immigration

Catie Talarski / WNPR

Daria Savickas's great-grandfather came to the United States from Poland in 1875 as part of the largest wave of Polish immigration to this country at the turn of the century. He worked at a hotel in Chicago, and then at a factory in Buffalo, New York. "He was a forest ranger," Savickas said. "He liked being in the forest," so he eventually returned to his homeland.

The number of people who have died crossing the US-Mexico border has hit a 15-year low. The Associated Press reports:

"...more immigrants turned themselves in to authorities in Texas and fewer took their chances with the dangerous trek across the Arizona desert.

The U.S. government recorded 307 deaths in the 2014 fiscal year that ended in September - the lowest number since 1999. In 2013, the number of deaths was 445."

Catie Talarski / WNPR

Krzysztof Pawlikowski lives in Middletown, Connecticut, but was born in Poland in 1989. His parents won the state department visa lottery, so they traveled from their home in Zakopane to the United States in 1995. 

Unprecedented numbers of immigrant children crossed the southern U.S. border illegally this past summer. Now, the department of Health and Human Services says 43,000 of them have been placed in the homes of family members and sponsors to await court dates.

Cities are often the first stop for immigrants who come to the U.S. illegally. But many have been moving into the suburbs in recent decades. And that's creating new tensions with the people who live there.

Duffman / Creative Commons

Connecticut was one of the first states to pass a law that limits how its prison system responds to federal immigration officials. The Connecticut TRUST Act came out of a settlement between the Department of Correction and student interns at Yale Law School that set guidelines for when the DOC would hold inmates for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The policy was once celebrated by immigrant advocates. Now they say a loophole in the state law is still causing immigrants with minor criminal records to end up in ICE custody. 

Chion Wolf

Earlier this year, President Barack Obama went to Poland to celebrate the 25th anniversary of democratic elections in Poland. The speech signaled a continued strong relationship between the countries - something forged by the decades of immigration from Poland to the US - a connection that created large Polish-American communities in places like New Britain, CT. 

For 14-year-old Yashua Cantillano, life in New Orleans is an improvement.

But that's not saying much.

Just three months ago, Yashua was in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, dodging gang members. He says they would drive by his school, guns visible, threatening to kill him, his younger brother — Yashua's whole family.

"We'd hide all day," Yashua says, "and that kept us from going to school."

After crossing the U.S. border illegally, he came to New Orleans and ultimately enrolled at Carver Prep, a small charter school on the city's east side.

Diane Orson / WNPR

Some of the unaccompanied minors who made the dangerous trek across the border between Mexico and the United States are in Connecticut now, and are enrolled in local public schools.

The number of Central Americans reaching the U.S. border has dropped dramatically. According to the U.S. Border Patrol, 60 percent fewer unaccompanied minors were apprehended in August than at the height of the migration crisis earlier this summer.

One factor leading to the drastic decline is an unprecedented crackdown in Mexico. Under pressure from the United States, Mexico has begun arresting and deporting tens of thousands of Central Americans long before they reach the U.S. border.

Stepped-Up Deportations

The number of Central American children and families being apprehended at the U.S.-Mexican border has dropped dramatically in recent months, according to the U.S. Border Patrol. There has been a 60 percent decline in apprehensions of minors since the record numbers making the illegal trek earlier this summer.

A lot of factors may be contributing to the dramatic drop, including heavy rains along the migrant route and media campaigns in home countries dispelling rumors that kids can stay in the U.S.

City of Danbury

The Hispanic Center of Danbury is holding citizenship classes this month and continuing a partnership with the mayor's office to educate residents about city government.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The flood of unaccompanied minors crossing the U.S. border from Central America has slowed from a record high earlier this summer.

When members of Congress return from summer recess, though, they'll still have to vote on how much money should be spent to deal with the migrants already here. 

Many of the Central American children who have entered the U.S illegally in recent months have come with a heavy burden — a history of hardship and violence. And many of the children now face difficult and uncertain futures.

This has social service agencies around the country scrambling to figure out how to help the more than 30,000 unaccompanied minors who have been placed with family and friends since January, as they await their immigration hearings.

Massachusetts will not be needed to shelter immigrant children who have come unaccompanied across the nation’s southern border.  An announcement by federal officials late Tuesday ended a two-week controversy that embroiled Massachusetts in the national debate over immigration reform.

Updated at 8:50 p.m. ET.

House GOP leaders pulled the plug on a $659 million bill to deal with the influx of tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors entering the U.S. from Central America.

The vote on the legislation had been scheduled for this afternoon on the final day before the start of a five-week summer break for Congress.

Emotions remain high over Gov. Deval Patrick’s offer to temporarily house unaccompanied immigrant children in Massachusetts.  No final decision has been made about where the children would stay, if federal authorities accept the offer.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy takes a strong stance on housing immigrant children in this state. We’ll talk about this story and more on our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse. Also, the Hartford Courant’s Dan Haar has been walking and reporting from Connecticut’s Rt. 44. He’ll take a load off to share some tales from the road. Chubby Checker (yes, that Chubby Checker) is also coming to town for a political fundraiser.

Melissa Bailey / New Haven Independent

The mayors of Connecticut's cities will take part in a conference call this week to discuss whether their communities have space to host some of the children from Central America who have been flooding the U.S. border.

New Haven Mayor Toni Harp and Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch are hosting the call on Friday. Harp said they will make the request to their counterparts in Hamden, Meriden, New Britain, East Hartford, Waterbury, Hartford, West Haven, Norwalk, and Stamford.

Fibonacci Blue / Creative Commons

Werner Oyanadel, Executive Director of Connecticut's Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission, said on Monday that Latino and Puerto Rican advocates in Connecticut were disappointed with Governor Dannel Malloy's refusal to temporarily house 2,000 of the 52,000 Central American children requested by the federal government. 

They made sure their disappointment caught the attention of the governor.

Migrant Children May Be Sheltered in Massachusetts

Jul 21, 2014
M. Hoffmann/UNHCR / The Migration Policy Institute

According to the independent think tank The Migration Policy Institute, 85 percent of the Central American migrant children who have arrived in the U.S. over the past few months are reunited with relatives here. Most go to places with established communities of Central American families, including cities in Connecticut like New Haven and Hartford. Others go to Massachusetts.

Fibonacci Blue / Creative Commons

I was reading a story about some refugees who cabled the President asking for asylum. The President never responded. The federal government had decided not to take extraordinary measures to permit the refugees to enter the United States. A state department telegram stated that the passengers must await their turns on the waiting list and qualify for and obtain immigration visas before they may be admissible into the United States.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is expected to announce on Monday that he is ordering 1,000 National Guard troops to the U.S. border with Mexico, according to reports from The Monitor and The Houston Chronicle.

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick’s announcement Friday that Westover Air Force Reserve Base in Chicopee might be used to shelter immigrant children caught base commanders by surprise.

   Base spokesman, Master Sgt  Andrew Biscoe, said Westover is an active airfield with operational and security concerns that would need be addressed  before it could house up to a thousand children.  Also, lodging at the base is used on the weekends by thousands of reservists.

Gov. Deval Patrick says no decision has been made on a request from the Obama administration for Massachusetts to shelter some of the unaccompanied children who have been streaming across the nation’s southern border

Patrick seemed sympathetic to the request when he called the situation on the southern border a “humanitarian crisis” adding Massachusetts should do what it can to help.  Republican State Rep. Nick Boldyga of Southwick said the governor should reject the federal request to temporarily house the immigrant children.

The new commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection says he is reviewing scores of incidents in which agents have used deadly force.

R. Gil Kerlikowske made that statement during an exclusive interview with NPR's Morning Edition. It was his first extended conversation about controversial incidents in which the Border Patrol has killed civilians without apparent accountability. (Click here for a full transcript of the interview.)

What Honduran Children Are Fleeing

Jul 16, 2014

One participant in the debate over what to do with unaccompanied minors crossing into the U.S. from Central America is Sonia Nazario.

Nazario is author of the acclaimed 2006 book “Enrique’s Journey: The Story of a Boy’s Dangerous Odyssey to Reunite with his Mother,” which she updated in 2013.

Josh Nilaya / WNPR

For tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors crossing the U.S. border, primarily from Central America, U.S. schools are one of the few government institutions where they are guaranteed services.

While their cases are processed, most are released to family members or sponsors who are told the children must be enrolled in school. 

"They call me the Wolf," said the 25-year-old human smuggler sitting in front of me, sipping a Coke and stepping away for frequent cellphone calls.

"Everybody says we're the problem, but it's the reverse. The gringos don't want to get their hands dirty. So I bring them the Mexicans and Central Americans to do the dirty work for them," he says, smiling.

The British Library / Creative Commons

There's lots of news to digest this week, from birdcalls to Beantown. Below are a few things you shouldn't miss.

Migrants from Central America who enter the U.S. illegally in Texas will no longer be flown to San Diego for processing, the U.S. Border Patrol says. The practice came under fire last week, when opponents led protests against it in Murrieta, Calif.

In announcing the change, the agency didn't mention the fierce local opposition. Instead, it said it had eliminated the congestion in its system that spurred the plan to transport detained migrants.

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