US migrant crisis
LATEST UPDATE: October 12, 2019 - 12:37pm
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October 12, 2019

California on Friday banned private prisons and immigrant detention centers under a bill signed by the liberal state's governor.

The measure stipulates that beginning next year, the state's Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is prohibited from entering into or renewing a contract with a private, for-profit prison to incarcerate people.

The bill also calls for such facilities to be phased out by 2028.

"During my inaugural address, I vowed to end private prisons, because they contribute to over-incarceration, including those that incarcerate California inmates and those that detain immigrants and asylum seekers," Newsom, who has repeatedly sparred with the Trump administration over immigration, said after signing the bill.

"These for-profit prisons do not reflect our values," he added

California lawmaker Rob Bonta, who authored the bill, described the signing as "a truly historic moment for California." — Agence France-Presse

August 16, 2019

US federal judges rule that detained migrant children must be given soap, dry clothes and clean bedding, dismissing an appeal by the Trump administration. 

The ruling by three judges at San Francisco's federal appeals court follows reports of severe overcrowding and disease-ridden cells at US detention centers.

A surge of Central American migrants has overwhelmed US immigration services, leading to multi-pronged controversial efforts by US President Donald Trump's administration to stem the flow, resulting in court challenges. — AFP

August 8, 2019

US officials say some 680 undocumented migrants were detained in a major series of raids Wednesday at food processing plants in the southeastern United States, part of US President Donald Trump's announced crackdown on illegal immigration.

Most of those detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents were Hispanic migrants, officials say.

TV footage showed lines of arrested migrants heading to buses parked outside the processing plants with their hands behind their backs under the watchful eyes of ICE agents.

Those who were not detained, including some children, stood by waving at their friends and relatives. Several wiped away tears as they gave their farewells.

"Special agents executed administrative and criminal search warrants resulting in the detention of approximately 680 illegal aliens," says Mike Hurst, US Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi. ?— Agence France-Presse

July 3, 2019

The inspector general for the US Department of Homeland Security warns about "dangerous overcrowding" in migrant detention facilities in Texas.

The report by the agency watchdog comes a day after a group of Democratic lawmakers toured detention centers for undocumented immigrants in the state bordering Mexico and denounced "horrifying" conditions there.

"We encourage the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to take immediate steps to alleviate dangerous overcrowding and prolonged detention of children and adults in the Rio Grande Valley," acting DHS Inspector General Jennifer Costello says in a memorandum to acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan.

June 25, 2019

The army chief says Mexico has deployed nearly 15,000 soldiers and National Guardsmen to its border with the United States, admitting they are detaining migrants who try to cross, after the policy triggered backlash.

Under pressure from US President Donald Trump to slow the surge of Central Americans crossing the border, Mexico promised earlier this month to reinforce its southern border with 6,000 National Guardsmen, but had not previously disclosed the extent of the crackdown on its northern border.

"We have a total deployment, between the National Guard and army units, of 14,000, almost 15,000 men in the north of the country," Defense Minister Luis Cresencio Sandoval says. — AFP

June 22, 2019

US President Donald Trump has ordered border agents to begin a mass roundup of some 2,000 migrant families that have received deportation orders, US media report.

The news follows the president's announcement on Twitter that US Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials would begin deporting "millions of illegal aliens," although he gave little detail. — AFP

June 15, 2019

US authorities say they had placed 5,200 detained migrants into quarantine, mainly over exposure to mumps, linking a surge in cases to a recent outbreak of the contagious disease in Central America.

An Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) official says that as of June 13 almost 4,300 detainees were being confined across 39 facilities for exposure to mumps, more than 800 for exposure to chicken pox, and about a hundred for both.

The first confirmed case of mumps among ICE detainees was reported on Sept. 7, 2018 and since then the figure has grown to 334, the official adds. — AFP

June 15, 2019

Mexico has published the document that Donald Trump earlier flaunted as a secret deal to curb migration, but denied it had capitulated to the US president's demands for a so-called "safe third country" agreement.

Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard undergoes a grilling in Mexico's Congress, where some lawmakers insisted otherwise and demanded more details on what exactly he agreed to in the last-minute deal brokered a week ago to dodge Trump's threat to impose tariffs on Mexican goods. — AFP

June 15, 2019

Mexico says it will complete the deployment of 6,000 National Guardsmen to its southern border in four days' time and send 825 additional immigration officers under its deal with the US to slow migration.

Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard says Mexico was "making a major effort to accelerate" implementation of the deal, which he struck last Friday in Washington in a last-minute bid to dodge President Donald Trump's threat to slap punitive tariffs on Mexican goods. — AFP

June 8, 2019

Mexico will take "unprecedented steps" to stem the flow of Central American migrants transiting the country to the United States, including by deploying National Guard troops, the countries say in a joint statement.

The announcement came as the US and Mexico hammered out a deal on migration to avoid punishing tariffs on all Mexican imports that US President Donald Trump had threatened to put into effect on Monday.

"Mexico will take unprecedented steps to increase enforcement to curb irregular migration, to include the deployment of its National Guard throughout Mexico, giving priority to its southern border," the statement says. — AFP

June 8, 2019

US President Donald Trump says that Washington had reached an agreement with Mexico on migration, and that the punishing tariffs he had been threatening were "indefinitely suspended."

"I am pleased to inform you that The United States of America has reached a signed agreement with Mexico. The Tariffs scheduled to be implemented by the U.S. on Monday, against Mexico, are hereby indefinitely suspended," he says on Twitter.


June 1, 2019

A US Department of Homeland Security report warns of "dangerous overcrowding" in El Paso, Texas facilities for holding just-arrived migrants, with rooms packed with more than five times the number authorized.

The report by the DHS inspector general says the health and security of both migrants and US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials is under threat by squeezing people into holding rooms designed for a fraction of their numbers. — AFP

May 3, 2019

Lawmakers in the southern US state of Florida on Thursday pass a bill prohibiting so-called "sanctuary cities," requiring local law enforcement to cooperate with immigration authorities.

The measure comes as President Donald Trump pushes policies aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration, while frequently demonizing the migrants as criminals.

Florida's lower house passed the bill 68-45 and it was sent to Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, a Trump ally who campaigned on taking a tough stance against illegal immigration.

"We are a stronger state when we protect our residents, foster safe communities and respect the work of law enforcement at every level," DeSantis said in a statement.

"Local law enforcement agencies can and should work with the federal government to ensure that accountability and justice are one in our state." -- Agence France-Presse

April 28, 2019

Traveling through Mexico has become even more difficult for Central American migrants like Oscar Vialta and his family, frustrated by tighter immigration rules and a local population reluctant to give them shelter or support as they move toward the United States to try to improve their lives.

Vialta, 42, his wife and two children left Honduras at the beginning of April, joining a migrant caravan heading for the US border.

But when they arrived in Mexico, they ran foul of stiffer new regulations which have restricted them to Mexico's southern states and prevented them from going further north to the border.

Their only legal hope is to be given a humanitarian visa. -- Agence France-Presse

April 21, 2019

The FBI has arrested a member of an armed rightwing militia group accused of illegally detaining migrants at the US-Mexico border, officials said Saturday.

Larry Mitchell Hopkins, 70, was arrested for illegal possession of a weapon. His small but well-armed United Constitutional Patriots (UCP) group says it watches the border, stands guard over people who want to hand themselves in to border patrol and pursues those who don't.

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas described Hopkins, who also goes by the name of "Striker," as a "dangerous felon who should not have weapons around children and families."

"Today's arrest by the FBI indicates clearly that the rule of law should be in the hands of trained law enforcement officials, not armed vigilantes," he added. -- Agence France-Presse

April 13, 2019

US President Donald Trump says he is seriously considering funneling detained illegal migrants into the self-declared sanctuary cities that oppose his tough immigration policies.

Trump's announcement on Twitter reversed a previous White House assurance that the idea -- criticized as political retribution against cities led by opposition Democrats -- had been dropped. — AFP

March 30, 2019

President Donald Trump has accused Mexico of failing to curb the flow of migrants illegally entering the US, and threatened to close the border "next week" unless something changes.

Trump's latest tweets ramp up the tension between the neighbors, putting a specific timeframe to his repeated threats to shut the border, one of the busiest in the world. — AFP

February 13, 2019

Grammy-nominated rapper 21 Savage has been granted release on bond from US immigration detention Tuesday, his lawyers said -- nine days after his arrest sparked outrage among fellow music stars, fans and immigrant rights advocates alike.

"Today, 21 Savage was granted a release on bond. He won his freedom," Charles Kuck, Dina LaPolt and Alex Spiro, representing 21 Savage, said in a statement. Kuck confirmed the rapper will be released Wednesday.

21 Savage, whose real name is She'yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, was arrested February 3 in the southern city of Atlanta by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents who said he was British and had been living in the United States illegally since overstaying his visa from 2006.

His legal team did not immediately clarify what comes next in the case of the 26-year-old rapper, whose chart-topping latest album "I Am > I Was" was released in December. -- Agence France-Presse

February 4, 2019

The United States will send an additional 3,750 troops to its border with Mexico, the Pentagon said Sunday, bringing the total number of active duty forces to 4,350.

"The Department of Defense will deploy approximately 3,750 additional US forces to provide the additional support to CBP (Customs and Border Protection) at the southwest border that Acting Secretary of Defense Shanahan approved Jan. 11," it said. — Agence France-Presse

January 26, 2019

The United States has delayed its plan to send asylum seekers back to Mexico while their claims are processed, as the Mexican government says it "disagrees" with the policy.

US and Mexican officials has said President Donald Trump's controversial "Remain in Mexico" policy would be put into effect Friday at noon with the return of 20 Central Americans at the San Ysidro border crossing between San Diego, California and the Mexican city of Tijuana. — AFP

January 26, 2019

Pope Francis has railed against the marginalization of convicts and others who society has deemed "sinners," and staunchly defended migrants as he joined hundreds of thousands of young Catholics in Panama.

In a swipe at US President Donald Trump's plans to build a border wall against Central American migrants, the pope tells hundreds of thousands of young pilgrims that it was "senseless" to condemn every immigrant "as a threat to society." — AFP

January 25, 2019

Members of a militia group, whose alleged leader applied to build Donald Trump's border wall, pleaded guilty Thursday to bombing a mosque in an effort to frighten American Muslims into leaving the country, Agence France-Presse reports.

The admissions by Michael McWhorter, 29 and Joe Morris, 23, were through guilty pleas to charges stemming from a crime spree that included two bombing attempts, armed robberies, and the attempted extortion of a railway company.  

Police say McWhorter confessed that his group, the "White Rabbits," bombed the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in a Minneapolis suburb in August 2017 in order to "scare (Muslims) out of the country" and send the message "you're not welcome here."

January 18, 2019

An official report says thousands more children were forcibly separated from their parents after illegally crossing the US-Mexico border from 2017-2018 than originally admitted by President Donald Trump's administration.

The inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which was given responsibility for the children, says the total number separated under the administration's "zero-tolerance policy" toward illegal immigrants remains unknown. — AFP

January 7, 2019

US President Donald Trump stood firm Sunday on his demand for billions of dollars to fund a border wall with Mexico, claiming "tremendous" support inside his camp on the contentious issue which has forced a government shutdown now entering its third week, Agence France-Presse reports.

"We have to build the wall," Trump tells reporters as he left the White House for the Camp David presidential retreat. "It's about safety, it's about security for our country. 

The US president warns once more that he may invoke emergency powers to get a wall built without congressional approval.

"I may declare a national emergency, dependent on what's going to happen over the next few days," he says.

January 5, 2019

President Donald Trump says he was prepared to keep the US government shut down for as long as it takes -- months or even years -- to force Congress to provide billions of dollars for a border wall with Mexico. — AFP

January 3, 2019

Some immigrant youth looking to start over in the United States after fleeing abusive homes are seeing their applications for green cards rejected because the Trump administration says they're too old.

A U.S. government program in place since 1990 has let young immigrants subject to abuse, abandonment or neglect by a parent seek a court-appointed guardian and a green card to stay in the country. — AP

January 2, 2019

US Border Patrol says agents used tear gas and pepper spray to counter rock-throwing migrants when a group of about 150 tried to illegally cross the border from Mexico, leading to 25 arrests.

It is the second time since November that border officers have used tear gas during an attempted mass migrant crossing in the San Diego area. — AFP

December 27, 2018

The United States will take "extraordinary" protective measures to deal with a surge of immigrant children in custody, a Homeland Security official says after a second Guatemalan child died in custody.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen plans to travel later this week to the Mexico border region to witness medical screenings and conditions at Border Patrol stations. — AFP

December 15, 2018

The U.S. Border Patrol says a 7-year-old girl who died while she was in custody appeared to be in good health when she was first detained along a remote stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border.

An intake form signed by the girl's father said she wasn't sick, wasn't sweating and seemed mentally alert. 

Immigration officials briefing reporters say the girl's father told officials that she was sick and vomiting when they were on a bus heading to a Border Patrol station. When they arrived 90 minutes later, the girl wasn't breathing.

Emergency personnel revived her twice, and she was sent to an El Paso hospital via helicopter at 7:40 a.m. She died Dec. 8. An autopsy is pending. — AP

December 10, 2018

A United Nations conference adopts a migration pact in front of leaders and representatives from around 150 countries in Morocco on Monday, despite a string of withdrawals driven by anti-immigrant populism.

The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration -- finalised at the UN in July after 18 months of talks -- was formally approved with the bang of a gavel in Marrakesh at the start of a two day conference. 

But the United States and 15 other countries either opted out or expressed concerns, with some claiming the pact infringes national sovereignty.

Billed as the first international document on managing migration, it lays out 23 objectives to open up legal migration and discourage illegal border crossings, as the number of people on the move globally has surged to more than 250 million.

Describing it as a "roadmap to prevent suffering and chaos", UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres sought to dispel what he called a number of myths around the pact, including claims that it will allow the UN to impose migration policies on member states. 

The pact "is not legally binding", he said. "It is a framework for international co-operation… that specifically reaffirms the principle of state sovereignty. -- Agence France-Presse

December 1, 2018

Trump administration officials have vowed to address some of issues that forced them to decide against criminally prosecuting any of the 42 members of a Central American migrant caravan arrested last weekend who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border illegally during a chaotic clash with Border Patrol agents. — AP

November 14, 2018

Colombian authorities move homeless Venezuelan migrants to a soccer field filled with yellow tents and cots Tuesday, as the number of migrants fleeing their nation's economic and humanitarian calamity rises.

The first migrant camp for Venezuelans in Colombia's capital sparked a protest from residents who said they feared their new neighbors would bring crime and disease — the latest hint of escalating tensions throughout the region over the spillover of Venezuela's crisis.

"They want to ruin our communities!" a man cried out from his balcony overlooking the field of tents, later switching to English and yelling, "Welcome to the jungle!"

Colombian officials had been reluctant to set up refugee-style camps, even while similar sites have been created at Ecuador's border with Peru and in Brazil. The new camp is modeled after a temporary refugee settlement for Syrian arrivals in France. — AP

November 11, 2018

Thousands of Central American migrants bedded down under tents and tarps at a stadium in the central Mexican city of Queretaro after a day spent traveling north by metro, foot and hitched rides from the country's capital.

The caravan planned to leave the city for Irapuato, about 100 kilometers to the west, at 5 a.m. local time Sunday.

When they arrived at Queretaro Saturday afternoon, they were met by volunteers offering them tortillas, sandwiches and rice. The migrants strung up tarps and tents at a stadium that local officials had prepared for them. — AP

November 11, 2018


The US Border Patrol says it detained more than 50,000 people crossing the US-Mexico border between ports of entry in October, setting a new high this year.

The agency released new figures Friday, the same day US President Donald Trump issued an executive order declaring that anyone entering the US illegally from Mexico outside of established ports would be ineligible for asylum. Legal groups sued Friday to challenge Trump's order.

The Border Patrol says 50,975 people were apprehended on the southwest border in October. That's double the number from October 2017 and the highest monthly figure since 2014.  — AP

November 10, 2018

The U.S. Border Patrol says it detained more than 50,000 people crossing the U.S.-Mexico border between ports of entry in October, setting a new high this year.

The agency released new figures Friday, the same day President Donald Trump issued an executive order declaring that anyone entering the U.S. illegally from Mexico outside of established ports would be ineligible for asylum. Legal groups sued Friday to challenge Trump's order.

The Border Patrol says 50,975 people were apprehended on the southwest border in October. That's double the number from October 2017 and the highest monthly figure since 2014.

The figure includes 4,991 unaccompanied minors. Another 23,121 people were considered "family units," parents and children traveling together.

Border Patrol officials say there's a crisis on the southern border, particularly in South Texas, the busiest corridor for illegal crossings. But apprehension numbers are well below their historical highs from previous decades. — AP

November 5, 2018

A big group of Central Americans pushed on toward Mexico City from a coastal state Monday, planning to exit a part of the country that has long been treacherous for migrants seeking to get to the United States.

In a thundering voice vote Sunday night at a gymnasium in Cordoba, about 1,000 members of a migrant caravan that has been moving northward through Mexico voted to try to get to the capital Monday by walking and hitching rides. Cordoba is 286 kms from the capital by the shortest route, which would be the group's longest single-day journey yet since they began more than three weeks ago. — AP

November 1, 2018

President Donald Trump says the number of military troops deployed to the U.S.-Mexican border could reach 15,000 — roughly double the number the Pentagon said it currently plans for a mission whose dimensions are shifting daily.

The Pentagon says "more than 7,000" troops are being sent to the Southwest border to support the Customs and Border Protection agents. Officials say that number could reach a maximum of about 8,000 under present plans.

The troop numbers have been changing at a dizzying pace, with Trump drawing a hard line on immigration in the lead-up to the midterm elections.

Trump's new troop estimate caught the Pentagon by surprise. Later, he told ABC News, "We have to have a wall of people." — AP

October 30, 2018

US President Donald Trump wants to order the end of the constitutional right to citizenship for babies of non-citizens and unauthorized immigrants born in the United States.

Trump made the comments to "Axios on HBO" ahead of midterm elections that he has sought to focus on his hardline immigration policies. Trump, seeking to energize his supporters and help Republicans keep control of Congress, has stoked anxiety about a caravan of Central American migrants making its way to the US-Mexico border. He is dispatching additional troops and saying he'll set up tent cities for asylum seekers. — AP

October 29, 2018

Several thousand Central American migrants planned to resume their trek through southern Mexico before dawn Monday, while authorities in that country and Guatemala tried to sort out the killing of a migrant at a border crossing.

On Sunday, while the band of migrants was resting and reorganizing in Tepanatepec, several hundred in another group more broke through border barriers in the Guatemala town of Tecun Uman just as members of the caravan did more than a week earlier. Those migrants clashed with Mexican authorities determined not to let the caravan grow or be repeated.

The new group, whose members called themselves a second caravan, gathered on the international bridge leading from Tecun Uman to Mexico. Guatemalan firefighters confirmed that a 26-year-old Honduran was killed from a rubber bullet hitting his head. — AP

October 26, 2018

The Trump administration is planning to dispatch 800 or more active duty troops to the southern border at the direction of a president who has sought to transform fears about immigration into electoral gains in the midterms as a caravan of thousands of migrants makes its way through Mexico. — AP

October 21, 2018

About 2,000 Central American migrants who circumvented Mexican police at a border bridge and swam, forded and floated across the river from Guatemala decided on Saturday to re-form their mass caravan and continue their trek northward toward the United States.

Gathered at a park in the border city of Ciudad Hidalgo, the migrants voted by a show of hands and then marched to the bridge to urge those still there to cross the river and join them.

"Let's all walk together!" and "Yes we can!" they cried, defying warnings to turn back this week from US President Donald Trump, who has sought to make the caravan and border security in general into a campaign issue a little over two weeks before midterm elections. — AP

October 17, 2018
A caravan of some 2,000 Honduran migrants hit the road in Guatemala again Wednesday, hoping to reach the United States despite US President Donald Trump’s threat to cut off aid to Central American countries that don’t stop them. The weary migrants started walking again under a light rain. The day before they covered some 50 km to arrive in Chiquimula, after crossing the border into Guatemala Monday. — AP
October 14, 2018

The city of Chicago has sued the US Department of Justice again for withholding public safety grants for the "sanctuary city's" refusal to cooperate with the Trump administration's immigration enforcement policies.

The lawsuit filed Friday in federal court says the administration hasn't released the 2017 grants worth millions and that Chicago hasn't, unlike other cities, received a key 2018 grant letter.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement that Chicago "will not be bullied." A message seeking comment from the US Justice Department wasn't immediately returned. — AP

October 13, 2018

The Trump administration is appealing a judge's ruling that prevents the deportation of hundreds of thousands of immigrants from four countries who are living and working in the U.S. under temporary protected status. — AP

October 11, 2018

Staff members at a Phoenix-area shelter for unaccompanied migrant children physically abused three children, leading to the closure of the shelter, federal officials say.

This is the latest in a series of incidents of alleged abuse involving staff members at shelters and children.

Southwest Key's Hacienda del Sol shelter was shut down last Friday, but federal officials did not reveal the reason behind the closure until Tuesday.

The Texas-based federal contractor has fired the staffers involved in the Sept. 18 incident, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement. — AP

October 10, 2018

An immigration case before the US Supreme Court pits the government against immigrants it wants to deport following crimes they have committed in the United States.

The issue in the case has to do with when federal law gives immigration authorities the ability to hold immigrants in custody and deny them a hearing to argue for their release while they try to avoid being deported.

The case before the justices Wednesday involves mostly long-term green card holders who have been convicted of a broad range of crimes that make them eligible to be deported. — AP

October 1, 2018

Stricter Trump administration immigration policies have stymied Pentagon plans to restart a program that allowed thousands of people with critical medical or Asian and African language skills to join the military and become American citizens, according to several U.S. officials.

The decade-old program has been on hold since 2016 amid concerns that immigrant recruits were not being screened well enough, and security threats were slipping through the system. Defense officials shored up the vetting process, and planned to relaunch the program earlier this month. — AP

September 20, 2018

Twice in less than a year, the US federal government has lost track of nearly 1,500 migrant children after placing them in the homes of sponsors across the country, federal officials have acknowledged.

The Health and Human Services Department recently told Senate staffers that case managers could not find 1,488 children after they made follow-up calls to check on their safety from April through June. That number represents about 13 percent of all unaccompanied children the administration moved out of shelters and foster homes during that time.

The agency first disclosed that it had lost track of 1,475 children late last year, as it came under fire at a Senate hearing in April. Lawmakers had asked HHS officials how they had strengthened child protection policies since it came to light that the agency previously had rolled back safeguards meant to keep Central American children from ending up in the hands of human traffickers. — AP

September 19, 2018

The arrest of a US Border Patrol supervisor on allegations that he killed four women calls new attention to the agency's problems keeping rogue officers off its force as it faces intense pressure to hire thousands more agents.

Juan David Ortiz, who worked in the agency's Laredo sector, is accused of targeting women believed to be prostitutes in what prosecutors say is the work of a serial killer.

The Border Patrol and prosecutors portrayed Ortiz as an outlier who is not representative of the thousands of employees working for the agency around the country.

"I would hate for this to tarnish the great work that those men and women do," Border Patrol chief Carla Provost said at a news conference alongside prosecutors and other law enforcement officials. — AP

September 6, 2018

A nonprofit group that manages a program aimed at helping detained immigrants navigate the country's complex immigration court system says a Justice Department review of the program was flawed.

The Justice Department review found that people in the program had longer detentions and were less likely to get lawyers than people not in it. It also found that some of the program's participants were more likely to eventually be allowed to stay in the country.

The Justice Department manages the Legal Orientation Program through a contract with the New York-based Vera Institute of Justice.

The institute said Wednesday cases are significantly more likely to be completed faster because of the program. It has called on Congress to investigate before adopting the Justice Department review's results. — AP

September 1, 2018

The Trump administration is under increasing pressure to speed up the reunification of immigrant families it separated at the Mexican border, following allegations three youngsters were sexually abused while in U.S. custody.

The government of El Salvador says the three, ages 12 to 17, were victimized at shelters in Arizona, and it asked the U.S. to make their return a priority. — AP

August 30, 2018

Lawyers for the mother of a toddler who died several weeks after being released from a family immigration detention center are going after the Arizona city of Eloy and say they plan to file more legal claims related to the child's death.

The Arizona Republic reports that the claim filed Tuesday contends that Eloy had a duty to maintain safe and sanitary conditions at the facility in Dilley, Texas.

The detention center is operated by CoreCivic, which subcontracts with Eloy for the services.

The claim accuses medical staff of failing to provide Mariee Juarez with adequate care after the girl became sick inside the Texas facility.

Eloy City Attorney Stephen Cooper did not immediate return a message seeking comment.  — AP

August 23, 2018

Immigration activists who say the new Phoenix-area sheriff is not much different than former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was known for his immigration patrols, are protesting at the county jail Wednesday in an ongoing effort to get immigration authorities out of there.

The protest is part of a national movement known as Abolish ICE, which aims to end the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. The effort has gained traction and become a favorite topic for election candidates, especially in Arizona, where they've all been asked if they support abolishing the agency.

But locals say abolishing ICE starts in Phoenix, where its officers have free range to ask anyone in jail about their immigration status. — AP

August 22, 2018

US President Donald Trump says the case of a slain Iowa college student is illustrative of the nation's disgraceful immigration laws.

Trump asked his audience at a rally Tuesday in Charleston, West Virginia, whether they had heard about the "illegal alien" from Mexico. Iowa police said earlier Tuesday that a man in the US illegally has been charged with murder in the death of 20-year-old Mollie Tibbetts, who vanished more than a month ago while out for a run.

Trump says, "You saw what happened to that incredible, beautiful young woman. Should have never happened."

Trump adds, "The immigration laws are such a disgrace."

Trump ran on a platform of cracking down on illegal immigration to the US. He opened his campaign by condemning most Mexicans as criminals.

August 21, 2018

A federal judge in Boston is hearing arguments in a case centered on whether immigrants married to US citizens but facing deportation should be allowed to remain in the country while they seek to become legal residents.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which brought the class action lawsuit, says a special exemption created under former US President Barack Obama's administration allows certain non-citizen spouses of US citizens to remain in the country while they apply for legal status through marriage.

But the organization argues that the 2016 Department of Homeland Security waiver, which was meant to prevent breaking up families and causing unnecessary hardship, isn't being honored by Republican President Donald Trump's administration, which has made stepped up immigration enforcement a priority. — AP

August 16, 2018

The US government has made only incremental improvements to its troubled efforts to care for thousands of migrant children detained entering the US without their parents, perpetuating a problem the Trump administration has aggravated with its "zero tolerance" immigration crackdown, a bipartisan Senate report says.

The 52-page study says no federal agency takes responsibility for making sure children aren't abused or used in human trafficking once the government places them with sponsors, who sometimes aren't their parents or close relatives.

Immigration judges are ordering the deportation of growing proportions of these children partly because the government does little to ensure they get to court, and officials haven't provided sufficient mental health services for some of them, the report says. — AP

August 10, 2018

A federal judge has halted a deportation in progress and threatened to hold U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in contempt if the mother and daughter weren't returned to the U.S.

U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of Washington learned in court that the two plaintiffs in a lawsuit before him were being removed from the United States and confirmed later that they were on a plane headed to Central America. He said any delay in bringing them back would be intolerable. — AP

August 9, 2018

A large federal law enforcement operation conducted Wednesday targeted businesses in Nebraska and Minnesota that officials say knowingly hired — and mistreated — immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally.

The investigative arm of U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement — Homeland Security Investigations — led the operation that saw about a dozen businesses and plants raided and 17 business owners and managers indicted for fraud, wire fraud and money laundering.

Of those, 14 were taken into custody Wednesday and three were still being sought. Authorities also arrested more than 130 workers at various businesses, busing them to Grand Island, Nebraska, to be questioned and processed. — AP

August 7, 2018

A refugee from Iraq charged with shooting a Colorado police officer last week was set for deportation before a federal appeals court ruled in 2016 that a portion of immigration law defining violent crime was too vague, a Department of Homeland Security official says.

The DHS official, who was not authorized to discuss the case on the record and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity, said Monday that federal immigration authorities began deportation proceedings against Karrar Noaman Al Khammasi after he violated probation terms of a felony trespassing plea in 2015. —AP

August 2, 2018

 A divided U.S. appeals court has struck down a key part of President Donald Trump's contentious effort to crack down on cities and states that limit cooperation with immigration officials, saying an executive order threatening to cut funding for "sanctuary cities" was unconstitutional.

In a 2-1 decision, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with a lower court that the order exceeded the president's authority. Congress alone controls spending under the U.S. Constitution, and presidents do not have the power to withhold funding it approves to pursue their policy goals, the court majority said. — AP

July 31, 2018

A federal judge rules Monday that the US government must seek consent before administering psychotropic drugs to immigrant children held at a Texas facility.

US District Judge Dolly M. Gee in Los Angeles issued a ruling that the federal government violated portions of a longstanding settlement governing the treatment of immigrant children caught crossing the border.

Gee said the government must obtain consent or a court order to give children psychotropic medications at a Texas facility under state law unless it's an emergency.

She also said officials must tell children in writing why they are in a secure facility and that gang affiliation alone doesn't justify such a placement.

"The kids weren't getting notice of why they were sent away," said Holly Cooper, co-director of the Immigration Law Clinic at University of California, Davis, and one of the lawyers representing detained immigrant children. "We view this as a victory." — AP

July 30, 2018

US President Donald Trump says he will consider shutting down the government if Democrats refuse to vote for his immigration proposals, including a US-Mexico border wall.

Republicans, trying to protect their majority in Congress, are playing down the chance of a shutdown as the November election nears. Trump, however, isn't backing away from the idea.

"I would be willing to 'shut down' government if the Democrats do not give us the votes for Border Security, which includes the Wall!" Trump says in a tweet. "Must get rid of Lottery, Catch & Release etc. and finally go to system of Immigration based on MERIT!"

"We need great people coming into our Country!" Trump says.

July 27, 2018

The Trump administration says more than 1,800 children separated at the U.S.-Mexico border have been reunited with parents and sponsors but hundreds remain apart.

The government said in a court filing Thursday that 1,820 children ages 5 and up have been discharged. This includes 1,442 children reunified with their parents in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody and 378 others who were released "in other appropriate circumstances."

Still, more than 700 parents were deemed not eligible or currently not eligible, many of whom may have been deported. Of those, 431 children have parents outside the United States.

More than 2,500 children were separated from their parents at the border amid a zero tolerance policy that criminally prosecuted anyone caught crossing illegally. — AP

July 27, 2018

The Trump administration says that more than 1,800 children separated at the U.S.-Mexico border have been reunited with parents and sponsors but hundreds remain apart, signaling a potentially arduous task ahead as it deals with the fallout of its "zero tolerance" policy on people entering the U.S. illegally.

There have been 1,442 children 5 and older reunified with their parents in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody and 378 others who were released "in other appropriate circumstances," including to other sponsors, the Justice Department said in a court filing.

Still, more than 700 parents were deemed not eligible or currently not eligible, many of whom may have been deported. Of those, 431 children have parents outside the United States. — AP

July 26, 2018

Two congressmen who attended a private meeting with Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen say she told the group, "I am not a racist."

One of them is Illinois Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez. He says Nielsen cited her friendship with the first lady of Honduras and other Latina women.

Around 20 Democratic members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus met with Nielsen to ask about the administration's now-abandoned policy of separating migrant children from their detained parents.

Texas Democratic Rep. Joaquin tweeted that Nielsen said she is not a racist and said no one believes families should be separated.

Gutierrez says he had accused Nielsen of working for "a racist regime." — AP 

July 24, 2018

The Trump administration says that nearly 1,200 family reunifications have occurred for children 5 and older who were separated at the U.S.-Mexico border, still leaving hundreds to go before this week's court-imposed deadline.

There have been 1,187 reunifications "or other appropriate discharges" by the Health and Human Services Department's Office of Refugee Resettlement, which took custody of the children, the Justice Department said in a court filing. It was not immediately clear what "other appropriate discharges" referred to.

The administration has identified 2,551 children 5 and older who have been separated from their families.

US District Judge Dana Sabraw has set a deadline of Thursday for the government to reunite all older children with their parents. He set an earlier deadline for dozens of children under 5. — AP

July 23, 2018

US District Judge Dana Sabraw appeared conflicted in early May on whether to stop families from being separated at the border. He challenged the Trump administration to explain how families were getting a fair hearing guaranteed by the Constitution, but also expressed reluctance to get too deeply involved with immigration enforcement.

"There are so many (enforcement) decisions that have to be made, and each one is individual," he said in his calm, almost monotone voice. "How can the court issue such a blanket, overarching order telling the attorney general, either release or detain (families) together?"

Sabraw showed how more than seven weeks later in a blistering opinion faulting the administration and its "zero tolerance" policy for a "crisis" of its own making. He went well beyond the American Civil Liberties Union's initial request to halt family separation — which President Donald Trump effectively did on his own amid a backlash — by imposing a deadline of this Thursday to reunify more than 2,500 children with their families. — AP 

July 20, 2018

The Trump administration says it has reunified 364 children ages 5 and older with their families after they were separated at the border, still leaving hundreds to go before a court-imposed deadline of next Thursday.

The Justice Department reaffirmed in a court filing Thursday that it has identified 2,551 children who may be covered by U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw's order. — AP

July 17, 2018

A federal judge on Monday orders a temporary halt to deportations of immigrant families reunited after being separated at the border, as the Trump administration races to meet a July 26 deadline for putting more than 2,500 children back in their parents' arms.

U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw imposed a delay of at least a week after a request from the American Civil Liberties Union, which cited "persistent and increasing rumors ... that mass deportations may be carried out imminently and immediately upon reunification."

Justice Department attorney Scott Stewart opposed the delay but did not address the rumors in court. — AP

July 14, 2018

The Trump administration says it expects to begin reunifying about 2,500 children ages 5 and older with their parents after they were separated at the border.

The Justice Department says in a court filing in San Diego that the reunifications are expected to begin and occur "on a rolling basis" up to a July 26 court-imposed deadline.

The reunifications will occur at six to eight unidentified U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement locations.

The administration says it is using truncated procedures to verify parentage and perform background checks. It says those procedures raise child safety concerns but are being used to comply with court orders. — AP

July 13, 2018

The Trump administration said Thursday all eligible small children who were separated from their families as a result of its zero-tolerance immigration policy have been reunited with their parents.

But nearly half of the children under 5 remain apart from their families because of safety concerns, the deportation of their parents and other issues, the administration said.

The administration was under a court mandate to reunite families separated between early May and June 20, when President Donald Trump signed an executive order that stopped separations. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit on behalf of a woman who had been separated from her child, and U.S. District Court Judge Dana Sabraw ordered all children reunited with their parents.

Fifty-seven children were reunited with their parents as of Thursday morning, administration officials said. — AP

July 12, 2018

Advocates for asylum-seeking parents who have been detained in Washington state say some have started to be released from custody, but it's unclear when they might be reunited with their children.

The Northwest Immigrant Rights Project in Seattle says it knows of 55 people detained at the U.S.-Mexico border before being separated from their children and transferred to Washington under U.S. President Donald Trump's "zero-tolerance" policy.

One, 24-year-old Yolany Padilla, from Honduras, was released on $8,000 bond from a private immigration jail in Tacoma on Friday. Another was released Monday and three more on Wednesday.

Padilla's attorneys told a news conference Wednesday her son remains in federal custody in New York, and it's unclear when the government will release him to her. She says he cries when she speaks to him because he can't understand why they haven't been reunited. — AP

July 11, 2018

Lugging little backpacks, smiling immigrant children were scooped up into their parents' arms Tuesday as the Trump administration scrambled to meet a court-ordered deadline to reunite dozens of youngsters forcibly separated from their families at the border.

In Grand Rapids, Michigan, two boys and a girl who had been in temporary foster care were reunited with their Honduran fathers at a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement center about three months after they were split up.

The three fathers were "just holding them and hugging them and telling them that everything was fine and that they were never going to be separated again," said immigration lawyer Abril Valdes. — AP

July 10, 2018

A Los Angeles federal judge has rejected a Trump administration request to detain immigrant families together, calling it a "cynical" attempt to undo a longstanding court settlement.

U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee said Monday that the federal government had failed to present new evidence to support revising a court order that limits the detention of children who crossed the border illegally.

The Department of Justice asked Gee to alter a 1997 settlement after the president reversed his zero-tolerance policy that caused uproar when children were taken from their parents in emotional scenes caught on camera.

The government wants to change the settlement so it can detain families together. — AP

July 10, 2018

More than 50 immigrant children under age 5 will be reunited with their parents by Tuesday's court-ordered deadline for action by Trump administration, and the families will then be released into the U.S., a government attorney says.

That's only about half of the 100 or so toddlers covered by the order.

At a court hearing, Justice Department lawyer Sarah Fabian acknowledged the government wouldn't meet the deadline for all the children, citing a variety of reasons, including that the parents of some of the youngsters have already been deported. — AP

July 6, 2018

Pope Francis is celebrating a special Mass for migrants in St. Peter's Basilica, calling attention to their plight and inviting them to the Vatican as Europe, the U.S. and other countries increasingly close their doors to them.

Several migrants and representatives of aid groups that care for them were among the guests at the intimate Mass marking the fifth anniversary of Francis' landmark visit to Lampedusa, the Sicilian island that for years was the primary destination of migrants smuggled from Libya.

During that trip the new pope denounced what he called the "globalization of indifference" shown by the world to migrants escaping war, poverty and climate-induced natural disasters. — AP

June 30, 2018

Liberal activists, parents and first-time protesters motivated by accounts of children separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border plan to rally in hundreds of cities nationwide Saturday to press President Donald Trump's administration to reunite the families quickly.

More than 600 marches could draw hundreds of thousands of people across the country, from immigrant-friendly cities like Los Angeles and New York City to conservative Appalachia and Wyoming under the banner Families Belong Together. — AP

June 30, 2018

The Trump administration says a ruling this week by a federal judge in San Diego requiring the government to reunify families separated at the border means authorities can legally keep families detained, even those seeking asylum.

The Department of Justice says in a court filing that the government is allowed to detain families now that the California judge has barred their separation.

The filing cites exemptions in a settlement known as the Flores agreement that allow authorities to keep families in custody.

The Flores agreement requires the government to release children "without unnecessary delay," which the government has generally interpreted to mean about 20 days.

The government is still pushing to amend the agreement, despite its new interpretation.

The judge in San Diego on Tuesday set a 30-day deadline for reuniting parents and children, and quicker for very young kids. — AP

June 28, 2018

The plaintiff in a lawsuit against the separation of immigrant parents from their children says she hopes a judge's order will prompt the government to act quickly.

A Brazilian mother who identified herself only as Jocelyn because of her asylum case said Thursday that she went more than nine months without seeing her son after they were separated at the Texas border in August 2017. She doesn't want other mothers to go through the same thing.

A U.S. District Court judge in San Diego ordered Tuesday that thousands of immigrant children be reunited with parents within 30 days, or sooner for young children.

Jocelyn now lives with her son in a shelter in El Paso pending the outcome of legal proceedings. — AP

June 27, 2018

The clock is ticking for the Trump administration after a federal judge ordered thousands of migrant children and parents reunited within 30 days, sooner if the youngster is under 5, The Associated Press reports.

The hard deadline was set Tuesday night by U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw in San Diego after President Donald Trump's order ending the separation of families at the Mexican border gave way to days of uncertainty, conflicting information and no guidance from the administration on when parents might see their children again.

"This situation has reached a crisis level," Sabraw wrote.

June 27, 2018

A judge in California has ordered U.S. border authorities to reunite separated families within 30 days.

If the children are younger than 5, they must be reunified within 14 days of the order, issued Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw in San Diego issued the order in a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union. The lawsuit involves a 7-year-old girl who was separated from her Congolese mother and a 14-year-old boy who was separated from his Brazilian mother.  — AP

June 26, 2018

The children at the center of the national debate over President Donald Trump's immigration policy have been heard about but rarely seen, The Associated Press reports.

News organizations say they are pushing back every day against Trump administration restrictions on access to facilities where children separated from their parents are being held. Government handouts satisfy few, and there have been disputes raised in some of the few independent instances where a sense emerges of what is happening at the border.

New video emerged late Monday on Rachel Maddow's MSNBC program allegedly showing young children at a government facility in New York City. Maddow said it was taken and smuggled out by an employee who has since quit and wishes to remain anonymous.

June 24, 2018

Trump administration officials say the U.S. government knows the location of all children in its custody after separating them from their families at the border and is working to reunite them.

A fact sheet on "zero-tolerance prosecution and family reunification" released Saturday night by the Department of Homeland Security also says a parent must request that their child be deported with them. In the past, the agency says, many parents have elected to be deported without their children. That may be a reflection of violence or persecution they face in their home countries.

As part of the effort, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have posted notices in all its facilities advising detained parents who are trying to find or communicate with their children to call a hotline staffed 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. — AP

June 24, 2018

President Donald Trump presses his tough anti-illegal immigration stance before supporters Saturday, saying "we have to be very strong" as he sought to help boost the candidacy of a one-time critic.

Trump portrays himself as the toughest against illegal immigration, saying at one point, "I think I got elected largely because we are strong on the border."

But he excluded any mention of the fact that a massive public outcry, including from members of his own family, forced him to reverse course this week and end the practice of separating children from families after they illegally cross the southern border into the U.S. — AP

June 23, 2018

Kansas' child welfare agency has concluded after an inspection that immigrant children housed in Topeka group homes are "having their needs met."

Spokeswoman Taylor Forrest issued an email statement Friday evening after the state Department for Children and Families completed an inspection of The Villages homes on a 400-acre site outside Topeka. The statement was not specific about the inspector's findings.

Republican Gov. Jeff Colyer ordered the inspection after four Democratic legislators accused him of not being aggressive enough in seeking information about the immigrant children at The Villages homes.

The nonprofit group has a contract with the federal government to house up to 50 unaccompanied immigrant children. It's not clear how many were separated from their parents during a recent crackdown at the U.S-Mexico border. — AP

June 22, 2018

Even as many religious organizations, from liberal to conservative, denounce the Trump administration's policy of separating immigrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border, some major advocacy groups that depict themselves as "pro-family" declined to join in the criticism.

Two of the most influential anti-abortion groups in the U.S. — the National Right to Life Committee and the Susan B. Anthony List — say their focus on abortion is so intense that they avoid wading into other issues. — AP

A senior Trump administration official says about 500 of the more than 2,000 children separated from their families at the border have been reunited since May.

The official says those children had been separated from their parents as a result of a "zero tolerance" policy that calls for the criminal prosecution of anyone caught crossing the U.S. border illegally. The official was not authorized to give out the number and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

The official says many of the children were reunited within days after being separated from their families. The official wasn't certain how many of the reunited children remained in custody with their families or how many were no longer in the country.

The official says U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Health and Human Services are working to set up a centralized reunification process at the Port Isabel Detention Center near Los Fresnos, Texas. — AP

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