October 31, 2019
More border wall construction as spending debates continue
Congress passed a continuing resolution last month to keep the federal government running until November 21. Another continuing resolution until December or into 2020 is likely. One significant point of debate continues to be funding for more border walls. In Fiscal Year 2019, Congress approved $1.375 billion and President Trump transferred an additional $6.7 billion from military accounts. For FY 2020, a House spending bill has allocated no money for new walls while a Senate bill contains $5 billion plus funds for an additional 6,800 detention beds.
Meanwhile, border wall construction continues in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. Millions of gallons of desert groundwater are being pumped out for mixing concrete foundations, impacting farmers and imperiling endangered species. A federal judge is expected to halt some construction but the specifics remains uncertain and any injunction could be overturned by the Supreme Court.
Other ways to take action:
Schedule a meeting with your legislators while they are in their home districts (tips)
- Next recess: Nov 25-29
Write a letter to the editor (tips)
Photo above: MCC Borderlands Learning Tour participant Klaudia Smucker, from Lancaster, Pa., walks along the U.S.-Mexico border in Douglas, Arizona in October 2018. Vehicle barriers (shown to the left) are currently being replaced with pedestrian fencing/walls (right) in Arizona and New Mexico. MCC photo/Laura Pauls-Thomas
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- Castro visits woman taking sanctuary in Columbus Mennonite Church
Texas: Summit: Deterrence not the answer to humanitarian crisis (San Antonio Mennonite Church)
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News & resources
A federal judge blocked a new policy that would have allowed immigration officials to detain children for longer than 20 days. The Trump administration has promised to resume some foreign assistance to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras in exchange for tentative agreements that would force migrants to request asylum in those countries rather than in the U.S. One such agreement, between the U.S. and El Salvador, would extend work permits for Salvadorans in the U.S. with Temporary Protected Status.
The president of the National Association of Immigration Judges and members of Congress have raised serious concerns about new tent courts at the border—hastily erected facilities where judges appear via videoconference, access to attorneys is restricted and migrants are sent back to Mexico regardless of whether that puts them in further danger. A surge of Mexican families are requesting asylum but, with border officials allowing only a few families to enter each day, thousands are sleeping in tent camps outside border crossings. Hundreds of African migrants are stuck in southern Mexico due to a security crackdown.
- USA Today: One deadly week reveals where the immigration crisis begins—and where it ends
- CBS News: The faces of family separation
- Alianza Americas: Children in Central America-Mexico-U.S. corridor need protection, not detention and deportation
- Human Rights First: Orders from above: Massive human rights abuses under Trump Administration Return to Mexico policy
- Foreign Affairs: The end of asylum: A pillar of the liberal order is collapsing—but does anyone care?
- AILA: Port courts (tent courts)
- El Faro: The U.S. admits that it blocked aid to the Northern Triangle to reach asylum agreement
ENFORCEMENT and DETENTION
A federal court blocked the implementation of a new fast-track deportation policy. Many immigrants are traveling hours to immigration court hearings only to discover the dates printed on their paperwork are ‘dummy dates.’ Immigration officials say they are not conducting raids but an analysis by the American Immigration Council shows otherwise. The Department of Justice prosecuted a record-high number of immigration-related crimes in Fiscal Year 2019.
Public charge resources: Public charge update: What advocates need to know now | Kaiser Family Foundation study | ProtectingImmigrantFamilies.org
Health insurance required for visas: Trump proclamation could bar an estimated two-thirds of legal immigrants | Resources from NILC, MPI
Peace Science Digest: Special issue: Refugees and migrants
Climate and migration: Migration as a climate change adaptation strategy (report)
DHS leadership: Kevin McAleenan resigns as acting Homeland Security secretary
Nov. 3-8: Learning Tour: South Texas Borderlands
Nov. 3-18: MCC Bolivia Motorcycle Learning Tour
Update created October 31, 2019, by Tammy Alexander, Senior Legislative Associate for Domestic Affairs.
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