Dec 14, 2019

Thousands of Brazilians seeking asylum in the U.S.

Migrants mostly from Honduras, Guatemala and Brazil prepare cots to sleep on. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Nearly 17,000 Brazilian migrants have passed through El Paso, Texas in the past year, with many claiming fear of persecution or extreme economic hardship, AP reports.

Why it matters: Nationwide, 18,00 Brazilians were apprehended in the fiscal year ending in October — up 600% from 2016, per AP. The increase in Brazilian migrants coming to the U.S. highlights the Trump administration's efforts to block legal immigration for people who claim they are being persecuted, AP writes.

  • Brazilian migrants presently make up a quarter of all immigrants apprehended in El Paso, "the most commonly apprehended migrants after Mexicans," according to AP.

What they're saying:

“We’re seeing, again, individuals from extraterritorial countries, extra-continental, come in from Brazil, Haiti, Africans."
— Customs and Border Patrol chief Mark Morgan
  • He shared intentions to implement rules barring migrants from countries with "the same level of commitment that we came up with initiatives to address the issue with the Northern Triangle families.”

The state of play: Brazil suffered its worst-ever recession in 2015 and 2016. The country is still trying to recover, experiencing three consecutive years of 1% growth. Nearly 27 million people in the country are jobless or underemployed, per AP.

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Report: Internal ICE memo details allegations of medical neglect

Adult men detained in a standing room only cell at U.S. Border Patrol McAllen Station in June 2019 in McAllen, Texas. Photo: Office of Inspector General/Department of Homeland Security via Getty Images

Seventeen complaints of neglecting the medical needs of detained immigrants are detailed in a March 20 letter to top ICE leadership from Homeland Security's officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, BuzzFeed reports.

The impact: Four detainees' deaths, referenced in an internal memo from an agency whistleblower obtained by BuzzFeed News, are linked to allegations of inadequate medical treatment and unaddressed concerns over detained migrants' physical or mental health.

Go deeperArrowDec 14, 2019

Mexicans make up half of asylum seekers at southern border

Photo: Paul Ratje/AFP/Getty Images

Mexicans account for more than half of the estimated 21,000 asylum seekers waiting along the U.S.-Mexico border, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Why it matters: The increase in Mexican asylum seekers poses a particular challenge to the Trump administration and its "Remain in Mexico" policy, which requires Central American refugee seekers to remain in Mexico while they await their hearings. It can't apply to Mexicans since international law bans sending people back to the country where they may face persecution.

Go deeperArrowDec 26, 2019

Trump administration will deport Mexican asylum-seekers to Guatemala

More than 1,000 Mexican migrants had been waiting for weeks, some for months, for a chance to file for asylum in the U.S. Photo: Paul Ratje/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. will begin sending Mexican asylum-seekers to Guatemala to wait out their cases instead of allowing them to remain in the U.S., according to documents obtained by BuzzFeed News.

Why it matters: The Trump administration had previously implemented a "remain in Mexico" policy for asylum-seekers from Central America, but international law forbids asylum-seekers from being sent back to their home country due to concerns they may face prosecution. Mexicans account for more than half of the estimated 21,000 asylum seekers waiting along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Go deeperArrowJan 6, 2020