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Migrant Justice Newsletter - April 2024

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Welcome to IRTF’s April 2024 newsletter on Migrant Justice and the current situation at the US-Mexico border! After you’ve looked through the articles, we hope you can take a few minutes to see the TAKE ACTION items at the bottom.

In this newsletter, please read about 

1.  Changing Trends in Migrants at US-Mexico Border

2. ICE Air: Update on Removal Flight Trends 

3. Study Reveals: Border Wall Height Exacerbates Trauma Incidents 

4. At the Border: Recent Incidents at and around the US-Mexico Border 

5. Border Patrol and Local Law Enforcement’s Patterns of Abuse in Ohio’s Immigration Enforcement

6. Raising the Credible Fear Screening Standard Will Endanger Lives but Won’t Fix The Border  

7.Children in US-Mexico Border Camps

8. Migrants Mired in Transit as Mexico Becomes US’s Immigration Enforcer

9. Kidnapping of Migrants and Asylum Seekers at Texas-Tamaulipas Border Reaches Intolerable Levels 

10.  Migrant Deaths in New Mexico and Western Texas 

11. Human Rights in the Darién Gap of Panamá


Here is what you can do to take action this week and act in solidarity with migrants and their families. (See details at the bottom of this newsletter.)








1- Changing Trends in Migrants at US-Mexico Border

As the month of March began, there appeared to be a spring increase in migration. There was an early report of a 13 percent increase in Border Patrol apprehensions of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border from January to February. However, this increase has leveled off or may even be reversing in March. Border Patrol apprehended 140,644 migrants in February. While this was in fact a 13% increase compared to January, it was the seventh lowest month of apprehensions since Biden took office. During the first three weeks of March, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) encountered 6,307 migrants per day at the U.S.-Mexico border (which is more than 132,000 total).

Top nationalities arriving at the border


FEB 2024




















Nationality increases and decreases


Increase since JAN-FEB’24

Decrease JAN-FEB’24


87% more



65% more




7% fewer


50% more



31% more




56% fewer


67% more




72% fewer



15% fewer



24% fewer

Top nationalities crossing between ports-of-entry and ending up in CBP custody


FEB 2024




















Top nationalities reporting to ports-of-entry (many though CBP One app appointments)


FEB 2024





















2- ICE Air: Update on Removal Flight Trends

The U.S. government’s COVID-19 public health emergency order expired on May 11, 2023 — this includes the Title 42 order that has expelled over 2.5 million migrants from the US-Mexico border. With the end of Title 42, the government started to ramp up Title 8 expedited removal deportations in June 2023.

Since the Biden Administration took office there have been:

·        A total of 23,786 ICE Air Flights

·        4,289 Removal Flights


ICE Air Flights

The number of observed removal flights to ten different countries in Latin America and the Caribbean continues. Over the last 12 months, there have been 7,947 ICE Air flights; 1,527 of those have been removal flights.  With an estimated average of 100 passengers per flight, this means that over the past 12 months, as many as 152,700 people could have been returned to Latin America, the Caribbean and a small number to Africa by air by the U.S.


Removal Flights, Lateral Flights, Domestic Shuffles:

In March 2024, there were 620 ICE Air flights, utilizing 28 different planes operated by 6 different charter carriers (IAero aka Swift, World Atlantic, GlobalX, Eastern, Gryphon (ATS) and OMNI); this is down 11 from February, and below the prior 6 month average (630) by 10. Border Patrol encounters at the southern border were up by 16,424 (12%) from 124,220 to 140,644. 

Lateral flights:

Lateral flights in March increased from 24 in February to 27 in March. Of the 27 lateral flights 17 of them originated in Tucson, 1 originated in San Diego and 9 in El Paso, up 2 in February. Laredo received 15 of the laterals and McAllen 12.  Laterals, both flights and buses, seem to only be used now for decompression, but also for moving specific nationalities to specific locations for deportation flights. 

Shuffle flights:

Shuffle flights decreased from 49 in February to 45 in March . This decrease is possibly due to the significant drop in encounters and reduced need to move people between interior detention centers. 


People in detention decreased by 2,244 to 36,931 in March. 

 Removal flights:

In March 2024, removal flights decreased from 137 in February to 133 in March. The Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala (51), Honduras (27), and El Salvador (10) were destinations for 66% of all removal flights in February. 

In March, the estimated number of people returned to Northern Triangle countries represented 25% of February encounters from those countries. 


Venezuela (flights were suspended all of February and March after flights paused following an announcement by the US that some sanctions would be reinstated if Venezuela did not agree to allow candidates from the Unitary Party to compete in this year’s elections.)

Flights were suspended all of February after they paused the last week of January. 

OCT = 3 flights

NOV = 3

DEC = 5

JAN = 4

FEB = 0

MAR = 0


Flights continued under PRIM (Procedure for the Repatriation to the Interior of Mexico) Program

JAN = 1 (on January, 30 from San Antonio to Morelia, Mexico)


ICE Air flights to Guatemala decreased by 7 from 58 in February to 51 in March. ICE Air returned 5,941 Guatemalans by air.  Mexico operated 3 deportation flights to Guatemala, all unaccompanied minors totaling 100, on Marina military planes. Mexico returned 1,369 by land at Tecún Úman. About 7,410 Guatemalans were returned via flights from the U.S. and Mexico.

OCT = 52

NOV = 45

DEC = 47

JAN = 52

FEB = 58

MAR = 51


Flights to Honduras decreased by 2 from 29 in February to 27 in March. Encounters on Hondurans increased by 1,290 from 8,902 to 10,192. ICE returned an estimated 2,504 Hondurans by air in March from 2,807 in February. 

OCT = 34 flights

NOV = 40

DEC = 40

JAN = 37

FEB = 29

MAR = 27

Mexico had 1 deportation flight to Honduras returning 41 unaccompanied children on a Marina Military plane. Honduras reported that a total of 795 people were returned from Mexico. 


El Salvador

Flights to El Salvador decreased by 2 from 12 to 10 in March.

OCT = 20 flights

NOV = 14

DEC = 9

JAN = 11

FEB = 12

MAR = 10



Ice Air Flights to Ecuador decreased by 2 from 4 in February to 2 in March. 

OCT = 6 flights

NOV = 4

DEC = 3

JAN = 5

FEB = 4

MAR = 2



Flights decreased by 2 from 3  in February to 1 in March.

OCT = 4 flights

NOV = 3

DEC = 2

JAN = 2

FEB = 3

MAR = 1 (the lowest since January 2023)



ICE Air Flights to Colombia increased by 5 from 7 in February to 12 in March. Encounters of Colombians by CPB at the US southern border fell from 18,689 in December to 7,399 in January and jumped back up to 12,184 in February. 

OCT = 5 flights

NOV = 5

DEC = 4

JAN = 6

FEB = 7

MAR = 12


Other destinations:

Dominican Republic:

Flights remained steady at 2 for the last 7 months. 

OCT = 2 flights

NOV = 2

DEC = 2

JAN = 2

FEB = 2

MAR = 2


Did not receive any flights in February or in March. 

OCT = 1 flight

NOV = 1

DEC = 1

JAN = 1

FEB = 0

MAR = 0



Flights remained at 1 over the last 7 months. 

OCT = 1 flight

NOV = 1

DEC = 1

JAN = 1

FEB = 1

MAR = 1



Experienced the first return flight since December 2020 on April 24, 2023. Followed by 1 in each of the following months, including March 2024

Sources: Witness At the Border


3 - Study Reveals: Border Wall Height Exacerbates Trauma



Experts at trauma centers along the border express concern over the surge in injuries following the federal government's expansion of the U.S.-Mexico border wall. University of California-San Diego Health physicians attribute the rise in injuries to the heightened wall. A study revealed a significant increase in trauma cases treated at UC San Diego Health Trauma Center, from 42 in 2019 to 440 in 2023. Chief trauma surgeon, Jay Doucet, MD, notes a substantial uptick in injuries, including broken legs and spinal injuries, since the taller wall's construction. He emphasizes the severity of injuries and the burden it places on the trauma system. San Diego County Supervisor, Jim Desmond, underscores the need for enforcing immigration laws to address the chaotic situation at the border. Despite challenges, Pedro Rios of the American Friends Service Committee advocates for aiding migrants and hopes for safer immigration processes.




4 - At the Border: Recent Incidents at and around the US-Mexico Border 

This is a space where we share current incidents from the US 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.

March 29 - The six construction workers presumed dead in the collapse of Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge were people who had migrated from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. CASA of Maryland is collecting donations to support their families.

March 29 - CBP released body-worn camera footage of the February 17 death, apparently by suicide, of a man in a holding cell at a Laredo, Texas, checkpoint. The footage does not show the exact circumstances of how the man died because “the video recording system at the Border Patrol checkpoint was not fully functioning at the time of the incident.”

April 5 - A 24-year-old Guatemalan woman’s fatal March 21 fall from the border wall in San Diego drew new attention to the region’s sharply increased numbers of wall-related deaths and injuries. Elsewhere in San Diego, a federal judge ruled that outdoor encampments where Border Patrol makes asylum seekers wait to be processed violate a 1997 agreement governing the treatment of children in the agency’s custody

April 5 - Eight people from China died off the coast of Oaxaca, Mexico, after the boat in which they were migrating capsized.

April 5 - A WOLA feature, based on a series of interviews with service providers, documented a sharp increase in kidnappings and attacks on migrants, including sexual assaults, in Mexico’s organized crime-dominated border state of Tamaulipas. Corrupt Mexican officials allegedly facilitate these crimes. U.S. policies, the report finds, are not taking the danger into account: deportations into Tamaulipas are heavy, access to ports of entry is heavily restricted, and the state concentrates 43 percent of the insufficient number of border-wide CBP One appointments.

April 12 - Recent years’ sharp rises in migrant deaths continue in Border Patrol’s El Paso Sector, which includes the border in far west Texas and all of New Mexico. After a record 149 remains were recovered there in the 2023 fiscal year, the death toll stands at 34 halfway through the 2024 fiscal year, and the hot summer months are yet to come. Dehydration, heat exhaustion, and drowning are the principal causes of death.




  1. Weekly U.S.-Mexico Border Update: Mexico crackdown, no spring migration increase, Texas, Guatemala - WOLA
  2. Weekly U.S.-Mexico Border Update: Mexico crackdown, no spring migration increase, Texas, Guatemala - WOLA
  3. Weekly U.S.-Mexico Border Update: March migration slows, San Diego's open-air encampments, S.B. 4, Darién Gap - WOLA
  4. Weekly U.S.-Mexico Border Update: March migration slows, San Diego's open-air encampments, S.B. 4, Darién Gap - WOLA
  5. Weekly U.S.-Mexico Border Update: trends from Panama to U.S., possible executive action on asylum, DHS hearings in Congress - WOLA

Want to find out more about the conditions at the southern US border? Sign up for the weekly Border Update from WOLA. 


5- Border Patrol and Local Law Enforcement’s Patterns of Abuse in Ohio’s Immigration Enforcement

Although just 4.3% of Ohio’s population is Latinx/Hispanic, more than 65% of Border Patrol’s apprehensions were of Latinx individuals. Sometimes Ohio local law enforcement agencies commonly stopped immigrant drivers for minor traffic offenses and then contacted Border Patrol requesting their presence at the scene.  Local law enforcement initiated more than half of arrests of people suspected of being undocumented. Records show that Border Patrol agents co-patrolled—also described as ride-alongs—in Ohio State Highway Patrol vehicles to conduct immigration checks at routine traffic stops. Border Patrol also routinely conducted transportation checks at bus and train stations in Toledo and Sandusky and interrogated passengers. Fifteen percent of all arrests reviewed happened at an Amtrak train station or a Greyhound bus station.


From 2009, when the Sandusky Bay Station opened, USBP agents expressed their presence to local law enforcement by visiting different departments including the Ohio State highway Patrol. The agents involved told these different departments that they were available for interpretation and identification purposes. 


This Information was gathered from apprehension logs which contain basic demographic data about individuals detained by USBP agents including; sex, age, nationality, if they are deportable, arrest method, the amount of time they resided in the US, their most recent manner of entry into the country, and the disposition of the encounter. The information was also gathered from Form I-213, which is also known as Record of deportable/ inadmissible Alien, this is a form agents complete when they arrest noncitizens based on alleged immigration violations. 


The American Immigration Council and Advocates for Basic Legal Equality (ABLE) analyzed the Border Patrol’s enforcement records from the Sandusky Bay Border Station and found:

  • The primary targets of immigration enforcement actions were male laborers of Latin American origin, between the ages of 23 and 40, of darker skin complexion. 
  • Eighty-nine percent of arrests were individuals of color, labeled by USBP’s “complexion” categories as “Black,” “Dark Brown,” “Dark,” “Light Brown,” “Medium Brown,” and “Medium.”
  • US nationals made up 23.2% of USBP apprehensions and an additional 1.3% of individuals apprehended were not deportable.
  • USBP and Ohio local law enforcement’s problematic tactics included:
    • Civil rights violations such as the use of racial profiling and prolonged stops by local law enforcement under the pretext of contacting USBP for “identification assistance” to allow USBP to conduct immigration checks.
    • Immigration checks at transportation stations. Fifteen percent of arrests were initiated at Amtrak or Greyhound stations where the subjects were passengers.
  • USBP is deeply entangled with local law enforcement. Fifty-seven percent of arrests documented in the I-213s sample were initiated by local law enforcement.
  • Apprehensions and arrests for immigration purposes harm children and families.
    • Of USBP’s daily apprehensions, 2.6% were of children under the age of 18.
    • Twenty-eight percent of individuals arrested had at least one U.S. citizen child and/or a U.S. citizen spouse.
    • The I-213s sample documented 145 children who had parents arrested by USBP


Source:  American Immigration Council  


6- Raising the Credible Fear Screening Standard Will Endanger Lives but Won’t Fix the Border


By Human Rights First


The article argues against raising the credible fear screening standard for asylum seekers, asserting that such actions would endanger lives, violate international and domestic law, and fail to address the underlying challenges at the border. It contends that raising the standard would lead to unjust deportations of individuals with significant chances of proving their eligibility for asylum, and highlights cases of erroneous negative determinations under the current standard. Furthermore, it warns that heightening the standard would violate international refugee legal standards and increase the risk of persecution for vulnerable individuals. The text also criticizes administrative attempts to circumvent legal screening standards enacted by Congress and argues that raising the standard would not deter migration or solve the asylum issue. Instead, it advocates for real solutions such as improving access to ports of entry, enhancing reception capacity, and ensuring prompt access to work authorization for asylum seekers.



03/13/2024; Human Rights First;Raising the Credible Fear Screening Standard Will Endanger Lives but Won’t Fix the Border”


7- Children in US-Mexico Border Camps

 The Court found that Customs & Border Patrol (CBP) violated the Flores Settlement by holding children in unsafe and unsanitary conditions, not providing children with appropriate food, and not processing children as expeditiously as possible. 


On April 3, a US federal district court judge ruled that children languishing in open-air camps along the US-Mexico border should be “expeditiously” provided with safe and sanitary housing. The legal challenge on behalf of children focused on two camps in San Diego, California, but the judge’s order could have farther-reaching implications.


Because processing centers at the border have been overwhelmed by the numbers of asylum-seekers, agents have been sending migrants (including unaccompanied children) to makeshift camps consisting of tents and improvised lean-tos made of tarp, rocks and scavenged wood. Several such camps have arisen along the California-Mexico border. In San Diego, there is a migrant camp located between two border fences. At another camp in a remote mountainous region east of San Diego, the high desert produces harsh winds, and overnight temperatures can drop below 30F. Some children have taken shelter inside portable toilets and burn garbage to stay warm.


Hunger and dehydration are just two of the major health concerns. Aid workers report treating children with open wounds and bone fractures, diarrhea and vomiting, fevers and seizures. Emergency medical providers have also witnessed elderly and pregnant people suffering from pains and medical complications.

Normally, children traveling alone must be turned over to the US Health and Human Services Department within 72 hours, housed and cared for until they can be placed with a family member or sponsor in the US, or until they reach legal age. This rule dates back to the 27-year-old decision in Flores v. Sessions, which established that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is responsible for providing housing to “all minors who are detained in the legal custody” of the agency. But the government is going around this rule at the California border. They argue that children who have not yet been processed at immigration centers are not yet under US custody, and therefore the government has no obligation to provide them with care. As a result, some children have had to wait at camps for hours, or even days, until their cases are processed.

Judge Dolly M Gee of the US district court of central California disagrees. In her ruling on April 3, she wrote: “Juveniles, unlike adults, are always in some form of custody.” On their arrival, migrants are given a wristband marked with a date; when they ask Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officers if they can leave to get food and water, they are told no, the judge noted in the decision. And “if an individual does leave [the site], Border Patrol brings them back.”

Having established that the children at these camp sites are in U.S. custody, the court found “abundant evidence” that the care they were receiving “is not adequate for minors.”  The judge ordered DHS to quickly process the children’s immigration claims and place them in “safe and sanitary” facilities.



8- Migrants Mired in Transit as Mexico Becomes US’s Immigration Enforcer

 “It used to be that the Darién Gap was the most horrific part of their journey, but now people are saying that Mexico is the worst,” said Ari Sawyer, a researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Mexico is the new jungle.”

There are two components to Mexico’s central role in US immigration. One: Mexicans are the top nationality among immigrants to the US. Two: Mexico is now the US immigration enforcer. Since President López Obrador assumed office in 2018, the number of migrants trying to reach the US through Mexico has increased significantly, and Mexico’s detention of migrants has reached almost 800,000—a fourfold increase since before the global health pandemic.

Besides detention, the Mexico National Institute of Migration is employing other tactics to make it harder for migrants to travel north. These include checkpoints on roads and greater efforts to stop migrants hitching a ride on cargo trains. More and more migrants are stuck in transit. And that makes them more vulnerable to abuses like kidnapping and extortion.

Migrants from Venezuela are getting special attention from the Mexican government. Mexico is forcing migrants from trains, flying and busing them to the southern part of the country, and flying some back to Venezuela. In March, Mexico said it would give about $110 a month for six months to each Venezuelan it deports, hoping they won’t come back. President López Obrador also extended the offer to Ecuadorians and Colombians.

Whatever deal Biden and López Obrador have made, it seems to be working to Biden’s favor. Since border crossings hit an all-time high in December 2023, they have since fallen by half.




9- Kidnapping of Migrants and Asylum Seekers at Texas-Tamaulipas Border Reaches Intolerable Levels 

The groups controlling criminality in Tamaulipas make millions of dollars annually from cross-border drug trafficking, human trafficking, and migrant smuggling, an industry that has boomed under restrictive U.S. border policies that bottle up or return large numbers of migrants to northern Mexico. But this isn’t the only way criminal groups seek to extract as much money as possible from migrants: they also systematically kidnap migrants, inflicting physical and psychological harm, and demanding exorbitant ransoms from their relatives.

“Kidnappings were always known, but they were not as normal as they are now,” a religious worker told us about the migrant population they work with. “They’re dragging people out of their tents at night, they’re taking entire families,” added the director of a humanitarian group. “Every woman we work with has been raped,” said an attorney working with asylum seekers. “Women start taking birth control before the journey because they know they might be raped,” affirmed a shelter director.

These are just some of the reports staff of the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) heard in recent interviews with service providers working with migrants and asylum seekers along the Texas-Tamaulipas border. 

Tamaulipas is the only Mexican border state, and one of six Mexican states overall, to which the State Department has assigned a “level four—do not travel” designation, the same severity as Afghanistan. The power of criminal groups in Tamaulipas is fragmented: no single group has a monopoly. The result is that groups violently contest control over sources of illicit wealth and local institutions. While Mexican citizens are also subject to countless crimes and violence— Tamaulipas is one of the top states for disappearances in the country— it is a uniquely dangerous state for migrants and asylum seekers.

From February to early March 2024, WOLA staff interviewed 15 researchers, humanitarian workers, and shelter staff working in Matamoros, Reynosa, and Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, or on the U.S. side of the same border region. Their identities have been withheld for security reasons. WOLA notes three alarming trends:

(1) The kidnapping and extortion of migrants has increased notably since late 2023. Many describe this moment as the worst period of violence they’ve seen, both in numbers and brutality.

(2) Many Mexican authorities tolerate or are actively involved in the migrant kidnapping enterprise.

(3) U.S. border policies continue to channel migrants and asylum seekers through Tamaulipas at disproportionately high rates, even though U.S. authorities are aware of the extreme dangers for migrants in this region of the border.


Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officers know that Tamaulipas is notorious for kidnapping, rape, and brutal assaults of migrants, and that kidnappers are often brazenly waiting within a few hundred yards of the border bridges. Yet service providers have not seen the agency adjust its policies or practices to avoid these harms. 




10- Migrant deaths in New Mexico and Western Texas


View the “El Paso Sector Migrant Death Database”



  • Border Patrol is undercounting migrant deaths in the El Paso Sector.
  • 15% of all migrant deaths were caused by use of force, wall falls, Border Patrol chases, or were deaths that occurred in custody. CBP’s records report only a fraction of these CVP-related deaths. In some cases, field investigators stated that they were obstructed from performing a proper investigation or from interviewing BP (United States Border Patrol) agents involved in a death.
  • Along with a sharp increase in overall deaths in BP’s El Paso Sector, women now account for more deaths than men. A statistic unprecedented anywhere else along the border, for any year. One explanation for this is the increasing inability for people not prepared for a desert journey into more remote areas. 
  • Remains are increasingly recovered closer to populated areas.  


Data and transparency will never bring back the lives lost, or stop the ongoing crisis of death disappearance that is a direct result of US border policy. The only way to prevent the death and suffering that have become so commonplace in the US-Mexico borderlands is to end the policy of Prevention Through Deterrence, abolish the US Border Patrol, and dismantle the border barriers that have divided so many communities.



11- Human Rights in the Darién Gap of Panamá

Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state. Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country. Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.       

-Universal Declaration on Human Rights, Articles 13/14

100,000 migrants have already crossed the Darién Gap this year.


In March, the Washington, DC-based NGO Quixote Center, together with its partner Red Franciscana (Franciscan Network) organized a delegation of faith leaders to Panama. They traversed the entire length of the country to encounter and understand the migrant experience, beginning with the treacherous Darién Gap that connects Colombia to Panama.


Migrants and local Panamanians spoke in detail about extreme levels of sexual violence, extortion, robbery, and murder in the Darién Gap. Children report seeing dead bodies. Residents say that Colombian cartels control the Darién crossing, charging up to $1200 per migrant to cross the jungle.  People exit the jungle by foot, or by boat if they have the money.


A mixed private-public infrastructure has developed to address the needs of the thousands of migrants making the trek through the Darién Gap. The Panamanian government operates Rajas Blancas, the primary reception camp for 1,000 to 2,000 people who exit the Darién Gap daily—although the camp only has room for about 200 migrants. (There was a fire there several weeks ago). Those who can pay immediately jump on government buses to Costa Rica (about $60 per person). Those who cannot find the money get stuck in an overcrowded and unsanitary camp, or they walk up the highway to Costa Rica.


The Indigenous community of Bajo Chiquito, located on the edge of the jungle, offers people transportation by boat to Rajas Blancas. They charge $25 per person to cover the cost of gas and boat drivers, and $5 for meals. They say they allow people who don’t have the money to go free. They rent out tent space for those who don’t want to depart immediately. Bajo Chiquito is quite poor; they benefit from the over 1,000 people coming through daily.


Migrants who, for whatever reason, can’t get on the buses and boats, pass by the community of Zapallel. Churches there have joined together to provide some basic needs. In the past they provided full meals and shelter, but the Panamá government made this illegal for private citizens to provide in 2022. It is also illegal for private citizens to provide transport. But they still hand out hygiene kits and bagged lunches on the highway.


Red Franciscana leads a consortium of church groups called Red Clamor that collectively provide services to migrants. Red Franciscana itself operates the Medalla Milagrosa shelter. While the government generally does not allow private shelters, it made an exception for this one. With services for migrants with special needs (usually medical), the shelter can house up to 60 migrants at one time.


The need for humanitarian infrastructure will only become greater in the upcoming months.  Officials in Panama reported that the number of migrants crossing the Darién Gap so far in 2024 has now exceeded 101,000. At the end of February, the number stood at 73,167; this means that the March pace in the Darién Gap remains, as in January and February, at a bit over 1,200 people per day. Of this year’s migrants, nearly two thirds (64,307) are citizens of Venezuela.


José Raúl Mulino, the frontrunner candidate in Panama’s presidential election scheduled for May 5, recently vowed to close the Darién Gap. “We’re going to close the Darién and we’re going to repatriate all these people,” said Mulino, without saying how he would do it, though promising to respect migrants’ human rights.









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.



El Salvador has been under a state of emergency for nearly two years during which time there have been countless human rights violations, with massive arbitrary detentions, 78,000 people including children detained, and people dying in prison for lack of access to health care. The State Department needs to urge President Bukele to restore rights and end this inhumane policy.


For background:

(1) watch this recent panel explaining the current situation inEl Salvador, such as fraud during recent elections, the military and police repression against communities with organized resistance, and the economic exploitation that is fueling a new wave of displacement.

(2) read this article on how President Nayib Bukele has reduced gang violence by replacing it with state violence.

(3) Click here to ask your congressperson and US senators to contact the US State Department to protect human rights in El Salvador. You can cite this recent report from Amnesty International (El Salvador: The institutionalization of human rights violations after two years of emergency rule)



Haiti is desperate. In the absence of a functioning state, criminal organizations (which now control 80% of the country’s capital) terrorize the population with rape, kidnapping, and murder, all with impunity.


Click here to contact Congress. Urge them to

(1) Support S396, the Haiti Criminal Collusion Transparency Act, to identify and hold accountable those who are financing the gangs.

(2) Support HR 6618, the ARMAS Act, in the House, and introduce a companion bill in the Senate—to stop the illegal flow of weapons from the US to Haiti

(3) End U.S. support for de facto prime minister Ariel Henry

(4) Redesignate and extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians, which is set to expire on August 4, 2024.

(5) Stop all deportation flights and interceptions at sea

(6) Immediately increase humanitarian aid

(7) Open a channel of communication and comprehensive, inclusive consultation on the future of Haiti

(8) Condition military and police aid on a) consultation with Haitian civil society before deployment, and b) human rights protections




The Biden administration has resumed deportation flights to Haiti. For the first time since January 18, more than 70 Haitians were expelled to Haiti from the United States on April 18 on the first deportation flight since heavily armed gangs launched a bloody insurrection which has paralyzed the capital and forced the prime minister from office. And in between Jan 18 and April 18, the U.S. Coast Guard has been returning Haitians picked up by sea. President Biden has the authority to grant humanitarian parole and stop the deportations to Haiti, where the current situation is “cataclysmic,” according to the United Nations.


Click the White House comment page and demand that the Biden administration HALT all deportations to Haiti.



Congress recently introduced the Defending Borders, Defending Democracies Act (H.R. 7372), which is a dangerous bill that will significantly undo protections for unaccompanied children and their families seeking refuge in the United States. If it becomes law, the Defending Borders, Defending Democracies Act will again place unaccompanied children in harm’s way, where they are more likely to experience human trafficking, sexual exploitation, and extreme violence.

This bill would decimate longstanding, bipartisan safeguards for unaccompanied children, including:

(1) mandating expulsions of unaccompanied children seeking protection at the U.S.-Mexico border without proper screenings, all but guaranteeing their return to danger;

(2) subjecting unaccompanied children, as young as two years-old, to a “Remain in Mexico” program requiring them to wait alone in unsafe conditions in Mexico pending immigration proceedings in the United States;

(3) forcing some unaccompanied children to languish in jail-like Customs and Border Protection (CBP) detention for up to a full year—120 times longer than current law permits.


Click here to urge your congressperson to reject HR 7372.



Join Ohio Immigrant Alliance for a meaningful volunteering opportunity with the #ReuniteUS campaign on Tuesday, June 11.  We will be delivering copies of "Broken Hope" (a book about the lives, hopes, and dreams of people who were deported by Lynn Tramonte of OHIA and Suma Setty of CLASP, with research by Maryam Sy of OHIA) to congressional offices in Washington D.C. 

On April 12, NPR’s “Here and Now” included a powerful segment featuring two deported advocates & mothers, Tina Hamdi & Assia Serrano, who help lead the Chance to Come Home campaign. Both Tina and Assia are survivors of domestic violence, lived in Ohio & New York for decades, and currently live in exile as they fight to return to the U.S. to reunite with their young children.


Come to help ensure that people who were deported are SEEN and HEARD in the halls of Congress! You will be paired with at least one other person, and receive training before the delivery. Sign up here.



Refugee Resource Center operates in the basement of St. Colman’s Parish (2027 W 65th St) and opens up on Saturdays from 9-12 for new arrivals to come get necessities that are not provided by other assistance. To serve the 45 families who come to the center each week, there is a great need for diapers, feminine napkins, toilet paper,  laundry detergent, shampoo, body soap, deodorant, dish soap and general household cleaner. Pots and pans also needed. 


If you would like to organize a collection of some of these items (maybe at your place of worship, school, or community group), please contact Kelly and she will help you arrange drop off at the site.



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Tuesday, April 23, 2024