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VOA Immigration Weekly Recap, Nov. 26–Dec. 2

FILE - Migrants from Venezuela wait for transportation to continue on their way north to Nicaragua and hopefully to the Mexico-United States border, at a Migrant Temporal Attention Center in Costa Rica, Oct. 16, 2023.
FILE - Migrants from Venezuela wait for transportation to continue on their way north to Nicaragua and hopefully to the Mexico-United States border, at a Migrant Temporal Attention Center in Costa Rica, Oct. 16, 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:

For Some DACA Recipients, Leaving US Only Way to Escape Legal Limbo

In 2020, Tawheeda Wahabzada had had enough. It was time to leave the country she’d grown up in. "The idea of leaving has always been at the back of my mind. … It was a constant reminder that this is temporary, and I felt I wasn’t able to live a meaningful life because of my status," she said. Wahabzada is one of a growing number of young immigrants brought to the United States as children who do not want to live in legal limbo anymore. She, like millions of other immigrants who entered the country without permission or overstayed their visas, has no path to citizenship. VOA’s Immigration reporter Aline Barros has the story.

Mexican Journalist Granted US Asylum After 15-Year Journey

Emilio Gutierrez Soto came to the National Press Club on Wednesday with a message of gratitude. Press freedom advocates came with a call to action. The 60-year-old journalist fled with his son to the U.S.-Mexico border in 2008 seeking asylum after receiving death threats because of his reporting on Mexican military corruption. After 15 years, the Board of Immigration Appeals ruled in favor of Gutierrez Soto. He still needs to go in front of an immigration judge in March 2024 to receive his asylum papers, but his immigration lawyer said his case has been resolved. VOA’s Immigration reporter Aline Barros has the story.

US Closing Remote Arizona Border Crossing, Citing Overwhelming Migrant Arrivals

So many migrants are crossing from Mexico into the United States around remote Lukeville, Arizona, that U.S. officials say they will close the port of entry there so that the operations officials who watch over vehicle and pedestrian traffic going both ways can help Border Patrol agents arrest and process the new arrivals. Customs and Border Protection announced Friday that the temporary closure of the crossing will start Monday as officials grapple with changing migration routes that have overwhelmed Border Patrol agents stationed there. Arizona's U.S. senators and governor called planned closure "unacceptable." Reported by The Associated Press.

Northern US Cities Scramble to House Migrants for Winter

Chicago is scrambling to house hundreds of asylum-seekers who are still sheltering on sidewalks, at police stations and at the city's busiest airport as the cold weather sets in and with winter just around the corner. The country's third-largest city announced a partnership with religious leaders this week to house 400 of the migrants in churches. But with nighttime temperatures dropping below freezing and chillier conditions still ahead, more than 1,000 were still living at police stations or at O'Hare International Airport as of Friday, according to the city dashboard. The Associated Press reports.

Immigration around the world

Former Somali Refugee Wins Prestigious UN Award

A former child refugee from Somalia has won the prestigious UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award. Abdullahi Mire, 36, was recognized for bringing 100,000 books to his compatriots languishing in sprawling camps in Kenya. Reported by VOA's Mohamed Olad Hassan.

Finland Closes Russian Border Over Migrant Influx, Estonia Could Follow

Finland closed its entire 1,340-kilometer border with Russia this week, accusing Moscow of sending asylum-seekers across the frontier in a hybrid attack in retaliation for its decision to join NATO. Russia denies the accusation. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell has more.

Greek Police Arrest 6 Alleged Migrant Traffickers, Hunting 7 More

Greek police have arrested six people who they say are members of a large human trafficking gang that violently extorted money from migrants to assist them in crossing into neighboring Albania and travel to European Union countries to the north. Reported by The Associated Press.

Afghans Face Abuses in Pakistan, US Announces Hotline

Pakistani police are facing accusations of unlawfully detaining, beating, extorting and sexually harassing Afghan refugees as part of a coercive campaign aimed at compelling them to return to their home country. By VOA’s Akmal Dawi.

About Half of Nicaragua's Population Wants to Emigrate, Study Says

Lawyer Isabel Lazo's jobs are being systematically canceled by Nicaragua's increasingly repressive government. Lazo worked at a university before the government of President Daniel Ortega closed it. She now is employed at a nongovernmental organization that she fears will soon be shuttered too. The Associated Press reports.

Pakistani Top Court Seeks Government Response on Afghan Expulsion Policy

Pakistan’s Supreme Court asked the government Friday to respond to questions raised over its policy of expelling Afghans residing illegally in the country, observing that Islamabad must abide by United Nations’ resolutions protecting refugees. Reported by Sarah Zaman.

Rohingya Refugees Fleeing Bangladesh by Boat This Year Top 2022 Number

The number of Rohingya taking risky boat trips across the Andaman Sea to flee mounting hunger and hopelessness in the refugee camps of Bangladesh this year has topped last year’s numbers and could keep rising, rights groups and aid agencies told VOA. By Zsombor Peter.

News Brief

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, through U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, continues to remove single adults and family units to Central America and Venezuela.