Immigration News: May 18, 2023

Thomas Friedman says we should build bigger walls in order to admit more migrants. Because … Americans are too stupid to understand the economics of migration and need the reassurance of a giant wall. Give up on having a rational policy because there is no hope of rationality in this country any longer. 

I hope he is wrong about that. 

[New York Times] “In my view, President Biden should out-Trump Trump. Do everything possible to secure the border like never before — more walls, more fences, more barriers, more troops, the 82nd Airborne — whatever it takes. Make Democrats own border security. But not for the purpose of choking immigration: for the purpose of expanding it.

“[W]e need a rational discussion in this country about how we can maintain a safe haven for the truly persecuted and attract the immigrants we need to thrive in the 21st century — both the high-energy, low-skilled immigrants and the high-I.Q. risk takers — and ensure that the flow of immigrants into America is happening at a pace consistent with our economic needs and our ability to assimilate those migrants culturally and socially.

“We have no hope of having that rational discussion if so many Americans feel that the southern border is out of control. It can happen only if people feel the border is under control and if you have to ring our doorbell if you want to come in.”

And in other news

Social media can offer a lifeline of connections to family and friends as migrants make a perilous journey toward the United States. But social media can also offer a deadly cocktail of deception and fraud.

[Los Angeles Times] “In recent days, as migrants from across the globe camped out in border towns, sleeping outside and fighting hunger and nerves as they waited to be processed by border authorities, they have increasingly turned to TikTok, Facebook, YouTube and other social media sites not just for the comfort of family contact but also for updates on the policy change and how it might affect them.

“Their frequent searches and scrolling — complicated by often spotty cell service and a need to preserve their dwindling batteries — underscore how social media and technology have made migration into the U.S. more accessible but also, in ways, more perilous. Influencer accounts have increased the speed of information sharing in languages including Spanish, Chinese and Pashto, while also accelerating the spread of disinformation.”

Migrant border crossings dropped in the immediate aftermath of the end of Title 42, but no one is sure how long that decline will last.

[MSNBC] “In fact, my organization predicted before Title 42 ended that any post-May 11 increase in migrant arrivals would “be neither giant nor long-lasting.” And, true to that prediction, at least in the first days after Title 42’s lifting, there was no increase at all.  …

“Essentially, migrants — and the network of smugglers along the route between countries of origin and the United States — are in “wait and see” mode. They are uncertain about what President Joe Biden’s administration’s tough-sounding new policies will mean for them. A new rule, called the “transit ban,” is making it much harder for people to apply for asylum simply by turning themselves in to U.S. agents. (This new rule is already being challenged in court on the grounds that it is illegal.) …

“Every “wait and see” period has reduced migrant flows. Then, within weeks or months, that higher flow of migrants resumes. Title 42’s replacement with a harsh new rule should be no exception. …

“Daily migration totals are likely to be higher by Memorial Day, and then increase throughout the summer. …

“The forces driving people to leave their homes are too strong to dissuade people from attempting the journey. No amount of deterrence can, or ever should, impose more suffering than can gangs in Haiti, pro-government thugs in Nicaragua, or hunger in Venezuela.”

[CBS] “Over the past two days, U.S. Border Patrol agents have recorded fewer than 4,000 migrant apprehensions, a 60% decrease from the record daily border crossings seen before May 11 when the Title 42 pandemic-related restrictions on migration expired, said Blas Nuñez Neto, the Department of Homeland Security’s top immigration policy official.

“The end of Title 42, which allowed U.S. border agents to expel migrants on public health grounds, was expected to trigger a spike in migration. While illegal border crossings did soar just before Title 42 ended, they plummeted soon after, Nuñez Neto said. …

“More than 1,000 Cubans, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans have been returned to Mexico since Title 42 was lifted, Nuñez Neto. Thousands of additional migrants have been placed on deportation flights to their home countries, including Colombia, Ecuador,  El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Peru, he added.”

The Senate voted 50-47 to return to the Trump-era public charge rules. The measure will go to the House and then to President Biden, who has said he will veto it.

[CNN] “It passed 50-47, with two Democratic senators crossing party lines – Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Jon Tester of Montana – both of whom are up for reelection. 

“The resolution is an effort to return to the Trump administration policy, which made it more difficult for immigrants to obtain legal status if they use public benefits.”

An eight-year-old Honduran girl died in Border Patrol custody on Wednesday.

[AP] “The 8-year-old girl and her family were being held in Harlingen, Texas, in the Rio Grande Valley, one of the busiest corridors for migrant crossings, the Border Patrol’s parent agency, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, said. The agency has struggled with overcrowding at its facilities, spurred by a large increase in migrants ahead of the expiration last week of a key regulation on immigration linked to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“The girl experienced “ a medical emergency ” and emergency medical services were called. They took her to the hospital where she was pronounced dead, the agency said. …

“She was born with heart problems and was operated on three years ago in Panama, according to her father who spoke with the consul.”

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.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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 )

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s