Hundreds of migrant kids separated from parents are stuck at border stations

Border agents and child welfare workers are running out of space to shelter children who have been separated from their parents at the U.S. border as part of the Trump administration’s new “zero tolerance” policy, according to two U.S. officials and a document obtained by NBC News.

As of Sunday, nearly 300 of the 550 children currently in custody at U.S. border stations had spent more than 72 hours there, the time limit for immigrants of any age to be held in the government’s temporary facilities. Almost half of those 300 children are younger than 12, according to the document, meaning they are classified by the Department of Homeland Security as “tender age children.”

The stations, run by the Border Patrol and meant only as the first stop for children detained at the border, often lack adequate bedding or separate sleeping rooms for children.

Read more at NBC News

First glimpse of immigrant children at holding facility

Two female detainees sleep in a holding cell. Children are separated by age group and gender.

Read more on WCNC

‘They killed my child’: Border Patrol shooting of Guatemalan woman stirs protests

Hearing the gunshot, Marta Martinez rushed out of her home in Rio Bravo, Tex., and began recording a video on her phone. She saw a woman lying motionless on the ground, bleeding from the head, Martinez said in the Facebook Live video. She saw a Border Patrol agent holding a gun.

“Why did you shoot the girl? You killed her,” she yelled in the video. “She’s there. She’s dead. I saw you with the gun!”

“How are you going to shoot a girl in the head?” Martinez shouted.

Read more on The Washington Post

Border Patrol Agent Shoots and Kills Unarmed Migrant Woman

A U.S. Border Patrol agent shot and killed an unarmed undocumented woman in Texas Wednesday, the agency said in a statement.

Identified as 20-year-old Claudia Gómez González, the woman was with a group of undocumented immigrants in the border town Rio Bravo when an agent approached them while looking for “illegal activity.” The officer came under attack with “blunt objects,” according to the CBP statement, and fired at least one shot that hit González in the head.

The agent gave the woman CPR but she later died, the statement said. The FBI and Texas Rangers are now both investigating her killing.

The aftermath of the shooting was captured on video and posted to Facebook by Marta Martinez, who told the New York Times that the immigrants did not attack the Border Patrol agent. “There was no weapon. They were hiding,” she said.

Read more on New York Magazine

Three Dreamers Explain the Stakes of Losing DACA

DACA, the Obama-era grant of protection for undocumented youth, has been dominating the headlines ever since President Trump declared, in less than 140 characters, that his administration would end the program.

Since launching in 2012, DACA has let young immigrants, often referred to as dreamers, attend school, find jobs, and make big life decisions like buying their first home or starting a business.

“DACA has allowed so many girls and young women to feel safe, be emotionally and economically secure and to help support their families. For many of them, DACA has meant they’ve been able to pursue their educational dreams,” says Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center. “This is not just an immigrant rights issue: this is a women’s rights issue, it’s a racial justice issue, and it’s a defining moment for our country.”

Nearly 800,000 people qualify for DACA, and each of them has their own unique story. To try to understand what’s at stake, Glamour talked to three young women who are getting and education thanks to their smarts, determination—and DACA.

“DACA recipients have put everything on the line to be recognized by the country they call home,” Hincapie says, “And have created wider avenues to fight for justice and dignity for all of us, regardless of where we were born, the color of our skin, who we love, or how we pray.”

Read this full article in Glamour.

Two Little Girls, Two Similar Paths to Medicine, But One Difference: Immigration

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about two little girls, one 6 and the other 8.

Both girls came to America with their parents, who were looking for better opportunities in health care. Both girls watched their parents navigate the American health care system — in one case, as a patient in need of advanced medicine, and in the other, as providers in a profession uneasily reliant on immigrant doctors. Both girls took those experiences to Harvard, and then medical school, and finally, residency, serving patients from disadvantaged backgrounds.

We’re basically the same, Raquel and I. We’re both American. We really don’t know any other country as our home. The only difference is that my family had visas, and then I became an American citizen. Raquel’s family didn’t.

Earlier this week, President Trump moved to end DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, an Obama-era policy that allows undocumented children who came to the U.S. with their parents a deferral on deportation and the ability to work. On Thursday, he tweeted that DACA recipients have “nothing to worry about” — for now.

But Raquel is a DACA recipient, and she told me on Wednesday that she is worried. How could she not be? If Congress or the president doesn’t act, her career is at stake, and our profession could lose the work of yet another primary care doctor.

“Though it is concerning, it sucks more for the communities rather than the actual applicants,” Raquel told me, referring to the financial and emotional stability that children like her provide for their communities.

True to her childhood experience, Raquel chose family practice for her residency, partly because she wanted to do it, but also because the residency can be completed in just three years, so the likelihood that she might not finish because of immigration issues was lessened.

Read the full story in Stat.

Youth Organizations Oppose the Administration Ending DACA

The future of nearly 800,000 young people is under threat as President Donald Trump phases out the program giving work permits and deportation relief to Dreamers, young immigrants brought to the United States as children.

No new applications will be accepted, the administration announced today. Young people will lose their DACA status as soon as their permits, which are granted for two years, expire.

Some youth-led organizations shifted into high gear to protest, and some youth-serving organizations have rallied to the defense of young immigrants.

“I’ve been preparing for this since the second [Trump] was elected,” said Andrea Fernandez, a 22-year-old student and DACA recipient at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is the executive order issued in 2012 that offers a renewable two-year protected status to undocumented young people who arrived before 2007 and before age 16.

Fernandez came to San Antonio from Mexico City with her family when she was 9. She now faces an uncertain future. She isn’t sure whether she will be able to complete her remaining 1½ years of college, where she is studying public policy.

It will take a lot of effort for her “not to hate the man who is ruining our lives,” she said, referring to Trump.

Fernandez began working with the youth-led civic group MOVE San Antonio this summer. She’s spoken at protests and rallies and plans to lead “know your rights” education groups for immigrants.

“I will be speaking out in front of more people,” she said. “The most important thing is not to panic. Then we would not be able to mobilize.”

She faces risks for speaking out. She has already closed her Twitter account because she was getting messages from people calling for her deportation.

“The worst case is an immigration force comes after us,” she said. “We gave them all our information [when we registered for DACA].”

Because of the risk, “not a lot of people are willing to come out of the shadows,” she said.

Fernandez’s college, the University of Texas at San Antonio, has the second-highest proportion of DACA students among U.S. colleges, according to MOVE San Antonio.

California and Texas have the highest number of DACA recipients, according to the Pew Research Center, followed by Illinois, Florida, Arizona, New York, North Carolina and Georgia.

Read the full story on

Tulsa Dreamers Worried After Trump’s DACA Announcement

President Donald Trump is ending a program that shielded hundreds of thousands of immigrants from deportation.

The administration says it will begin withdrawing about 800,000 work permits from people who were protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

As for what to do with those people, the Trump administration has put it on Congress to work out a solution.

Some affected are immigrants in Tulsa who are now afraid of deportation.

“We moved here to the United States when I was 11,” one girl said.

Another said, “I came to United States when I was three years old; my parents crossed the border.”

Neither of these dreamers wanted to be identified.

“I am just in a limbo knowing they can come and knock on my house anytime,” one said.

The girls said entering the country illegally is not something they would’ve chosen for themselves, but it is their reality, and they choose to make the best of it.

“It’s the American dream, that’s all we want,” they said.

One of the girls graduated high school, fell in love and had children. She said when President Barack Obama signed DACA she was able to start a career and provide for her family for the first time.

“This is my country. I pledge of allegiance every football game because that is what I’ve known all my life,” she said.

Once the other girl was approved for DACA, her family had to go back to Mexico and told her to stay behind to continue her education.

She’s now working her way through college and hoping to get into law school.

“I haven’t seen my mom in almost three years. I haven’t been able to visit my dad’s funeral or put flowers on his grave, and that is just something that I want to do without it being terrified of not being able to come back,” she said.

Read and watch the full story on Tulsa News on 6.

Suicide and Immigrants: The Fight to Overcome Cultural Barriers

(See this chart enlarged on the Philadelphia NBC10 website.)

Culture, religion and language play a part in how immigrants think and speak about suicide, according to experts.

In the case of Latino immigrants in particular, suicide (or its ideation) may be stigmatized as a sin or as a sign of cowardice. It is rarely spoken about as a health concern.

Many people think that suicide is a reaction to something bad that happens to a person, but actually it has well-defined biological basis,” said Dr. Maria Oquendo, president of the American Psychiatric Association, and professor and chairman of Psychiatry at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

While the primary suicide trigger remains unknown, Oquendo said, “we know that suicide has a genetic basis and runs in families.”

“In those families where there have been suicides, the children have a higher susceptibility,” she added. “It is the same as, for example, hypertension or diabetes. It is not one hundred percent certain that they will have the disease, but it does increase the probability.”

Among the Latino population, Dr. Oquendo says, adolescents are the most vulnerable.

“We know that teenage girls have a certain vulnerability due to family conflicts — because of the cultural clash they experience. In some cases, they are required to behave in a more traditional way at home, and outside of the home it is very different. Like every teenager, [the Latina adolescent] wants to fit in.”

Those who leave the home — whether because they marry at an early age, leave to study or simply seek a different way — they don’t necessarily escape suicide ideation, however, because they are sometimes abused, or exposed to abuse.

Waleska Maldonado of the Philadelphia Department of Human Services, who for many years worked as a social worker at the Latino community organization Congreso, says that many teenagers who seek help for suicide prevention are affected by drug addiction, domestic violence or a poor socio-economic status.

“Money is lacking in many homes,” Maldonado said, “but the truth is, that if they understand where to look for help, things can improve.”

“Many of the girls we worked with gained confidence and trust through therapy. And they themselves tell of their experiences because that is one of the ways in which the treatment works,” she said.

Maldonado is convinced that the mental health of immigrants, especially Latinos, can improve through open communication.

Read the full story on Philadelphia NBC10.

Young Immigrants On Edge as Trump Administration Ramps Up Deportations

For many immigration activists, the Wednesday deportation of Guadalupe García de Rayos — a Mexican-born mother of two American children who was convicted of using a fake Social Security number in 2008 — is a worrying sign. García de Rayos, who had been living in America for more than 20 years, wasn’t considered a priority for deportation under the Obama administration, given the nature of her conviction.

That apparently changed as a result of some little-noticed provisions in President Trump’s January executive orders on immigration. And so, during her regular check-in with immigration authorities last week, García de Rayos was taken into custody and deported.

The suspicion among activists is that García de Rayos represented low-hanging fruit: despite being technically undocumented, her whereabouts were quite well-known to authorities and she’d long been complying with the terms under which she’d been allowed to remain in the country.

There are thousands of other immigrants living in America who offered up their names and locations in exchange for the ability to stay and work in the country they’ve long called home: the so-called DREAMers, once-undocumented immigrants who had been brought to the US as children. García de Rayos, too, came to the U.S. when she was just 14 years old and, while she is not one of the one of the DREAMers who chose to apply for DACA, her situation feels too similar to many of them.”

“About 750,000 people — ‘DREAMers’ — were exposed to the government on the basis that the government will never use their information maliciously, meaning to deport them, to target them, to discriminate against them,” said Ivy Teng Lei, a beneficiary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and activist in New York City. “But the Obama administration, through DACA, has exposed us and we cannot go back into the shadows.”

Read the full story in KFOR Channel 4