Archive for the ‘Repatriacion’ Category

Inmigrantes Haitianos Huyen de Estados Unidos y Buscan Asilo en Canadá

Lunes, agosto 7th, 2017
Inmigrantes Haitianos Huyen de Estados Unidos y Buscan Asilo en Canadá

En Canadá, el gobierno de Quebec afirma que está procesando el ingreso de alrededor de 150 migrantes al día que cruzan hacia Canadá desde el estado de Nueva York en busca de leyes de inmigración más amigables. El flujo de inmigrantes provocó que las autoridades pusieran cientos de catres en un centro de acogida en el Estadio Olímpico de Montreal. La refugiada haitiana Marie-Claude Celestin fue una de las personas que cruzaron recientemente a Canadá.

Marie-Claude Celestin: “Canadá me pareció la mejor opción para mí y mi familia. Ustedes entienden la ayuda humanitaria, a diferencia de Estados Unidos. Ustedes tratan a las personas como seres humanos”.

La mayoría de los solicitantes de asilo en Canadá son haitianos que se refugiaron en Estados Unidos después del devastador terremoto en Haití en 2010. El gobierno del presidente Donald Trump ha amenazado con retirar la protección a los haitianos, lo que afectaría a unas 58.000 personas.

Última Actualización: Agosto 07 de 2017
Fuente: www.democracynow.org

Somos Refugiados, Pero Podría Decirse Rechazados

Miércoles, julio 26th, 2017
Somos Refugiados, Pero Podría Decirse Rechazados

Cada minuto se producen 20 desplazamientos forzosos en el mundo. La guerra, la violencia, la persecución o la violación sistemática de los derechos humanos han obligado a 65,6 millones de personas a huir de sus hogares en 2016. Esta cifra representa 10,3 millones más que en 2015, período en el que el mundo pareció abrir los ojos ante el conflicto civil sirio, que para entonces ya sumaba cuatro años de escalada.

Irak, Afganistán, Yemen, República Democrática del Congo, República Centroafricana o Sudán del Sur también se suman a la lista de países en conflicto.

Mientras millones de personas arriesgan su vida en peligrosas travesías por tierra y mar, pagan desorbitadas cantidades económicas en busca de refugio o mueren en el intento, la comunidad internacional paree impasible ante la puesta en marcha de leyes, tratados y acuerdos internacionales sobre protección de refugiados.

(Así lo demuestra la historia de Marah Rayan, una joven refugiada palestina apátrida que fue criada en Siria hasta que tuvo que salir del país a causa de la contienda.)
Según Naciones Unidas, una persona apátrida es “aquella que no es reconocida por ningún país como ciudadano acorde a su legislación”, y cuyo marco legal se encuadra en la Convención sobre el Estatuto de los Apátridas de 1954 y en la Convención de 1961, ambas aprobadas por la Asamblea General de Naciones Unidas. Se trata de un limbo legal que afecta a unos diez millones de personas en el mundo.

La historia de Marah se remonta a 1948, cuando sus abuelos maternos y paternos salieron de Palestina para establecerse en Jordania y Siria respectivamente tras el primer conflicto árabe-israelí. Su madre adoptó la nacionalidad jordana, mientras que su padre permaneció como refugiado palestino apátrida en Siria sin ninguna posibilidad de reconocimiento debido a las leyes del país, condición legal que también adoptó Marah desde su nacimiento, y que comparten más de 5 millones de personas.

Tras haber vivido 13 años en Siria, tuvo que trasladarse a Jordania durante tres años por problemas familiares. “Después de este tiempo volví a Siria y solo seis meses después estalló la guerra en marzo de 2011”, cuenta Marah. “Todos sabíamos que algo iba a pasar en Siria. El presidente reprimió las manifestaciones”, explica refiriéndose a la ola de protestas en Oriente Medio y Norte de África en la Primavera Árabe, que se expandieron a suelo sirio.

“Entonces, nos mudamos a una zona residencial de Damasco donde se ubicaba una fábrica de alimentación. Eso era lo que todo el mundo creía antes de la guerra. Cuando estalló el conflicto, nos dimos cuenta de que realmente producía armamento biológico y que pertenecía al gobierno de Bashar al Assad”, continúa. Aquel enclave se encontraba a medio camino entre el frente del Ejército sirio y el de los rebeldes. “Estuvimos viviendo en la frontera de la guerra. Una vez el ejército sirio entró a mi casa y nos cogió como rehenes porque éramos civiles y pensaban que los rebeldes no iban a disparar. Lo que la gente no sabe es que a los rebeldes tampoco le importan los civiles, así que dispararon”, recuerda.
Marah cursaba estudios de Filología Inglesa e intentaba llevar una vida normal pese al conflicto. “Lo peor de la guerra es el silencio. No saber qué va a pasar. Se presentan cuestiones como volver de la universidad y no encontrar a tu familia o a tus amigos. Hay bombardeos, escasez de alimentos, cortes de electricidad…”.

En 2013, Marah solicitó una beca Erasmus para poder salir del país. “Llegué a España en septiembre y empecé a estudiar Comunicación Audiovisual en la Universidad de Salamanca”, cuenta. “Hablé con varios abogados para hacer reagrupación familiar, porque mi familia se encontraba en Suiza, pero esto no era posible”. Si la situación jurídica de los refugiados ya es complicada, la condición de apátrida de Marah dificulta el proceso legal para buscar su protección en España.

“Somos refugiados, pero podrían llamarnos rechazados”, dice Marah. “Desde las administraciones acorralan a los refugiados. Europa no quiere acoger, no quiere hacer nada, aún sabiendo lo que está pasando”, se queja. “Los refugiados sirios, palestinos, africanos, asiáticos o de cualquier lugar también son seres humanos y con cada uno hay una historia”.

Marah ha conseguido graduarse y elabora una plataforma para desmontar los prejuicios en torno a millones de niños y jóvenes refugiados, para que ellos mismos expliquen sus diferentes realidades, no sólo los medios de comunicación. Además, esta joven trabaja como intérprete voluntaria de español, árabe e inglés con Cruz Roja y ACCEM ONG. Sueña con convertirse en corresponsal y documentalista para poder contar las historias de aquellos que más lo necesitan y así acercar las realidades que conforman el mundo.

Sinay Sánchez
Periodista

Última Actualización: Julio 26 de 2017
Fuente: Centro de Colaboraciones Solidarias

Pentagon May Deport Immigrants Who Have Served in the Military

Viernes, julio 21st, 2017
Pentagon May Deport Immigrants Who Have Served in the Military

Written by Melissa Cruz

The Pentagon is considering halting a program that allows immigrants with urgently needed skills to serve in the military, putting the thousands of soldiers promised expedited citizenship in exchange for their service at risk for deportation.

According to an undated Defense Department memo, the Pentagon may terminate the Military Accessions Vital to National Interest program (MAVNI), an initiative that has allowed noncitizens with specialized linguistic and medical skills to enlist in the military and receive fast-tracked citizenship. Since the program’s launch in 2009, these immigrant troops have filled in the gaps for jobs deemed critical to the military’s operation, but are in short supply in American-born troops.

The memo, however, cites the “potential threat” posed by these immigrant troops, referencing their “higher risk of connections to Foreign Intelligence Services.” Officials have now assigned threat level tiers to the 10,000 troops in the MAVNI program—the majority of whom serve in the Army—despite the rigorous vetting they endured to enter the military in the first place.

Attorney and Retired Lieutenant Coronel Margaret Stock, the founder of the MAVNI program, told NPR that these security concerns were exaggerated: “If you were a bad guy who wanted to infiltrate the Army, you wouldn’t risk the many levels of vetting required in this program.”

Other immigrants would not even be able to reach basic training—ending the MAVNI program would also cancel the contracts of recruits in the delay-entry program, a holding pool of recruits awaiting their assigned training date.

As a result, 1,800 enlistment contracts for immigrant recruits would be cancelled, putting roughly 1,000 at risk for deportation. Those recruits’ visas expired while waiting for the military’s travel orders. An additional 2,400 part-time troops would also be removed from service.

The Pentagon also plans to subject roughly 4,100 service members—most of whom are already naturalized citizens and have been deployed around the world—to “enhanced screening,” though the memo acknowledges the “significant legal constraints” of “continuous monitoring” of citizens without cause.

Stock said the Pentagon’s proposal may violate the U.S. Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause.

“They’re subjecting this whole entire group of people to this extreme vetting, and it’s not based on any individual suspicion of any of these people,” the former lieutenant colonel said. “They’ve passed all kinds of security checks already. That in itself is unconstitutional.”

Though the program itself may have been an Obama-era initiative, immigrant troops have aided the U.S. military for centuries, dating all the way back to the Revolutionary War. To cut this essential program now—particularly as the Trump administration calls for a heightened military presence around the globe—may not only be unconstitutional, it is a disservice to centuries of American military tradition that has relied on the skills of foreign-born service members.

Photo by MarineCorps NewYork

Publication Date: July 21 2017
Source: www.immigrationimpact.com

Yo Lo Hice, Usted También Puede Hacerlo, (Ivonne Wallace Fuentes)

Lunes, julio 17th, 2017
Yo Lo Hice, Usted También Puede Hacerlo, (Ivonne Wallace Fuentes)

Hola Amigo/a,

Le escribo porque me encuentro realmente preocupada por lo que está sucediendo en Washington, DC y aquí mismo en mi propio estado. Nuestra comunidad se encuentra bajo un ataque constante y nuestra familia y amigos corren peligro por la red de políticas antiinmigrantes y leyes estatales que Trump y sus aliados han comenzado a establecer.

Aquí en Virginia, mi propio representante de la Cámara Baja, Bob Goodlatte, está liderando la carga de la agenda antinmigrante de Trump.

Es por esto que decidí hacer algo al respecto.
 

Después de leer la Guía Indivisible, registré un grupo de Resistencia en Roanoke. Empezamos con tan sólo media docena de personas, pero fue todo lo que necesitábamos para hacer la diferencia. En los últimos seis meses, hemos llamado y visitado oficinas de distritos del congreso aquí en Roanoke, haciéndoles rendir cuentas por sus posturas antiinmigrantes. Hemos llevado a cabo foros comunitarios y otras asambleas de constituyentes en donde la comunidad se ha reunido para dejarle saber a nuestros representantes que un ataque contra nuestros vecinos inmigrantes y refugiados es un ataque en contra de todos nosotros. Ahora, tenemos más de mil vecinos permaneciendo indivisible aquí en Roanoke.

Ya no me siento ni sola ni desamparada. Ahora, sé que podemos detener estos ataques contra nuestras familias, pero solamente si las personas – personas como yo, personas como usted – alzamos nuestras voces.

Es por esto que la resistencia necesita que usted lidere.
 

Para asegurar que nuestra voz sea escuchada, el equipo de iAmerica Action ha hecho equipo con Indivisible y con Mi Familia Vota para ayudarles a personas como usted a comenzar nuevos grupos de resistencia locales por todo el país— y le estamos pidiendo que usted comience uno en su comunidad.

¿Se unirá a mí?

Yo Lo Hice, Usted También Puede Hacerlo, (Ivonne Wallace Fuentes)
No se preocupe, le pondremos en contacto con las personas adecuadas y le proporcionaremos toda la ayuda, la guía y tutorial que necesitará para enfrentarse y liderar la lucha en contra de Trump y su cruel agenda.

Gracias,
Ivonne Wallace Fuentes
Líder de Indivisible, Roanoke, Virginia

 

Última Actualización: Julio 17 de 2017
Fuente: www.iamerica.org

Refugiados – Lo Tenían Todo y Lo Han Perdido – Huellas Borradas

Sábado, julio 1st, 2017
Refugiados - Lo Tenían Todo y Lo Han Perdido - Huellas Borradas

Este documental grabado en Turquía, Grecia y la frontera de Macedonia recoge los testimonios de aquellos que tuvieron que huir de la guerra de Siria desplazados por la guerra. Recorremos con un punto de vista diferentes las atrocidades que dejaron atrás y el camino de intolerancia y desamparo que les proporciona Europa a las puertas de sus fronteras y en su propio territorio…

Última Actualización: Julio 01 de 2017
Fuente: Youtube Wolfix Productions

Corte Suprema de Estados Unidos Permite Entrada en Vigor del Veto Migratorio

Martes, junio 27th, 2017
Corte Suprema de Estados Unidos Permite Entrada en Vigor del Veto Migratorio

La Corte Suprema de EE.UU. anunció que autorizará la implementación parcial de la prohibición temporaria de ingreso a EE.UU. a personas provenientes de seis países de mayoría musulmana mientras analiza la constitucionalidad de la orden emitida por el presidente Donald Trump.

La orden ejecutiva de Trump estipulaba una prohibición de noventa días del ingreso a EE.UU. a ciudadanos provenientes de Libia, Irán, Somalia, Sudán, Siria y Yemen y una prohibición de 120 días a todos los refugiados. Se espera que el tribunal escuche los argumentos orales del caso en octubre próximo. Tres jueces, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito y Neil Gorsuch, emitieron un fallo por separado en apoyo a la plena implementación de la prohibición de ingreso.

Para saber más de este tema, puede ver la entrevista que les hicimos (en inglés) a Vince Warren y Dahlia Lithwick. Warren es director ejecutivo del Centro para los Derechos Constitucionales y Lithwick es editora de la revista Slate.com y corresponsal legal y periodista de la Corte Suprema de EE.UU.

“Accedemos a la petición del Gobierno de que se mantengan los requerimientos en la medida que estos requerimientos impiden la aplicación de la orden ejecutiva de Trump con respecto a los ciudadanos extranjeros que carecen de una relación ‘bona fide’ con personas o entidades de Estados Unidos”, se lee en el comunicado difundido por la Corte Suprema.

De este modo, acorde a la segunda versión del veto migratorio impulsado por Trump, se prohíbe la concesión de visados a ciudadanos de seis países de mayoría musulmana (Siria, Irán, Libia, Yemen, Somalia y Sudán).

La acción de la Corte Suprema especifica que el veto migratorio de Trump será efectivo, excepto para las personas que tengan una relación ‘bona fide’ con el país, es decir, las que tengan algún vínculo con Estados Unidos a nivel familiar, laboral, educativo o de otro tipo.

En virtud de un fallo, emitido por la Corte Suprema a principios de esta semana, que levantó la suspensión contra la prohibición, a las personas de Irán, Libia, Siria, Somalia, Sudán y Yemen que no tengan relaciones comerciales o familiares cercanas se les puede negar la visa y no permitirles entrar a Estados Unidos.

El gobierno de Trump dijo que interpretará “familia cercana” como padres, hijos, hermanos y familia política cercana: suegros, nueras, yernos, padrastros e hijastros. Entre los excluidos se encuentran abuelos, nietos, tíos y primos. El Departamento de Estado declaró el jueves que permitirá viajar a las parejas prometidas de los países afectados, tras haber dicho inicialmente que también tendrían prohibido el ingreso.

 

Última Actualización: Junio 28 de 2017
Fuente: YouTube HispanTV y www.democracynow.org

Niños Refugiados y Migrantes Que Viajan Solos Aumentan Cada Día

Martes, junio 13th, 2017
Niños Refugiados y Migrantes Que Viajan Solos Aumentan Cada Día

El número de niños refugiados y migrantes que viajan solos por el mundo casi se ha quintuplicado desde 2010, una cifra sin precedentes según un nuevo informe de UNICEF. Por lo menos 300.000 niños no acompañados o separados fueron registrados en 80 países en 2015 y 2016, frente a los 66.000 entre 2010 y 2011.

El informe “Ante todo son niños: Proteger a los niños refugiados y migrantes contra la violencia, el abuso y la explotación” presenta una visión mundial sobre la situación de los niños refugiados y migrantes, los motivos que les obligan a partir y los riesgos que enfrentan en el camino. El informe muestra que un número cada vez mayor de estos niños están tomando rutas altamente peligrosas para llegar a sus destinos, y que están a menudo a merced de contrabandistas y traficantes. Esta situación justifica claramente la necesidad de establecer un sistema de protección mundial para mantenerlos a salvo de la explotación, el abuso y la muerte.

“Un niño que se desplaza solo es ya una cifra excesiva y, sin embargo, ya hay un número asombroso de niños que están en esa situación; nosotros, como adultos, no les estamos protegiendo”, dijo el Director Ejecutivo Adjunto de UNICEF, Justin Forsyth. “Tratantes y traficantes despiadados están explotando su vulnerabilidad para su beneficio personal, ayudando a los niños a cruzar las fronteras sólo para venderlos como esclavos u obligándoles a prostituirse. Es inconcebible que no estemos defendiendo adecuadamente a los niños contra estos depredadores”.

El informe incluye la historia de Mary, una niña de 17 años de Nigeria que tuvo que enfrentarse personalmente al trauma de la trata durante su horrible viaje hasta Italia a través de Libia. Al describir al contrabandista convertido en traficante que se ofreció a ayudarla, afirmó: “Todo lo que dijo, que nos tratarían bien y que estaríamos a salvo, era falso. Era una mentira”. Mary estuvo atrapada por más de tres meses en Libia, donde sufrió abusos. “Me dijo que si no dormía con él no me traería a Europa. Me violó”.

Otras conclusiones clave del informe incluyen:

  • 200.000 niños no acompañados solicitaron asilo en unos 80 países en 2015-2016.
  • 100.000 niños no acompañados fueron detenidos en la frontera entre México y Estados Unidos en 2015-2016.
  • 170.000 niños no acompañados solicitaron asilo en Europa en 2015-2016.
  • Los niños no acompañados y separados representaron el 92% de todos los niños que llegaron a Italia por mar en 2016 y los primeros meses de 2017.
  • Los niños representan aproximadamente el 28% de las víctimas de la trata en todo el mundo.
  • África subsahariana y América Central y el Caribe registran la mayor proporción de niños entre las víctimas detectadas de la trata de personas, un 64% y un 62%, respectivamente.
  • Hasta un 20% de los contrabandistas tienen vínculos con redes de trata de seres humanos.

 

En vísperas de la Cumbre del G7 en Italia, UNICEF pide a los gobiernos que adopten su programa de acción de seis puntos para proteger a los niños refugiados y migrantes y garantizar su bienestar.

“Estos niños necesitan un compromiso real de los gobiernos de todo el mundo para garantizar su seguridad durante sus viajes”, dijo Forsyth. “Los dirigentes que se van a reunir la próxima semana en el G7 deberían encabezar este esfuerzo y ser los primeros en comprometerse con nuestro programa de seis puntos para la acción”.

El programa de UNICEF para la acción consiste en las siguientes medidas:

  • 1. Proteger a los niños refugiados y migrantes de la explotación y la violencia, especialmente a los niños no acompañados.
  • 2. Acabar con la detención de niños que buscan refugio o migran, introduciendo una serie de alternativas prácticas.
  • 3. Mantener la unión familiar como la mejor manera de proteger a los niños y darles un estatus legal.
  • 4. Mantener el acceso de los niños refugiados y migrantes a la educación y a servicios de calidad de salud y de otro tipo.
  • 5. Pedir que se tomen medidas sobre las causas subyacentes de los movimientos de gran escala de personas refugiadas y migrantes.
  • 6. Promover medidas para combatir la xenofobia, la discriminación y la marginalización en los países de tránsito y destino.

UNICEF también insta al público a que se solidarice con los niños desarraigados por la guerra, la violencia y la pobreza apoyando el programa de acción de seis puntos.

Descargar aquí el informe completo: https://www.unicef.org/publications/index_95956.html

Última Actualización: Junio 13 de 2017
Fuente: UNICEF

Basta De Excusas. No Más Barreras. Queremos Acoger ¡Ya!

Domingo, junio 11th, 2017
Basta De Excusas. No Más Barreras. Queremos Acoger ¡Ya!

La situación es insostenible. Estamos sufriendo, en pleno siglo XXI, la mayor crisis humanitaria de personas refugiadas y migrantes desde la Segunda Guerra Mundial. El número de personas que huyen de su país para salvar sus vidas por conflictos armados, vulneración de derechos, violencia y persecuciones, aumenta cada día. Ya son más de 65 millones en todo el mundo.

En 2016, 1.259.265 trataron de encontrar refugio en Europa solicitando protección internacional, de las cuales solo 15.755 lo hicieron en España. El mar Mediterráneo se ha convertido en la mayor vergüenza de Europa; en los últimos 17 años, 35.000 personas han perdido la vida en sus aguas, y solo desde 2016 lo han hecho casi 7.000, entre las que se encuentran niñas y niños que se han quedado sin futuro.

Y lo que es peor… nuestro Gobierno mira hacia otro lado, mientras estas muertes podrían haberse evitado si las personas hubiesen contado con vías legales y seguras para obtener protección.

Además, nuestras multinacionales, al igual que las de otras potencias mundiales, están también en el origen de las causas de estas migraciones forzosas: guerras provocadas por intereses económicos y energéticos, vulneración de derechos, esclavitud laboral…

Mientras tanto, ¿Qué hace Europa, ¿qué hace España? Lejos de dar una respuesta a favor de las personas, hemos blindado nuestras fronteras ante la llegada de miles y miles de personas buscando refugio, hemos endurecido las políticas de asilo para que cada vez sea más difícil acceder al derecho de protección internacional, y hemos apoyado acuerdos “ilegales” con terceros países no seguros, como Turquía o países africanos, para que sean éstos los que se encarguen de “gestionar” el futuro de millones de personas que huyen de la guerra o cuyas vidas corren peligro por algún tipo de persecución.

Personas cuyos derechos humanos están siendo reiteradamente vulnerados, primero en sus países de origen y luego cuando llegan al nuestro, a pesar de todas las leyes internacionales y declaraciones universales que obligan a España a ofrecer protección internacional. Vivimos una crisis del Estado de Derecho.

Para colmo, el Gobierno español tampoco está siendo capaz de cumplir sus propios compromisos. Miles de personas siguen esperando en campos de refugiados dentro y fuera de Europa, en condiciones infrahumanas, para ser acogidas.

En septiembre de este año finaliza el plazo para que España acoja a las 17.337 con las que se comprometió. Hasta hoy, solo hemos acogido al 7% de todas ellas. Un porcentaje vergonzoso que nos da el récord en la falta de cumplimiento del acuerdo respecto al resto de países europeos.

Además, las políticas de asilo españolas durante 2016 han limitado al máximo el derecho de asilo a miles de personas que no huyen del conflicto sirio, pero sí de otros, y que también sufren violaciones de sus derechos.

Ahora más que nunca, es necesario y urgente que toda la ciudadanía, colectivos, asociaciones, entidades y movimientos sociales salgamos a la calle para decir alto y claro lo que queremos.

  • Queremos una Europa Acogedora, NO una Europa Fortaleza.
  • Que se proteja el derecho a la vida y al refugio, NO que se vulneren los derechos de las personas que intentan llegar a nuestras fronteras huyendo de la muerte.
  • Que se acoja a estas personas cumpliendo con la legislación internacional y que no se incumplan los compromisos y obligaciones adquiridos. NO se puede expulsar a nadie a países no seguros.

 

Todas juntas exigimos que las personas que huyen de sus países sean tratadas según sus derechos y por tanto puedan solicitar la protección internacional que les corresponde en países como España, sin trabas y de forma efectiva.

  • Que España, y el resto de los países europeos, garantice para ello el acceso a unas vías legales y seguras, como corredores humanitarios o la posibilidad de solicitar asilo en embajadas.
  • Que España y el resto de gobiernos de la UE adopten medidas urgentes de acogida, y las apliquen de inmediato, haciendo especial hincapié en las necesidades especiales de protección de las personas en situación de vulnerabilidad como niños y niñas, mujeres y personas LGTBI.
  • Que la Unión Europea suspenda la firma y los acuerdos de control fronterizo, retorno y readmisión con países que no respetan los Derechos Humanos.
  • Que España y la UE lleven a cabo políticas de acogida que garanticen la dignidad y la inclusión de las personas refugiadas y migrantes.

 

Y por supuesto, que los gobiernos refuercen la cooperación al desarrollo para trabajar en las causas que provocan los desplazamientos de las personas refugiadas, para evitar que sigan huyendo.

Por todas estas razones, el próximo sábado 17 de junio, saldremos a la calle a mostrar nuestra indignación. Y a exigir al Gobierno de España, y a la UE en su conjunto, que no juegue con la vida de millones de personas y ofrezca unas políticas migratorias y de acogida que garanticen los derechos humanos.

Esta movilización ha sido convocada por más de un centenar de organizaciones y plataformas sociales, sindicales y políticas. Suma tu apoyo firmando el manifiesto.
Puedes contactarnos en Twitter y en esta dirección de correo electrónico: queremosacogerya@gmail.com

Última Actualización: Junio 10 de 2017
Fuente: www.queremosacogerya.org/

La Unión Europea Usa Fondos De La Lucha Contra La Pobreza Para Frenar La Llegada De Migrantes

Martes, mayo 30th, 2017
La Unión Europea Usa Fondos De La Lucha Contra La Pobreza Para Frenar La Llegada De Migrantes

Nutriéndose de fondos europeos de cooperación al desarrollo, la Unión Europea financia en países africanos equipos militares, formación de policías, centros para migrantes repatriados y sistemas para la recogida de datos que garantizarán en Europa el reconocimiento del país de origen, lo que facilitará las expulsiones. Los objetivos: controlar las migraciones desde África, así como fortalecer los Gobiernos del país de origen y de tránsito de las rutas migratorias para frenar a quienes aspiran a cruzar el Mediterráneo. El Fondo Fiduciario de Emergencia para África ha asignado alrededor de 600 millones de euros a esta finalidad. El fondo ha sido criticado por financiar proyectos en Estados con regímenes acusados de crímenes contra la humanidad, como Sudán y Eritrea, así como por utilizar dinero del presupuesto destinado a la lucha contra la pobreza.

En octubre de 2015, los líderes de los Estados europeos dieron vida al Fondo Fiduciario de Emergencia para África, un instrumento fuera del control del Parlamento Europeo que tiene como objetivo financiar iniciativas para afrontar las causas de las migraciones irregulares.

Hoy, el Trust Fund cuenta con 2.820 millones de euros, el 95% de los cuales provienen de instrumentos de la UE dedicados a la cooperación y a la ayuda humanitaria.
El informe del Trust Fund de 2016 enumera 106 proyectos aprobados hasta el momento por un total de casi 1.600 millones de euros. En Mali, la riqueza está tan vinculada a las remesas de los migrantes –800 millones de dólares solo a través de canales oficiales en 2016– que cuenta con un ministerio para los malienses en el extranjero. El fondo fiduciario ha aprobado un proyecto de 25 millones de euros para consolidar el registro civil en el país africano. Con él, se pretende crear un archivo informático de huellas digitales y otras características fisiológicas, para identificar a los inmigrantes malienses en situación irregular en el extranjero y, con ello, favorecer las repatriaciones. El mismo proyecto se desarrollará en Senegal, con un coste de 28 millones de euros. En ambos países los fondos serán gestionados por la cooperación belga y por la empresa francesa Civipol.

El Parlamento Europeo ha denunciado que el Trust Fund “viola las Reglas Financieras y compromete los éxitos de las estrategias a largo plazo” de cooperación al desarrollo de la UE a través de varias resoluciones. “Existe el riesgo de que se concentren las ayudas en los países interesados en las rutas hacia Europa y nos olvidemos de los países más pobres”, afirma “El objetivo de la cooperación al desarrollo es solo uno: la erradicación de la pobreza y la reducción de las desigualdades”, añade Schelein, quien lidera un grupo de trabajo sobre migrantes y refugiados en la Comisión de Desarrollo del Euro parlamento. “Me gustaría entender cómo los proyectos de formación y gestión de fronteras pueden reducir la pobreza y la desigualdad, porque me parece que hacen lo contrario. Existe el riesgo de que los aumenten aún más”.

Las afirmaciones de Schlein son compartidas por el Parlamento Europeo, que ha criticado a la Comisión en varias resoluciones por haber “desviado créditos de los objetivos y principios establecidos para canalizarlos a través del Fondo Fiduciario de la UE para África”, lo que representa “una violación de las reglas financieras y compromete el éxito de las estrategias a largo plazo de la Unión”.

Desde la Comisión Europea defienden que la “U E reconoce una relación entre la seguridad y el desarrollo”, lo que se materializa en diferentes iniciativas, como la formación de las fuerzas del orden y su equipamiento”.

En cuanto al cambio de dirección de los fondos, objeta: “La operación Trust Fund se encuentra en la línea con nuestros procedimientos” y reivindica la transparencia del fondo.

La Agencia Francesa de Cooperación (AFC) gestiona con Civipol en Níger el proyecto “Apoyo a la justicia, a la seguridad y a la gestión de las fronteras” por un importe de 30 millones de euros. El director de la AFC, subraya que la agencia “se ocupa del reforzamiento de la agencia nacional para la lucha contra las migraciones irregulares mientras que Civipol apoya a la policía y a las fuerzas del orden”.

Este proyecto destina 20 millones de euros al Gobierno nigerino como “apoyo a su presupuesto”. Su objetivo es la aplicación de la ley contra el tráfico de personas. Esta normativa, promulgada por el Gobierno de Níger tras presiones europeas, ha influido en la reducción de las salidas hacia Libia desde la región nigerina de Agadez y en el establecimiento de caminos alternativos por Mali y Chad.

Las rutas alternativas nacidas después del cierre de los pasos tradicionales evitan los centros urbanos, lo que las hace más peligrosas la misión de la Comisión Europea para asistir y apoyar a las fuerzas de seguridad del país.

Se destinan 28 millones de euros al equipamiento de las fuerzas de seguridad. EUCAP Sahel Níger también ha coordinado el inicio del proyecto –financiado por el Trust Fund con 6 millones–, en el que las fuerzas de la policía francesa y española, colaboraron en la creación de un equipo de policía especializado en las investigaciones sobre redes de inmigración irregular en Níger.

Ludovica Jona
Desde Romd

Última Actualización: Mayo 30 de 2017
Fuente: Centro de Colaboraciones Solidarias

The Perils of Expedited Removal How Fast-Track Deportations Jeopardize Asylum Seekers Part III

Lunes, mayo 29th, 2017
The Perils of Expedited Removal How Fast-Track Deportations Jeopardize Asylum Seekers Part III

By Kathryn Shepherd and Royce Bernstein Murray

Pitfalls in Protection

The South Texas Family Residential Center (STFRC) opened in December 2014, the same month the Artesia family detention center in rural New Mexico—which had bed space for 700 mothers and their children—closed. Several partner organizations launched a pro bono representation project in Dilley, Texas (“Project”), in order to provide legal and advocacy services to the hundreds of detained mothers and children at the STFRC. Since then, a team of attorneys, legal assistants, and volunteers have consistently worked to ensure that services are provided to all of the women and children who request them.

Legal assistance helps prepare asylum seekers for their screening interviews with an asylum officer, ensure they have representation in immigration court proceedings, and receive pre-release advisals—including the importance of finding competent legal counsel, meeting pertinent filing deadlines, and appearing for scheduled court hearings. As of March 2017, the Project had provided direct legal services to over 40,000 women and children in Dilley alone, including the clients whose accounts are included in this report.

The presence of an on-site legal project in a family detention facility has offered a unique view of how the expedited removal process works in practice. This perspective broadens the understanding of the process’ deficiencies that have been noted previously. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, for example, documented in 2005 and again in 2016 sustained problems with how the U.S. government treats arriving asylum seekers. Beyond observing the mechanics of the bureaucracy, legal teams working nearly around the clock have intimately witnessed the pitfalls in the system that make it especially challenging for detained families to succeed with their claims for protection. The most egregious challenges these mothers and children face include (a) a high incidence of trauma among detainees; (b) separation of family members after arriving at the border; (c) medical conditions that adversely impact the ability to pursue protection; (d) limited access to language services; (e) the complexity of the legal standard in credible fear proceedings; and (f) procedural issues in the screening process. The following case stories help to illustrate how these pitfalls place families at risk of being sent back to the fear and persecution they fled.

High Incidence of Trauma

“I did not want anyone to know what had happened to me and I did not want to remember that moment. When I retell it, I feel like I am living that moment again. I feel his hands all over me, the fear for my daughter. I do not want to be in that place.”

These are the words of 26-year-old Gloria, an asylum seeker from Guatemala, who fled her home with her then 6-year-old daughter after many months of extortion demands and death threats from members of the M-18 transnational criminal organization (TCO), culminating in a traumatizing sexual assault by an M-18 member.
Women and children in family detention often suffer from psychological problems—such as depression and anxiety—related to trauma they experienced in the countries from which they fled, which is often compounded by their treacherous journeys to the United States. The effects of these traumatic experiences can be exacerbated by detention; the loss of control over one’s life and circumstances, and the feeling of being trapped, can remind detainees of past trauma and retrigger feelings of victimization and shame.

Moreover, feelings related to past persecution or trauma may prevent a woman from telling her entire story during the screening process, such as in her credible fear interview or when seeking an immigration judge’s review of a negative credible fear finding. Valeria, a Guatemalan survivor of rape, described explicitly how her past trauma impacted her physically and her ability to remember facts. She said:

“I get very nervous when I talk about how my father beat and sexually assaulted me or about how Juan raped me. When I get nervous, I forget things. For example, during my interview, I said that I had 7 brothers and sisters. In front of the immigration judge, I said that I have 6. I don’t know why I said the numbers wrong. I just can’t answer questions when I’m nervous. I forget everything. I actually have three brothers and sisters.

When I talk about the abuse I’ve suffered and my nerves start, I get terrible headaches and pains in my stomach. I don’t want to remember what happened to me. It hurts to remember. I’m still so afraid of my father.”

Another mother, Camila, was pregnant when she fled El Salvador with her 12-year-old child. They were kidnapped for six days in Mexico on their way to the United States and, as a result, Camila suffered a miscarriage. Camila described the ordeal:

“On December 2 I was kidnapped in the Mexican city of Villahermosa, Tabasco, while traveling via bus. They took us to a house in the middle of nowhere and there were lots of other people there, about twenty and then they kept bringing more. It was very traumatic being there. I had to watch as they tortured people; they would nearly drown people in a barrel of water and use a noose to nearly suffocate people. On December 3, I lost my baby to a miscarriage, from suffering such a horrible fear that I don’t want to live through again.”

Camila was profoundly traumatized when she arrived at the detention center in Dilley. Her attorneys with the Project contacted detention facility staff to request that she receive psychological counseling as a result of the trauma she endured in Mexico. They requested copies of her medical and psychological records, knowing that such documentation could positively impact her case.

Separation of Family Members after Arriving at the Border

Families also experience trauma when they are separated from loved ones at or near the border, when they are transferred to different detention centers around the country, or when some family members are released while others remain detained. Although the notion of “family detention” suggests that all families arriving at the U.S. border are kept intact, this is far from the truth. Husbands are typically separated from wives, adult children are not detained with minor siblings or their parents, and children are separated from grandparents or adults other than their mothers. With the exception of a handful of beds available at the small family detention facility in Berks County, Pennsylvania, DHS does not detain fathers and children together.

Luciana fled El Salvador with her two daughters, 13-year-old Ximena and 18-year-old Isabella, and her two-year-old granddaughter Hildana. Members of the MS-13 gang had murdered Luciana’s niece for refusing to join their gang, and Luciana feared that her daughters would meet the same fate. When she arrived at the border, Luciana was separated from her 18-year-old daughter, who was placed in an adult detention facility, and her granddaughter, who was treated as an unaccompanied child and transferred to a shelter run by the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Refugee Resettlement. Luciana described her anxiety:

Hildana was sleeping in my arms when a female officer came in. She told me that I had to hand the baby over to her. I began to pass Hildana to the woman when she woke up and began to cry. I also began to cry. Hildana was crying and screaming out for me saying, ‘Mami! Mami!’ Hildana is like my own daughter because I have raised her since she was only one year old.

This is the last time I saw Hildana. I don’t know where she is, but I know that they have called my daughter in Virginia. She still is not with my daughter in Virginia. It has been almost two weeks since I saw either Hildana or Isabella . . . . The days here are very long. I stay awake at night thinking about Isabella and Hildana, wondering where they are, how they are, and worrying about them. My other daughter who is still with me, Ximena, is my only consolation. She is my only source of comfort.

I try to be strong for Ximena. If Ximena sees that I am sad, she cries and she doesn’t eat. I pray [that] the day we are all together is soon. What really concerns me is that Isabella is only 18 years old. She is a young girl—she is not an adult yet. If she was an adult, I would not be so worried. She needs her mother. I do not think they should separate my children from me. ”

Isabella was transferred to the Laredo Detention Center and subsequently to the T. Don Hutto Detention Center, both in Texas. Her current whereabouts remain unknown, though it is likely that she was deported back to El Salvador. Luciana passed her credible fear interview and was released with her then 13-year-old daughter, Ximena, to family in Virginia while they continued to fight their asylum cases in immigration court. If Isabella had not been separated from her mother and sister, or if her case had been linked to her mother’s, she would have been able to pursue her claim for asylum before the immigration court.

Even when families arrive at the border fully intact, as in Luciana’s case, they can be detained separately. When both a mother and father are part of the family unit, separation is particularly likely. For example, Fernanda and her husband, Josef, fled Cuba together with their 9-year-old daughter, but were separated after arriving at the U.S. border. Josef was transferred to the Otay Detention Facility in San Diego, California, apart from his wife and daughter. According to the Asylum Office, Josef did not claim a fear of persecution, even though he crossed the border at the same time as his family and fled Cuba for the same reasons: Fernanda spoke out against state corruption and was threatened with imprisonment and torture as a result. Josef remains detained in California, while his wife and child have been released and are living with family in Miami while their case is pending. Josef sought release from Otay in order to continue fighting his case in Miami, where his family is located, but DHS denied his request.

The family’s separation resulted in a number of additional hurdles in their asylum cases. Fernanda and her daughter are fighting deportation in a different jurisdiction than Josef, and being apart has caused ongoing trauma for Fernanda, Josef, and their daughter. Family separation increases the likelihood that a family will receive different decisions in their cases. Children, for example, often do not fully understand why a parent has decided to flee, or a woman may not have access to documents in her husband’s possession that may help corroborate a claim for relief. Such challenges only make it that much more difficult to obtain asylum.

Medical Conditions Adversely Impact the Ability to Pursue Protection

By the time most mothers and their minor children are transferred to family detention, they have spent several days in CBP processing facilities near the U.S.-Mexico border. While many of these women and children arrive at the border with serious medical issues that either pre-date their journeys or appear en route to the United States, other medical conditions develop while the mother or child is detained. Medical problems can, at a minimum, be a major distraction and detract from a mother’s ability to focus on making a successful claim for relief; but at worst, medical issues can materially and adversely impact a detainee’s testimony during a credible fear interview or review by an immigration judge. Some of the medical conditions experienced by the women and children detained in Dilley include seizure disorders, pregnancy, cancer, flu, and—very frequently—the physical manifestations of psychological trauma.

These health conditions regularly inhibit detained mothers and children from fully describing in their credible fear interviews their past experiences and fears of future persecution. Mothers frequently state that their anxiety due to sick children or their own illnesses detrimentally affects their ability to focus and articulate critical aspects of their claims during their interviews. This, in turn, can lead to negative decisions in their cases from asylum officers or an immigration judge, and ultimately to deportation.

Ana Sofia, for example, believes she received a negative decision from an asylum officer because she was not feeling well during her credible fear interview and thus could not fully articulate her claim. She explained:

The day of the interview I wasn’t feeling well. In Guatemala I was diagnosed with low blood pressure and I have not taken my medication since I left Guatemala. I also suffer from severe headaches, knee pain, and stomachaches. I’ve become very forgetful. I also tend to get nervous, and when I get nervous, my symptoms get worse. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen if I didn’t attend the interview, [so] I forced myself to go. I realized that I don’t even remember some of my answers. I only pray to have an opportunity to present my case.

Medical conditions had an adverse impact in another case: Antonia and her 2-year-old daughter, Rosaline. They fled Haiti after years of extreme domestic violence at the hands of Antonia’s partner, who stabbed her with a knife and a machete, attempted to choke her, threatened to kill her on numerous occasions, and even raped repeatedly and impregnated Antonia’s 14-year old-daughter, who went into hiding in Haiti as a result. Antonia suffers from a seizure disorder in addition to other medical conditions which impaired her ability to fully articulate her claim for asylum. She said:

I want to explain my claim more clearly and explain why I am having trouble articulating my claim.

I am learning more and more that I am in great need of medication to help me feel better and control my feelings. I have had two seizures since I have been in custody. I have never felt this way before and I have never suffered any seizures before that I know of. I have received medical attention since I have been in [U.S.] custody, but I don’t fully understand my treatment. No one has really explained to me what is wrong. I am currently taking one pill three times a day. I have a headache all of the time. The pill that I take makes me very sleepy during the day.

I feel very depressed, stressed, and overwhelmed. My eyes hurt and I feel sad all of the time. I try not to think about what happened to me and I try to block it out. I have never had to tell anyone about the hurt and pain that I feel. When I try to recount what happened in Haiti and in Brazil I become overcome with sadness and I feel like I am being physically stabbed. Sometimes I feel like I can’t go on. I forget things and I don’t feel like my memory is fully intact. ”

The very nature of detention and expedited removal frequently means that there is pressure on both the government and the detainees to move quickly, irrespective of illness. Without a clear sense of whether trying to reschedule a credible fear interview would negatively impact the outcome or extend one’s time in detention, detainees often proceed with their interviews even when their health is suffering.

Limited Access to Language Services

While the majority of families who are transferred to family detention speak Spanish, many do not. Women who speak Mayan languages such as Ixil, K’iche’, Mam, Popti’, and Q’anjob’al are present at the Dilley facility, as are families who speak Middle Eastern languages—including Syrian Arabic, Dari, and Farsi; African languages such as Amharic, Brazilian Portuguese, and increasingly, Haitian Creole. The lack of adequate language services for some families has led to additional challenges in the credible fear process, prolonged detention and, in some cases, wrongful deportation. This has been especially problematic for indigenous and other “rare language” speakers and has been well-documented since the first days of Dilley’s opening.

Many rare language speakers are exempt from the fear interview, on the basis that the asylum office is unable to locate an interpreter in a timely manner, and are placed in standard removal proceedings before an immigration judge instead. However, individuals whose primary language is not Spanish are still required to undergo the credible fear interview in some instances, such as when the detainee is not appropriately identified as a rare language speaker. Vanessa, a mother who was detained in Dilley with her 8-year-old son after fleeing Guatemala in December 2015, experienced these hurdles as a rare language speaker. Vanessa grew up in a small village in Guatemala where many inhabitants, including her mother and grandparents, exclusively spoke Mam—not Spanish. Vanessa had trouble understanding the asylum officer, who conducted the interview with a Spanish interpreter, and as a result she failed to tell the officer that she was threatened with rape several times by gang members. She described the challenges she encountered:

I grew up speaking Mam and it is my first language. Where I grew up the people in my household spoke Mam. My mother spoke Mam. Mam is the language in which I converse with my friends and family and conduct my daily business when I am in Guatemala. I get confused when I speak Spanish and I often don’t understand what people are saying to me in Spanish….

I have not been able to explain myself well because I do not speak very much Spanish [and] I often feel like I don’t have the words to express myself adequately… Because I keep being asked so many questions in Spanish I feel very confused and I am not able to express myself. ”

Another Mam speaker, Hilda, described her difficulty in communicating upon her arrival at Dilley. She said:

When I arrived at the facility on August 26 the officials asked me what language I spoke. I told them that I spoke Mam. And I told [them] that my religion was Mam as well. I have never had the opportunity to speak with any officials in Mam. Everything is done in Spanish and they never find a Mam interpreter. This includes all of my meetings with [the] immigration officials when they are explaining the immigration process. Everything is in Spanish.”

Even when the asylum office is able to locate an interpreter for a rare language, the applicant may still encounter problems when there are distinct dialects that can be unintelligible. In another case, the interpreter at Magdalena’s credible fear interview did not speak her dialect of K’iche’. Magdalena’s attorney contacted the asylum office following her interview to notify them that Magdalena had problems during her interview. The attorney stated, “[Magdalena] informed us that although she was provided with a K’iche’ interpreter at her interview this morning, she had difficulty understanding because the interpreter spoke a different K’iche’ dialect. ”

Complexity of the Legal Standard in the Credible Fear Interview Process

Although the credible fear interview is designed to be a preliminary screening, the threshold standard that applicants must meet is far from straightforward. During a screening for a credible fear of persecution, an asylum seeker must show that there is a significant possibility of success if permitted to apply for asylum in the United States. In order to qualify for asylum, an applicant must meet the statutory definition of a “refugee”: a person in a foreign country who has a well-founded fear of persecution on account of one of five protected grounds: race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. The requirement that one’s fear of harm must have a connection, or nexus, to a protected ground is often the most difficult element of a protection claim for asylum seekers to establish—particularly when they are subjected to an expedited process or do not have the assistance of an attorney.

In the majority of negative credible fear decisions reviewed by the Project, claims had been denied based on failure to establish a nexus to a protected ground. One such case involved Josie and her son Hilario, who received negative decisions from the asylum office due to a lack of nexus between the harm they experienced in El Salvador and one of the protected grounds. Josie was eventually given another interview after her attorneys submitted additional evidence showing that Edwin, a friend of Hilario’s who had fled to the United States under similar circumstances, had been apprehended by Mexican immigration authorities and deported back to El Salvador. Within days of Edwin’s return to El Salvador, the same men who were hunting Hilario kidnapped and murdered Edwin and left his body in the street. The attorneys also submitted a letter of support from U.S. Senator Kristin Gillibrand (NY), and an op-ed was published in a major media outlet highlighting Josie’s story. This level of legal intervention is not typical, but in Josie and Hilario’s case it was required to overturn the negative decision affirmed by an immigration judge and the four declined requests for reconsideration sent to the asylum office. While all families do not receive this level of advocacy, it should not be necessary just to survive a preliminary screening interview.

Understanding the concept of “nexus” to a protected ground in order to establish eligibility for asylum can be challenging for an immigration judge or seasoned attorney to grasp, as the statute remains open to interpretation and the case law is constantly developing. The legal standard is even more difficult for a detainee to comprehend, particularly if a detained mother or her children are simultaneously grappling with health issues, dealing with trauma, or experiencing language barriers that distract and cause additional confusion in their cases. This is especially true for those who lack the competency to proceed with their cases.

In the case of Josefina and her 11-year-old son, Ignacio, legal representatives with CARA—an umbrella coalition that included the Project—working with the family recognized competency issues. The asylum office had already scheduled a credible fear interview, and Josefina’s attorney requested that the family be released without undergoing the interview process. The request to the asylum office stated in part:

Josefina is unable to respond to simple questions. Through extensive questioning, we have been able to learn from Josefina that she has a fourth-grade education, though she says that she completed the fourth grade when she was 16 years old. Although she can recognize some words, for example, the name of her department in Guatemala, and claims to have basic literacy skills, she was unable to respond to the simple, Spanish-language biographic questions on CARA’s client intake paperwork, and could provide biographic information to CARA only in response to intensive one-on-one, verbal assistance with a CARA volunteer who wrote down her answers. Even then, Josefina repeatedly responded ‘yes’ or ‘no’ in response to basic open-ended questions seeking biographic information (and not seeking ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers).

Josefina’s 11-year-old son Ignacio also appears to have competency issues. CARA staff spoke with Ignacio after meeting with Josefina, and observed that Ignacio appears to lack a basic understanding of his surroundings and may not be able to comprehend abstract concepts. He also is unable to respond even to simple questions. CARA staff initiated the conversation with age-appropriate, rapport-building questions, but Ignacio was not able to respond. When CARA staff asked Ignacio what his favorite color was, he replied ‘what is color?’ CARA staff explained what a color is and gave him examples of colors, and again asked what his favorite color was. He responded, ‘no.’”

Despite these competency concerns, DHS did not release Josefina and her son or place them in standard removal proceedings rather than the expedited removal process. Instead, they were required to appear before the asylum office for a credible fear interview; fortunately, they managed to receive positive decisions and were later released to pursue their claims for asylum before the immigration judge. Josefina’s case shows that even when the asylum office is notified in advance of demonstrated competency concerns, the credible fear interview may still proceed, and with no guarantee of a full hearing before an immigration judge.

Perceived low comprehension similarly prohibited another asylum seeker, Maite, from fully grasping the interview process. As a result, she failed to talk about her history of serious domestic violence at the hands of her ex-partner, the father of her daughter. A legal assistant who helped to prepare Maite for her interview with the asylum office and subsequent review by the immigration judge described her observation of Maite’s low comprehension:

Though I have seen a wide range of responses to such trauma, and the spectrum of ‘normal’ is diverse and broad, Maite demonstrates an unusual inability to process her experiences and understand the legal system she must navigate. Unlike the vast majority of the clients I have worked with, Maite is unable to reflect back any of the conversations we have had regarding next steps.

Maite has significant difficulty comprehending abstract concepts and the legal structures surrounding her case. She struggles to articulate past harm in a linear, clear fashion. At her [credible fear interview] on July 1, 2016, she failed to communicate a significant history of physical and sexual abuse, because she did not realize its relevance to her asylum claim. ”

Despite the many challenges that Maite faced throughout the credible fear process, a sympathetic immigration judge overturned Maite’s negative decision after her attorney submitted a detailed declaration explaining the issues that had prevented her from fully articulating her claim during her interview.

Procedural Problems in the Fear Interview Process

Within a few days of arriving at the detention center in Dilley, a mother—and in some cases, her children—undergoes a credible fear interview with the Asylum Office. Whenever possible, one of the Project’s legal assistants or attorney meets with the family a day before the interview to explain what to expect during the interview and help them prepare their testimony.

The interview itself can be nerve-wracking and, for many, a completely unfamiliar experience. Seldom does the asylum officer speak the applicant’s language well enough to conduct the interview without a telephonic interpreter, and the layout of the interview itself—with the interviewer in front of a computer screen sitting at a desk across from the mother—can create an adversarial environment. Applicants may also hesitate to trust the telephonic interpreter (who is not visible to the officer or the detainee) or fail to understand the interpreter’s and officer’s obligations to maintain confidentiality.

In the case of Fiorella, the use of a phone interpreter made her feel uncomfortable and prevented her from sharing important details. She said:

I could not express myself fully because I kept losing my train of thought because the officer would cut me off so that the interpreter could finish translating… I felt as though the asylum officer was very dismissive of what I was telling her and would not let me share my story and the real reason why I am afraid to return to Haiti.

In other cases, failure to understand the credible fear interview process may lead some applicants to withhold information. Rodalia left two children behind and fled Honduras with her 13-year-old son, Elias, in July 2016. After receiving a negative decision from the asylum office, she explained to her attorney that she had failed to share parts of her story because she did not know that the interview would be confidential. She explained how she feared for her children in Honduras:

I did not understand during the interview that the things I told the officer would remain confidential. My two older children are still living in Honduras, and I was very worried during the interview that the gangs in my town in Honduras would find out what I had told the immigration authorities in the United States. I was worried that if I told the officer everything that happened, the gangs would hurt or kill my two children who remained in Honduras. Because I was so afraid for my other children, there were certain questions that I did not answer fully. I did not intend to withhold any information, but was very afraid for the lives of my other two children.

The interview experience is also potentially rife with procedural pitfalls. Asylum Officers are required to conduct the interview in compliance with relevant statutes, regulations and guidance, but sometimes fail to do so. For example, officers must ensure that an asylum seeker feels comfortable, ask sufficient follow up questions to reveal critical information in the person’s case, evaluate a parent’s claim for protection separately from the child’s (and vice versa), and “special attention should be paid to the privacy of each family member and to the possibility that victims of domestic abuse, rape and other forms of persecution might not be comfortable speaking in front of other family members.” Even so, these hazards are not always avoided. One mother, Isidora, was interviewed with her daughter Daysi in the room. Isidora said:

We forgot to mention very important things. I didn’t want to mention what was going on because we were interviewed together. My daughter was there, and I didn’t want her to find out and fall into deeper depression…. I did not tell the officer about the [rape by Daysi’s father] or the phone call [that I received from the gang members threatening to kill my daughter first and then end with me] because I did not want my daughter to hear about it, since she is having problems with her stomach and suffers with depression. I am very worried about her.

Isidora states she failed to disclose critical parts of her asylum claim because was afraid that if Daysi learned more about why they fled Honduras, it would worsen her condition. After the interview, the asylum officer determined that Isidora did not have a credible fear of persecution—but an immigration judge reversed the negative decision based on written testimony, and Isidora was not required to verbally discuss the more sensitive aspects of her claim.

On paper, the interview process is designed to elicit responses that may bolster an applicant’s claim for relief; however, what happens in practice may be quite different. In some cases, an asylum officer’s failure to build rapport and ask follow-up questions could prevent a woman from sharing her entire story. For example, Clara, described her discomfort during her interview:

The officer in my opinion was not very interested in what I had to say and I think he did not believe me. I was unable to open up to him about some of the reasons I was afraid because I felt like he wouldn’t believe what I was saying. In my interview, I would try to explain myself further with a question and he would tell me to stop, that I needed to limit the answer to what he was asking. …I didn’t tell him about my uncle being murdered because of this. I just didn’t think he wanted to listen to me anymore.

Asylum officers also struggle at times to build rapport with and adjust their interview style for children, despite specific procedures to do so that are laid out in the Children’s Asylum Guidelines. In certain cases, in addition to interviewing the mother, the asylum officer may interview a minor child about his or her own protection concerns in the home country. The lack of child-friendly questioning left 15-year-old Eduardo feeling uncomfortable sharing his entire story with the asylum officer. He said:

From the beginning, the asylum officer made me feel very uncomfortable and nervous. The asylum officer asked me question after question very quickly. I felt rushed and that I did not have time to answer questions well. At one point during the first interview, towards the beginning, the asylum officer yelled at my mother. This made me even more nervous.

The asylum officer in Eduardo’s case issued a negative decision, which an immigration judge affirmed (or agreed with). However, after Eduardo told his mother that the man who had threatened him in Honduras was the leader of a regional gang—a fact that he did not disclose during his initial credible fear interview— the asylum office agreed to re-interview him. Two days before Eduardo’s birthday, the asylum office reversed their negative decision. As is clear from Eduardo’s account, child asylum seekers are uniquely vulnerable due to their age, maturity, development, level of understanding, and limited ability to communicate. As such, asylum officers have an obligation to adjust their questioning and tailor interviews to the needs of a child during a fear interview.

The Critical Role Attorneys Play in Asylum Proceedings

The importance of legal assistance in asylum cases is evident from the Project, which provides services to the vast majority of families detained in Dilley throughout their credible fear proceedings. The services include screening clients for relief, preparation for the credible fear interview, occasional representation at the credible fear interview, and representation at bond hearings and immigration judge reviews of negative credible fear decisions.

When an asylum officer makes a negative credible fear finding, the decision must be approved by a Supervisory Asylum Officer before U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) serves the decision on the family. The family can then seek review of the asylum officer’s decision in a brief hearing before the immigration judge, called a Negative Credible Fear Review (NCFR) or an “IJ (immigration judge) Review.” This review takes place in a traditional immigration court setting, whether the judge appears via televideo conference from an immigration court in another city (the long-standing practice) or in person (a more recent development as of mid-March 2017).

In practice, however, the IJ Review bears little or no resemblance to a traditional immigration court hearing. The mother, child, or their attorney of record has a very limited opportunity to present evidence or participate meaningfully. The detainee’s attorney is generally not permitted to speak during the IJ Review or present a theory of the case, case law, or arguments—which may demonstrate the applicant’s eligibility for asylum or withholding of removal. The attorney is limited to submitting a declaration and supporting documents—such as a police report or death certificate—that may corroborate the applicant’s testimony and claim of past persecution or fear of future persecution upon return to the country.

On some occasions, the court has attempted to limit the volume of evidence submitted, or objected to accepting any evidence due to the “untimeliness” of the submission. The Project receives a court docket the day before the hearing. This, in effect, means that the attorneys and legal assistants may have only a few hours to prepare numerous families for a hearing that could result in their deportation.

In addition to the IJ Review, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) policy permits submission of a request for re-interview (RFR) following a negative credible fear finding if there was a procedural error during the credible fear interview or if the applicant can offer new supporting evidence. RFRs are reviewed by the local asylum office to determine whether an opportunity for a second interview will be provided. Given the complexity of the IJ Review and request for re-interview processes, it would be nearly impossible for most asylum seekers to challenge negative credible fear findings without the assistance of legal counsel.

Antonia, the Haitian-Creole asylum seeker who fled Haiti with her daughter Rosaline after a series of traumatic events, was unable to articulate her fear due to the well-documented medical issues previously discussed in this paper, including a seizure disorder, competency issues, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

After she failed her credible fear interview with the asylum office, the immigration judge affirmed the negative decision. Acutely aware of the dangerous fate that awaited Antonia and Rosaline in Haiti, their pro bono attorneys prepared three re-interview requests for the asylum office, in addition to filing a complaint with the DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and coordinating letters of support from Members of Congress. The RFRs included a declaration from an attorney who explained his observations of Antonia. He described how visibly traumatized Antonia was right before she fell to the floor in front of him and suffered a seizure the day before her immigration judge review hearing:

At several points during our meeting, as she recounted these cumulative, horrific tragedies, [Antonia] rocked back and forth in a kind of self-soothing way, repeatedly clutching her baby to her as she rocked. At other times, she crossed her arms in a protective gesture, and crouched in a kind of defensive posture. While describing these past traumas, she sometimes appeared nervous, agitated, and angry. At other times, she stared at the ceiling with a vacant look and seemed distant, almost beyond communication. On yet other occasions, she just sobbed. We had to stop our session so that she could compose herself on four occasions. At the end of our meeting [Antonia] placed her head on the desk, covered her face with her hands, and began weeping inconsolably. There was an audible wail to her cries. Her whole body shook. I was frightened.

When [Antonia] was steps away from the exit door, she suddenly fell to the ground and collapsed. As she lay on the floor, her body involuntarily convulsed for several minutes. Medical staff eventually appeared. [Antonia] has not had any specialized follow-up medical [attention], such as testing, since her seizure. ”

After Antonia suffered a seizure on her way to the airport on February 16, 2017, she and Rosaline were transported to the emergency room instead of being deported. By the time they returned to Dilley, their third request for re-interview had been granted. Antonia and her young child were eventually released from detention and permitted to pursue their claims for asylum in immigration court. If not for the substantial advocacy and legal efforts made by her attorneys, Antonia and her daughter would undoubtedly have been deported.

Legal counsel was pivotal in the case of Beatriz, who received a negative credible fear determination from an asylum officer after failing to fully disclose facts of her case. Beatriz was unable to discuss how she witnessed, at the age of 11, the murder of her mother while she and her baby sister—who Beatriz held in her arms—were hit with bullets fired by gang members demanding extortion. Thankfully, Beatriz and her sister survived—though her father, who was also hit by the bullets, died two years later from an infection in one of the gunshot wounds. These facts were shared with the immigration judge reviewing her case, who declined to reverse the negative decision.

Beatriz was given a second interview. The day before her interview, she shared with her attorney—for the first time—that she had been gang-raped by two men who had been targeting her for extortion payments. She stated in a sworn declaration:

Approximately 15 days [after the shooting], two men came to threaten me again. It was the same two men. Both their faces were covered but I recognized one of them because of the mole next to his eye. They asked if I had the money they requested which I did not. The town was close to the mountains. They took me to the mountains and one of the men proceeded to rape me while the other one watched and looked out for anyone passing by. These men told me they did this to show me that they followed through on their threats.

The first time I ever told anyone about this rape was to the CARA Project. I did not tell my husband, my sister, or anyone what had happened to me. …I did not previously tell the CARA Project, the asylum officer at my credible fear interview, or the immigration judge because I was afraid that it would get back to the men in Guatemala.”

Without the assistance of Beatriz’s attorneys in Dilley, who prepared the detailed request for a second interview with the asylum office and managed to elicit additional critical details regarding her asylum claim at the eleventh hour, she would likely have been deported to Guatemala with her then 8-year-old son Joel.

Conclusion

The pitfalls that detained asylum seekers, and families in particular, face when subjected to a fast-track removal process place them at grave risk. The trauma these asylum seekers have already experienced, often compounded by family separation or challenging health issues, makes it difficult for mothers to present their claims for protection with the focus and detail necessary to succeed. The complexity of the legal standard, alongside limited language access for non-Spanish speakers, makes it remarkably difficult for detained families to understand the expedited removal process and share specific details of their experiences that are necessary to establish eligibility for relief.

When interviews go badly—because rapport is not established, lines of questioning are not developed, or children are questioned like adults—the critical screening role that a credible fear interview plays is doomed from the start. Without legal counsel, asylum seekers can neither navigate nor avoid these pitfalls and risk falling through the cracks of the system. The protection needs of these asylum-seeking families must be met with a robust legal process and legal assistance from the start to ensure that no one is sent back to their deaths.

Última Actualización: May 29 de 2017
Source: https://www.americanimmigrationcouncil.org