Instant Library - Apr-Jun 2018
Mexico / USA - US Immigration Policy
Story No.: G12755
Source: ASSOCIATED PRESS, POOL
Date: 06/22/2018 12:00 AM
'Caravan of migrants' reaches final stop in Mexico City
Mexico City - 9 April 2018
1. Caravan of buses carrying migrants arriving
2. Migrants organizing their belongings
US National Guard troops arriving at Mexico Border
Roma, Texas - 11 April 2018
3. Wide, the international bridge from the bluff
4. Texas National Guard soldiers observing the reporter recording them
Caravan of asylum seekers head to US-Mexico border rally
Tijuana - 29 April 2018
5. Wide migrants' rally next to border fence
6. Various migrants sitting on top of the fence with signs
As migrants try to cross, Pence visits US-Mexico border
Imperial - 30 April 2018
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Mike Pence, US Vice President:
" But the simple reality is that this caravan, and caravans that have come before- are a result of individuals who are attempting to exploit the suffering of people in Central America to try and advance their agenda."
Trump: Some deported gang members are 'animals'
Washington - 16 May 2018
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Donald Trump, US President:
"We have people coming into the country, or trying to come in - and we're stopping a lot of them - but we're taking people out of the country. You wouldn't believe how bad these people are. These aren't people. These are animals"
Texas Democrats speak of their visit to immigration facility, urge change in policy
Brownsville, Texas - 18 June 2018
9. Various exteriors and surrounds of Southwest Key Casa El Presidente, a facility that holds infants and young children separated from parents who have been charged with unlawful entry into the US, after being detained by US Border Patrol
10. Facility gate opens, pickup truck driving out
Migrants Arrive at Texas Processing Facility
McAllen, Texas - June 19, 2018
11. Various, migrants exiting bus, entering facility
12. Migrants being processed
Trump hugs flag after immigration speech
Washington, DC - 19 June 2018
13. U.S. President Donald Trump celebrates the end of a speech, hugs an American flag
Guatemalan man recounts separation from toddler on US border
Provo, Utah - June 19, 2018
14. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Romulo Gonzalez Rodriguez, asylum applicant:
" It's tremendous anguish because you don't get any answers from authorities in that moment. They set you apart and you don't know anything. They don't give you information and you don't know the laws, you don't know anything. It's a tremendous anguish. You're wondering: Where is she? What is she doing? What is happening with her? Such a small child."
Mother and son reunited after separation at US border
Baltimore-Washington Internation Thurgood Marshall Airport - 22 June 2018
15. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Beata Mariana de Jesus Mejia-Mejia, Reunited with son
(Question: What message do you send to the other mothers that are in the same situation you were few minutes ago?)
"They can fight the same way I did it. They have to fight to get out from there, to fight for their children. One has to win the battle."
On April 9th 2018 about 600 remaining participants in the migrant caravan that drew US President Donald Trump's ire made a last stop in Mexico City to give thanks to the Virgin of Guadalupe.
The migrants travelled by bus to the Basilica of Guadalupe, which is dedicated to Mexico's patroness.
The largely Honduran migrants gave thanks on April 9th to the Virgin for having made it this far.
The caravan started about two weeks ago near Mexico's southern border.
Though it once numbered as many 1,500 migrants, the caravan itself was never intended to reach the US border.
The largely symbolic caravan was meant to draw attention to the dangers faced by migrants.
The group planned a couple of days' more activity in Mexico City, visiting international and human rights organisations.
With the deployment of 1,000 additional Texas National Guard soldiers to the US-Mexico border, quiet border towns have new guests along the Rio Grande.
Freddy Guerra, the assistant city manager of Roma, Texas, welcomes the additional manpower for border security, but says the uniformed personnel are really more "for perception," than functional service.
He adds that they're not in the way of anything the city or its approximately 10,000 residents, but hopes nothing disrupts the harmonious trading relationship Roma has with their neighbors to the south.
A half-dozen national guard soldiers bivouacked their Humvee and tent underneath one of Roma's historic bluffs overlooking the river. Across the river is Miguel Aleman, a small city in Tamulipas State, Mexico.
Packed into five old school buses, hundreds of Central American migrants arrived at the U.S. border April 29th for a rally, to be followed by a planned mass attempt to apply for asylum in a direct challenge to the Trump administration.
The migrants, many traveling with children, left a downtown Tijuana shelter where they had been staying.
The arrival at San Diego's San Ysidro border crossing, the nation's busiest, marked the end of a monthlong journey by foot, freight train and bus for the migrants, many of whom said they feared for their lives in their violence-wracked home countries.
But the travelers faced an uncertain future as they prepared to turn themselves in and ask for asylum. U.S. immigration lawyers warned them they face possible separation from their children and detention for many months.
President Donald Trump and members of his Cabinet have been tracking the caravan of migrants, calling it a threat to the U.S. since it started March 25th in the Mexican city of Tapachula, near the Guatemala border.
Following the arrival of a caravan of Central American asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border, Vice President Mike Pence made a trip to a U.S. Border Patrol station in California, stressing the administration's commitment to border security.
"We have to close the dangerous loopholes," said Pence," and our entire system that essentially entice people or entice people that would take advantage of vulnerable families, to encourage them to make the long and often dangerous trip up to our border."
About 200 asylum seekers were not being allowed to turn themselves in to U.S. border inspectors for a second straight day on April 30th.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection said a San Diego border crossing facility has reached capacity and that it will resume processing when it has more space and resources.
While railing against California for its so-called sanctuary immigration policies, President Donald Trump referred to some people who cross the border illegally as "animals."
Trump's remark at meeting with local leaders was in response to a complaint about gang members.
"We have people coming into the country, or trying to come in -- and we're stopping a lot of them," Trump said during the immigration roundtable after a sheriff commented about gangs. "You wouldn't believe how bad these people are. These aren't people. These are animals."
Trump was joined at the May 16th White House meeting by mayors, sheriffs and other local leaders from California who oppose the state's immigration policies and who applauded his administration's hard-line efforts.
Nearly 2,000 children were separated from their families over a six-week period in April and May after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the new "zero-tolerance" policy that refers all cases of illegal entry for criminal prosecution.
Prior procedure had limited prosecution for many family entrants, in part because regulations prohibit detaining children with their parents since the children are not charged with a crime and the parents are.
Texas Congressman and Democrat, Filemon Vela, who represents a district encompassing Brownsville, Texas invited fellow congressional Democrats to visit facilities where immigrant children were separated from their parents.
This happens after a parent has been charged with unlawful entry into the US and is subject to deportation proceedings.
Some of the US representatives who visited child holding facilities operated by the Department of Health and Human Services, said they held and played with infants and toddlers.
Rep. Joaquin Castro and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, both Texas Democrats, said they held one baby boy who was no more than eight months old and had been in the facility for almost two months.
Castro urged President Donald Trump to change his policy.
As criticism sharpens of the Trump administration's "zero tolerance policy" toward immigration and separation of families, migrants from central America still arrive in a familiar rhythm in McAllen.
Migrants who are detained for unlawfully crossing into the United States, are processed into the federal system in the Texas town.
Prior to the Trump administration they were released and given a court notice to appear.
Now, the federal authorities are detaining parents with children, charging them in immigration courts and subsequently separating the children into facilities run by the Department of Health and Human Services.
US President Donald Trump on June 19th hugged an American flag positioned on the stage, following a speech in which he said he would detain family units together, instead of separating the children.
Three-year-old Genesis Gonzalez Lopez giggled excitedly as she played with her father at a sunny Utah park, zipping down a slide again and again into his arms.
The happy scene this week in Provo, south of Salt Lake City, was a far cry from what the pair experienced on Thanksgiving, when U.S. immigration authorities took Romulo Gonzalez Rodriguez into custody at the U.S.-Mexico border and whisked away the frightened girl, with no explanation of where she'd end up.
Gonzalez had fled Guatemala with the then-2-year-old after kidnappers held him captive, ripped out his right eye and forced his family to pay a $13,500 ransom for his life. He traveled by bus and train to a San Diego port of entry to seek asylum in the United States and was separated from his daughter for seven days.
"It's painful to be running away and come to where you think they're going to rescue you, and they take the measure of separating children," the father told The Associated Press in Spanish on Tuesday. "You fall again into fear and the same anguish that you're leaving behind."
Gonzalez's experience offers a window into the distress and uncertainty parents endure when they are separated from their children at the border, even though it happened before President Donald Trump's administration in April adopted a "zero tolerance" policy in which all unlawful border crossings were referred for prosecution.
The policy led to a spike in family separations in recent weeks, provoking a national uproar and pressure from Trump's allies. In a dramatic reversal, the president on Wednesday signed an executive order ending the practice, keeping families together while they're in custody, expediting their cases and asking the Department of Defense to help house families.
In Gonzalez's case, it's unclear why he and his daughter were separated since he surrendered at the border and is not being prosecuted for illegal entry.
It has been longstanding practice for Homeland Security to separate adults and minors at the border when it's unable to confirm they're related or if it believes a child is at risk. But Gonzalez has no record criminal record, his attorney Mari Alvarado Tsosie said.
Gonzalez has a brother in Provo who sought Alvarado's advice after Gonzalez was held for ransom in his home country. Gonzalez followed her instructions, arriving at the San Ysidro Port of Entry with his daughter Nov. 23 and handing U.S. immigration authorities a Guatemalan police report about his kidnapping.
Authorities shepherded his young daughter into another room while Gonzalez answered questions. He thought they would be reunited when he was done, but he was instead taken to a detention center without his daughter, Alvarado said. When he asked where she was, they wouldn't tell him, he said.
Gonzalez said he then spent seven days at a cold facility where the lights never turned off, wondering if his daughter was safe and if he would ever see her again. In Guatemala, his kidnappers had threated to dismember the child, and he suspected corrupt authorities were involved. His mind raced with worries U.S. law enforcement was corrupt too.
"It's tremendous anguish because you don't get any answers from authorities," Gonzalez said at his attorney's office in Provo, his daughter sitting on his lap. "They don't give you information, and you don't know the laws. ... You're wondering: Where is she? What is she doing? Such a small child."
Parents who surrender at U.S. ports of entry have occasionally been separated from their children with no formal explanation since long before the Trump administration's zero tolerance policy, said Dan Kowalski, editor of Bender's Immigration Bulletin, a national journal focused on immigration cases and law. He believes it's because of a lack of training, leadership and standard operating procedures that allows border agents to make up rules as they go.
If they suspected Gonzalez was abusing the child or trafficking her, they would have sent the case to prosecutors, Kowalski said.
A spokesman with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement had no immediate comment on the case.
After learning of Gonzalez's situation, Alvarado began calling every ICE facility in Southern California looking for him and the child. It took her three days to find Gonzalez at San Diego's Otay Mesa Detention Center and another four days to reunite him with his daughter.
To this day, Alvarado doesn't know where Genesis was held, though she believes the girl was somewhere in San Diego. All the girl has said is that she ate a lot of cereal.
The father and daughter are staying with Gonzalez's brother while they await word on the asylum request. A hearing is set for Oct. 22 at a Salt Lake City immigration court.
Gonzalez's wife and two step-children are in hiding in Guatemala and waiting until he can send enough money for them to make the journey north.
Genesis is too young to say what happened to her while they were apart or express how it affected her. But her father said she was sickly when they reunited, and seems nervous and clingier now. She starts therapy later this month.
On June 19th, Genesis looked like a typical, sweet toddler, hugging her father tightly and giving him kisses while he spoke.
Gonzalez is happy to be safe for now but said he's living in limbo not knowing if he'll be forced to return to the Guatemalan beach town that he once loved, where he now fears he'll be killed if he returns. He wears a glass eye following his attack.
Between that ordeal and the separation from Genesis, Gonzalez said he suffered significant trauma of his own that he has yet to deal with.
"It's a situation I don't wish upon any father or human being," he said. "It affects you a lot psychologically, emotionally. There are moments when I remember it all, and I start to cry for no reason."
A mother and child separated at the US border were reunited on June 22nd, just hours after the Justice Department agreed to release the boy.
Beata Mariana de Jesus Mejia-Mejia filed for political asylum after crossing the border with her seven-year old son, Darwin, following a trek from Guatemala.
The Justice Department agreed to release the boy after she sued the US government in order to be reunited with him following their separation.
The happy reunion took place at Baltimore-Washington international airport, from where the pair were expected to travel to Texas, where they will live while the mother's asylum claim is being decided.
|Subjects:||Municipal governments , Local governments , Government and politics , Military reserves , Armed forces , Military and defense , Border security , Immigration policy , Immigration , Social issues , Social affairs , Immigration policy , Government policy , Asylum seekers , Border patrols , Kidnapping , Crime , General news , Legislature , Child abuse , Crimes against children , Zero tolerance policy , Government regulations|
|People:||Filemon Vela , Michael Pence , Joaquin Castro , Romulo , Jeff Sessions , Thurgood Marshall , Sheila Jackson Lee , Donald Trump|
|Organisations:||U.S. National Guard, United States military, United States government, U.S. Department of Justice, Mexican armed forces, Mexico government, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement|
|Locations:||United States , North America , Texas , Mexico , Mexico , Central America , Latin America and Caribbean , California , District of Columbia , Guatemala , McAllen , Salt Lake City , Utah , Brownsville , Mexico City , Provo|