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 14, 2017

US and Europe Must be "far more generous" Towards Migrants

Vatican Radio (March 9, 2017)
Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, c.s., former Vatican observer to the United Nations in Geneva, and Cardinal Roger Mahony, the former Archbishop of Los Angeles, held a press briefing to report on their recent visit to refugee camps in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Greece. The two church leaders met with people living in camps, makeshift centers, and empty apartment buildings. They also observed the services and psychological support provided to refugees by Catholic organizations such as Caritas and Jesuit Refugee Services, and other non-governmental organizations. During the briefing, Archbishop Tomasi and Cardinal Mahony called on Europe and the United States to be "'far, far more generous'" in providing protection to people fleeing conflict. Mahony singled out the United States as being "gravely at fault” for not recognizing its responsibilities and responding to the needs of people in the region.
To read more, visit

Pope Francis, Migration, and the Journey to Human Development and Peace

The Huffington Post (Blog) (March 7, 2017)
Donald Kerwin, CMS’ Executive Director, provides an overview of the VI International Forum on Migration and Peace, organized by the Scalabrini International Migration Network (SIMN) in late February in Rome. The event titled, "Integration and Development: From Reaction to Action" was also sponsored by the newly created Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, a German think-tank and political foundation. Pope Francis addressed the forum calling for a "coordinated and effective response" to forced migration, which would include a shared response to welcome, protect, promote, and integrate newcomers. Pope Francis stated the need "to overcome indifference and to counter fears with a generous approach of welcoming those who knock at our doors." Over the course of the conference program, panelists approached the crisis as one of responsibility-sharing among governments. Speakers also stated that migration policy cannot be addressed without also addressing the development needs of origin countries. People have “the right to find in one's own homeland the conditions necessary for living a dignified life” and not to have to migrate from their home countries.  Addressing how some states respond to migration flows, one speaker stated that "fear cannot be the basis of how states, religious communities and individuals care for refugees." In addition, panelists discussed integration of migrants and refugees and the need for development programs that honor the agency and autonomy of refugees. Finally, participants discussed how the United States’ turn towards isolationism and ethno-cultural nationalism poses a threat to the global refugee protection system.
To read more, visit

Educators Prepare for Immigration Agents at the Schoolhouse

The New York Times (March 7, 2017)
Anxiety is growing among the nation's undocumented communities as the Trump administration increases deportation efforts. People fear that officers from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will raid their homes, schools, and places of work to arrest, detain, and deport them, thereby separating them from their families. ICE is the bureau within the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that is responsible for detaining and deporting immigrants in the interior of the United States. Although ICE has internal guidance – a "sensitive locations" memo – that instructs its officers to avoid engaging in law enforcement actions (raids) at schools, health care facilities, and houses of worship, the policy is not enforceable in court. Consequently, school districts, particularly those with large numbers of immigrants, are providing guidance to administrators, faculty, and parents on how to respond if ICE officers arrive at their schools. According to this article, no raids of schools have been documented so far. Some school districts issued reminders that schools should never ask families about their immigration status. They have also instructed school officials to ask to see a warrant, subpoena or court order should ICE officers ask to see a student's records. The same instructions direct school officials to review the warrant, subpoena, or court order carefully before allowing ICE officers to enter and to carry out the order. Many schools have also advised parents to update their children's emergency contact information in case the parent is arrested and detained by ICE. The update should include trusted friends or relatives that school officials can contact. 
To read more, visit

Frequently Asked Questions on Executive Orders 13769 and 13780 Related to Refugee Resettlement and a Travel Ban

Justice for Immigrants Campaign (March 9, 2017)
On March 6, 2017, the Trump administration issued a new executive order entitled, "Executive Order Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States." This executive order revokes and replaces Executive Order 13769, which was issued on January 27th and was commonly known as the “Muslim travel ban.” Federal court litigation had placed a hold on implementation of the order across the United States. The new executive order (EO 13780), which is becoming known as "Muslim Ban 2.0," is an effort by the Administration to address the constitutional deficiencies in the original order. The Justice for Immigrants Campaign (JFI) issued this FAQ, which among other things, explains the impact of the new executive order on the previous executive order and pending federal litigation.
To read more, visit
To read the new executive order, “Executive Order Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” visit

What You Should Know About the President's Two Executive Orders on Resettlement and a Temporary Travel Ban

Justice for Immigrants Campaign (March 9, 2017)
JFI also issued a breakdown of the major provisions in the Trump administration's Executive Order 13780, entitled, "Executive Order Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States." The order suspends refugee admissions for 120 days; lowers annual refugee admissions from 110,000 to 50,000; suspends for 90 days the admission of nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. This updated executive order no longer explicitly bans Iraqi nationals from admission. The order also clarifies the categories of people not subject to the ban, including lawful permanent residents (LPRs), US citizens, dual nationals of one of the banned countries and a non-designated country, certain diplomats, valid visa holders, asylees, admitted refugees, and people granted withholding of removal, protection under the Convention against Torture, or Advance Parole or other valid entry documents. The executive order also removes the explicit ban on admission of Syrian refugees. 
To read more, visit

Living in Fear in the US: Time to Take Her Education and Leave?

The New York Times (March 5, 2017)
Journalist David Gonzalez provides an update on his 2009 profile of CMS‘s Daniela Alulema and her family. Seeking better educational opportunities for their children, Ms. Alulema’s parents brought Daniela and her brother to the United States as children 15 years ago. While her brother is a US citizen, Ms. Alulema is one of the tens of thousands young undocumented immigrants living in the United States. Since Gonzalez’s earlier profile, she has graduated from college and obtained a master's degree in public policy. She has also become a recipient of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program which temporarily grants her relief from deportation and work authorization. However, it is unclear as to whether the Trump Administration will continue the DACA program, leaving Ms. Alulema in a state of limbo and on an emotional roller-coaster. She is also growing anxious as the Trump administration increases its efforts to arrest, detain and deport undocumented immigrants. Like many of the immigrants in her community, she wonders whether she should continue the fight to stay in the country or return to her native Ecuador.
To read more, visit

Trump’s border wall will be even more useless than previously thought

The Miami Herald (March 10, 2017)
This op-ed by Andrés Oppenheimer cites CMS’s recent report on the growing rate of visa overstays in the US undocumented population to argue that the Trump administration’s proposed 2,000 mile wall between the US and Mexican border, the “centerpiece” of the administration’s immigration enforcement policies, is “based on false data” and would be “ a monumental waste of money.” The CMS study finds that nearly two-thirds of persons entering the US undocumented population in FY 2014 overstayed visas, rather than illegally crossed the US-Mexico border, and that this trend has likely increased in the intervening years.   

To read more, visit:
To read the CMS report, “The 2,000 Mile Wall in Search of a Purpose: Since 2007 Visa Overstays have Outnumbered Undocumented Border Crossers by a Half Million,” visit


A number of reputable organizations around the United States have prepared materials for undocumented foreign nationals and their family members to prepare for encounters with ICE officers. The following is a list of links to Know Your Rights (KYR) materials:

Immigrant Defense Project

The Immigrant Defense Project provides various informational resources on encounters with ICE, including:
  • Know Your Rights flyers (available in English, Spanish, French, Punjabi, Arabic, Traditional Mandarin, Simplified Mandarin, Haitian Creole, Bangla, Hindi, Korean, Tagalog, Urdu, Portuguese, and Russian)
  • Poster to document a home raid (available in English, Spanish, French, Simplified Mandarin, Traditional Mandarin, Korean, and Tagalog)
  • Immigration Arrests & Raids: What You Need to Know to Protect Your Rights (available in English and Spanish)
  • Emergency Preparedness
To read more, visit

United We Dream

United We Dream offers a downloadable, quick-reference card for immigrants on their rights should they encounter ICE. The card is available in Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, and English. People are also advised to call the Migrawatch hotline to report ICE activity in their neighborhoods: 1-844-363-1423.
To read more, visit

National Immigration Law Center

The National Immigration Law Center provides several resources for immigrants and others, including  information on: basic rights afforded to immigrant;  what to do when encountering law enforcement; immigration raids; other immigration enforcement; participating in demonstrations; and national origin discrimination.
To read more, visit

Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC)

The Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) provides various Know Your Rights resources, including:
  • Know Your Rights Screening Tool
  • Know Your Rights Cards
  • Know Your Rights: A Guide to Your Rights When Interacting with Law Enforcement
  • Know Your Rights: A Resource for Students, Parents and Guardians 
To read more, visit

Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC)

The Immigrant Legal Resource Center provides various community resources to educate and assist immigrants, attorneys and legal advocates, including:
  • “Red Cards” – small, transportable cards for immigrants on how to assert their rights should they encounter ICE. The cards also provide an explanation to ICE agents that the individual is indeed asserting their rights. Cards can be ordered or downloaded and printed at home.
  • Know Your Rights and What Immigrant Families Should Do Now – practical measures immigrant families can take to prepare for an ICE encounter.
To read more, visit

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) offers various know your rights resources, including: To read more, visit

American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA)

Know Your Rights handouts for various scenarios: ICE worksite raids (for employers), ICE home visits, and ICE public stops.
To read more, visit


This week, the Trump Administration will release its FY 2018 budget proposal and is expected to request a FY 2017 Department of Defense supplemental. The supplemental would include up to $6.6 billion for DHS - $1 billion of which will go towards construction of the border wall and the remainder for other border security purposes.
In his FY 2018 proposal, President Trump is considering cutting funding to FEMA, TSA, and the Coast Guard and using the savings to further fund the border wall and personnel increases. An internal DHS memo circulated in February pegs the cost to construct the wall at $21.6 billion. The memo states that construction of the wall could take three years and span 1,250 miles.
On March 6, President Trump re-issued an executive order banning nationals from six Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for 90 days and halting the US refugee program for 120 days. The new order, however, lifts the ban on Iraqis traveling to the United States and the permanent ban on the resettlement of Syrian refugees. It also explicitly excludes green-card holders from the affected countries. Consistent with the first order, the revised ceiling on the number of refugees allowed into the country in 2017 will be reduced from 110,000 at 50,000, meaning only 15,000 will be resettled through the rest of the fiscal year. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the lower figure and the 4-month pause would place the most vulnerable refugee cases at severe risk. The order will become effective March 16. The previous order was halted by a federal district court and upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
In a letter to the Trump Administration, a bipartisan group of 134 foreign policy professionals opposed the new executive order, saying it would place the United States in more, not less, jeopardy. On March 13, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and 36 other Democrats introduced legislation nullifying the executive order.
Last week, DHS Secretary John Kelly stated that he is considering separating children from their parents if they, as a family unit, cross the border without authorization and are apprehended. Kelly stated that the he is considering the move to deter people from making the dangerous journey from the violence-plagued Northern Triangle region of Central America to the United States. The idea was met with widespread criticism from child and family advocates who responded by highlighting the trauma of such a policy and its costs. DHS has yet to further clarify its policy in this regard.
On the legislative front, Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-WASH) introduced HR 1006, the Access to Counsel Act, on February 14, 2017. The bill would provide access to legal counsel to all immigrants detained at a border crossing or port of entry. Representative Yvette Clark (D-NY) introduced the Haiti Emergency Relief Act of 2017 on February 13, 2017, which would provide an additional 18 months of temporary protected status (TPS) to nationals of Haiti who arrived before November 4, 2016. TPS for Haiti will expire in July. It is unlikely that it will be renewed by President Trump.



Seeking a Rational Approach to a Regional Refugee Crisis: Lessons from the Summer 2014 “Surge” of Central American Women and Children at the US-Mexico Border

Karen Musalo and Eunice Lee, UC Hastings
In 2014, a “surge” of children and families from the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala 2014 began arriving at the US-Mexico border in search of safety and protection. This paper examines and critiques the Obama administration’s policies during and after the 2014 summer surge, which took the form of expanded family detention, accelerated removal procedures, raids, and interdiction. The paper also examines the “push” factors behind the migration surge — namely, societal violence, violence in the home, and poverty and exclusion. The penultimate section explores the ways in which US deterrence-based policies echo missteps of the past, particularly through constructive refoulement and the denial of protection to legitimate refugees. The paper concludes by offering recommendations to the US government for a more effective approach to the influx of Central American women and children at its border, one that addresses the reasons driving their flight and that furthers a sustainable solution consistent with US and international legal obligations and moral principles.
To read more, visit

The Center for Migration Studies Welcomes Four New Trustees to its Board

The Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS) is pleased to announce the appointment of Jorge Bustamante, Fr. Leonir Chiarello, Susan Martin, and British Robinson to the agency’s board of trustees.
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

Copyright © 2017 Center for Migration Studies, New York, All rights reserved.

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