In May 10, 2019 photo, migrants from several African countries rest on mattresses outside a barn used as a shelter in Peñitas, Darien Province, Panama. African and Asian migrants tend to arrive by boat or air to Brazil, where they cross through the Amazon to Peru and turn north through Ecuador to Colombia, paying smugglers to shepherd them through the Darien Gap. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
Migrants from several African countries rest outside a barn used as a shelter in Peñitas, Darien Province, Panama, May 10, 2019. African and Asian migrants tend to pay smugglers to shepherd them through the Darien Gap on their journey north to the U.S.

Editor's note: We want you to know what's happening, and 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.

Migrant deaths spike in the Americas

The death toll for migrants traveling across the Americas is expected to reach a record high in 2019. Despite increased rescue attempts along the U.S.-Mexico border, some areas are seeing increases in deaths to nearly twice as many as last year. Dozens of children are among the dead, from boats sinking in the Caribbean to dehydration deaths in the southwestern U.S. desert. VOA immigration reporters Victoria Macchi and Ramon Taylor spoke with asylum-seekers and other migrants about their fears along the journey, and with border officials who face the grim regular task of recovering bodies from the river and desert. 

Read and watch more border coverage from the team about how the migrant population in the Americas is diversifying and how the Trump administration's Migrant Protection Protocols are stranding thousands of asylum-seekers in northern Mexico.

Podcasting is everywhere

In an Ethiopian refugee camp, eight young Somalis are learning the art of the podcast. "Now I can go with my mic, I can record the voice, I can edit, I can produce very fantastic audios," said one new audiophile. "Now I am a great podcaster." 

FILE- A relative kisses a Yazidi survivor woman following her release from Islamic State militants in Syria, in Duhok, Iraq, March 2, 2019.

Resettled in the outback

Australia's inland farming region has become a new home to thousands of refugees, as officials attempt to disperse the responsibility of resettlement outside the country's metropolitan hubs to cities like Wagga Wagga. Hundreds of Iraqi Yazidi refugees are living in the outback, along with others from Myanmar, Afghanistan, and several African nations. 

From the feds

U.S. immigration officials announced this past week that they arrested dozens of suspected human rights violators across the country in recent weeks. The annual operation resulted in 39 people who are allegedly linked to abuses in El Salvador, Guatemala, China, Liberia, Cambodia, Chad, Chile, Colombia, the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Sierra Leone, and Sudan. 

Milon Miah, a Bangladeshi man living in Mexico, was arrested this past week at a Texas airport, charged with running a human smuggling operation. The number of Bangladeshi nationals apprehended at the southwest U.S. border for entering the country without authorization spiked in recent years to more than 1,110 in 2018. Miah's co-conspirator, Moktar Hossain, pleaded guilty in August to smuggling charges.