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
January 10, 2017

Celebrating National Migration Week – A Message from the President and Vice President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

USCCB (January 6, 2017)
National Migration Week (NMW) is January 8-14, 2017. During the week, the Catholic Church will reflect on the contributions of immigrants and refugees to the Church and to the nation. This year, NMW focuses on creating a "culture of encounter" where citizens and immigrants come together and "share with one another their hopes for a better life."
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At Mass Celebrating Immigrants, Trump Inauguration Looms

Chicago Tribune (January 9, 2017)
Hundreds of worshippers attended a mass focused on immigration issues at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago, part of a long-standing tradition in the Catholic Church to celebrate National Migration Week. During the ceremony, Cardinal Blase Cupich called for comprehensive immigration reform and laws protecting immigrants, declaring the Church “stands with those in the shadows.” Cardinal Cupich said, “It’s a time to remind our nation that we have been enriched by following the light of diversity, openness to the stranger.”
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Commentary: It’s Immigrants Who Made America Great

Chicago Tribune (January 9, 2017)
In a piece for the Chicago Tribune, Cardinal Blase Cupich of the Archdiocese of Chicago supported the bipartisan Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow Our Economy Act (BRIDGE Act), which will preserve the basic elements of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Cupich writes that the DACA recipients “have earned the right to remain in the United States and to become American citizens.” He further states, “DACA enrollees want to contribute to our society...They want to help to build up the common good of the country they know, the nation they call home.” Cupich cited a CMS study that found: 85 percent of DACA recipients have lived in the United States for 10 years or more; 91 percent speak English very well; 93 percent have at least a high school diploma; 43 percent have attended or graduated from college; and 89 percent are gainfully employed.
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Statement of HE Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Apostolic Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See, to the United Nations Security Council Open Debate on Maintenance of International Peace and Security: Trafficking in Persons in Conflict Situations

Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations (December 20, 2016)
His Excellency Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Apostolic Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, addressed the UN Security Council Open Debate on Maintenance of International Peace and Security where he reaffirmed Pope Francis’ commitment to eradicating human trafficking and other forms of modern slavery. Quoting the Holy Father, Archbishop Auza said, "[M]odern slavery – in the form of human trafficking, forced labour, prostitution or the trafficking of organs – is a crime 'against humanity.’" He added that poverty, underdevelopment, and exclusion aid and abet trafficking in persons; and that war is "the biggest single factor that facilitates trafficking in persons." Archbishop Auza called on the international community to continue combating human trafficking, primarily through preventing and ending armed conflicts.
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In The Fight Against Prostitution, Who’s Talking About The Clients?

Crux (December 24, 2016)
In November 2016, RENATE, a network of religious in Europe fighting to end human trafficking, hosted a conference in Rome to discuss how individuals could stop human trafficking. During the conference, religious sisters working to end forced prostitution through human trafficking sought to focus prevention efforts on "the clients" – the men who exploit and use prostitutes.
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Cardinal Mahony: Churches May Offer Sanctuary to ‘DREAMers’ Who Face Deportation

Catholic World News (December 23, 2016)
In a piece for L'Osservatore Romano, Cardinal Roger Mahony addressed President-elect Donald Trump’s plan to deport the 11 million undocumented people living in the United States and to rescind the DACA program. Cardinal Mahony wrote that he does not believe Americans will cooperate with Trump as DREAMers are part of the social fabric. He cited a CMS study that found DACA recipients are deeply embedded in US society. He added that "calls have already emerged for churches and communities to protect them by not cooperating with immigration enforcement and by providing sanctuary for those likely to be affected."
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Views from Alongside a Border (December 21, 2016)
According to author Michael Siefert, the Spanish term, convivencia, is a "deeply hospitable way of being" illustrated by "those who have shared bread, drink, or kindness with someone different than them." Convivencia, therefore, is at the heart of Las Posadas celebrations in which participants replay the Holy Family's "search for hospitality on that first Christmas." After first being rejected by hosts, the Holy Family (along with the members of the procession) are invited into the hosts' home for hot chocolate and tamales. Seifert writes that this year’s Las Posadas was a way to show solidarity with the immigrant community and to show them that they would not be abandoned.
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US Immigrant Deportations Fall to Lowest Level Since 2007

Pew Research Center (December 16, 2016)
Data released by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) revealed that the Obama Administration deported 333,341 unauthorized immigrants in fiscal year (FY) 2015. This is a 20 percent (81,000) decrease from the previous fiscal year and is the lowest number of deportations since 2007. There was a decline in deportations for immigrants with and without criminal backgrounds. Immigrants with a conviction for an "aggravated felony" made up 81 percent of all convicted criminals deported.
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Central Americans Continue to Surge Across US Border, New DHS Figures Show

The Washington Post (December 30, 2016)
DHS also released data from FY 2016. The agency reported that 530,250 unauthorized immigrants were arrested and 450,954 were deported to their home countries. The majority of people apprehended came from Central America and included 137,614 families and unaccompanied children, exceeding numbers from FY 2014 and FY 2015. The Obama Administration attributed the latest data to the Administration’s policy shift to removing convicted criminals who pose threats to public safety and national security. Kevin Appleby, CMS’ Senior Director of International Migration Policy, said that although the priorities were a good move, they came too late.  Appleby stated, "In the end, the president will be remembered as a deporter, not a reformer. In the first four years, [President Obama] set record numbers in removals, much to the dismay of the immigrant community."
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Immigrants Use Asylum Applications to Delay Possible Deportation

The Wall Street Journal (December 17, 2016)
Since Donald Trump was elected president, undocumented immigrants are reportedly rushing to apply for asylum in the United States. By applying for asylum, immigrant applicants may be able to obtain work authorization and temporarily delay their deportation from the United States. Some attorneys, however, are worried that applicants with bona fide asylum claims will be disadvantaged by a system bogged down by asylum claims that lack merit.
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A Creative Plea from Immigrants, and a Ticking Clock for Obama

The New York Times (December 20, 2016)
A group of more than 100 immigrant advocacy organizations wrote to President Obama asking him to pardon green card holders with minor criminal convictions before he leaves office. The advocates argued that while pardon power has never been used for immigration law violations, Obama could reframe his legacy on immigration as “Deporter in Chief” by shielding up to 200,000 legal immigrants. This population may be one of the groups targeted under the incoming Trump Administration’s plan to deport any immigrant with a criminal record.
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Trump Insists Mexico Will Pay for Wall After US Begins the Work

The New York Times (January 6, 2017)
During the US presidential campaign, Donald Trump promised to build a wall, at Mexico’s expense, along the US-Mexico border to keep out unauthorized immigrants. However, President-elect Trump is now calling on Congress to pay for the wall until the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is renegotiated and includes a plan in which Mexico reimburses the United States for the cost of the wall. Until that deal comes through, however, the United States will need taxpayers' money for construction of the wall. One estimate has the cost of the wall at $14 billion. Trump's proposal to use taxpayer funds might face bipartisan opposition in Congress because many Congressional members view a border wall as ineffective in stopping unauthorized immigration. 
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The Canada Experiment: Is This The World's First 'Postnational' Country?

The Guardian (January 4, 2017)
During a year when many western countries turned against immigration, Canada welcomed approximately 300,000 newcomers in 2016, including 48,000 refugees. Charles Foran, novelist and CEO of the Institute for Canadian Citizenship, writes that the country is also encouraging newcomers and refugees to become citizens. According to Foran, Canada has practical reasons for welcoming immigrants: immigration helps Canada's population growth and brings about prosperity. In addition, Foran maintains that the country does not follow the traditional model of a nation –"loosely defined by a more or less coherent racial and religious group, ruled by internal laws and guarded by a national army." Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has stated that the country could be the "first postnational state…There is no core identity, no mainstream in Canada." Foran considers whether having no core identity permits "a healthy flexibility and receptivity to change" allowing Canadians "in the end, simply to respond to newness without fear."
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Myanmar Says Rohingya Rape and Abuse Allegations “made-up,” Despite Mounting Evidence

IRIN (December 22, 2016)
Members of Myanmar's ethnic Rohingya Muslim minority have been fleeing across the border to Bangladesh as Myanmar's military reportedly carries out "clearance operations" against insurgents. Although the Myanmar government and military refute the allegations, the United Nations, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International have corroborated these claims. The International Organization for Migration reports that at least 34,000 Rohingya have crossed into Bangladesh since October 2016. This is in addition to 32,000 registered refugees and 500,000 undocumented Rohingya who have arrived in Bangladesh since 1970 after similar military operations or mob violence against the minority group. The United Nations and other groups are calling for independent investigations into the claims of abuse.
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The US Senate will convene two confirmation hearings this week on Cabinet positions which will have a direct bearing on US immigration policy. At 9:30am on January 10 and 11, 2017, the Senate Judiciary Committee will consider the nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) as the nation’s next Attorney General. Senator Sessions is known for his hard line position on immigration. As Attorney General, he will have authority over the immigration court system and the civil rights of immigrants in the nation. Pro-immigrant supporters, as well as civil rights organizations, oppose his confirmation. David Cole, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and Cornell Brooks, President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), will testify in opposition to Senator Session’s nomination.
On January 10, 2017 at 3:30pm, the US Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs will consider the nomination of Retired General John F. Kelly as the next DHS Secretary. General Kelly has expressed concern about how smugglers can penetrate the US border.
House Republicans are considering using taxpayer funding to construct a border wall, as opposed to having the government of Mexico pay for it upfront, per the campaign pledge by President-elect Trump. Such funding would likely be added to an omnibus appropriations bill, which must be passed by April 28, 2017. It is anticipated that the construction of a wall along the entire southern border could cost as much as $38 billion dollars. Republican lawmakers believe that there is existing statutory authority to build the wall because of passage of the Secure Fence Act of 2006. Although President-elect Trump continues to claim that Mexico will eventually pay for the wall, it is unclear how the President-elect will achieve that goal, given the Mexican government’s rejection of such a proposal.
DHS issued end-of-the year statistics on deportations for 2016, in which deportation levels reached an eight-year low of 240,255. DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson attributed the decrease to enforcement priorities established in 2014, in which DHS prioritized the deportation of criminal aliens and recent arrivals over persons who have lived in the country for several years. Nevertheless, President Obama has deported a record 2.5 million people since taking office.


CMSOnAir | Fr. Thomas Reese, SJ

The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) recently released the report, “Barriers to Protection: The Treatment of Asylum Seekers in Expedited Removal,” a follow-up investigation to USCIRF’s groundbreaking 2005 study on the US expedited removal process. In this new podcast, Fr. Thomas Reese, SJ, USCIRF Chair and senior analyst for the National Catholic Reporter, speaks with CMS’ Executive Director Donald Kerwin on violations of the law and legal procedures by border officials, US Citizenship and Immigration Services’ reliance on virtual interviews, the importance of legal representation in asylum cases, and the detention of mothers and children. Fr. Reese also discusses the global crisis in refugee protection and the proposals to deny the admission of refugees based on religion and nationality.
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“Make America Great Again”…Again?

Alan M. Kraut, University Professor of History at American University, traces the origins of the Trump slogan, “Make America Great Again.” According to Kraut, nativists – including those that embraced theories advanced by eugenicists that certain races were superior and others inferior – adopted the same trope in reaction to the millions of newcomers from Southern and Eastern Europe and parts of Asia. As a result, the US government passed legislation establishing a quota system and severely restricting immigration from certain countries.
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As the World Fiddles, Myanmar’s Rakhine State Burns and Rohingya Flee to Bangladesh to Escape Ethnic Cleansing

In a long history of discrimination and violence against the Rohingya Muslim minority by the Myanmar government, the Myanmar military is now reportedly attacking Rohingya in Rakhine state, forcing them to flee to Bangladesh. According to international organizations, stories from the refugees have been remarkably consistent in describing the violence, which has included widespread killings, the raping of women, and the burning of homes.
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Leveraging the World Cup: Mega Sporting Events, Human Rights Risk, and Worker Welfare Reform in Qatar

In preparing to host the 2022 World Cup, Qatar is expected to employ 500,000-1.5 million foreign workers. However, between 2010 and 2013, more than 1,200 labor migrants working in Qatar’s construction sector died, with another 4,000 deaths projected by the start of the event.  With foreign workers vulnerable to forced labor, human trafficking, deplorable living and working conditions, and indefinite detention, this article examines whether it is possible for Qatar’s World Cup to forge a legacy as an agent of change on behalf of worker welfare reform.
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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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