Assignment/BBC World Service
A new smuggling route has opened up on the edge of Europe. Every week hundreds of Syrians are risking their lives to leave the continent and return home. Nawal Al-Maghafi joins refugees on the migration route to discover why so many people are choosing life in a warzone over the safety of Europe.
Inside The Trial Of 3 Guatemalan Mothers Separated From Their Children
By John Burnett
Three young Guatemalan women went on trial this week at the red-rock federal courthouse in Alpine, Texas. It’s about 70 miles from the spot in the border town of Presidio where they waded across the Rio Grande three weeks ago, with their eight- and nine-year-old sons in tow.
One of the women, Emilia Figueroa, testified during the trial that she believed if she brought her boy with her, the two of them would be released to live in the United States until their immigration court date.
But, to their horror, the opposite occurred. Agents booked the Guatemalan mothers for unlawful entry and took their children away — to a shelter in New York City.
Santiago-Sanchez said, through tears, “When they took away our children we cried and cried. We were so sad.”
Chris Carlin, the public defender handling their cases, said in an interview that he thinks this is all part of the Trump administration’s mean-spirited plan to deter more unauthorized immigrants from coming.
“The only thing that makes sense to me is to make it far more onerous to reconnect the adult with the child,” Carlin said. “Why else would you do this? Why would you take a child from the desert of west Texas and fly them to Manhattan?”
In courthouses up and down the U.S.-Mexico border, immigrant parents who crossed illegally with their children are facing a harsh reality. They will no longer be allowed to stay together, as a family. The parents are detained. And the children are transported to shelters, sometimes hundreds of miles away.
Figueroa, Fidelina Pascual-Leiva, and Maria Santiago-Sanchez — the three Guatemalan mothers desperate to be reunited with their sons — are part of the biggest surge of undocumented migrants since Trump took office.
Immigration agents arrested more than 50,000 in May — more than three times the number a year ago. At the same time, the government has vowed to prosecute every immigrant who crosses illegally, even if they ask for asylum. It’s called “zero tolerance.”
The result has been an overflow of detainees — so many that the government is putting adults in federal prison beds, and looking at military facilities to house their children. In Alpine, the federal court docket has jumped 40 percent.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions blames the parents. …
- Nearly 1,800 Families Separated At US-Mexico Border In 17 Months Through February — Nearly 1,800 immigrant families were separated at the U.S.-Mexico border from October 2016 through February of this year, according to a senior government official, as President Donald Trump implemented stricter border enforcement policies. The numbers are the first comprehensive disclosure by the administration of how many families have been affected by the policies. Previously, the only numbers provided by federal officials on family separations covered a single two-week period in May. … Read the Rest
- After Separated From His Family At The Border, A Honduran Father Took His Own Life — “They had to use physical force to take the child out of his hands.” A Honduran father who was arrested and forcibly separated from his wife and child while trying to enter the United States, killed himself in a padded cell, according to a new report from the Washington Post. The Post obtained a report from the sheriff’s department, which detailed how Marco Antonio Muñoz, 39, “was found on the floor of his cell May 13 in a pool of blood with an item of clothing twisted around his neck.” The deputies recorded it as a “suicide in custody.” … Read the Rest
- Torn From Their Families In The US, Salvadoran Deportees Return To A Gang-Ravaged Homeland — San Salvador, El Salvador (CNN) They emerge blinking into the sun and tropical heat of a homeland some have not seen for over a decade. They are grown men, torn from their families, some sweating still in the thick tracksuits given to them by United States deportation officials in order to bear the chill of the air-conditioned jets and coaches of their forced transportation. Still dazed from the roughly 4,000-kilometer journey, they do not really know where they are, or what lies ahead. They must begin again from scratch. This is what it is like to be a deportee in El Salvador … Read the Rest