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  • Women in Nepal

    migrant children

    States Sue Trump Administration Over Indefinite Detention for Immigrant Children

    Nineteen U.S. states and the District of Columbia, led by California, filed a lawsuit Monday seeking to stop a new policy the Trump administration announced last week, under which migrant families that crossed the U.S. border illegally would face indefinite detention.

    Last year, Kirstjen Nielsen, who was then U.S. President Donald Trump’s secretary of homeland security, called the 20-day parameter a “legal loophole” that has allowed undocumented immigrants to remain in the United States illegally.

    “Efforts to weaken or eliminate basic child protection standards by calling them a burden or loopholes, and eliminating their obligations for the basic care of children, is just another example of the administration’s abdication of human rights,” Michelle Brané, the director of the migrant rights and justice program at the Women’s Refugee Commission, told The New York Times.

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

    After an alarming announcement about a “potential death in custody” of a 6-month-old baby girl, U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s silence on the matter is suddenly 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. “I’m quite worried that the agency that’s making this sort of press release is also in charge of the health and safety of migrant children and families.”

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

    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.

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

    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.

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

    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.

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

    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.

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

    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.

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

    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.

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

    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.

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

    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.

    She raised her niece like a daughter. Then the US government separated them at the border

    Children who arrive at the border without a parent or legal guardian – even if they come with an adult relative – are considered “unaccompanied” and are sent to child shelters, according to a US Customs and Border Protection spokesperson.

    But some advocates say the government should broaden its definition of legal guardian to include longstanding adult caregivers. Michelle Brané, director of migrant rights and justice at the Women’s Refugee Commission, is disappointed the government has so far refused to take that step. “Because really the whole point of all of this is to do what’s in the best interests of the child,” Brané says.

    She raised her niece like a daughter. Then the US government separated them at the border

    The six-year-old girl on the other end of the line tells Alexa she fears they will never be together again. In another 15-minute phone call, she questions if Alexa still loves her. She asks Alexa to pick her up from the family she’s staying with in New York. Alexa hears the girl say the words in Spanish: “You are my mom, I want to be with you.”

    Alexa wishes she could go get her. But Alexa’s locked up 2,400 miles away, at an immigration detention center in Arizona.

    A federal judge in San Diego ordered the Trump administration in the summer of 2018 to reunite families and stop separating most parents and children. But the court order does not apply to non-parents, and the administration keeps separating people like Alexa – aunts, grandparents or older siblings who commonly step in as guardians without formal paperwork – from the children they’re traveling with, without any procedure to reunite them.

    Michelle Brané, director of migrant rights and justice at the Women’s Refugee Commission, says when these caregivers are separated from children at the border, it’s not even “necessarily noted in the file anywhere that this separation occurred or who the adult is that brought the child in”.

    Sheryl Crow, Amy Ray Join 'The Lantern Tour II: Concerts for Migrant and Refugee Families'

    As The Lantern Tour II prepares to kick off its nationwide tour tonight at the Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C., tour organizers announced the winter 2020 date and full lineup, which will feature Emmylou Harris, Sheryl Crow, Jerry Douglas, Steve Earle, Buddy and Julie Miller and Amy Ray.

    The Lantern Tour II reunites Grammy-nominated and award-winning musicians Emmylou Harris, Jackson Browne, and Steve Earle for the concert series to benefit the Women's Refugee Commission and its work on behalf of migrant and asylum-seeking families.

    Sheryl Crow, Amy Ray to Join Emmylou Harris at Lantern Tour II Concert

    The Lantern Tour II will get underway in Washington, D.C., Tuesday evening with performers including Emmylou Harris, Jackson Browne, and Steve Earle. A winter 2020 concert in Nashville has been added to the itinerary, with Sheryl Crow and Amy Ray also joining the bill.

    Like its inaugural 2018 version, the Lantern Tour II is being organized by the Women’s Refugee Commission and will benefit the work that organization is doing to aid migrant and asylum-seeking families. The group has been especially active in documenting human rights violations along the southern U.S. border in the Trump era.

    Tickets on sale for Lantern Tour II, benefitting migrant, refugee families

    Tickets for The Lantern Tour II: Concerts for Migrant and Refugee Families have gone on sale.

    Performances by Emmylou Harris, Sheryl Crow, Steve Earle, Amy Ray, Jackson Browne, and Buddy and Julie Miller will benefit the Women's Refugee Commission and its work on behalf of migrant and asylum seeking families.

    2nd annual Lantern Tour at NYC’s Town Hall

    For the second consecutive year, the Women’s Refugee Commission’s Lantern Tour held benefit concerts in Washington, DC, and New York (Nov 5 and 6) in support of the Commission’s efforts. Separating children from their parents at the border and failures at our immigration centers sparked fierce protests over the summer, but when the news cycle moves on, watchdog groups like the Women’s Refugee Commission continue monitoring the situation and advocating for immigrant families.

    President Trump’s misleading spin on the border crisis

    Trump’s claim that the situation at the border is “much better” now than it was under Obama is misleading. Poor conditions at Border Patrol holding facilities have continued or worsened since 2014. More unaccompanied minors were detained in fiscal year 2019 than any other year on record, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

    “I believe this administration is intentionally creating an overcrowding and chaotic situation to deter people from coming in. What we’ve seen is that it doesn’t work,” said Michelle Brané, senior director of the Migrant Rights and Justice program at the Women’s Refugee Commission.

    Mexico Government Must Ensure the Safety and Well-Being of Asylum Seekers Returned to Mexico under “Migrant Protection Protocols”

    The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), together with more than 160 organizations and individuals from the United States, Mexico, and elsewhere, including the Women's Refugee Commission, sent a letter to the Mexican government expressing profound concern for ITS failure to ensure the safety of asylum seekers returned to Mexico under the Trump administration’s so-called “Migrant Protection Protocols” (MPP).

    Why We Will Never Know Exactly How Many Immigrant Families Were Separated

    Last year, the Trump administration ripped apart thousands of immigrant families despite knowing it did not have a tracking system in place that would ensure they could be reunited, according to a new report from the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services.

    As a result, the public will likely never know how many immigrant children have been separated from their parents.

    “It just confirms that the real policy and attitude of dehumanization of this population,” said Michelle Brané, the director of the Migrant Rights and Justice Program at the Women’s Refugee Commission.

    A New Report on Family Separations Shows the Depths of Trump's Negligence

    Last week, on the afternoon before Thanksgiving, the D.H.S. Inspector General quietly issued another report with still more revelations. In early May, 2018, just as the zero-tolerance policy was taking effect, D.H.S. shared an estimate with the White House that more than twenty-six thousand migrant children would be separated from their families over the course of that summer.

    “This report just shows that they did not even plan to reunify,” Michelle Brané, of the Women’s Refugee Commission, told me. “They do not see this population as human.”