VOA Immigration Weekly Recap, Oct. 8-14, 2023


Editor’s note: Here is a look at immigration-related news around the U.S. this week. Questions? Tips? Comments? Email the VOA immigration team: ImmigrationUnit@voanews.com.

No Shade, No Water, Record Heat: More Migrants Die in US Desert

In the past 12 months through September, U.S. Customs and Border Protection logged 60 migrant deaths due to heat in the El Paso sector, triple the same period a year ago. The sector spans the Chihuahuan Desert through New Mexico and parts of Texas along 431 kilometers (268 miles) of the border. It has been the busiest area for migrant crossings into the U.S. southwest at a time when overall border apprehensions are on track to match or surpass record levels. Reuters reports.

New York Governor Backs Suspension of ‘Right to Shelter’ as Migrant Influx Strains City

New York Governor Kathy Hochul is supporting New York City’s effort to suspend a unique legal agreement that requires it to provide emergency housing to homeless people, as a large influx of migrants overwhelms the city’s shelter system. Hochul endorsed the city’s challenge to the requirement in a court filing this week, telling reporters Thursday that the mandate was never meant to apply to an international humanitarian crisis. Reported by The Associated Press.

VOA DAY IN PHOTOS: Refugee children play at the kindergarten in the first reception center for refugees in Giessen, Germany

Immigration Around the World

Decade-Old Syrian Refugee Camp Video Falsely Claimed to Be Recently Shot in Gaza

On October 11, verified X account Random Memes posted a video it claimed was filmed that day in Israeli-besieged Gaza. The post received some 269,000 views and nearly 10,000 reposts, quotes and likes. The claim that the video was recently filmed in Gaza is false. Reported by Polygraph.info.

Displaced Sudanese Face Protection Crisis as War Drags On

The U.N. refugee agency, UNHCR, warned Wednesday that the humanitarian emergency in Sudan triggered by two rival generals battling for control of the country has created a protection crisis inside Sudan and in neighboring asylum countries that risks destabilizing the region the longer the conflict goes on. Lisa Schlein reports for VOA from Geneva.

Chad’s President Says Refugees, Host Towns Need Help

Leaders in Chad say the central African nation is struggling to meet the humanitarian needs of 2 million foreign and displaced people seeking refuge there, many of them women and children fleeing violence and increasing hardship in neighboring Sudan. Moki Edwin Kindzeka reports for VOA from Cameroon.

World Food Program Urges Humanitarian Corridors for Gaza Strip

The World Food Program called Tuesday for the establishment of humanitarian corridors for the Gaza Strip and appealed for the safe passage of its staff and essential assistance. In a statement, the WFP said it has launched an emergency operation to provide food assistance to more than 800,000 people in Gaza and the West Bank who lack access to food, water and essential supplies. Reported by VOA’s U.N. correspondent Margaret Besheer.

Chinese Dissident Receives Asylum in Canada After Fleeing China

A Chinese dissident who was stranded in the transit area of a Taiwanese airport has arrived in Canada after Ottawa granted him asylum — but some observers say his path to safety, including stops in Laos, Thailand and Taiwan, reflects the growing hardship that Chinese activists face when they try to leave China. William Yang reports from VOA from Taipei.

At Least 29 People Killed in Attack on Refugee Camp in Myanmar

At least 29 people are dead after an artillery strike on a camp housing internally displaced persons in northern Myanmar near the Chinese border, according to sources in the region. News outlets say the attack occurred late Monday night in the town of Laiza, which is controlled by the Kachin Independence Army, the military arm of an ethnic group that has been fighting the Myanmar army for greater autonomy for decades. Local media outlets reportedly showed images of several bodies laid out along the ground, as well as rescuers digging through rubble to recover more bodies. VOANEWS reports.

Aid Fatigue Growing as Refugee, Displacement Crisis Reaches New Heights

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has warned that aid fatigue is growing at a time when a record number of people are fleeing conflict, persecution, human rights violations, climate change and grinding poverty. Lisa Schlein reports for VOA from Geneva.

UK Supreme Court to Decide on Britain Asylum-Seekers’ Resettlement

The British government’s contentious policy to stem the flow of migrants faces one of its toughest challenges this week as the U.K. Supreme Court weighs whether it’s lawful to send asylum-seekers to Rwanda. The Associated Press reports.

EU Mediterranean Ministers Call for Migrant Repatriations, More Resources

Migration and interior ministers from five European Union countries most affected by migration across the Mediterranean — Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Malta and Spain — hailed a new EU pact on migration but said more resources were needed. The ministers from the Med 5 group, who met in Thessaloniki, Greece, October 6-7, took a hard line on returning migrants who have crossed into the bloc illegally to their countries of origin, arguing that if Europe does not tackle the problem decisively, more extreme voices will take over. The Associated Press reports.

UN Urges Halt to Pakistan’s Forcible Returns of Afghan Migrants

The United Nations agencies for migration and refugee protection last Saturday jointly appealed to Pakistan to suspend plans to deport undocumented Afghan immigrants, warning they could be at imminent risk back in Afghanistan. Ayaz Gul reports for VOA from Islamabad, Pakistan.

7 Die in Suspected Migrant Smuggling Crash in Germany

German officials said Friday that seven people died and several others were injured after a van, believed to have been driven by a suspected people-smuggler, overturned while trying to avoid being stopped by federal police. VOANEWS reports.

Thailand Pledges to Repatriate Its Nationals From Israel

The first groups of Thais who were evacuated from Israel following the onslaught by Hamas in southern Israel have landed in Bangkok. Fifteen Thais arrived Thursday at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport following the long flight from Tel Aviv. Throngs of reporters awaited them, along with government officials and anxious family members. Tommy Walker reports for VOA from Bangkok.

Activists Slam China After Alleged Forced Repatriation of North Koreans

Human rights activists are criticizing China after reports that Beijing forcibly returned more than 500 North Korean defectors. According to several South Korean rights groups that work with North Korean refugees, the defectors were sent across the China-North Korea border earlier this week, shortly after the end of the 2022 Asian Games held in Hangzhou, China. Reported by William Gallo, VOA Seoul bureau chief and regional correspondent.

News Brief

USCIS clarifies changes to the EB-5 program in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) made by the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022 (RIA), “specifically the required investment timeframe and how we treat investors who are associated with a terminated regional center.”


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