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Migrant Justice Newsletter and Urgent Actions: June 2022

Migrant Justice Newsletter June 16, 2022

Welcome to IRTF’s June 16, 2022 newsletter on Migrant Justice and the current situation at the US-Mexico border! 

This newsletter is all about numbers--from deportation proceedings filed, to ordered deportations, to expulsions and removal flights. But we are not just trying to overwhelm you with figures and percentages. These numbers tell stories. They paint us a picture of what immigration enforcement in the U.S. looks like right now, and with almost all numbers increasing significantly this will not be a pretty picture. The continuation of Title 42 and an overall shift in society towards xenophobia and the “replacement theory” have had a severe impact on pushbacks at the border and immigration enforcement throughout the country, including anywhere within the 100-mile “border zone,” where ⅔ of the US population resides. Let us give you an overview of recent updates on U.S. immigration and what has been happening at the border!

In this newsletter, please read about

- Immigration Court in Cleveland, OH: Deportation Proceedings almost Double of Last Year

- Expelling Migrants in the Name of Health Measures: Title 42 Expulsion Flights Reach a New High

- Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE): DACA Turns 10 Years Old

- At The Border: Recent Incidents at and around the U.S.-Mexico Border

- Take Action: Give DACA Recipients a Pathway to Citizenship!

- June is  border focus month at IRTF: Recording of webinar “Ohio Is a Border State,” a call for letters to ICE and Seneca County re conditions for detainees in their jail, urge senators to legalized DREAMers, 


Cleveland ranks #19 nationally in the number of deportation proceedings filed. Cleveland ranks #8 nationally in ordering deporations.

The immigration court in Cleveland (actually called the Executive Office for Immigration Review, or EOIR) is the only immigration court in the whole state of Ohio. In Fiscal Year 2021 (October 2020 through September 2021), the US government filed about 3,100 cases for removal of immigrants in the Cleveland EOIR. Now, in Fiscal Year 2022 (the first eight months, since October 2021) there have already been 7,895 cases filed. This is consistent with the numbers of cases rising nationally.  Currently, Ohio ranks #19 nationally in the number of deportation proceedings filed. But when it comes to the number of people ordered deported in immigration court in Cleveland, Ohio ranks #8 nationwide, meaning that there are only 7 states in the country that have ordered more deportations this fiscal year than Ohio. These are the recent numbers from TRAC (Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, based at Syracuse University)

Deportation Filings Are Almost Double the Amount of Last Year

As recent TRAC* data shows, since October 1, 2021, the government has filed 557,642 new deportation proceedings, with 72,117 in just the last month (May 2022).  During the previous 12-month period (FY 2021), there were 308,115 filed. That means that nearly double the amount of deportation cases of a whole year have been filed in just 8 months.

Cleveland EOIR - Deportation Proceedings Filed

In Cleveland, 7,895 of these 557,642 deportation proceedings have been filed at the EOIR (immigration court) in the past eight months. During the previous 12-month period (FY 2021), just over 3,000 cases were filed. If current trends continue, we’re on track to see the number of deportation proceedings filed in Cleveland EOIR triple this year, from 3,000 to nearing 9,000. 1,155 of these cases filed have been for people with Guatemalan nationality, followed closely by Honduras (1,145), Venezuela (1,086),  and Nicaragua (907).

Deportations Ordered

Aside from the new deportation proceedings filed, there have been 1,934 deportations ordered in Cleveland in FY 2022, 356 of these in May alone.  That is already more than throughout the whole Fiscal Year 2021. Out of the 1,934, Guatemalans make up 683 of those numbers and 428 from Honduras. There are currently 4 people ordered deported that appear on the list as “stateless - alien unable to name a country.” This is concerning, as it raises the question of where these stateless people will be deported to, and it shows the cruelty of immigration courts when it comes to ordering deportations.

New deportation proceedings filed (Oct 2021 - May 2022)

Cleveland, Ohio


In total















This isn’t about the court. It’s about enforcement. The number of deportation proceedings filed can be used to reflect the activity of federal immigration law enforcement. In other words, an increase in the number of deportation proceedings filed by ICE suggests that the government is increasing enforcement measures against undocumented residents. 

130 Children Ordered Deported from Cleveland in the past 8 months

Looking at the numbers of deportation proceedings filed and deportations ordered from Cleveland juvenile docket  gives us a rough overview of immigration enforcement against minors in Ohio. During the month of May 2022, 17 children ( under the age of 18) have been ordered deported, pushing the number of minors ordered deported in Ohio in FY 2022 up to 130. Seventy-two of those children will be sent back to Guatemala, 45 to Honduras, 7 to El Salvador (a country that is currently experiencing a state of emergency and severe violence and human rights violations), 3 to Mexico and 1 to Brazil. With about 680 children being placed into deportation proceedings in Ohio during FY 2022, we can only expect these numbers to rise. When we hear about these ordered deportations to Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and other countries, we have to remind ourselves that there are immigration judges in Ohio who have decided not to protect these children who have left their home country, their family behind to seek safety and economic opportunities in the United States, but to send them back to dangerous environments with little hope. And this is only Ohio. Many more states are “removing” minors each month, along with single adults, families and many others who are just trying to be safe.

*Source: TRAC at Syracuse University (Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse)


On April 1, the Biden Administration announced that it would end by May 23 the use of Title 42, an 1893 public health proclamation reinstated by Trump as a racist expulsion policy. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) began preparing for an influx in border crossings, as migrants—especially those from Haiti who have in the past year been repeatedly pushed back at the border and expelled on grounds of Title 42— were getting hopeful to finally be able to enter the U.S. But since then, the three Republican-led states of Arizona, Missouri and Louisiana were successful in filing a joint lawsuit against the suspension of Title 42, and a judge ordered a halt to Biden’s efforts to end Title 42. 

This means that for an unknown amount of time, hundreds of people will still be put on ICE removal flights and expelled back to Haiti, Mexico, Honduras, and other states under Title 42, exposing them to great danger in their home countries that they have tried to escape. In fact, last month (May 2022), we have seen the highest number of ICE air flights since January 2020, as it seems that ICE added additional flight capacity in preparation for a potential lift of Title 42. The continuation of Title 42 has passed the debate on whether the health order is still relevant and justified; it is threatening a person’s basic human right to seek refuge in the U.S., and it bears life-threatening consequences to many who are coming to the U.S. border and are met with xenophobia and immediate removals.

“As a nation, we are shirking our legal and moral duty to refugees using the fig leaf of Title 42 to justify our actions,” said Judge Dana Leigh Marks, the former president of the National Association of Immigration Judges. “The result of this has been the loss of countless innocent lives and incalculable trauma to hundreds, if not thousands of bona fide refugees.” - “Biggest Migrant Caravan on Collision Court with Trump-Era Border Order,” in the Daily Beast, June 13, 2022

Removal Flights: Expulsion Flights, Deportation Flights

139 removal flights in May 2022, mainly due to Title 42

Record high removal flights to Haiti

The expulsion of migrants under Title 42 can be tracked by looking at the number of ICE air flights. According to statistics gathered and analyzed by the nonprofit Witness at the Border, there have been a total of 9,055 ICE air flights since Biden’s inauguration a little over a year ago, of which 1,594 were removal flights, mainly to countries accepting Title 42 flights—namely Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Haiti, Brazil and Colombia. And although this does not mean that everyone on these flights was subject to Title 42 (since ICE does not disclose that information), it is striking that countries accepting Title 42 flights made up almost 95% of all removal flights in May. In May 2022, there were a total of 806 ICE air flights (139 of those being removal and 455 being flights that shuffle immigrants from one detention center to another within the US), up a shocking 131% from May 2021. These 806 ICE air flights push May 2022 up to a record high since at least January 2020.


The number of flights to Haiti also increased significantly and reached record levels again, from 16 in April to 36 in May, pushing the number of people returned to Haiti, a country with seriously declining conditions, to about 3,850 in May alone, and an estimated 25,900 in total. This equals to 1 in every 440 people in Haiti, and it is pushing more and more people fleeing from Haiti to take the dangerous sea route, resulting in many deaths before the U.S. shore can be reached.


Most removal flights in May went to Guatemala, which has seen a significant increase from 27 in April to 32 removal flights in May. Combined with the 13 Mexican government deportation flights in May and the about 4,200 people removed from Mexico by land, over 6,000 Guatemalans were “returned” in May. 

Honduras, Mexico, Colombia, El Salvador

There has been a slight decrease in the number of ICE air flights to Honduras (30) and Mexico (2). ICE air flights to Colombia (21) and El Salvador (12) have increased over the past month. Other, less significant removal destinations from the US in May 2022 included the Dominican Republic (2), Nicaragua (2), Jamaica (1), Brazil (1) and Ecuador (1).

Sources: Witness At The Border (Death Flights Report)


Today, June 15, 2022, marks 10 years since the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Act was announced by former president Obama, opening up new opportunities for many undocumented minors who came to the U.S. seeking refuge. Today, these children are still waiting to gain permanent legal status in the U.S. 

The DACA policy provides temporary relief from deportation (“deferred action”) and work authorization to certain young undocumented migrants who came to the U.S. before 2007. It does not provide permanent legal status to individuals and must be renewed every two years. [Note: federal court rulings have allowed renewals to continue, but new applications are not accepted.]

Over the past decade, about 830,000 people have benefited from the DACA Act, with the current number of active recipients being around 611,000. It has allowed many migrant children to enroll in college, pursue career goals and contribute greatly to U.S. society. But since DACA is only a temporary fix and not a pathway to citizenship, those who received DACA over the past 10 years have had to fear renewing their status and becoming ineligible because of a change of administration or minor criminal charges that wouldn’t affect most US citizens in any way (i.e., “white Americans”), but for these young people it could mean losing their permission to stay, study, and work in the U.S.

As DACA celebrates its 10th anniversary, former migrant children who have lived in the United States for years, even decades, and have become an essential part of their schools, workplaces, and communities still have to endure uncertainty when it comes to their legal status. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Act was never meant to last this long. It was supposed to be a temporary solution, a chance of safety for migrant children while Congress would figure out a long-term solution such as a pathway to citizenship for these minors. In March 2021, the US House of Representatives did indeed pass the DREAM Act to legalize their status. The US Senate, however, failed to take up the bill. As a consequence, despite a wide and increasing acceptance of DACA among the public and lawmakers, not much has changed from where we were 10 years ago.

Sources: Austin Kocher, National Immigration Forum, American Immigration Forum


This is a space where we share current incidents from the southern border to show that these issues that we write about do, in fact, immediately affect people at the border and in detention, and the horrible things many migrants have to experience while seeking refuge in the U.S.

May 14, 2022, El Paso Field Office: Two CBP (Customs and Border Patrol) officers fired gunshots at a vehicle during a southbound traffic inspection at the Bridge of the Americas port of entry in El Paso, Texas. “While attempting to inspect a vehicle, a driver made an abrupt movement, at which point the officers perceived a threat to themselves and fired at the driver who fled from the inspection area at a high rate of speed and crossed into Mexico,” a CBP spokesperson e-mailed the El Paso Times. Mexican authorities later found the vehicle in Ciudad Juárez. The incident is under investigation by CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility.

May 13, 2022, Del Rio: A Los Angeles Times investigation found that Border Patrol and local law enforcement agencies in the vicinity of Eagle Pass, Texas, are working at times alongside “Patriots for America,” an armed conservative Christian citizen militia that the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas accuses of espousing White supremacist beliefs. A Times reporter witnessed militia members intercepting and interviewing migrant children in the field as Border Patrol agents looked on.

Sources: WOLA Border Oversight

Want to find out more about the conditions at the southern US border?

DACA Turns 10 Years Old Today: Immigrants who came to the US as children are still largely protected from deportation, but Congress has failed to create a pathway to citizenship

#WelcomeWithDignity Responds to los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection from the Summit of the Americas


Join us for a month filled with events and learning opportunities!

In the midst of a public health crisis, the ongoing war in Eastern Europe, and a spike in racism and xenophobia in our society, migrant justice has become more important than ever. That is why we at the InterReligious Task Force on Central America (IRTF), together with other migrant support groups in Cleveland and across Ohio, have decided to dedicate the whole month of June 2022 to migrant justice, immigration enforcement in Ohio, and border issues. Throughout the month, we will be advocating and educating around numerous migration issues and policies to raise awareness about the harmful US immigration system and show our solidarity with those who are affected by it!

Participate in our events!

We will be hosting several events through the month of June, including two webinars, letter writing events to people in detention, and more! Visit our website for more information that will be coming out soon. Watch the recording of our first webinar, “Ohio Is a Border State,”  from June 14 here.

Follow Us on Social Media!

Be sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook so you don't miss out on announcements and infoposts! 

Facebook: | Instagram: @irtfcleveland


Now that you are up to date on the issues at and around the southern border of the U.S., here is what you can do to take action this week and act in solidarity with migrants and their families:

End Medical Neglect at Seneca County Jail!

Many ICE detainees have reported medical neglect, insufficient food and other severely harmful conditions while detained at Seneca County Jail in Tiffin, OH. Despite concerns being raised by several inmates and their legal representatives, the jail and county don’t seem to care enough to respond adequately. Send this pre-written message to the ICE Field Office Director and demand adequate medical care at Seneca County Jail!

Urge Your Senators to Enact A Permanent Solution for Dreamers!

Congress has the power to pass common sense legislation that offers a permanent solution to Dreamers and recipients of TPS (Temporary Protected Status, such as Salvadorans) and reforms to modernize our agricultural workforce and visa system. Congress must take long overdue action to protect these vital populations. Take action and urge your senators to act! 

Give DACA Recipients a Pathway to Legal Status!

DACA recipients are once again in a state of anxiety and uncertainty about their future. Only Congress has the tools to provide permanent protections by passing legislation to create a pathway to legal status for Dreamers. Contact your senators to pass legislation to protect DACA recipients and Dreamers!


Migrant Justice Newsletter - June 30

Welcome to IRTF’s June 30, 2022 newsletter on Migrant Justice and the current situation at the US-Mexico border!

This week, human rights advocates and migrant justice groups went through a rollercoaster of emotions. First, we heard the tragic news about 53 dead migrants found in a tractor-trailer in Texas. Later this week, the Biden administration won the case against Texas when the Supreme Court ruled that it had, in fact, lawfully terminated the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) in 2021 and the government can now continue efforts to end the border policy. While one is horrifying and heartbreaking and the other is rather positive, both of these most recent incidents in U.S. immigration are closely related to each other. It is mainly because of these xenophobic and inhumane policies like MPP that people are forced to take more dangerous routes when crossing the border in search of refuge, resulting in more and more migrant deaths along the border, in the desert, and throughout the country. Let us give you an overview of recent updates on U.S. immigration and what has been happening at the border!

In this newsletter, please read about

- Immigration Court in Cleveland, OH: Why Legal Representation in Immigration Court is Vital to the Outcomes of Asylum Cases

- Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE): The Supreme Court Ruling over the Migrant Protection Protocols

- IRTF’s Border Focus Month is over: A Recap of our Month of June

- At The Border: Recent Incidents at and around the U.S.-Mexico Border

- Take Action: Support campaigns against racist immigration policies!


50.5% of asylum seekers who were represented in court were granted relief in FY22. Only 19% of those who were not represented by an attorney were granted asylum.

When talking about immigration at the U.S. border, many think immediately of the violence and dangerous conditions people are exposed to in their home countries–meaning the root causes of migration–as well as the number of ways they are pushed back at the border and told to wait in Mexico or deported back to their home country without due process–meaning U.S. immigration policies. But that is just the tip of the iceberg. What follows once a family, child or single adult has successfully crossed the border and reports to Border Patrol is a long and exhausting fight for the right to stay. For most, this journey begins with requesting asylum at the port of entry and waiting for an immigration court hearing. Under international law, every person has the right to seek asylum in the United States. But more often than not, this process becomes a matter of resources and access to, for example, legal representation, rather than a matter of humanity and solidarity. 

This access to legal representation is especially fragile in immigration court. Unlike in criminal proceedings, the government is not required to provide legal counsel to those without the means to hire an attorney (note that the government side is always represented by an attorney). That means that every individual seeking asylum is self-responsible for finding and paying for a legal representative, two things that are incredibly hard for most people coming across the border from Central America and other countries–made even harder by xenophobic border policies such as the Migrant Protection Protocols. This is a very significant issue in the U.S. immigration system; data has shown over and over again how crucial legal representation in immigration court is to a positive outcome where asylum relief is granted. Here are the numbers:

Legal Representation in Immigration Court:

Out of all 28,013 asylum decisions that were made in immigration courts throughout the U.S. in FY22 (October 2021 - June 2022) so far, 26,028–or 93%--of all people had access to legal representation. Compared to the 37% of represented cases from 2007-2012, this is a major improvement. However, it is when you look at the outcomes of the decision in represented vs. not represented cases that the issue becomes clear:

Asylum Decision Outcomes after Legal Representation

Asylum Relief Granted

Asylum Relief Denied


13,166 (50.5% of all represented cases)

12,611 (49.5% of all represented cases)

Not Represented

387 (19% of all unrepresented cases)

1,531 (77% of all unrepresented cases)

This data shows that while in all represented cases, the chances of being granted asylum are about as high as the chances of being denied asylum (still a terrible number - this basically means that about half of the people seeking asylum in the U.S. are denied in court and most likely face deportation!), they drop dramatically from 50.5% to 19% in cases where the asylum seeker is not represented by a defense attorney in court. 

Nicaragua is one of the least represented nationalities in immigration court, with almost one third of Nicaraguan migrants facing court without a lawyer. At the same time migrants coming to the border from the Ukraine are represented in almost 99% of all cases.

So far in FY22, 6,837 out of the 28,013 migrants who have received a decision on their asylum case were children aged 0-17 years. 6.4% of these children were not represented by a lawyer.

Side note: while about 93% of all children 0-4 years old had legal representation in court, still only 40% were granted asylum. The number is not much different for older kids. This means that far more than half of the children arriving at the border are not allowed to seek refuge in the U.S.

In Ohio, out of the 232 asylum decisions that were made during FY22 so far, 91% of people were represented in court (Still, 69% were denied asylum!). If we are looking at the 17,768 asylum cases that are currently pending in the State of Ohio, only about 48% are represented. This suggests that migrants who have access to a lawyer receive priority in the processing of their cases, while most unrepresented individuals have to wait longer to receive a hearing date and, eventually, a decision on their asylum request.

Access to Counsel in Immigration Court:

Now if we take into consideration the different conditions individuals seeking asylum are facing when going to immigration court, the gaps only become wider. It is significantly harder for migrants who have been processed under the Migrant Protection Protocols and are sent back to Mexico to await their hearing date to get access to a legal representative (for some reasons,  see article below), than it is for individuals who are allowed to stay in the U.S. while their case is pending. While the success rate for being granted asylum overall in FY22 was about 50%, it was only 1.24% for those under MPP in the same amount of time in 2020.

Additionally, migrants who are in ICE detention are far less likely to have legal representation in immigration court, and are thus also less likely to be granted asylum than those who are not detained. What it comes down to in the end is whether an individual has enough money, access to internet and other resources to find legal representatives, and the possibility to meet and consult with lawyers in the U.S. that determines how likely it is for them to be represented in court. Policies like MPP and the rising numbers of detention make it significantly more difficult to access most of these resources, meaning that those who are already hit hardest by the U.S. immigration system will most likely also not be granted asylum

And since there is data showing that migrants who are black (or from certain countries) are detained more often than white or Central American migrants, access to counsel in immigration court-–like many other parts of the country’s immigration system-–also becomes a matter of racism and xenophobia. 

Migrants with little to no English skills and knowledge about the U.S. immigration system or any legal matters, including children, who could not find or access legal representation, are forced to argue their asylum cases in court without a lawyer, facing attorneys representing one of the best-resourced federal agencies, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Sources: TRAC at Syracuse University (Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse), National Immigrant Justice Center


On June 30, 2022, the Supreme Court ruled against the states of Texas and Missouri, who had filed a lawsuit claiming that the Biden administration’s efforts to end the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) were not executed lawfully. With the Supreme Court on his side in this case, Biden now has a chance of ending MPP, a Trump-era policy that has led to many more migrant deaths and less successful asylum cases in the last few years. But what exactly are the Migrant Protection Protocols, and what can we expect to happen from this most recent Supreme Court Ruling?

The Policy: 

The Migrant Protection Protocols (also known as the “Remain in Mexico” program), announced by Trump in late 2018 and set into effect in January of 2019, is a policy that allows Border Patrol agents to send migrants arriving at the border and requesting asylum back to Mexico, where they have to await further processing in their asylum case. All they are given is instructions to appear on a certain date at a certain port of entry for their next immigration court hearing. 

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, MPP court hearings were suspended in March 2020, leaving thousands of migrants in Mexico in a state of limbo. Still, between April 2020 and January 2021, 6,000 more people were placed in MPP and sent back south across the border, even though no MPP asylum cases were being processed at that time. In January 2021, just hours after President Biden was inaugurated, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) stopped placing any new migrants into MPP proceedings, and the Biden administration officially started the wind-down process to end the policy. This wind-down stopped in August of last year, when the state of Texas filed a lawsuit against the administration which forced Biden to reinstate MPP with some minor changes like an exemption for unaccompanied children. Since then and up until now, over 5,000 more asylum seekers have been sent back to the dangerous border towns of Mexico to await their immigration court hearings in a state of insecurity.

The Issues:

Between January 2019 and December 2020, at least 70,000 people were returned to Mexico under MPP. There, they have to live in poorly managed and maintained migrant shelters with little resources, and they are subject to violence, sexual assault, drug cartels and other life risks. Additionally, most migrants processed under MPP are not given due process during their asylum case, as it is often very difficult for them to return to a specific port of entry on a certain date because of the danger of kidnapping and the lack of resources in the Mexican border towns. There is no support in making it back to the ports of entry, and many have to miss their hearing date because of that and are forced to wait in Mexico even longer, or they give up and start the dangerous journey back to their home country. 

Another major issue with the Migrant Protection Protocols is the lack of access to legal representation. Because they are left alone in Mexico, there is almost no way to hire an immigration attorney in the U.S., and oftentimes the necessary resources, like money and internet, aren’t available either. As we know from the article above, representation in immigration court is crucial to the outcome of the asylum case. Thus, MPP has led to a significant increase in failed asylum cases. The numbers are saddening: of the more than 42,000 asylum cases that had been completed under MPP by December 2020, only 521 people were granted asylum and allowed to legally enter the U.S. That is a success rate of just 1.24%. Over the same period, about 50% of asylum seekers who were not processed under MPP were successful in their case.

With the lack of legal representation and the insecure, often life-threatening conditions at the border in Mexico, being placed into MPP almost guarantees that the asylum request will fail, despite the horrible threats and violence most migrants are trying to escape from in their home countries, and despite how obvious it is that they should be allowed due process and be afforded to the opportunity to seek asylum. And like most of the xenophobic immigration policies (MPP, Title 42, detention), the fear of being sent back to Mexico and awaiting a likely unsuccessful asylum decision in insecurity leads many migrants to take more remote, dangerous routes while crossing the border to avoid encounters with and processing through Border Patrol. This system of prevention through deterrence is the U.S.’s most effective, most deadly anti-immigration strategy. It is safe to say that these policies and the lack of properly and justly executed asylum cases are actively and effectively costing lives.  This we saw recently in San Antonio, TX, where 53 people died in an abandoned tractor-trailer because they had no safe way of seeking protection in the U.S.

The Ruling:

The Biden v. Texas ruling from August 2021 was a major setback for the Biden administration and its efforts to restructure the xenophobic U.S. immigration system, as well as for the numerous human rights and migrant justice organizations fighting for more humane border policies. Since then, the administration has been awaiting the Supreme Court’s decision on whether that lawsuit was justified or not. On June 30, more than a month after the decision was expected, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Biden, stating that the administration had not unlawfully terminated the Migrant Protection Protocols back in 2021, and (more or less) opening the doors for Biden to effectively end the use of the policy.

The Consequences:

Despite the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of the government on June 30, the future of the Migrant Protection Protocols is still uncertain. Although Biden is technically allowed to end the policy now, the case is still going back to the lower court in Texas where it originated where states could potentially challenge the termination of MPP on procedural grounds. And if one state was successful in suing the Biden administration and halting their wind-down of MPP, who is to say that other states won’t also try their luck? 

As experts start interpreting the legal terms and consequences of this ruling, most of the 5,000 asylum seekers most recently added to MPP are still awaiting their court hearings, and it is unclear whether the Biden administration will allow migrants with pending cases to leave the dangerous border towns and enter the U.S., as they did the first time they were trying to end MPP. If the Biden administration wants to be serious about ending the Migrant Protection Protocols and restoring the right to asylum, they have to start the process sooner than later, guaranteeing that throughout the termination of the policy, all migrants affected by it will have access to a safe environment and a fair asylum process instead of continuing to send them back into the very states of violence and suffering that they were trying to escape in the first place.

Sources: Austin Kocher, National Immigration Forum, American Immigration Council


…Here’s what we accomplished throughout the month!

Thanks to all who participated in IRTF’s Border Focus Month. We held weekly meetings, sponsored two webinars, and collected 74 cards and letters for kids being held in ICE custody in Western Pennsylvania.

June 11 webinar: Ohio Is a Border State

When we think of “the border,” we generally think of the stretch of geography from San Diego to Brownsville. But the US government has defined “the border” as the 100-mile zone from any international boundary. That means that 2/3 of the US population is subject to surveillance and enforcement by DHS (Department of Homeland Security), ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and CBP (Customs and Border Patrol).

In Port Clinton, Ohio, the Border Patrol station employs 45-50 agents at a cost of about $5 million per year. Situated on the shores of Lake Erie, they have never caught anyone trying to enter illegally by water. In actuality, 2/3 of all arrests result from referral from state or local law enforcement (e.g. traffic stops). As a matter of fact, Border Patrol pays the Ohio State Highway Patrol to ride in their cars (“co-patrol”) and look out for undocumented persons up and down our state highways.  Many who are arrested and placed into “removal” proceedings (i.e., slated for deportation) are low-wage essential workers. (Incidentally, that $5 million per year translates into $12,500 spent per apprehension of a suspected undocumented person—not including subsequent costs of detention.)

Through statewide organizing efforts (#FreeThemAll) over the past two years, migrant justice advocates have succeeded in getting two county jails to end their contracts with ICE: Butler, Morrow. And ICE ended its contract with the private prison NE Ohio Correctional Center in Youngstown. But two county jails in Ohio (Geauga, Seneca) still have ICE detention contracts.  With the State of Ohio cooperating with federal immigration enforcement, those beds don’t remain empty for long. Conditions in Seneca are especially bad. Detainees report insufficient medical and psychological care and a lack of adequate food and nutrition. One migrant, a young man from Honduras, was coughing up blood for days with chest and back pain. When advocates requested he be released (or at least be given adequate medical attention), ICE shipped him to South Texas. His attorney is trying to get him back to Ohio.

Thank you to our presenters: Brian Hoffman, immigration lawyer, Executive Director at the Ohio Center for Strategic Immigration Litigation & Outreach (OCSILiO); Miranda Hallett, PhD, Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology and Human Rights Center Research Fellow at University of Dayton; Mark Heller,  senior attorney with Advocates for Basic Legal Equality (ABLE).  Moderated by Don Bryant of the Greater Cleveland Immigrant Support Network .

June 28: Policies against Humanity: U.S. Immigration Policies & Current Trends

Our presenters covered current immigration trends which show: (1) more people placed into deportation proceedings (including minors), (2) more deportations ordered in immigration court (including minors), (3) more detentions (mostly in for-profit prisons), and (4) more “Alternatives to Detention” (like painful and humiliating ankle bracelets and other surveillance).  All of this is occurring against the backdrop of two primary programs that create significant and onerous barriers to the right to seek asylum: (1) Title 42 expulsions (determined unnecessary by Centers for Disease Control) and (2) Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP, aka Remain in Mexico). 

Thank you to our presenters: Brian Hoffman, immigration lawyer, Executive Director at the Ohio Center for Strategic Immigration Litigation & Outreach (OCSILiO); Miranda Hallett, PhD, Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology and Human Rights Center Research Fellow at University of Dayton; Austin Kocher, PhD, Research Assistant Professor at Syracuse Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC). Moderated by Chrissy Stonebraker-Martínez of IRTF.

Letters of Hope to Kids in ICE Custody: Words of Solidarity

Unaccompanied minors (mostly teens and mostly from Central America) have had to endure heartbreaking and traumatizing journeys to get here in search of a brighter future. Arriving on this side of the border, they are placed into ICE custody. In western Pennsylvania, the Holy Family Institute is housing these kids in small group homes and foster family settings. It’s a softer kind of detention, but detention nonetheless.

IRTF organized two letter-writing sessions that generated 74 cards and letters for these kids. Thanks to everyone who shared a greeting of welcome to these teens from Central America!


This is a space where we share current incidents from the southern border to show that these issues that we write about do, in fact, immediately affect people at the border and in detention, and the horrible things many migrants have to experience while seeking refuge in the U.S.

May 24, 2022, Rio Grande Valley: Activist Scott Nicol reported finding five COVID vaccination cards and other personal possessions in a trash pile beside a table Border Patrol agents use to process asylum-seeking migrants alongside the border wall in Hidalgo, Texas. The items, discarded by agents, were the personal belongings of asylum-seeking migrants who regularly turn themselves in at this site.

May 24, 2022, Tucson: In circumstances that remain to be clarified, a Border Patrol agent shot and killed a Mexican migrant in Douglas, Arizona after midnight. According to the Arizona Republic, the Mexican consulate received an initial report stating that the migrant was taken to a Douglas hospital after being injured climbing the border wall, then “tried to escape and entered into a confrontation with a Border Patrol agent.” The May 24 incident is under FBI investigation, and being reviewed by CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility. This is the second agent-involved shooting near Douglas since February 19, when Agent Kendrek Bybee Staheli shot and killed Mexican migrant Carmelo Cruz-Marcos.

Sources: WOLA Border Oversight

Want to find out more about the conditions at the southern US border?

The Tragedy in Texas Was Avoidable, Just Like Hundreds of Others Migrant Deaths on U.S. Soil This Year

The U.S. Coast Guard Is Rescuing Haitan Migrants at Sea in Record Numbers


Now that you are up to date on the issues at and around the southern border of the U.S., here is what you can do to take action this week and act in solidarity with migrants and their families:

End Title 42!

The decision to end Title 42 was a critical victory in our fight to restore the human right to seek asylum. But now, anti-immigrant lawmakers are attempting to override CDC and the Biden administration by passing legislation in Congress that mandates Title 42’s continuation. We must take action: Tell Congress to oppose any interference with CDC’s decision to end the brutal, anti-immigrant Title 42 policy!

Permanent Residency for TPS Holders!

TPS is a conditional status that requires periodic renewal and entitles the recipient to a work permit, protection from deportation, and authorization to travel abroad. Renewal is at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security, which determines whether the conditions that prevented the person’s return persist. Congress must pass a pathway to citizenship for TPS recipients now. Contact your representative and tell them to push permanent residency!

Urge Your Senators to Enact A Permanent Solution for Dreamers!

Congress has the power to pass common sense legislation that offers a permanent solution to Dreamers and recipients of TPS (Temporary Protected Status, such as Salvadorans) and reforms to modernize our agricultural workforce and visa system. Congress must take long overdue action to protect these vital populations. Take action and urge your senators to act!

Wednesday, June 15, 2022