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.
Pro-Immigrant at the polls
With Republicans in control of Congress and the White House, the midterm elections were seen as a referendum on the ruling party. Immigration advocates see the Democrat takeover of the U.S. House of Representatives and victories for pro-immigrant candidates — largely Democrats — as a major win in the face of an administration focused on dismantling the country's immigration policies.
The refugee rep
Among the diverse candidates elected from coast to coast this week is Somali refugee Ilhan Omar, now an elected representative from Minnesota. "I stand here before you tonight as your congresswoman-elect, with many firsts behind my name," Omar told the crowd at her victory party. "The first woman of color to represent our state in Congress. The first woman to wear a hijab to represent our state in Congress. The first refugee ever elected to Congress. And one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress." Also repping African-American immigrant families? Joe Neguse, Colorado's first black congressman and the United States' first Eritrean-American representative.
Neighbors on the border
"I just want a secure border," says one south Texas resident. "I don't feel unsafe because I live on the border," says another. VOA is on the boundary between the U.S. and Mexico talking to locals as border communities prepare for thousands of soldiers ordered there by President Donald Trump coming from one direction, and members of a migrant caravan walking north through Central American and Mexico from another.
Immigration court backlog reaches 1 million
It would take five years to clear the nearly 1.1 million cases in U.S. immigration court, a figure that's ballooned under Trump administration policy changes, according to data released this week by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University. As the pile grows, court dates get pushed further into the future — in some cases years — despite there being slightly more immigration judges handling cases.
Rejected on arrival
In the Trump administration’s latest move to block certain groups from entering the U.S., the president ordered that would-be asylum-seekers illegally entering on the southern U.S. border from Mexico not be allowed to qualify for asylum. The ACLU, a civil rights watchdog, has already filed a lawsuit. The right to request asylum is part of U.S. and international law.