Migrants

U.S. Asylum-Seekers

A Trump administration program forcing asylum seekers to wait in Mexico has evolved into a sweeping rejection of all forms of migrants, with both countries quietly working to keep people out of the U.S. despite threats to the migrants’ safety. The results serve the goals of both governments, which have targeted unauthorized migration at the behest of President Donald Trump, who threatened Mexico with potentially crippling tariffs earlier this year to force action. Some people sent to wait in the Mexican border cities of Nuevo Laredo and Matamoros said they never requested asylum, including Wilfredo Alvarez, a laborer from Honduras. He crossed the Rio Grande without permission to look for work to support his seven children and was unexpectedly put into the program. He was sent back to Mexico with a future court date. “We thought that if they caught us, they would deport us to our country, but it was not that way,” Alvarez said. “They threw us away here to Mexico, but we are not from here and it’s very difficult.” Others said they were never asked if they feared persecution in Mexico, despite U.S. government rules that say migrants should not be sent there if they face that risk. U.S. border agents give each returned migrant a date for an immigration court hearing at tents set up near the border. But the Mexican government has bused hundreds of migrants to cities around 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) away, ostensibly for their safety. And there’s no promise that MexicoContinue reading

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Migrants Held In A Chain-Link Enclosure In Texas

After local Guatemalan officials burned down an environmental activist’s home, he decided to leave his village behind and flee to the United States, hoping he’d be granted asylum and his little boy, whose heart was failing, would receive lifesaving medical care. But after crossing the border into Arizona in May of last year, Border Patrol agents tore the man’s 7-year-old son from his arms and sent the father nearly 2,000 miles (3,220 kilometers) away to a detention center in Georgia. The boy, now 8, went into a U.S.-funded foster home for migrant children in New York. The foster care programs are meant to provide migrant children with care while authorities work to connect them with parents, relatives or other sponsors. But instead the boy told a counselor he was repeatedly sexually molested by other boys in the foster home. A review of 38 legal claims obtained by The Associated Press — some of which have never been made public — shows taxpayers could be on the hook for more than $200 million in damages from parents who said their children were harmed while in government custody. The father and son are among dozens of families — separated at the border as part of the Trump administration’s zero tolerance policy — who are now preparing to sue the federal government, including several who say their young children were sexually, physically or emotionally abused in federally funded foster care. With more than 3,000 migrant children taken from their parents at the borderContinue reading

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Richard Gere with African Migrants

The Ocean Viking charity ship plucked 85 African migrants from the sea off Libya Friday, the latest rescue in the Mediterranean as Hollywood star Richard Gere boarded a second vessel to highlight the plight of those stranded. Gere boarded the Open Arms, which had over 100 migrants stuck on board, to keep a spotlight on their situation as they wait for European nations to agree to take them in. The Ocean Viking, operated by French NGOs SOS Mediterranee and Doctors without Borders (MSF), had to call off its initial search during the night and had to wait till dawn broke to finally find the migrant boat — to applause from the passengers. After setting off from Libya, they had been spotted on Thursday evening from a plane flying in the European Union’s migrant monitoring operation Sophia. They had come from Senegal, Mali, Ivory Coast and Sudan. Among them are five women and 15 children, the youngest aged just one. “It was the start of our third day at sea,” said a young woman as she clambered aboard Ocean Viking. Crew members continued to scan the waves for a second vessel that set sail at the same time. On Friday night, 39 migrants were rescued in international waters, Open Arms founder Oscar Camps tweeted, adding to the 121 already on the vessel. In Italy, Interior Minister Matteo Salvini fired off a warning to Oslo, where the rescue ship is registered. “Italy is not legally bound, nor disposed to taken in clandestine,Continue reading

Donald Trump Signs

Rosita Lopez said armed gang members demanded money from her and her partner at their small grocery store on the Guatemalan coast and threatened to kill them when they couldn’t pay. When her partner was shot soon afterward, they sold everything and fled north. Lopez was eight months pregnant when the couple arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border last year with their 1-year-old daughter. Just over a year later, an immigration judge in Los Angeles heard her case, denied her asylum and ordered her deported. “I’m afraid of going back there,” she told the judge. The decision for 20-year-old Lopez — who now has an American-born baby — was swift in an immigration court system so backlogged with cases that asylum seekers often wait years for a hearing, let alone a ruling on whether they can stay in the country. But her case is one of 56,000 in a Trump administration pilot program in 10 cities from Baltimore to Los Angeles aimed at fast-tracking court hearings to discourage migrants from making the journey to seek refuge in the United States. The administration selected family cases in those cities from the past 10 months. Immigration lawyers who often complain that it takes too long to get a court date said the new timetable is too fast to prepare their clients to testify and get documents from foreign countries to bolster their claims. “The families that are all ready to go and desperate, ready with counsel, have survived multiple atrocities can’t seem toContinue reading

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Migrants News

Italy’s government plans to throw more resources into its fight against boat migrants, an official said on Tuesday, as the number of new arrivals gathers speed, putting pressure on Interior Minister Matteo Salvini. Some 47 migrants were brought to shore before dawn by an Italian police patrol vessel, while a charity ship rebuffed by Italy picked up 44 people in the central Mediterranean and said they would be transferred to Malta later in the day. After a sharp fall in migrant arrivals in recent months, numbers have picked up since June, with people-smugglers increasingly towing packed boats deep into international waters to escape especially the Italian-funded Libyan coastguard. Previously, the underpowered, rubber dinghies were pushed to sea from local beaches, making it relatively easy for the Libyans to stop them before they left their territorial waters. To clamp down on this, Italy is planning to boost its own sea and air patrols to try to spot traffickers before they leave local waters, and will give 10 motorboats to the Libyan coastguard. Salvini, who has built much of his political credibility on a drive to halt migrant flows, also wrote to his Tunisian counterpart urging him to do more to stop departures from Tunisia and to accept back swiftly those caught fleeing. Over the past 18 months, the largest number of migrants entering Italy have come from Tunisia, a change from previous years when the new arrivals came mainly from sub-Saharan Africa. TUNISIANS TOP MIGRANT LIST Since the start of 2019,Continue reading

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African Migrants - Refugees - Migrant from Africa to Europe

They are trapped in squalid detention centers on Libya’s front lines. They wash up on the banks of the Rio Grande. They sink without a trace — in the Mediterranean, in the Pacific or in waterways they can’t even name. A handful fall out of airplanes’ landing gear. As their choices narrow on land and at sea, migrants are often seen as a political headache in the countries they hope to reach and ignored in the countries they flee. Most live in limbo, but recent tragedies have focused attention on the risks they face and the political constraints at the root of them. A record 71 million people were forcibly displaced around the world in 2018, according to a report last month by the U.N. refugee agency, in places as diverse as Turkey, Uganda, Bangladesh and Peru. Many are still on the move in 2019, or trapped like thousands in detention in Libya, where an airstrike on Tuesday killed at least 44 migrants and refugees locked away in the Tripoli suburb of Tajoura. Most of those in Tajoura and other Libyan detention centers have been intercepted by the Libyan coast guard, which has become the go-to border force for the European Union, which can’t get 28 governments to agree about migration. Despite the rhetoric about migration crises in Europe and the U.S., the top three countries taking in refugees are Turkey, Pakistan and Uganda. Germany comes in a distant fifth. A 20-year-old who fled war in his homeland in sub-SaharanContinue reading

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez - USA Headline Politics News

Controversy broadsided the embattled U.S. Border Patrol agency Monday, as a high-profile U.S. Congresswoman touring detention facilities called conditions “horrifying” and as current and former agency staffers were alleged to have posted offensive comments about the lawmaker and migrants on a private Facebook page. Migrants held at a border patrol station in Texas were subjected to psychological abuse and told to drink out of toilets, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said after a visit with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to the main border patrol facility in El Paso. The tour, which also included a visit to a Clint, Texas, facility, followed reports from a government watchdog that immigrants were being housed in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions. “After I forced myself into a cell with women and began speaking to them, one of them described their treatment at the hands of officers as “psychological warfare,” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a first-term New York Democrat, wrote on Twitter after leaving the El Paso border patrol station. “This has been horrifying so far.” U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which oversees Border Patrol, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on her statements about the visit. The Border Patrol also came under fire on Monday following a report by the non-profit news site ProPublica that offensive content had been posted on a private Facebook group for current and former CBP officers. Posts included jokes about the deaths of migrants and sexually explicit comments referencing Ocasio-Cortez, the news outlet said. Reuters did not independentlyContinue reading

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Carola Rackete - Ship Captain

The German captain of a humanitarian rescue ship with 40 migrants aboard has been arrested after she rammed her vessel into an Italian border police motorboat while docking at a tiny Mediterranean island Saturday in defiance of Italy’s anti-migrant interior minister. Jeering onlookers shouted “handcuffs, handcuffs” as Carola Rackete, the 31-year-old captain, was escorted off the boat at Lampedusa, which is closer to north Africa than to the Italian mainland. The migrants, meanwhile, hugged personnel of the German Sea-Watch charity who helped them during their 17 days at sea. Some kissed the ground after disembarking from Sea-Watch 3 at dawn’s break. The migrants had been rescued from an unseaworthy vessel launched by Libya-based human traffickers but Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini had refused to let them disembark on Lampedusa until other European Union countries agreed to take them. Five nations pledged to do so on Friday: Finland, France, Germany, Luxembourg and Portugal. The humanitarian rescue operation ended dramatically and violently when Rackete decided she could no longer wait for permission to dock given the odyssey of the migrants aboard. “It’s enough. After 16 days following the rescue, #SeaWatch3 enters in port,” the organization tweeted early Saturday shortly before the ship started heading dockside. The captain steered her vessel toward the island before dawn, ramming the much smaller police boat, which was blocking Sea-Watch 3?s path to the dock. In past years, Lampedusa had won international praise for its generous welcome to many of the hundreds of thousands of rescued migrants.Continue reading

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Migrants die of disease in Libya detention; UN criticized

In the desert of western Libya, hundreds of African migrants were held for months in a hangar filled with maggot-covered garbage and sewage. They shared a couple of buckets of water between them and barely survived on one meal a day. More than 20 died from disease and hunger, they said. The migrants and their advocates accused U.N. aid agencies of turning a blind eye or responding too slowly to their plight. The U.N refugee agency, or UNHCR, denies it’s been unresponsive, saying it has been unable to access parts of the facility, run by one of Libya’s many militias. The commander in charge of the facility denied there was any lack of access. Internal memos and emails leaked to The Associated Press also show disagreement among the UNHCR and other aid agencies over conditions at the site in the town of Zintan, with one NGO working on behalf of UNHCR denying there was lack of food, even as it acknowledged it hadn’t been able to see the majority of migrants held there. The suffering of the migrants held in Zintan underscores the impact of the European Union’s effective yet much-criticized policy of blocking Africans from sailing across the Mediterranean to its shores and keeping them in Libya. Funded and trained by the EU, Libyan border guards have been stepping up efforts to stop migrants from crossing. As a result, thousands of migrants are trapped in a country thrown into chaos by war. At least 6,000 are locked up inContinue reading

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