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    “We Have a Broken Heart”: Sexual Violence against Refugees in Nairobi and Mombasa, Kenya - The Experiences of Congolese, Somali, and South Sudanese Men, Boys, and Trans Women, October 2019

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    “We have a broken heart here. We feel insecure. No one wants to help us.” – “Aisha,” trans refugee woman from Somalia. Up to 150,000 refugees and asylum seekers reside in the urban centers of Nairobi and Mombasa, Kenya. Most refugees in Kenya are from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Somalia, and South Sudan, having fled brutal armed conflict, human rights violations, and persecution.

    House Democrats say migrants aren’t getting fair hearings at tent courts on the border

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    House Democrats are calling for investigations into two temporary immigration courts that opened along the southern border last month where migrants who have been waiting in Mexico are fighting to obtain asylum in the US, according to a letter sent Thursday.

    Laura Lynch and Leidy Perez-Davis, attorneys with the American Immigration Lawyers Association who visited the port courts shortly after they opened in September, said they and other lawyers from the National Immigrant Justice Center, Amnesty International, and the Women’s Refugee Commission were barred from observing proceedings in the courts absent a document showing that they were representing one of the migrants on site.

    Children's suffering does not stop at the border, UN report

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    European countries must do more to protect child refugees and migrants who face risks and hardship after arriving in Europe. This year around 13,000 children have arrived in Greece, where they are suffering under terrible conditions, the UN warns.

    "These children may have fled conflict, lost family members, been away from home for months, even years, with some enduring horrific abuses during their journeys," said Pascale Moreau, the director of UNHCR's Europe bureau. Many of the boys and girls who cross the sea from Libya are exposed to sexual violence or exploitation on their way to and in Libya," a report released by the Women's Refugee Commission in March 2019 confirmed.

    Immigrant rights advocates are remembering Kevin McAleenan as anything but 'level headed'

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    Media coverage of acting Homeland Security secretary Kevin McAleenan’s resignation from the department has sought to portray him as “a level head” career official who was at times supposedly at odds with the policies and antics of white supremacist ghouls like Stephen Miller.

    “But how people can call the guy who implemented family separation, and closed the US border to asylum seekers, endangering the lives of thousands of people, level headed is beyond me. That is level headed cruelty and lawlessness,” said Michelle Brané of the Women's Refugee Commission.

    US sends asylum seekers to Mexico’s border towns as it warns citizens of violence in region

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    Advocates have been warning about the dangers of Remain in Mexico, or Migration Protection Protocols (MPP), since the program was announced in January. But their warnings have grown louder this week after a new report by Human Rights First revealed that there were at least 340 reports of rape, kidnapping, torture and other violent attacks against people returned to Mexico while they wait for their case to be heard in US immigration court.

    Ursela Ojeda, a policy adviser at the Women’s Refugee Commission, has visited the border multiple times to see how the policy is being implemented and said the new report was the “tip of the iceberg.”

    Border 'Tent Courts' Need Greater Oversight, Congress Told

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    The American Immigration Lawyers Association, Amnesty International and other advocacy groups have called on lawmakers to ramp up oversight of the so-called Remain in Mexico program and the "tent courts" located along the southwest border.

    The Truth About Refugees

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    WRC's Senior Advocacy Officer and UN Representative Stephanie Johanssen wrote a letter to the editor in The New York Times.

    To the Editor:

    Re “U.S. Cuts Refugee Program Again, Placing Cap at 18,000 People” (news article, Sept. 27):

    At a time when the number of refugees worldwide is at a record high, this administration continues its course of isolation and cruelty by cutting back on both access to asylum protections and refugee support.

    Read the full letter.

    Women Are Being Denied Cancer Treatment, Psychiatric Help At ICE Detention Center

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    Immigrant women being held in a Texas detention center say they are being denied proper medical care ― in some cases cancer treatment ― and have become suicidal after lengthy stays in the facility, according to interviews done this month by the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES).

    ICE officers can release asylum seekers who pose no risk to the community on parole or on bond while they are waiting for their immigration dates. But the Trump administration’s strategy has been to detain people for as long as possible, despite the cost and the evidence that those who are released still show up to immigration court, according to Michelle Brané, the director of the migrant rights and justice program at the Women’s Refugee Commission.

    Trump’s agreements in Central America could dismantle the asylum system as we know it

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    The Trump administration has reached agreements with Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala that would require migrants on their way to the US to seek protections in those countries first, effectively cutting off their access to the American asylum system before they even reach the southern border.

    The agreements and the administration’s reported plan to implement them would realize President Donald Trump’s goal of driving down the number of migrants seeking refuge at the US southern border by sending them back to the countries they came from and passed through.

    Experts warn that the plan would have deadly consequences for the migrants who would be sent back.

    “We’re talking about forcing people to remain in these countries where the government is unable to protect them, locking them there and throwing away the key,” said Ursela Ojeda, a migrant rights and justice policy adviser at the Women’s Refugee Commission.

    Migrant court hearings going on behind closed doors

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    LAREDO, TX (KGNS) - The operations at the migrant tent processing facility are fully underway; however, it’s completely under wraps.

    A member of an organization that helps female refugees says she has been denied multiple times and questions the Remain in Mexico policy.

    Policy advisor for the Women’s Refugee Commission, Ursula Ojeda, says some of these migrants face serious danger when returning to Mexico and they just want a chance to seek asylum in the United States.

    U.S. signs asylum deal with Honduras that could force migrants to seek relief there

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    The Trump administration signed an asylum agreement with Honduras that could force asylum-seekers to seek protection in one of the most dangerous countries in the world instead of the United States, the latest agreement with a Central American country aimed at curbing migration at the southern border.

    Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan signed the deal during the United Nations General Assembly in New York, according to the DHS.

    Michelle Brané, director of migrant rights and justice at the Women’s Refugee Commission, said on Twitter McAleenan and Trump were “continuing to undermine human rights and endanger thousands of families, women, men, and children.”

    Trump Condemned for 'Morally Reprehensible' Plan That Rights Groups Warn Means Death for Asylum-Seekers

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    Human rights advocates on Thursday warned that a "suspect" asylum deal negotiated between the White House and the president of Honduras—along with similar agreements with Guatemala and El Salvador—could endanger thousands of refugees and could even prove deadly for many people in search of safety.

    The Trump administration announced on Wednesday it struck a deal with Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández, allowing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to send asylum-seekers who arrive at the U.S.-Mexico border to Honduras if they have not already sought asylum there en route to the United States.

    "It's the third time the Trump administration has targeted families seeking safety by keeping them in harm's way," tweeted the Women's Refugee Commission. "It's morally reprehensible."

    Trump administration blocks most asylum seekers in ‘profound’ change to system as legal fights continue

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    A U.S. Supreme Court decision this week allowing President Donald Trump's administration to proceed with a near complete ban on asylum across the southern border while the policy is litigated will dramatically slash how many migrants can access the protection.

    “Because of this decision, thousands of women, children, and families — seeking safety and fleeing violence and persecution — will be returned either to the danger they fled or into the hands of cartels and traffickers at the Mexican border,” Michelle Brané, senior director for migrants’ rights and justice at the Women’s Refugee Commission, said in a statement.

    Fear and Loathing on the Border: A First-Hand Look at the Travesty

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    I traveled recently with the Women’s Refugee Commission to the California-Mexico border, where we toured the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Otay Mesa Detention Center. We also rode along the border with the Border Patrol, visited the San Ysidro Port of Entry, attended U.S. Immigration Court hearings, and visited migrant shelters on both sides of the border.

    The Lantern Tour II: Concerts for Migrant and Refugee Families Announce Award-Winning Lineup

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    On the heels of a summer that saw the Trump administration ramp up its attacks against families seeking safety at the southern U.S. border, the Women's Refugee Commission (WRC) today announced "The Lantern Tour II: Concerts for Migrant and Refugee Families," with the first two concerts taking place on Tuesday, November 5 at the Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C., and on Wednesday, November 6 at The Town Hall in Manhattan.

    Emmylou Harris, Jackson Browne to Support Migrant Families With Lantern Tour II

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    As migrants and asylum-seekers at the United States’ southern border continue to have their entry into the country stymied by the Trump administration, a group of acclaimed musicians, including Emmylou Harris, Jackson Browne, Steve Earle, and Patty Griffin, are preparing a nationwide tour in support of those affected at the border.

    “I am thrilled to be teaming up again with the Women’s Refugee Commission,” Emmylou Harris said in a statement.

    Emmylou Harris, Jackson Browne & more touring to benefit migrant & refugee families

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    Last year, Emmylou Harris, Jackson Browne and more went on “The Lantern Tour” which benefited the Women’s Refugee Commission. They’re going to do it again with dates in 2019 and 2020, featuring Harris, Browne, Steve Earle, Patty Griffin, The Mastersons, Thao Nguyen, and David Pulkingham.

    Male rape survivors go uncounted in Rohingya camps

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    Researchers who study sexual violence in crises say the needs of male survivors have largely been overlooked and neglected by humanitarian programmes in Bangladesh’s refugee camps.

    “There’s a striking division between aid workers and the refugees,” said Sarah Chynoweth, a researcher who has studied male survivors of sexual violence in emergencies around the world, including the Rohingya camps. “Many aid workers say we haven’t heard about it, but the refugees are well aware of it.”

    A report she authored for the Women’s Refugee Commission, a research organisation that advocates for improvements on gender issues in humanitarian responses, calls for aid groups in Bangladesh to boost services for all survivors of sexual violence – recognising that men and boys need help, in addition to women and girls.

     

    What Happened to the Migrant Baby CBP Called a 'Potential Death'

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    Four days ago, U.S. Customs and Border Protection released a stunning announcement notifying the public of the 'potential death in custody' of a 6-month-old baby girl.

    Since then, the agency tasked with enforcing immigration laws on the U.S. border hasn't released a single word about the infant's condition, location, or custodial status'a silence that immigration advocates and lawmakers consider deafening.

    What Happened to the Migrant Baby CBP Called a ‘Potential Death’?

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    Four days ago, U.S. Customs and Border Protection released a stunning announcement notifying the public of the “potential death in custody” of a 6-month-old baby girl.

    Since then, the agency tasked with enforcing immigration laws on the U.S. border hasn’t released a single word about the infant’s condition, location, or custodial status—a silence that immigration advocates and lawmakers consider deafening.

    Others warned that the agency’s initial statement was indicative of broader mismanagement of the crisis at the nation’s southern border—or, even worse, amounted to a maladroit attempt to get out in front of yet another in-custody death of a migrant child.

    “It's really a symptom of the main issue, which is just persistent mismanagement of the border, resulting in more and more deaths,” said Ursela Ojeda, a policy adviser with the Women’s Refugee Commission’s migrant rights and justice program.