Migrants, intercepted off the coast in the Mediterranean Sea, walk after disembarking a rescue boat at dawn at the port of Malaga, southern Spain, Dec. 9, 2018.
Migrants, intercepted off the coast in the Mediterranean Sea, walk after disembarking a rescue boat at dawn at the port of Malaga, southern Spain, Dec. 9, 2018.

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.

Funds for SIV program in doubt

Thousands of Afghans who worked for the U.S. government and U.S. military contractors are caught in the budgetary cross-hairs. Legislators are scrambling to fund Special Immigrant Visas, but the program's future is uncertain, leaving some people who have waited years for a visa unsure if they will ever be granted what the United States promised. The possibility that the U.S. will withdraw its troops from Afghanistan adds new urgency to the situation.

Feds fake university, make real arrests

U.S. federal agents created a completely made-up university that never held classes or even had any professors. Now they've arrested 130 foreign students on allegations of visa fraud, claiming the students knew the school was a scam, and only enrolled to obtain work authorizations. 

Mediterranean migrant deaths soar in 2018

In 2017, on routes from Libya to Europe, one person died for every 38 people who were traveling by sea, according to the United Nations. Last year that number rose to one death for every 14 who arrived in Europe. But despite years of facing the humanitarian crisis, European countries still waffle on how to handle rescued migrants.

Living at church, hoping for sanctuary

Rosa Gutierrez Lopez hopes that by living in a Maryland church, she will avoid deportation and possible separation from her family — including a son with Down syndrome. "I believe her, and her children — her American children — would be in grave danger," said her lawyer. "A.) She's been here in the United States for so long; B.) she has American children; and C.) one of them is ill, making her an extra vulnerable target." 

U.S. axes visas to Ghanaians

The U.S. government said this week it was restricting visas to Ghanaian citizens on the grounds that the country is not accepting its deported nationals from the United States. It's not the first time the U.S. has used this tactic. But will targeting the fourth-largest group of Africans in the United States prompt Ghana into compliance?