south through frigid woods and farms into the U.S., some with infants and children.”

About Mary Turck

News Day, written by Mary Turck, analyzes, summarizes, links to, and comments on reports from news media around the world, with particular attention to immigration, education, and journalism. Fragments, also written by Mary Turck, has fiction, poetry and some creative non-fiction. Mary Turck edited TC Daily Planet,, from 2007-2014, and edited the award-winning Connection to the Americas and AMERICAS.ORG, in its pre-2008 version. She is also a recovering attorney and the author of many books for young people (and a few for adults), mostly focusing on historical and social issues.
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