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
December 20, 2016

Pope to Migration and Development Forum: Confront the Crisis

Zenit (December 13, 2016)
In a statement to the participants at the 9th Global Forum on Migration and Development, Pope Francis encouraged "governments and regional political authorities to confront the crisis provoked by the mass movement of people." He reminded them that "poverty, war, and human trafficking" are closely connected to migration and development, and they require "a sustainable environmental and human development." The remarks were delivered by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin. The forum was held in Dhaka, Bangladesh from December 10-12, 2016.
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A View from Alongside a Border (Blog)(December 11, 2016)
Michael Seifert writes about his encounter at the Sacred Heart Respite Center in McAllen, Texas with a migrant woman from Guatemala forced to wear an ankle monitor issued by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS). During their brief exchange, he observed that she was nervous and sad. She told Seifert, “I think that this (ankle device) is for bad people. I am not a bad person. I am an afraid person.” Her anguish left Seifert without words to console her.
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Prayers of Light

Ignatian Solidarity Network
On Thursday, January 19, 2016, the Ignatian Solidarity Network (ISN) will hold prayer services around the country offering "symbols of light as signs of solidarity for those who may be forced into the shadows of our nation." On the eve of the inauguration of a new president, ISN hopes to stand in solidarity with immigrant brothers and sisters who are experiencing marginalization. With the "Prayers of Light," ISN seeks to show the "value of each individual's contribution to this country." ISN calls on communities to host prayer services, use symbols of light such as vigil candles as part of the prayer experience, share the stories of immigrant members of their community, invite the local community to join in prayer, pray for the new government leaders to enact policies that illuminate the dignity of immigrant brothers and sisters, and create environments of prayer that focus on the social teachings of the Catholic faith and other faith traditions.
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New Dallas Bishop Voices Support for Immigrants, ‘Amoris'

Crux (December 14, 2016)
On December 13, 2016, Bishop Edward Burns was appointed Bishop of Dallas, Texas. After his appointment, Bishop Burns pledged "to emphasize solidarity with immigrants." He said, "As the shepherd of the Diocese of Dallas, I want to assure [immigrants] that we will do everything we can to help them and assist them. Regardless of the circumstances of how they entered this country, we will seek to serve their needs." He added, "We need to be present to them. For us, it is the very essence of being a universal church."
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The Never-ending Harvest: Syrian Refugees Exploited on Turkish Farms

IRIN (December 15, 2016)
There are reportedly 150,000 Syrian refugees registered in the Turkish region of Adana. Most of them are dependent on seasonal agricultural work to scrape together a meager living. Syrian refugees now make up 85 percent of the agricultural workforce in Adana. A recent study by the Development Workshop, which is based in Ankara, Turkey, found that "agricultural labourers in Adana work an average of 11 hours a day for 38 Turkish lira ($11 USD), about two thirds what Turks earn for the same work." The study also reported that Syrian workers often wait months to be paid for their work and that payments are deducted for services rendered through intermediaries acting as employment agents. In addition, Syrians must pay rent for their plots of land, as well as water and electricity bills. According to the study, "97 percent of the farm-workers' children were not attending school and nearly half were working in the fields. As a result, illiteracy rates have jumped, with 60 percent of Syrian children aged six to 14 saying they could neither read nor write."
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Refugees Cry Out: Who Will Save Syria?

WNYC (December 15, 2016)
Almost six years after civil war broke out between the Syrian government and rebel forces, President Bashar al-Assad's forces sought to retake the city of Aleppo last week, leaving many dead and causing thousands of civilians to flee. Syrian refugees fear their cries for help are falling on deaf ears. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports that 13.5 million people in Syria need help and more than 250,000 people have been killed since the Syrian civil war started.
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The Manufacture of Hatred: Scapegoating Refugees in Central Europe

Refugees Deeply (December 14, 2016)
Senior editor, Daniel Howden, reports that populist governments in Europe used refugee and migrant flows to stoke anti-immigrant and xenophobic fears for their own political gain. For example, when Victor Orban became premier of Hungary and his supporters obtained a supermajority of the parliament, they immediately went to work re-writing the country's constitution and setting up a centralized media authority. The new structure permitted Orban's government to carry out a campaign blaming immigrants and refugees for terrorist attacks and economic problems which, in turn, contributed to the popularity and strength of Orban's government and its supporting political party, Fidesz. Howden concludes that "the commercial and political lessons learned from the manufacture of hatred in Central Europe warrant the urgent attention of those who seek to defend human rights and public service media, not just those who would profit from them."
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Challenges to Providing Mental Health Care in Immigration Detention: Global Detention Project Working Paper No. 19

The Global Detention Project (December 2016)
As immigration detention expands globally, this paper urges the mental health community to develop specialized models and practices to care for detainees. Using lessons learned from working with immigrant detainees in Australia, findings from specialized literature, and testimonies from health workers and detainees, the authors conclude that immigration detention creates an “invalidating environment” in which responses to detainees’ emotional and psychological needs are inappropriate or inconsistent. The authors also found that those operating detention centers ignored or responded negatively to detainees and failed to address the causes of detainees’ emotional or psychological distress. The authors suggest a range of clinical responses to better support the mental health of immigrant detainees.
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Justin Trudeau Vows 'significant improvements' to Refugee System

Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) (December 5, 2016)
In response to concerns about the difficulty in obtaining information from the Canadian government regarding refugee resettlement and integration, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged to "make significant improvements" to the country’s resettlement system including "looking at how we can be much more computer-based so that [refugees, sponsors, and bureaucrats] can see real-time updates...and use modern technology." Trudeau acknowledged, however, that bringing refugees from areas of the world where they may not have all the necessary paperwork is a challenge.
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The 114th Congress adjourned sine die on December 9 following passage of a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government operating until April 28, 2017. The CR will maintain FY 2016 funding levels, except for “anomalies” submitted by the Obama Administration, including a 1 billion increase for refugee resettlement. The legislation also extended several programs until April, including the Religious Worker Visa Program. The CR gives the incoming Trump Administration time to submit their own FY 2017 budget, which will likely include funding increases for the Department of Homeland Security to construct a border wall and to increase the number of ICE agents. The new Administration also could cut funding for refugee protection.
Congress also passed the National Defense Authorization Act, which extended the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa Program, which provides visas for Afghans who assisted US forces in Afghanistan, including interpreters.
One of the first decisions facing President-elect Donald J. Trump will be whether to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provides work authorization and temporary relief from deportation to young immigrants who came to the United States with their parents as children. In an interview with TIME Magazine, President-elect Trump seemed to back off his pledge that he would end the program upon entering office, and said that people “would be happy and proud” with his decision about the program. 
The DACA program, as well as the DREAM Act, enjoys strong support on Capitol Hill. On December 2nd, Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Lisa Murkowski (R-AL),and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced the BRIDGE Act (Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy), legislation which would provide DACA recipients protection from deportation and work authorization that would last three years. The purpose of the legislation is to extend the same protections as the DACA program to DACA recipients until Congress can pass immigration reform or the DREAM Act, which would confer legal status, including a path to citizenship, to DACA recipients.
Transition appointments. President-elect Trump continues to appoint officials to his Cabinet. Of the appointees to agencies that relate to immigration, Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, who has supported restrictionist policies against immigrants, was nominated as Attorney General. Retired General John Kelly, who has expressed strong views about “securing” the border, was nominated as Department of Homeland Security Secretary. President-elect Trump met a second time with Kris Kobach, Kansas Secretary of State, author of Arizona Bill 1070, and well-known anti-immigrant activist, to discuss immigration issues. Kobach is the godfather of the proposed national registry for Muslims, which is being considered for implementation by the new Administration. 
DHS Private Detention Committee. A subcommittee appointed by DHS to study whether the agency should continue to use private detention facilities to detain immigrants issued a report endorsing continued use of these facilities, despite objections from civil society that the facilities create an incentive for detention. There also has been controversy around private facilities and abuses of detainees. One subcommittee member dissented from the majority report, citing the financial incentive of private detention companies to detain persons and the lack of oversight of the facilities as reasons to shift away from private facilities. The Homeland Security Advisory Council, which received the report, surprisingly voted to amend the subcommittee report and recommended that the use of private detention facilities be phased out.


Mainstreaming Involuntary Migration in Development Policies

(December 7, 2016)
John W. Harbeson, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at City College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, addresses the inclusion of migration concerns into development planning, as a part of thinking more broadly about US migration policies and interests. Harbeson explores the interplay between state fragility and involuntary migration, which is a pressing challenge for the United States and (particularly) for European states and one that cannot be addressed exclusively by refugee and migration admission policies. He argues for a greater commitment to processes that engage citizens of fragile states in addressing the indicia of state fragility and that, in turn, can create stronger states and reduce involuntary migration.
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The EU Agreement with Turkey: Does it Jeopardize Refugees’ Rights?

(December 16, 2016)
On March 7, 2016, the European Union (EU) and Turkey drew up an agreement for cooperation with the aim of reducing the flow of migrants and refugees — mostly Syrian — crossing the Aegean Sea and taking the Balkan route to arrive in Europe. This essay by Enzo Rossi and Paolo Iafrate of the University of Rome Tor Vergata discusses how the EU-Turkey agreement violates the body of rights and obligations that apply to all EU member states and the international conventions regarding asylum. The authors conclude that the agreement jeopardizes respect for the rights of refugees and undermines the Common European Asylum System.
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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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