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.
Turkish forces trigger humanitarian upheaval
As Turkey's military targets northern Syria after the United States said it was withdrawing its troops, refugees are left wondering what this means for them. The United Nations warned this week that hundreds of thousands of civilians are in danger in northeastern Syria. Doctors Without Borders announced it would shutter its operations in the area, and aid groups say getting help to those in need is increasingly unsustainable. And at one housing camp, where Islamic State families fled as the extremist group's territory dwindled, hostility is high and security is weakened after many of the Kurdish guards left for the front lines.
Produce truck concealing migrants leads to arrests
Border agents in the southern U.S. state of Arizona found dozens of people stashed among boxes of produce in a refrigerated truck this week. Two people are facing human-smuggling charges, and the migrants now face deportation. The U.S. government is pursuing an increasing number of cases involving smuggling charges, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Justice on Friday.
Ecuador closes border with Venezuela, stranding refugees
Venezuelans are stuck after the Ecuadorian government imposed new rules barring people from entering the country without a visa. But many of the refugees cannot afford the $50 fee to get one, leaving them stranded. VOA's Celia Mendoza reports from the Rumichaca International Bridge in Colombia.
US deports convicted terror plotter to Sudan
In the early 1990s, fresh off an attack on the World Trade Center, the FBI foiled another plan to target some of New York City's most recognizable buildings — including the United Nations. This week, one of those arrested was deported to Sudan, after serving out his prison sentence.
From the Feds
— After suspending aid to three Central American countries as part of a bid by Washington to push coordination on migration policies, the U.S. said this week that the funding would be reinstated.
— U.S. immigration officials released data this week that 238 "fraudulent families" crossed the border near El Paso, Texas, in the last six months. These are people the government says are "presenting themselves as families when making an asylum claim in order to be released into the United States." But as immigration researcher Aaron Reichlin-Melnick highlights, some "80,000 families entered into El Paso during that time period. 238 were found to be "fraudulent" (with that exact definition unclear), or just 0.3%."
What an extraordinarily bad way of putting this.— Aaron Reichlin-Melnick (@ReichlinMelnick) October 18, 2019
~80,000 families entered into El Paso during that time period. 238 were found to be "fraudulent" (with that exact definition unclear), or just 0.3%.
In addition, this means CBP guessed wrong 77% of the time when flagging fraud. https://t.co/5wIfD8V4iR