immigration

How The U.S. Asylum System Works

1 hour ago

President Trump’s zero-tolerance immigration policy has put a spotlight on the U.S. asylum process. According to an analysis of government statistics by the American Immigration Council, an immigrant advocacy group, around 20,000 people were granted asylum in 2016, the latest data available. That’s down from nearly double that in the early 2000s, but up significantly from the ’90s.

So what causes those changes, and how does the asylum process work?

As the other kids cry inconsolably on an audio recording of migrant children, 6-year-old Alison Jimena Valencia Madrid can be heard pleading for someone to call her aunt — reciting the number in Spanish.

Jimena is from El Salvador, and had just crossed into the U.S. before she was detained and separated from her mother.

The controversy over President Trump's executive order to end the policy of separating migrant families who cross into the U.S. illegally is shifting to the courts.

Do you see a blue dress or a gold dress? Well, this time it's a green Zara jacket. And the color doesn't matter — it's what's written on the back in big white graffiti lettering: "I REALLY DON'T CARE, DO U?"

Daniel Bock / Miami Herald

Troubled by stories of immigrant teens who say they were steered away from a traditional high school education, the Miami-Dade County School Board has directed the school district to take a hard look at how it educates newly arrived students.

Board member Steve Gallon proposed an initiative to assess and evaluate programs given to these students, as well as outline guidelines and procedures for enrollment. The item requires the board to be updated on the findings by September and be provided with an annual report.

The Pentagon is being asked by the Department of Health and Human Services to provide temporary beds for up to 20,000 undocumented children. That bed space would be needed beginning in July and running through the end of the year.

Officials tell NPR that four bases are expected to provide space, including the Army's Fort Bliss base in El Paso, Texas. It's uncertain if there would be enough barracks space, so officials say that tents likely would have to be put up.

C.M. Guerro / Miami Herald

Miami mayor Francis Suarez will visit a detention facility in Tornillo, Texas on Thursday to see children who have been separated from their families after crossing the Mexico border illegally. 

Gregory Bull / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

I’m a critic of U.S. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s push to isolate Cuba, which I consider an outdated means of achieving change on the communist island. But I’m an admirer of the Miami Republican in most other regards – especially her fundamental decency.

She reminded me why last year, when she didn’t show up in Little Havana for President Trump’s get-tough-on-Cuba show. Sources close to her tell me she found the Republican president’s “rollback” of U.S.-Cuba relations about as meaningful as one of his late-night tweets. More important, she really didn’t want to be in the same camera frame with Trump – a guy she seems to find as bereft of fundamental decency as most Americans do.

C.M. Guerrero / Miami Herald

Alberto Carvalho is miffed.

Breaking from its usual practice, the federal government sent more than 1,000 immigrant kids to a shelter in southern Miami-Dade County and didn't tell him.

As superintendent of Miami-Dade public schools, it's Carvalho's responsibility to provide an education to all youths within his jurisdiction. He cited that part of the Florida Constitution in a letter he sent to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen asking her what the district should do to educate those children.

Ellis Rua / Miami Herald

As images of immigrant children held at shelters made their way across news publications and social media posts, a lingering question loomed large: Where are the girls?

"Of the 11,786 minors currently in the unaccompanied alien children program, 3,280 of them are female," Kenneth Wolfe, a spokesman for Health and Human Services (HHS), stated in an email to el Nuevo Herald Tuesday evening.

Antar Davidson was working for a nonprofit group in a shelter in Tucson for children crossing the border illegally or unaccompanied, until the Trump administration’s new “zero-tolerance” policy led him to quit his job.

Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson talks with Davidson (@AntarDeSa) about the decision.

Interview Highlights

On why he quit

Nearly 2,000 immigrant children were separated from their parents after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border unlawfully this spring, according to the Department of Homeland Security. Many pediatricians have expressed concerns about the effects this traumatic event could have on those children.

Embattled Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen ate dinner at a Mexican restaurant in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday — and was targeted by protesters angry over the Trump administration's border policy that has separated children from their families along the U.S. border with Mexico.

"We're in downtown DC disrupting DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen's dinner at MXDC," the Metro D.C. Democratic Socialists of America wrote in a Facebook post about the confrontation. "The irony isn't lost on us that this is a Mexican restaurant."

Pope Francis has added his voice to the growing chorus of those decrying the Trump administration's "zero-tolerance" policy on illegal border crossings that has resulted in the separation of parents and children traveling together.

Updated at 5:18 p.m. ET

President Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday to end his controversial policy that has resulted in thousands of family separations and brought criticism from Democrats and Republicans.

"We're going to keep families together but we still have to maintain toughness or our country will be overrun by people, by crime, by all of the things that we don't stand for and that we don't want," Trump said Wednesday morning, when he announced that he would sign the order.

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