President Donald Trump speaks as tours the U.S. border with Mexico at the Rio Grande on the southern border, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019, in McAllen, Texas, as Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, left, and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, listen.
President Donald Trump speaks as tours the U.S. border with Mexico at the Rio Grande on the southern border, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019, in McAllen, Texas, as Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, left, and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, listen.

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.

The wall, the shutdown, and the president

Where do we start? This week has been intense, and included President Donald Trump's first televised Oval Office address to the country. Then, with some U.S. federal employees facing their first payday without a paycheck thanks to the government shutdown, Trump traveled to Texas. He says there is a migrant "crisis," sometimes an "invasion." He is considering declaring it a "national emergency." People who live on the border say that is not reality, and the data supports them. Yet the impasse continues.

Everyone is salty with everyone, neither side is backing down, and the meetings to find a compromise are not going well. The latest negotiations with Democratic leaders ended abruptly, with the president declaring them a "total waste of time" and the Senate Democratic leader calling Trump's behavior a "temper tantrum." 

And all the while, the U.S. government admits it's not even sure if walls are worth the investment.

Asylum in Bangkok airport

Twitter rallied around a Saudi woman who requested asylum in Thailand and barricaded herself in a hotel room so as not to be put on a flight back to her family in Kuwait. Eighteen-year-old Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun claims family members are psychologically and physically abusive. Thai police say she is heading to Canada after negotiations with the U.N.

In Italy, a humanitarian standoff

Local leaders in Italy are clashing with the central government over its policies vis-a-vis refugees and asylum-seekers. 

... and in India, a possible path to citizenship

A bill that passed the country's lower house of Parliament would allow a path to citizenship for Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Christians and Parsis from several countries who arrived in India before a certain date. Muslims are excluded. The opposition includes people who want the foreigners removed from the country irrespective of religion, and those who believe citizenship laws should be "religion and country-neutral."