Editor's note: We want you to know what's happening, why and how it could impact your life, family or business, so we created a weekly digest of the top original immigration, migration and refugee reporting from across VOA. Questions? Tips? Comments? Email the VOA immigration team: ImmigrationUnit@voanews.com.
Separated by the wall
A U.S. partial government shutdown started at the beginning of the week and showed no signs of ending by week’s end. At issue is President Trump’s insistence on $5 billion in funding for construction of a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico. Democrats believe a wall would be ineffective and a waste of money. They refuse to provide any funding for the wall.
We will be forced to close the Southern Border entirely if the Obstructionist Democrats do not give us the money to finish the Wall & also change the ridiculous immigration laws that our Country is saddled with. Hard to believe there was a Congress & President who would approve!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 28, 2018
By Thursday Congress had adjourned for the rest of the year. Friday, the president struck back by threatening to close the border entirely.
A case of the flu
A second migrant child has died in U.S. custody, prompting calls for investigations in both houses of Congress. Eight-year-old Felipe Gomez Alonzo became nauseous and started vomiting Monday night. He later died in a hospital on Christmas. A subsequent autopsy revealed he had had the flu.
A second child who died in U.S. custody, Jakelin Caal, was buried - also on Christmas. As a result of the two deaths, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol has ordered medical screenings for all children in its custody.
Migrants, safe and… not
A migrant ship has docked in Spain after being refused in other countries. Three hundred and ten African migrants walked off the ship draped in red blankets provided by the Red Cross.
They are the lucky ones. The International Organization for Migration has found records that 6,600 Africans have died over the past five years, most of them crossing the Sahara Desert toward Europe. The study notes these numbers are “just the tip of the iceberg.”