- Across the country, opponents of immigration like Georgia’s D. A. King (who terms current immigration levels an “invasion”) joined with national groups to persuade their home congresspeople during the August recess to oppose legalization for undocumented people.
- Republican members of the House oppose what they call the “special path” to citizenship outlined in the Senate immigration bill. Taking a hard line, the Republican National Committee opposes “any form of amnesty that would propose a pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens.” Meanwhile, members of mixed-status families hope for a citizenship path to keep their loved ones safe from deportation. Read more…
Seth M. Holmes
University of California, Berkeley
The U.S. Senate’s recent agreement – to increase the size of the Border Patrol by 20,000 agents, add 700 miles of fence, and deploy $3.2 billion in military equipment – may lead to an increase in deaths in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands if current policies continue. Most media coverage, however, has failed to mention that Border Patrol policies and actions directly contribute to these fatalities.
One recent example is an article titled, “In 30 days, Border Patrol rescues 177 people from Arizona desert,” published last month in the Los Angeles Times. The article noted that although fewer people are crossing the border overall, death rates are at an all-time high in the southern Arizona desert. It blamed the spike in fatalities on the fact that migrants are increasingly crossing the border at its most treacherous and remote points. Yet the article failed to point out that Border Patrol policies have contributed to these deaths by deliberately re-routing migrants to cross in regions so perilous that Border Patrol officials themselves have referred to them as “the corridor of death” (Doty 2011). Read more…
- Despite controversy, the humanitarian group, “No More Deaths,” continues to leave gallon jugs of water in the desert for migrants crossing into the United States from Mexico.
- In recent speech about the housing market and economy, President Obama again asserted his support for new immigration legislation.
- Immunization clinics in Queens and the Bronx are scheduled to close later this month. The closures will harm low-income people and immigrants, according to union representing public health nurses.
- In Chicago, protesters gathered at a hospital to object to undocumented immigrants’ lack of access to organ transplants. Read more…
- The Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Jersey deported a comatose 69-year-old undocumented immigrant to Poland without securing his consent or informing the Polish diplomats working on his case, after the hospital discovered he had no health insurance.
- An immigration overhaul bill passed in the Senate, but has stalled in the House due to Republican opposition to a “pathway to citizenship” for the nation’s undocumented immigrants. While the Obama administration champions the Senate bill, some on the political left say its pathway to legal status is too grueling, and some immigrant advocates believe its stipulations for strengthening “border security” will worsen the conflict between militarization and human rights on the border. (Here, the Southern Arizona humanitarian organization No More Deaths provides a full explanation for its opposition to the bill.) Read more…
- Although Border Patrol apprehensions have lessened in recent years, the deaths of migrants in the Arizona desert due to dehydration and heat exhaustion have remained high. Last fiscal year there were 463 deaths, a number rivaled only by the 2005 fiscal year, in which there were three times as many apprehensions. Advocates and experts agree that as “border security” is tightened, migrants take increasingly remote and dangerous routes into the country. The New York Times obtained a map of the deaths from Tucson-based humanitarian organization Humane Borders and photographs of migrants’ belongings, currently being held along with 744 sets of unidentified remains at the Pima County medical examiner’s office.
- The Senate immigration bill leaves intact considerable delays and obstacles for immigrants’ access to health care, particularly to Medicaid. Undocumented immigrants on the proposed path to citizenship will have to wait an additional five years to become eligible for Medicaid (if they qualify), following the end of the 10-year “Registered Provisional Immigrant” status. Read more…
- The Associated Press published the results of its review of “medical repatriation” cases, concluding that a lack of regulations on hospitals regarding the care of non-citizens has led to 600 deportations in the last five years of patients, including those unconscious or in comas, whom the hospitals deemed “stabilized” enough to receive the rest of their care in their home countries.
- While the Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times have banned the use of the phrase “illegal immigrant” to describe persons, the New York Times only suggested that its writers use alternatives when possible. Read more…
- Immigration advocates successfully pressured the AP into outlawing the word “illegal” when used to describe persons, prompting the New York Times to more seriously reconsider the term.
- The growing political clout of the United Farmworkers Union was in evidence April 11 when the Union struck a deal with crop growers on visas and pay scales for foreign farmworkers. Read more…