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
March 7, 2017

Trump Signs New Order Blocking Arrivals from 6 Majority-Muslim Countries

NPR (March 6, 2017)
On March 6th, President Donald Trump signed a new executive order, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” which replaces the January 27th order.
The former order suspended the US Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) for 120 days; suspended for 90 days visas from Iran, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen (all Muslim-majority countries); indefinitely suspended refugee resettlement of Syrian nationals, prioritized refugee claims from minority religions in the applicant’s country of nationality; and decreased admissions from 110,000 to 50,000. The new order likewise suspends the USRAP program for 120 days and decreases refugee admissions to 50,000 for FY 2017. However, it removes Iraq from the list of countries barred from visas for 90 days, does not apply to lawful permanent residents (green card holders) or existing visa holders, and permits refugees already formally scheduled for travel to the United States to enter the country. The new order also omits the earlier section that prioritized refugees from minority religions in their home countries and it no longer indefinitely bans Syrian refugees. The order will go into effect on March 16th.
To read more, visit
To read the executive order, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” visit

Pope’s 4 Verbs on Migration: Welcome, Protect, Promote, Integrate

Zenit (February 21, 2017)
Pope Francis addressed participants of the Scalabrini International Migration Network’s (SIMN’s) VI International Forum on Migration and Peace in Rome on the urgent need for a coordinated and effective response by the political community, civil society, and the Church to the “complex panorama” of forced migration. In his address, Pope Francis called participants to welcome, protect, promote, and integrate migrants, saying “[W]hat is needed is a change of attitude, to overcome indifference and to counter fears with a generous approach of welcoming those who knock at our doors." He stressed the need to defend migrants' inalienable rights, ensure their fundamental freedoms, and respect their dignity. The Holy Father said host communities should promote "an integral human development of migrants, exiles, and refugees." He also clarified that the integration of migrants does not refer to assimilation or incorporation but is instead "a two-way process, rooted essentially in the joint recognition of the other's cultural richness: it is not the superimposing of one culture over another, nor mutual isolation, with the insidious and dangerous risk of creating ghettoes."
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Address by Most Reverend Nicholas DiMarzio, Bishop of Brooklyn

(February 21, 2017)
The Most Reverend Nicholas DiMarzio, Bishop of Brooklyn, also addressed the SIMN International Forum on Migration and Peace in Rome. In his talk on “Mapping the Migration Activities of Catholic Organizations,” he summarized the services provided by the Diocese of Brooklyn to migrants and refugees, including 31 ethnic apostolates and the celebration of masses in 29 different languages through 186 parishes with 211 churches. Bishop DiMarzio also detailed the range of legal assistance programs provided by the Diocese’s Catholic Migration Services, including: helping clients apply for citizenship and political asylum; promoting family reunification; assisting trafficking victims and those seeking temporary protected status; improving housing conditions; and challenging unsafe working conditions and workplace abuses. He concluded his address with a discussion of the actions still needed to further immigrant integration, saying, “The experience of communion is achieved when people feel a true sense of welcome, belonging and ownership.”
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Chicago Cardinal Takes Stand on Immigration Enforcement

The Washington Post (February 28, 2017)
In a letter sent to principals of more than 200 schools within the Archdiocese of Chicago, Cardinal Blase Cupich directed the schools not to let federal immigration agents into their buildings without a warrant. The directive may be the first guidance of its kind issued by a Roman Catholic leader, according to Kevin Appleby, CMS’ senior director of international migration policy. Appleby said, “While President Trump is using all legal means possible to deport immigrants, the church will use every legal means possible to protect them.”
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Three Ways to Resist the Trump Administration's Deportation Orders

National Catholic Reporter (February 23, 2017)
Journalist Michael Sean Winters offers guidance to Catholics on how to resist President Trump's executive orders on immigration. First, Winters calls on Catholics to tell the truth to refute the government’s claims that Trump’s executive orders are "not intended to produce mass roundups, mass deportations." Second, Catholics must work with elected officials, community members, and business owners to help immigrants access resources and know their rights should they encounter immigration officers. Finally, Catholics should work to overcome fear, letting their immigrant neighbors know that they are willing to help if needed, speaking with their pastors to see what resources are being made available to immigrants and, if necessary, opening their homes as shelters to immigrants. Winters adds that the US Catholic bishops should let Trump know that if he's looking to deport immigrants, he must go through them first. 
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Ashes in Our Mouths, Fire in Our Hearts

Views from Alongside a Border (Blog) (February 26, 2017)
Michael Seifert writes that, on Mardi Gras, members of the Rio Grande Valley Equal Voice Network, ARISE, LUPE, Proyecto Azteca, Proyecto Juan Diego, FUERZA del Valle, and the ACLU traveled to the state legislature in Austin, Texas to protest Senate Bill 4 (SB4) which, if passed, "would force towns and counties to lend their police to the federal government's effort to enforce immigration law." Seifert writes that such an arrangement would break down the trust between the community and the peace officers who are supposed to serve them. However, if peace officers do not comply, they risk losing state grants. The 150 pilgrims who went to Austin are part of a collaborative effort called Texas Together that opposes SB4 and works against "those who mess with Texas' values of neighborliness, hospitality, and optimism."
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Joint Interfaith Statement: Muslims and Christians Unite to Call for Bridges Not Walls

Jesuit Refugee Service (February 6, 2017)
In commemoration of the United Nations World Interfaith Harmony Week, the Italian Islamic Religious Community (COREIS) and the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) issued a joint statement responding to President Trump's January 27th executive order banning immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries (the so-called “Muslim Ban”) and indefinitely halting the admission of Syrian refugees. The order (which was replaced with the March 6th order detailed above) also prioritized asylum claims for minority religious groups, widely perceived as establishing a preference for Christian refugees. The joint statement called the order "an affront to our shared Christian-Muslim values, and repudiation of our shared humanity." While acknowledging that countries have a right and duty to guard their borders and protect their citizens, COREIS and JRS stated that countries have a higher ethical duty to protect "members of the human family who are in grave danger." COREIS and JRS reaffirmed their solidarity with all refugees regardless of faith and called policies permitting the rejection of refugees on the basis of their religion "contrary to Christian and Muslim values of human dignity, care for the weakest in society and of religious liberty."
To read more, visit

Ash Wednesday Statement on Refugees and Migrants

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (March 1, 2017)
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada issued a joint statement to commemorate Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent. In the statement, the church leaders remind the faithful to repent for their indifference to the suffering of millions around the world including those seeking sanctuary far away from their homelands. They call their "Churches to be continually mindful of the global refugee and migration crises, and the injustices and conflicts that have swelled the statistics to a number greater than ever in the history of the world." While acknowledging that both Canada and the United States need measures to protect homeland security, the leaders "stand up for the long-established policies that welcome migrants and refugees." They add that "fair and generous policies strengthen the economy of our nations and enriches the economic, social and culture fabric of our countries – a fabric woven by both the First Peoples of these lands and all those who have settled here through numerous waves of migration throughout our histories." 
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Memos on Trump’s Immigration Policies

The New York Times (February 21, 2017)
On February 20, 2017, US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John Kelly released two memos detailing the implementation of two of President Trump's executive orders on immigration. The New York Times reproduces those memos here. The first memo is titled "Enforcement of the Immigration Laws to Serve the National Interest" (Enforcement Memo) and the second memo is titled "Implementing the President's Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements Policies" (Border Security Memo). The Enforcement Memo, among other directives, rescinds the Obama Administration policy of focusing immigration enforcement actions on foreign nationals who committed serious crimes and expands enforcement priorities to include any foreign national in the United States in violation of the immigration law. To help with the speedy arrest and deportation of immigration violators, Secretary Kelly directs Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to hire 10,000 immigration officers and agents. The Border Security Memo, among other things, directs Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to hire 5,000 Border Patrol agents and 500 air and marine agents to assist with the arrest, detention, and deportation of undocumented immigrants along the border. The Border Memo also instructs CBP to "immediately begin planning, design, construction, and maintenance of a wall" along the border between the United States and Mexico. It also directs ICE and CBP to increase immigration detention space along the US-Mexico border to help with the deportation of undocumented migrants.
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Q&A: The Missing Voices in the Immigration Debate

The Open Society Foundations: Voices (February 16, 2017)
In this interview, Kristina Shull, a 2006 Soros Justice Fellow, discusses her recently-released report entitled "Immigration Detention in the Media: Missing Migrant Voices and the Need for Humanistic Storytelling." The report assesses the portrayal of immigration detention in the media since 2009. Although media coverage of the US immigration detention system has increased and been largely critical, the media nevertheless omits the voices of detained migrants and fails to convey to the public the complexities of immigration detention. Shull states that this is due in part to the fact that ICE, which oversees the immigration detention system, restricts media access to detainees and censors communications. The report calls on the government to provide the media greater access to immigration detention centers and urges the media to report detained migrants' stories in their own voices.
To read more, visit

To read the report, "Immigration Detention in the Media: Missing Migrant Voices and the Need for Humanistic Storytelling," visit

Constraints Threaten Trump’s Promise of an Immigration Crackdown

The New York Times (February 17, 2017)
President Trump's attempts to secure the US border and severely restrict undocumented immigration are reportedly facing logistical problems and legal challenges. For example, it may take at least two years in order to vet, hire, and train the 15,000 immigration officers to help speed the arrest and deportation of undocumented immigrants. In addition, it will take time and money for DHS to "construct, operate, or control" the immigration detention facilities along the US-Mexico border ordered by Trump to hold arrested foreign nationals while their deportation cases are pending. CMS’s Kevin Appleby explains, "The bottom line is [the Trump administration is] doing everything they can legally do until they're told not to by the courts to expand their capacity to deport as many people as possible."
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Trump’s Anti-Immigration Playbook was Written 100 Years Ago. In Boston.

The Boston Globe Magazine (February 21, 2017)
Staff writer, Neil Swidey, traces President Trump's immigration policies based on “quality” immigrants to a strategy developed by three Harvard grads who founded the Immigration Restriction League (IRL) in 1894. According to Swidey, the IRL made "the intellectual playbook for anti-immigrant policy" in the United States. In an effort to redress what they viewed as the downfall of the Brahmin class and the loss of the country's "Anglo-Saxon soul" due to the rise of "undesirable" immigrants, the trio sought to block "low-stock" immigrants from entering the United States. The trio, Swidey writes, were instrumental in getting the federal Immigration Act of 1917 passed into law which broadened the restrictions against who could immigrate to the United States and ultimately contributed to the creation of the immigration quota system that existed in the United States for 40 years.
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African Immigrant Population in US Steadily Climbs

Pew Research Center (February 14, 2017)
Based on analysis of US Census data, the Pew Research Center reports that the African immigrant population in the United States has roughly doubled each decade since 1970. The number of African immigrants increased from 80,000 in 1970 to 2.1 million in 2015. African immigrants accounted for 4.8 percent of the total US immigrant population in 2015, up from 0.8 percent in 1970. The report adds that African immigration to the United States between 2000 to 2013 rose 41 percent in comparison to immigration by other major groups. The Pew Research Center attributes the rise to two factors: (1) The Refugee Act of 1980, which facilitates refugee resettlement from conflict-ridden areas, and; (2) the Diversity Visa Lottery program, which facilitates immigration from countries with a recent history of low immigration to the United States.
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Fleeing the US in the Back of a Truck, Refugees Find Help in Toronto

CBC News (February 9, 2017)
The Canadian Centre for Refugee and Immigrant Healthcare in Scarborough, Canada has been providing urgent care to immigrants for the past 18 years. In the last month alone, the volunteer clinic has reportedly treated almost 50 immigrants from the United States. The patients, who feared they would be deported from the United States, traveled to Canada to apply for asylum. Dr. Paul Caulford, who heads the clinic, is lobbying the Canadian government to speed up the healthcare insurance process for immigrants and to put an end to the Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA) requiring refugees to apply for asylum in the first country in which they arrive, which for many people is the United States. Foreign nationals have found a loophole in the agreement by illegally crossing the US-Canada border and then applying for asylum in the interior of Canada. Caulford claims that a common way for immigrants to enter Canada from the United States is "in the back of a cold truck." He treats many immigrants for frostbite. Caulford states that although the clinic has saved many lives more could be done if the Canadian government speeds up access to health insurance for immigrants.
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EXCLUSIVE: UK “Voluntary” Returns – Refugee Coercion and NGO Complicity

IRIN (February 21, 2017)
Investigative journalist, Lotte Lewis Smith, writes that the Home Office of the United Kingdom is pushing for the voluntary return of unauthorized foreign nationals to their home countries as a more humane method than deportation. Smith asserts, however, that the UK government or the groups which it funds, in fact, coerce "voluntary" returns by threatening indefinite detention without access to legal or psychological support, cutting off financial support after an initial denial of asylum, or offering voluntary return as an alternative to indefinite detention or deportation. The UK Home Office has also increased its funding to nonprofit organizations that assist foreign nationals with voluntary return to their home countries. One detainee detailed his conversation with representatives from an NGO funded by the UK Home Office, saying, "They kept talking to me about returning voluntarily, returning freely…But I am in detention, how would it be free? They didn't listen to me when I said I want to fight my case, to stay with my kids here in the UK…All they do is tell me I would be better off leaving…It's not advice; it feels like a command."
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Europe's Child Refugee Crisis

The New Yorker (February 27, 2017)
Lauren Collins details the story of Wasil, a 12-year-old refugee from Afghanistan living alone in “The Jungle,” an unauthorized refugee camp in Calais, France. Wasil fled Afghanistan in December 2015 and hoped to reach England to live with his uncle. Despite arriving in France, he is undergoing a lengthy and stressful ordeal to obtain refugee protection. Wasil’s story highlights the plight of nearly 100,000 unaccompanied children seeking asylum in Europe in 2015, of which 13 percent of the children were under the age of 14. Although unaccompanied children have legal rights under the law, EU countries often fail to implement those laws causing children to become homeless or leading them to live in unofficial migrant and refugee settlements.
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The 2,000 Mile Wall in Search of a Purpose: Since 2007 Visa Overstays have Outnumbered Undocumented Border Crossers by a Half Million

Robert Warren, Center for Migration Studies
Donald Kerwin, Center for Migration Studies
A new paper from CMS finds that since 2007 a large majority of undocumented persons in the United States have overstayed valid visas rather than illegally crossed a border. The paper finds that two-thirds of those who arrived in 2014 were admitted (after screening) to the United States on non-immigrant (temporary) visas, and then overstayed their period of admission or otherwise violated the terms of their visas, a trend likely to continue. The findings offer an additional reason to question the necessity and value of constructing a 2000-mile wall along the US-Mexico border: the large and growing percentage of newly undocumented persons will bypass the wall entirely and simply overstay their visas.
To read more, visit  

Dispatches from the Middle East: A Conversation with Bishop Antoine Audo, Chaldean Catholic Bishop of Aleppo, Syria, on Syrian Refugees

Kevin Appleby, Center for Migration Studies
From February 24 to March 6, 2017, CMS’s Kevin Appleby participated in a fact-finding mission to Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Greece to ascertain the situation of Syrian, Iraqi, and other refugee groups in the region. During his travels, Appleby had a chance to speak with Bishop Antoine Audo, Chaldean Catholic bishop of Aleppo, Syria, and the head of Caritas, Syria, on the Syrian conflict and the plight of Syrian refugees and internally displaced. Bishop Audo offered his observations on the situation of Syrian Christians, who are caught in the crossfire of the conflict, an issue which has been a focal point in the refugee debate in the United States. 
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European Courts and Citizens Struggle to do “What’s Right” Amidst Reactionary Migration Law and Policy

Dario Dzananovic, Radboud University Nijmegen, Netherlands
In 2015 alone, there were 1,255,640 asylum applications to the 28 member states of the European Union (EU), Switzerland, and Norway. Met with refugees in their daily lives, many EU citizens would like to help, but are understandably wary of the legal implications of helping potentially undocumented people. However, some choose to assist people in need and worry about the consequences later. This essay outlines four cases highlighting how individual citizens and courts of member states have dealt with situations involving a conflict between doing “what’s right” and what’s legal.
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Working Together: Building Successful Policy and Program Partnerships for Immigrant Integration

Els de Graauw, Baruch College, The City University of New York
Irene Bloemraad, University of California, Berkeley
Supporting and investing in the integration of immigrants and their children is critically important to US society. Successful integration contributes to the nation’s economic vitality, its civic and political health, and its cultural diversity. Although the United States has a good track record on immigrant integration, outcomes could be better. This paper argues that a robust national integration policy infrastructure is needed. This infrastructure must be vertically integrated to include different levels of government, and horizontally applied across public and private sector actors and different types of immigrant destinations. The resultant policy should leverage public-private partnerships, drawing on the work of community-based nonprofit organizations, and the support of philanthropy, business, education, and faith-based institutions. If the federal government will not act, then cities, states, and civil society organizations must continue to work together to build an integration infrastructure from the bottom up. The paper is part of "The CMS US Immigration Reform Project," a series of essays and papers on reform of US immigration laws and policies.
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Responding to a Refugee Influx: Lessons from Lebanon

Ninette Kelley, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Between 2011 and 2015, Lebanon received more than one million Syrian refugees. Already beset by political divisions, insecure borders, severely strained infrastructure, and over-stretched public services, the mass influx of refugees further taxed this small country. That Lebanon withstood what is often characterized as an existential threat has primarily been due to the remarkable resilience of the Lebanese people. It is also due to the unprecedented levels of humanitarian funding that the international community provided to support refugees and their host communities. The refugee response was not perfect, and funding fell well below needs.  Nonetheless, thousands of lives were saved, protection was extended, essential services were provided, and efforts were made to improve through education the future prospects of close to half-a-million refugee children residing in Lebanon. This paper examines what worked well in Lebanon and where the refugee response stumbled, focusing on areas where improved efforts in planning, delivery, coordination, innovation, funding, and partnerships can enhance future emergency responses.
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‘They Need to Give Us a Voice’: Lessons from Listening to Unaccompanied Central American and Mexican Children on Helping Children Like Themselves

Susan Schmidt, Luther College
Children make up half of the world’s refugees, yet there is limited research on the views of immigrant youth on their migration experiences and the causes of their migration. While there is wide recognition of migrant children’s right to free expression, few opportunities exist to exercise effectively that right and provide input about their views. This article analyzes the responses of Central American and Mexican migrant children on how to assist children like themselves. It identifies several implied “no-win” situations as potential reasons for the migration decisions of unaccompanied children. Furthermore, the children’s responses highlight the interconnected nature of economics, security, and education as migratory factors. Examination of children’s political speech reveals primarily negative references regarding their home country’s government, president, and police. Police were singled out more than other public figures, with particular emphasis on police corruption and ineffectiveness. Additional analysis focused on children’s comments regarding migration needs and family.
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A Giant of Mercy Has Left Us: A Tribute to Mark Zwick

Fr. Pat Murphy, Centro Scalabrini – Casa del Migrante, Tijuana
Mark Zwick, founder and director of the Casa Juan Diego in Houston, Texas, passed away last November. Casa Juan Diego offered food, shelter, clothing and medical care to migrants with no place to go. Fr. Pat Murphy, director of the Casa del Migrante in Tijuana, writes this tribute in remembrance of the late immigrant advocate.
To read more, visit

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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