CMS Migration Update is a weekly digest of news and other information related to national and international migration.  It is designed to educate faith leaders regarding vulnerable immigrant populations, developments in the immigration field, pastoral resources and the religious touchstones of diverse faith traditions on migrants and newcomers. It should not be relied upon to provide advice or counsel in immigration cases. The publication is provided by the Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS), an educational institute/think-tank devoted to the study of international migration, to the promotion of understanding between immigrants and receiving communities, and to public policies that safeguard the dignity and rights of migrants, refugees and newcomers. CMS is a member of the Scalabrini International Migration Network, an international network of shelters, welcoming centers, and other ministries for migrants.
Thomas J. Shea
Rachel Reyes
Director of Communications
April 4, 2017

Is it time for a dramatic flourish from US bishops on immigration?

CRUX (April 2, 2017)
Journalist John Allen reports on his conversation with Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana, the Prefect of the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development. Allen asked Cardinal Turkson for his opinion on Donald Trump’s presidency. In response, Turkson expressed his concern that Trump's "America First" focus may ultimately "imperil global security." However, he said he would defer to the US bishops to set the tone on how to respond. Cardinal Turkson was particularly impressed by the 2014 Mass celebrated by Boston's Cardinal Sean O'Malley and eight other bishops at the border wall at Nogales, Arizona. Allen writes: "The high point, both liturgically and symbolically, came when the bishops walked up to the fence and distributed Communion through the slats to would-be immigrants on the other side." According to Allen, this gesture had more impact on Cardinal Turkson than words could have. Allen asks: "Is it time for a dramatic gesture from the US bishops to demonstrate how serious they are about resisting the deteriorating climate for immigrants and refugees under the Trump administration?"
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Address of the Archbishop of Sydney, Most Rev. Anthony Fisher OP, to the Select Committee of the Legislative Council of New South Wales on Human Trafficking

Parliament House, March 28, 2017
Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney appealed to members of the Select Committee of the Legislative Council of the New South Wales Parliament during the Committee’s inquiry into human trafficking. He asked them to recommend to Parliament "measures to identify and liberate anyone suffering from human trafficking in our state, to prevent this recurring, and to discourage this in other parts of the world." Noting that the government of New South Wales is the principal procurer of goods and services in the state, Archbishop Fisher stated that Parliament "has very considerable financial muscle in this area" to help bring about change. Archbishop Fisher also laid out the Church's commitment to fight human trafficking, including making all of its procurement practices and supply lines "slavery-proof" to ensure that everything the Church uses has been obtained ethically and without the use of slave labor.  
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Border Wall Funding Likely to Be Put on Hold

The Hill (March 28, 2017)
During a press conference this past week, Senator Roy Blunt (R - MO) announced that President Trump's supplemental request for funding to pay for the proposed wall along the US-Mexico border would wait until later in 2017. Senator Blunt explained that the reason for the delay is that the House and Senate are near a deal on a bill to fund the government for the remainder of 2017, and Trump's request for supplemental funding might complicate the House-Senate negotiations. It is unclear when the request will be considered again and what impact the delay in funding will have on plans to construct the border wall.
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Lacking EMTs, an Aging Maine Turns to Immigrants

The New York Times (March 27, 2017)
Reporter Katharine Seelye writes that Maine does not have enough young people to help sustain the state economically. "Like other graying states in New England, Maine is struggling to keep its young people living and working here," Seelye writes. Economists believe Maine could address the problem through immigration. As residents live longer, there is a growing need for health care, including emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and other healthcare workers. Many immigrants residing in the Portland, Maine area have medical backgrounds, but are underemployed. A workforce development program provides funding for immigrants with medical backgrounds, such as doctors, to receive training as EMTs. This is the first program "that teaches English in the context of EMT training, with participants learning high-level terminology and a higher level of English than those in, say, the food services industry." Tapping into immigrants' experience working as doctors in their home countries, the Maine program will result in more highly skilled EMTs in ambulances.
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Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions Criticizes 'Sanctuary Cities' but Offers No New Policies

The Los Angeles Times (March 27, 2017)
US Attorney General Jeff Sessions repeated previous statements by the Trump administration that the Department of Justice (DOJ) will seek to deny federal funding for state or local jurisdictions that do not cooperate with federal immigration authorities. The DOJ currently requires jurisdictions requesting DOJ funding to certify that they are complying with immigration authorities. However, DOJ officials said that any new changes to current policy will not happen for "weeks or months." Sessions also warned state and local jurisdictions against adopting sanctuary policies, saying, “Countless Americans would be alive today and countless loved ones would not be grieving today if these policies of sanctuary cities were ended."
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Sanctuary Cities Divide Inclusive Canada into 'Us' and 'Them'

Huffington Post Canada (March 31, 2017)
Columnist Terezia Farkas writes that "sanctuary cities" is a divisive "Us versus Them" fear-driven tactic used to breed fear and suspicion between immigrants and the native-born. According to Farkas, when a Canadian city designates itself a "sanctuary city," it "tells the world that somehow the rest of Canada is not a safe place for refugees and immigrants." She writes that immigrants (undocumented or documented) should not be sheltered. Instead, immigrants must be "visible, noticed, and vocal" so that they and Canadians can learn to trust each other.
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New Gambia, New Migration?

IRIN (March 28, 2017)
After 22 years of autocratic rule under President Yahya Jammeh, Gambia, a tiny country on the West coast of Africa, has a new president, Adama Barrow. The new government hopes to reduce the 40 percent unemployment rate among young people, which is the primary factor pushing (mainly) young men to emigrate. According to data from the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), 0.5 percent of Gambia's population leave the country each year, which is “the highest rate in Africa." Gambians also regularly make up the top five nationalities taking the Central Mediterranean migration route from Libya to Italy. They also rank highest in percentage of migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa arriving in Italy as unaccompanied minors. According to the article, after years of isolationist policies from the Jammeh government, the Barrow government is making efforts to repair international relations and address irregular migration. The European Union (EU) has pledged 225 million euros to Gambia to help with economic growth and employment opportunities, which the EU hopes will reduce unauthorized migration to EU countries. Gambia is also receiving 11 million euros from the EU’s Emergency Trust Fund for Africa to deter irregular migration by providing vocational skills training. In addition, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) will run a regional project to convince nationals from 14 countries, including Gambia, who are already en route to Europe, to return. It is unclear, however, what other initiatives can be undertaken to help returnees reintegrate in Gambia.
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The Trauma of Facing Deportation

The New Yorker (April 3, 2017)
Georgi traveled with his family from Russia to Sweden at age 5 seeking asylum. In December 2015, his family’s final appeal was denied, and they were ordered to be deported from Sweden. Reportedly an energetic and popular child, Georgi became overwhelmed by the news and has not left bed for five months. Seemingly asleep, Georgi does not respond to stimuli, has lost weight, and receives nutrients through a feeding tube. Doctors have diagnosed him with resignation syndrome (commonly referred to in Sweden as "the apathetic"). People with this condition have no underlying physical or neurological disease, “but they seem to have lost the will to live." According to the article, the illness is said to exist only in Sweden, and only among refugees. Dr. Elisabeth Hultcrantz of Linkoping University describes the condition as "a form of protection, this coma they are in...[t]hey are like Snow White. They just fall away from the world."
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The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, chaired by Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), will hold two immigration-related hearings this week. On Tuesday, April 4, 2017, the committee will hold a hearing entitled, “Fencing along the Southwest Border,” and on Wednesday, April 5, 2017, it will hold a hearing entitled, “Improving Border Security and Public Safety.” Both hearings will be held at 9:30am in room 342 of the Senate Dirksen Office Building. David Aguilar, former acting director of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will be the featured witness at the April 4 hearing; DHS Secretary John F. Kelly will testify at the April 5 hearing.
In a meeting with Senate Democrats on March 29, 2017, Secretary Kelly said that DHS would not separate children from their mothers when they arrive at the US border, absent extenuating circumstances. Kelly defined exceptions as when a mother is sick or injured. Child advocates have stated that family separation would exacerbate the trauma children experience on the migration journey.
Kelly also said, according to reports, that DHS is not targeting immigrant youth who are part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, unless they violate the terms of the DACA program by committing an offense. Nevertheless, there have already been several high-profile cases of DACA youth being detained by DHS officials.
On March 28, 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that so-called “sanctuary jurisdictions” would be ineligible for DOJ grants. At the same time, DHS issued its second report which specifies the jurisdictions which have denied requests to detain a person for immigration violations.
On March 30, 2017, Representative Adriano Espaillat (D-NY) introduced HR 1815, the Protecting Sensitive Locations Act of 2017. The legislation would limit enforcement actions at “sensitive” locations – schools, churches, courthouses, and hospitals – and clarify the power of immigration officers at these locations. The proposed bill is in response to community concerns that under the Trump Administration DHS would not follow this traditional policy and would instead conduct enforcement actions in and around these locations.



Building Structures of Solidarity and Instruments of Justice: The Catholic Immigrant Integration Surveys

Donald Kerwin and Kyle Barron
CMS released findings from two surveys distributed to two broad sets of US Catholic institutions – (1) Catholic social and charitable agencies and (2) parishes and schools – to capture their work in helping integrate immigrants in the United States. Together, the Catholic institutions surveyed offer a broad array of social, legal, charitable, and pastoral services, including: education; bi-lingual/bi-cultural masses; language classes; legal services; counseling; scholarships; meals; clothes pantries; job training; health services; and cultural events.
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Making America 1920 Again? Nativism and US Immigration, Past and Present

Julia G. Young
This paper surveys the history of nativism in the United States from the late nineteenth century to the present. It compares the current surge in nativism with that in earlier periods, particularly the decades leading up to the 1920s, when nativism directed against southern and eastern European, Asian, and Mexican migrants led to discriminatory national origin quotas and other legislative restrictions. Historical studies suggest that nativism does not disappear completely and that immigrants themselves can and do adopt nativist attitudes. While eradicating nativism may be impossible, a focus on avoiding or overturning nativist immigration legislation may prove more successful.
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If you are a migrant or pastoral worker and wish to submit an article or reflection to the CMS Migration Update, please email Tom Shea at

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