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
February 22, 2017

Pope Says Immigrants No Threat to Europe’s Christian Identity

CRUX (February 17, 2017)
While speaking before students at Roma Tre University, Pope Francis set aside his prepared text in order to "speak from the heart." He stated that migrants do not pose a threat to Europe's Christian culture, and cautioned against denouncing people fleeing war and hunger. He also urged that migrants be integrated into their host communities through the help of locals who can teach them the language, how to find a job, and help them find a place to stay. The Holy Father said that each country must decide how many migrants it can welcome but added, "When there is this welcoming, accompaniment, integration, there's no danger with immigration. A culture is received and another offered. This is my response to fear."
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On Immigrants and the Poor, Pope Francis Walks His Talk

CRUX (February 17, 2017)
When Pope Francis discusses the need to welcome immigrants, to build bridges not walls, and to invest in the countries from which people are fleeing, people regularly ask what he himself is doing to help. In this article, Vatican correspondent Ines San Martin provides some examples of the actions Pope Francis has taken, such as funding hospitals in the Central African Republic and having the Vatican sponsor Middle Eastern migrant families. The Holy Father has also initiated a plan to provide material support and professional formation for three Catholic hospitals in Syria in an effort to help the millions who cannot access medical attention. In addition, in the last three years, the global Church has invested approximately $560 million in humanitarian aid.
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National Identity and 3 of the Most Damaging Directives in President Trump’s Executive Orders on Immigration and Refugees

The Huffington Post (February 13, 2017)
Donald Kerwin, CMS’ executive director, makes four points about President Donald J. Trump's executive orders on immigration: (1) they seem to anticipate mass deportations, which would impoverish US families and be disastrous for the housing market, gross domestic product (GDP), and labor market; (2) refugee protection furthers national security; (3) the expedited removal system should long ago have been reformed, and its expansion now would be particularly problematic given the pervasive denial of access to the asylum system by those who express  fear or request asylum; and (4) the attempted suspension of immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries – coupled with decreased refugee admissions, prioritization of religious minority persecution claims, and the Trump campaign’s proposal to bar Muslim immigration – undermines the nation’s core commitment to religious pluralism and non-discriminatory protection.
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Jesuit Networks in Central America, Mexico, and South America Address Concerns Relating to Immigrant and Refugee Executive Orders

Ignatian Solidarity Network (ISN) (February 13, 2017)
The Central American Province of the Society of Jesus, the Provincial Committee for the Social Apostolate, and the Jesuit Migration Network of Central America issued a joint statement expressing their concerns with and opposition to President Trump's executive orders on immigration. The statements from the Jesuit curia and regional networks declared their "unity with [the Jesuits in Canada and the United States] when they express solidarity with our migrant brothers and sisters, when they reaffirm their decision not to give in to fear and to continue their long tradition of defending and accompanying migrants and refugees, no matter their place of origin or religious beliefs." They also specifically rejected Trump's call for "increased border security, the suspension of the right to request asylum, the increase in the number of detention centers and expedited removal procedures, and the prohibition against entry by persons of various nationalities...." In addition, the Association of Universities Entrusted to the Society of Jesus in Latin America and the Jesuit University System in Mexico expressed their concern for the immigrant communities in the United States, in particular undocumented students who might lose their Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status which temporarily protects them from deportation.
To read more, visit
To read the February 8th statement of the Central American Province of the Society of Jesus, the Provincial Committee for the Social Apostolate, and the Jesuit Migration Network, visit
To read the January 30th statement from the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States, visit

The US Does Not Shortchange Christian Refugees

Refugees Deeply (February 15, 2017)
Bill Frelick, director of the refugee rights program at Human Rights Watch (HRW), addresses President Trump's apparent preference for Christians over Muslims in US immigration and refugee policy. Frelick quotes Trump as saying, "If you were Muslim you could come in, but if you were a Christian, it was almost impossible [to get into the United States]." Frelick writes that if this statement were true the United States would have already accepted 5 million Syrian refugees. Furthermore, the number of Christian and non-Muslim admissions outnumbered Muslim admissions in fiscal year 2016. Frelick explains that the low percentage of Christian refugee admissions from Syria may be attributed to Syria’s demographics which (as reported in November 2015) are 87 percent Muslim and only 10 percent Christian. In addition, “[h]igher proportions of Christian emigration and lower Christian birthrates have very likely shifted the demographic balance,” and “the low percentage might also reflect that resettlement is especially reserved for refugees who have no other options.” Frelick writes, “Many Syrian Christian refugees have been welcomed in Armenia and by the Christian community in Lebanon, or have moved into Greece and other EU states where they are ineligible for the US program." He closes by stating that the limited number of spaces for refugees should be made available for the most vulnerable and that persecution based on religion "should not be the guiding principle for deciding who is rescued" over someone persecuted based on, for example, political opinion, nationality, race, or membership in a particular social group, such as gay or transgender people.
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Immigration Authorities Arrested 680 People in Raids Last Week

The Washington Post (February 13, 2017)
During the week of February 6th, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested 680 foreign nationals in raids conducted in at least a dozen states. The raids marked the first large-scale crackdown by the Trump Administration on foreign nationals living in the United States in violation of US immigration law. Although ICE reported that approximately 75 percent of those arrested were "criminal aliens," the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) clarified that "criminal aliens" include "anyone who had entered the United States illegally or overstayed or violated the terms of a visa." ICE declined to report how many of the arrestees committed serious crimes. In President Barack Obama’s second term, the Obama Administration prioritized deportations of people considered threats to public safety over those with less serious criminal violations. The Trump Administration, however, targets for arrest and deportation anyone who is present in the United States in violation of immigration law. This includes undocumented people without criminal convictions. Kevin Appleby, CMS’ senior director of international migration policy, stated, "The Obama Administration shied away from big displays of enforcement because it would alienate their base. For Trump, it is red meat for his supporters and fulfills a campaign pledge." The arrests caused a wave of panic through immigrant communities across the United States, and led some immigrant advocates to question whether those arrested were truly threats to public safety.
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Know Your Rights: Preparation for Encounters with Immigration Enforcement Videos in English and Spanish

Justice for Immigrants Campaign (JFI) (February 16, 2017)
In response to the recent ICE raids around the United States, the Justice for Immigrants Campaign created Know Your Rights (KYR) presentations in English and Spanish to help remind people about their rights should they encounter ICE officers. The videos are less than two-and-a-half minutes in length and do not serve as legal advice. They instead remind viewers that they: can refuse entry to ICE officers without a warrant; have a right to remain silent when questioned by ICE officers; should not sign any documents unless they understand what they are signing; and should seek legal advice for their particular circumstances.
To view more, visit

Denver-area Undocumented Immigrant Jeanette Vizguerra Denied Stay in US, Takes Sanctuary

Denverite (February 14, 2017)
Jeanette Vizguerra is an undocumented immigrant from Mexico who has been living in the Denver area for almost twenty years. She has three US citizen children, ages 6, 10, and 12, and an adult daughter granted DACA relief. In 2012 when returning to the United States after visiting her dying mother, Vizguerra was arrested and required to report to ICE a few times a year. Although she complied with the check-in requirements, the recent reports of ICE following new standards and moving quickly to arrest and deport immigrants made Vizguerra fear showing-up for her check-in. Instead, she took sanctuary in the First Unitarian Society of Denver. Because she failed to show-up for her regular check-in, ICE denied her request for a stay of deportation. Vizguerra has an application for U nonimmigrant status pending as a victim of a serious crime, which – if approved – could give her temporary legal status and eventually lawful permanent residence. The Denver Police Department supports her application for U status. Vizguerra's attorney, Hans Meyer, stated, "If (the Department of Homeland Security) denies Jeanette's stay of removal, not only will it tear a mother away from her three citizen children, it will also drive a stake into the heart of community policing principles by sending a clear message to immigrant victims of crime that they are targets of Trump's brutal deportation machinery."
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Trump Promises New Immigration Order as DOJ Holds Off Appeals Court

CNN (February 16, 2017)
On February 9th, a three-judge panel of the US Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit unanimously rejected the Trump Administration's request to lift a temporary restraining order (TRO) halting implementation of President Trump's executive order, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States." Instead of asking the full Ninth Circuit to rehear the challenge, the Trump administration said it would rescind the executive order and issue a new one tailored to address the constitutional concerns raised by the panel. The Ninth Circuit agreed to temporarily put the case on hold. Meanwhile, US District Court Judge James Robart in Seattle, who issued the TRO, will proceed with the lawsuit brought by the states of Washington and Minnesota against Trump's current executive order.
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Constraints Threaten Trump’s Promise of an Immigration Crackdown

New York Times (February 17, 2017)
President Trump promised to hire 15,000 new Border Patrol and ICE agents as part of a larger, nationwide deportation force to remove undocumented immigrants residing in the United States. DHS Secretary John Kelly, however, stated that hiring such a large number of agents in a short period of time would be nearly impossible due to stringent hiring standards and training regimens. In a draft memorandum reported by The Associated Press on February 16th, it appeared the Trump Administration was considering another option to use as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to assist federal agents and local authorities enforce immigration laws. But according to Gillian M. Christensen, DHS’ acting press secretary, the memorandum was a “very early, pre-decisional draft that never made it to the [DHS] secretary and was never seriously considered by the department.” Regardless, immigration advocates reacted with alarm. Kevin Appleby, CMS’ senior director of international migration policy, said, “Their intent is to create fear, to create an environment in which people either self-deport or hide in the shadows.” Appleby added, “The bottom line is they’re doing everything they can legally do until they’re told not to by the courts....”
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US Top Court to Set Guidelines for Trump Treatment of Non-Citizens

Reuters (February 17, 2017)
The US Supreme Court will hear three cases in the next several months that deal with a non-citizen's rights under the US Constitution. How the Court decides the cases may help or hinder the Trump Administrations' efforts to increase border security and expedite the deportation of foreign nationals in the United States in violation of immigration law. The Court is down one justice with the vacancy left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, and the remaining eight justices are split four-to-four along conservative and liberal lines. The Court is expected to issue decisions in the three cases by the end of June. One case deals with the issue of whether foreign nationals in detention have the right to a hearing to request release when their cases are not decided right away. The two other cases deal with whether US government officials can be sued for mistreatment of non-citizens. None of the cases arose under the Trump Administration, but all started before President Obama left office. Anil Kalhan, an immigration law professor at Drexel University's Kline School of Law, states that the current furor over how non-citizens are being treated by Trump's so-called "Muslim Ban" may affect how the Court approaches the cases. Kalhan said, "It might be the atmospherics of what's going on now might lead to a closer look form the justices."
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Canada's Concerns about Close Border Ties with US

BBC (February 17, 2017)
There is increased anxiety among Canadians about President Trump's policies pertaining to cross-border travel amidst reports of US Border Patrol officers seizing and searching mobile devices, questioning and turning away Canadians at the border, and schools canceling trips to the United States. Canada's Federal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale plans to convey to DHS Secretary John Kelly during an upcoming meeting that Canada expects travelers to be treated with respect and in accordance with the law on both sides of the border. Some Canadians are also concerned about the pending Bill C-23 before Parliament which would give US border agents increased authority at pre-clearance areas in Canada and does not clarify the rights of Canadian citizens on Canadian soil, "especially when a US administration talks about 'extreme vetting' of migrants and refugees." There is growing pressure on the Canadian government to withdraw from the Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA) with the United States due to the surge of asylum applicants entering Canada from the United States without authorization in an effort to get around the STCA's bar to "asylum shopping" between Canada and the United States. A loophole in the STCA permits people who enter Canada without authorization to apply for asylum in the interior of the country. However, the Canadian government is reportedly standing behind the agreement.
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UN Under Fire Even as Pakistan Lifts Afghan Deportation Order

IRIN (February 13, 2017)
Although Pakistan announced it would permit the approximately 2.4 million Afghans living in Pakistan to remain until the end of the year, the country is still pressuring Afghans to return home. An HRW report claims that the Pakistani government is engaged in refoulement – the forcible return of refugees to a country where they face persecution, torture or a risk to their lives. The HRW report also accuses the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) as complicit in coercing Afghans to return to the violence in Afghanistan by failing to condemn Pakistan's measures and for providing cash grants to returnees. UNHCR rejected HRW's allegations and responded that Afghans are returning to Afghanistan of their own accord. Duniya Aslam Khan, a spokeswoman for UNHCR in Pakistan, stated, "UNHCR facilitates voluntary repatriation upon the request and fully informed decision of refugees." However, according to HRW, conditions for Afghans in Pakistan were so difficult, “repatriation became less of a decision than a necessity.” Although the Pakistani government appears to have stepped back from deporting Afghans, there is fear that the government might, once again, make life too difficult for them to remain.
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The End of the Deterrence Paradigm? Future Directions for Global Refugee Policy

Asylum lies at the heart of the international refugee protection regime. Yet, today, most states in the developed world implement a range of deterrence measures designed to prevent access to asylum on their territories. With particular attention to Europe’s response to the Syrian refugee crisis, this paper categorizes contemporary deterrence policies. It then questions the sustainability and effectiveness of such policies. A number of deterrence measures do not conform with refugee and human rights law, rendering the refugee protection regime vulnerable to collapse. Finally, this article suggests some ways forward to address these problems. It discusses the partial success of legal challenges to deterrence measures and opportunities for alternative avenues to access protection. Ultimately, however, it argues that the viability of the refugee protection regime requires collective action and international burden-sharing.
To read more, visit
To watch the Migration Experts Series video interview with co-author Thomas Gammeltoft-Hansen of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, visit

Too Few Slots for Admission to the United States: Refugees in Nazi-Occupied Czechoslovakia and Now

Several items from the CMS archive show that the modern refugee situation bears comparison to the period before World War II, when non-governmental agencies assisting immigrants dealt with sudden surges of desperate people. In this post, Mary Brown, CMS’ archivist, demonstrates the similarities between past and contemporary challenges in managing refugee admissions with a review of archival materials from the National Catholic Welfare Conference (NCWC) Bureau of Immigration’s file on the Saint Raphael Society for the Protection of Czech Immigrants, a Catholic agency (Saint Raphael is the patron saint of travelers) founded in 1927. 
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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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