- In Alabama, civil rights groups reached an agreement with state officials to permanently block the most extreme parts of the state’s 2011 anti-immigrant bill.
- President Obama renewed his call for House Republicans to take up comprehensive immigration reform. In response, the New York Times editorial board wrote an (appropriately) scathing piece demanding “not one more” deportation and terming the administration’s deportation practices a “continuing disaster.” Read more…
- On October 8, eight Democratic members of the House of Representatives were arrested outside the Capitol building during a protest to support comprehensive immigration legislation.
- Sonia Nazario, author of Enrique’s Journey: The Story of a Boy’s Dangerous Odyssey to Reunite with his Mother, writes that U.S. immigration policy has been at the root of much family separation, both by driving family members to immigrate separately and by deliberately deporting parents without their children.
- ThinkProgress posted a “simple guide to the Affordable Care Act” for non-citizens with varying levels of access to ACA-provided care. Read more…
In a previous AccessDenied post, I considered how the institutional culture of the U.S. Border Patrol often neglects the medical needs of migrants. Despite policies calling for “humane treatment,” agents regularly destroy humanitarian water bottles in the desert, allow overcrowding in detention, deny medications, and commit acts of physical violence. Moreover, as Seth Holmes writes in a recent post, the Border Patrol’s stated policy of “prevention through deterrence,” which aims to deter future migration by making the journey north as difficult as possible, is inhumane.
As the agency predicted, and as Holmes notes, the increase in Border Patrol personnel and surveillance since 1994 has forced migration routes into the remote desert, increasing suffering. Read more…
- Migrants entering the U.S. are increasingly crossing through southern Texas, where many die trying to circumvent a Border Patrol checkpoint in Brooks County. Last year, the toll of recovered remains in the county skyrocketed to 129 bodies, up from 50 or 60 in previous years.
- Migration is shifting along multiple vectors, as Mexico is increasingly an immigrant destination and the number of unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. appears to be on the rise.
- In an investigation of excessive force cases, the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General found that “many [Border Patrol] agents and officers do not understand use of force and the extent to which they may or may not use force.” Read more…
- 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…