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 14, 2016

Baby Jesus Reminds Us of Plight of Migrants, Pope Francis Says

Crux (December 10, 2016)
At the unveiling of the Vatican nativity scene, Pope Francis said that baby Jesus is a reminder of the "'painful experience' of migrants today" who flee persecution and live in need, poverty or suffering. This year's nativity scene was donated by the government and Archdiocese of Malta and includes a replica of a "luzzu," a traditional Maltese fishing boat representing, "the sad and tragic reality of migrants on boats headed toward Italy." He added that through the plight of migrants crossing the Mediterranean "we revisit that (experience) of baby Jesus, who at the time of his birth did not find accommodation and was born in a grotto in Bethlehem and then was brought to Egypt to escape Herod's threat." He invited all who visit the crèche to rediscover its message of "fraternity, sharing, welcoming and solidarity" with migrants.
To read more, visit

LA Prelate ‘deeply concerned’ About Trump on Immigration

Crux (December 9, 2016)
In this statement, His Excellency Jose H. Gomez, Archbishop of Los Angeles and Vice President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), expressed the bishops’ concerns about President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign pledge to engage in massive deportations of US undocumented immigrants. He called on politicians and the media to stop using immigration as a wedge issue, but instead to show leadership in implementing just and merciful immigration reform.
To read more, visit

Remarks by Most Reverend Robert W. McElroy, Bishop of San Diego

Center for Migration Studies (November 28, 2016)
As part of his welcoming remarks for the 2016 Catholic Immigrant Integration Initiative Conference, Bishop McElroy addressed one of the "wounds of American society" that came out of the recent presidential election campaign: the possibility of mass deportations of millions of undocumented immigrants. He called this potential new policy "an act of injustice which would stain our national honor in the same manner as the progressive dispossession of the Native American peoples of the United States and the internment of the Japanese." He said that it was unthinkable that Catholics would stand by and immigrants "be ripped from our midst and deported" and also unthinkable to permit the destruction of the safe haven the United States provides for refugees, particularly at a time when there are record numbers of refugees seeking protection.  Finally, he said that whether Trump maintains the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will show his long-term intent on deportation policy. DACA beneficiaries, he added, "are everything that Americans seek in those who enter into our society." If Trump discontinues DACA, McElroy said, "It will be an unmistakable sign that the new administration is embarking upon the pathway of mass deportation, and the Catholic community must move immediately to wide-scale opposition."
To read more, visit

No More Walls

Remarks by Most Reverend Francisco Moreno Barron, Archbishop of Tijuana
America Magazine (November 29, 2016)
His Excellency Francisco Moreno Barrón, Archbishop of Tijuana, addressed participants of the 2016 Catholic Immigrant Integration Initiative Conference, on the challenges faced by both Mexico and the United States to integrate immigrants into "work, social relations, education, and religious they may be seen not as permanent burdens but as people who contribute through their identity and uniqueness to the integral development of the society that has welcomed them." In response to President-elect Donald Trump's pledge to build a wall along the US-Mexico border, Archbishop Moreno echoed Pope Francis in calling for the United States "to break down walls and build bridges.” He called people to "recognize in our immigrant brothers and sisters their full dignity as persons and see the suffering face of Christ asking us to meet him and answer with expressions of love and not threats, to recognize in them a blessing that makes God present among us."
To read more, visit The address is also available in Spanish at

Dick Durbin, Lindsey Graham Unveil Bill to Stop Donald Trump from Ending Protections for Dreamers

The Huffington Post (December 9, 2016)
Dick Durbin, the Democratic Senator from Illinois, joined Lindsey Graham, the Republican Senator from South Carolina, to propose legislation to maintain the protections of the DACA program in the incoming Trump Administration. The bill, called the Bridge Act, would continue to provide work authorization to the more than 740,000 DACA beneficiaries and create a "provisional protected presence" (PPP) status that would last for three years. This new PPP status would not be limited to current DACA beneficiaries, but would also extend to newly granted DACA beneficiaries. The bill would prevent the use of information from DACA applicants for immigration enforcement purposes. However, information could be used for criminal or national security investigations.
To read more, visit

2016 Person of the Year: Donald Trump

Time (December 2016)
In an interview with TIME Magazine, President-elect Donald Trump said he did not intend to back off his pledge to end President Barack Obama's DACA program which offers temporary relief from deportation to undocumented persons brought to the United States illegally as children. Trump, however, stated, "We're going to work something out that's going to make people happy and proud...They got brought here at a very young age, they've worked here, they've gone to school here. Some were good students. Some have wonderful jobs. And they're in never-never land because they don't know what's going to happen."
To read more, visit

Mayors Ask Trump to Reconsider His Stance on Immigration

Chicago Tribune (December 7, 2016)
In a recent meeting with President-elect Donald Trump, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel handed Trump a two-page letter signed by 17 Mayors from some of the largest US cities asking Trump to continue President Obama's DACA program. Emanuel reportedly told Trump, “These are good students achieving the American Dream through education. The government should not be doing a bait-and-switch." The other signers of the letter included the mayors of New York, Los Angeles, Denver, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, Baltimore, St. Louis, Houston, Boston, Phoenix, Nashville, Providence, Long Beach, and San Jose.
To read more, visit

California Weighs Protections for Immigrants Threatened by Trump Policies

The New York Times (December 4, 2016)
Democratic lawmakers in California are planning to introduce bills to help provide free legal representation to undocumented immigrants in removal (deportation) proceedings, provide defense attorneys to undocumented immigrants in criminal court, and limit cooperation between state and local law enforcement agencies and federal immigration authorities. The proposed state legislation is intended to be used to resist the immigration enforcement  policies proposed by President-elect Donald Trump, such as his recent pledge to deport 2 to 3 million criminal undocumented immigrants. Kevin de Leon, the California Senate president pro tempore, believes Trump's pledge is only a pretense to expand deportable criminal offenses to include minor offenses, such as driving with a broken taillight, so as to deport as many "criminal" undocumented people as possible.
To read more, visit

Donald Trump Calls Ohio State Attack a ‘Tragic Reminder’ on Immigration

The New York Times (December 8, 2016)
During a stop in Des Moines on his multistate "thank you" tour, President-elect Donald Trump called the recent stabbing attack by a Somali-born refugee at Ohio State University "yet one more tragic reminder that immigration security is now national security." Vowing that there would be "no more games," Trump said that his administration "will always put the safety and security of the American people first. It's going to be the American people first - it hasn't been that way." The article also reports Trump as pledging to "crackdown on visa abuses that harm American workers and reorder the nation's immigration and trade policies to prioritize native-born people over foreigners."
To read more, visit

Why More Mass Deportations Would Be Bad News for the Housing Market

The New York Times (December 8, 2016)
A new study by Jacob Rugh and Matthew Hall finds that high foreclosure rates among Hispanics during the recent recession and housing crash can be explained by the increased deportations of Latin American men between 2005 and 2013. Rugh, a sociologist at Brigham Young University, stated that Hispanic households lost their male wage earners through deportation around the same time home prices started collapsing. This in turn led to increased foreclosures of homes owned by Hispanics. If President-elect Donald J. Trump follows through on his campaign promise to deport millions of undocumented immigrants, this may risk undermining gains that American citizens of Latin American descent have made in assimilating into the United States economy.
To read more, visit  

Hundreds of Women and Children Asylum Seekers Released Following Court Ruling

Texas Public Radio (December 5, 2016)
After a Texas state judge ruled recently that the Karnes and Dilley detention centers do not qualify as child care centers, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released hundreds of women and children asylum seekers from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras from the two detention centers. It is unclear what will happen with other women and children who cross the border, however. Pastor John Garland of San Antonio's Mennonite Church gathered some volunteers and set up an emergency shelter to help the released detainees.
To read more, visit

Haitians Alarmed by Renewed US Deportations as Trump Era Looms

Refugees Deeply (December 7, 2016)
In September, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson announced the end of a five-year moratorium on deportations of Haitians who fled to the United States following the 2010 earthquake. After placing another temporary hold following Hurricane Matthew, the government “quietly resumed” deportations in early November. Advocates are now pushing President Obama to stop the deportations before he leaves office in January 2017.
To read more, visit  

Five Employment Visa Issues to Watch in a Trump Presidency

Corporate Counsel (December 7, 2016)
Author Rebekah Mintzer writes that President-elect Donald Trump’s policy on employment-based visas could have a big impact on technology and engineering companies, which are accustomed to hiring foreign workers. Mintzer lists five ways that Trump could change the current employment-based immigration: (1) end the nonimmigrant North American Free Trade Agreement professional (TN NAFTA) visa which permits certain Canadian and Mexican nationals to enter the United States to work; (2) increase the cap – currently 85,000 – on the H-1B nonimmigrant visa for workers with certain highly specialized skills; (3) create a "US workers first" standard, which would require reasonable recruitment of US workers and ensuring that US workers are not displaced; (4) modify the H-2B program for temporary non-agricultural workers; and (5) direct the US Department of Labor to crack down on employment visa abuse.
To read more, visit  

Why Trump Picked a Retired General for Homeland Security

The Hill (December 8, 2016)
President-elect Donald Trump has selected retired Marine General John Kelly over Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach to become the next Secretary of DHS because Kelly has extensive experience with the southern border and has "less of a penchant for controversy." Kobach is the author of Arizona's Senate bill 1070, commonly referred to as the "Show Me Your Papers" law, which many people viewed as permitting police to engage in racial profiling. As DHS Secretary, Kelly will be responsible for overseeing Trump's efforts to build a wall along the southern border and deporting the millions of undocumented immigrants living in the United States. Kelly would also be responsible for overseeing the implementation of a ban against Muslims and/or a Muslim registry. Kelly has reportedly referred to the flow of drugs and undocumented immigrants across the US border as "'existential' threats to national security."
To read more, visit

Just 10 States Resettled More Than Half of Recent Refugees to US

Pew Research Center (December 6, 2016)
The Pew Research Center issued a report finding that the United States admitted 84,995 refugees in fiscal year 2016, the most refugees admitted since 1999. The report also examined US State Department data to see where refugees were resettled in the United States after admission. California, Texas, and New York together resettled almost one quarter (20,738 or 24 percent) of all the refugees. Michigan, Ohio, Arizona, North Carolina, Washington, Pennsylvania, and Illinois each resettled at least 3,000 refugees and completed the list of top ten resettlement states. The analysis states that these ten states resettled 54 percent of the refugees. On the opposite end of the list, Delaware and Hawaii resettled no refugees, and Arkansas, the District of Columbia, and Wyoming resettled fewer than 10 refugees each. The Democratic Republic of Congo was the top origin country of refugees resettled (16,370) followed by Syrian refugees (12,587), despite opposition to the latter’s resettlement by governors of 31 states.
To read more, visit

Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC) Votes to Support Strengthening Oversight and Monitoring of ICE Detention and Shift Away from Private, For-Profit Prisons

Joanne Lin (ACLU) (December 2, 2016)
During a public meeting of the Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC) which is comprised mainly of representatives from the law enforcement, security, and military worlds, three quarters of the council voted to shift away from using private, for-profit prisons to detain immigrants. The council considered an HSAC subcommittee report on privatized immigration detention facilities which endorsed a continuation of the use of private prisons, with one subcommittee member dissenting and recommending that "a measured but deliberate shift away from the private prison model is warranted."  After several agencies spoke against the continued use of private, for-profit prisons to detain immigrants, the subcommittee voted to approve the report's recommendation to strengthen oversight and monitoring of ICE detention, but also to associate with the dissent calling for shifting away from private prisons.
To read "Report of the Subcommittee on Privatized Immigration Detention Facilities," visit
A 2015 report by Migration and Refugee Services/USCCB and CMS examined the use of private detention and recommended that the US immigrant detention system be dismantled and replaced with a network of supervised release, case management, and community support programs. To read the report “Unlocking Human Dignity: A Plan to Transform the US Immigrant Detention System,” visit

Canadian Journalist’s Detention at US Border Raises Press Freedom Alarms

The New York Times (December 2, 2016)
On October 1st, Canadian freelance photojournalist, Ed Ou, was detained by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for more than six hours and eventually denied entry into the United States. Mr. Ou was trying to enter the country to cover the protests of the oil pipeline at the Standing Rock reservation in North Dakota. When he refused CBP agents access to his cell phones to protect his news sources, the agents took his phones. According to the article, this incident highlights a legal loophole that can affect anyone trying to enter the United States: i.e., law enforcement officers along the border have the legal authority without a warrant to search digital devices even though they do not have such authority away from the border.
To read more, visit  

Syrian Refugees Mark Anniversary of Being Welcomed to Montreal

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (December 11, 2016)
Canada's Immigration Minister John McCallum along other government officials commemorated the nation’s one-year anniversary of accepting its first group of Syrian refugees in Quebec. To date, Canada has resettled more than 36,000 Syrian refugees and Quebec is expected to resettle 7,300 by the end of 2016.
To read more, visit

A Road Map for Integrating Europe’s Refugees

McKinsey Global Institute (November 2016)
The McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) released a new study, “Europe’s New Refugees: A Road Map for Better Integration Outcomes,” looking at the surge of 2.3 million forced migrants – primarily refugees and asylum seekers – to Europe during 2015 and 2016. The report also examines how these migrants and refugees can be successfully integrated into the labor market and into society more broadly. The authors state that European governments in collaboration with the private sector, civil society, and international and humanitarian organizations, must cooperate to develop more efficient asylum processes and to focus on (1) labor-market and economic integration, (2) education integration, (3) housing and health integration, and (4) sociocultural and language integration. Focus on long-term integration can decrease risk and generate billions of euros in Gross Domestic Product by 2025.
To read more, visit



The 2016 Fr. Lydio F. Tomasi, C.S. Annual Lecture on International Migration: “Migrants and Refugees in Pope Francis’s Transformative Vision of Church and Society”

The Father Lydio F. Tomasi, C.S. Annual Lecture on International Migration was established in 2014 by the CMS board of trustees and is delivered at a CMS-hosted event each year by a leading scholar. The lecture covers a migration-related topic of pressing concern to faith communities. Professor Allan Figueroa Deck, SJ, Distinguished Scholar in Pastoral Theology and Latino Studies and Professor of Theological Studies at Loyola Marymount University, delivered this year’s lecture in San Diego, California on November 28, 2016 at the fourth national gathering of the Catholic Immigrant Integration Initiative. Professor Deck speaks to the reality of migration from the context of the Church’s tradition of reflection and action, and focuses on Pope Francis’s contributions to deepening the Church’s approach to migrants.
To read more, visit

The Global Compact on Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration: Issues to Consider

The adoption of the New York Declaration on the Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly on September 19 has launched a new process to negotiate two compacts by 2018: the Global Compact on Refugees and the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration. This post discusses the number of issues UN member states will have to address in developing and subsequently approving a Global Compact on Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration.
To read more, visit

The Impact of Externalization of Migration Controls on the Rights of Asylum Seekers and Other Migrants

In a new Journal on Migration and Human Security paper, Bill Frelick (Human Rights Watch), Ian M. Kysel (ACLU of Southern California), and Jennifer Podkul (Kids in Need of Defense) examine how the externalization of migration controls affects human rights of asylum seekers and other migrants. The paper highlights a number of the most troubling externalization strategies used by the European Union, the United States, and Australia; and it offers recommendations that states can implement to protect human rights.
To read more, visit  pact-of-externalization/.

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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