WBEZ | border security http://www.wbez.org/tags/border-security Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en The cemeteries on Lesbos are full. But refugee families still need to bury their dead. http://www.wbez.org/news/cemeteries-lesbos-are-full-refugee-families-still-need-bury-their-dead-113661 <p><blockquote><p><em>For us, the ocean gives us strength.&nbsp; We fish in it, swim.&nbsp; The sea is our home.&nbsp; It should bring life, not death. --&nbsp;Ilias Maravas</em></p></blockquote><p>The situation symbolizes&nbsp;the&nbsp;despair this island feels at being at the epicenter of Europe&#39;s migration crisis &mdash; and&nbsp;having dead bodies washing up on its shores. Fifty-five more bodies sit in the morgue.&nbsp;</p><div><img alt="Survivors of a boat crash on October 28 gathered at Port of Molyvos; some had lost relatives." src="http://cdn1.pri.org/sites/default/files/styles/original_image/public/lesbos2.jpg?itok=53u9nVSs" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Survivors of a boat crash on October 28 gathered at Port of Molyvos; some had lost relatives. At least 11 people died and dozens are still missing. (Jodi Hilton/PRI)" typeof="foaf:Image" /><div><p>Ilias Maravas, a reporter for Greek ERT TV here, was the first to find two dead children on the beach two days after a trawler heaped with migrants sunk in high seas between Lesbos and Turkey last week.&nbsp;Two hundred and forty two people were rescued; 43 are confirmed dead with an unknown number still missing. &nbsp;Pointing to his computer, Maravas said:&nbsp;&ldquo;This is full of 10&nbsp;months of pictures of dead people. I don&rsquo;t ever want to see this again.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p></div></div><p>Maravas told me that locals are deeply disturbed by corpses in the sea.&nbsp;&ldquo;For us, the ocean gives us strength.&nbsp; We fish in it, swim.&nbsp; The sea is our home.&nbsp; It should bring life, not death.&rdquo;</p><p>The people of Lesbos will express their sorrow and rage on Wednesday at an interfaith service with Greek Orthodox, Catholic and Muslim clergy to honor the refugees who have died at sea.&nbsp;It will be held in the old port of Mytilene under the statue of the Asia Minor Refugee Mother, a reminder of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pri.org/stories/2015-04-24/american-who-saved-250000-death-during-armenian-genocide">another time of suffering, in 1922</a>, when desperate Greek and Armenian refugees fled Turkey&nbsp;and sought refuge on this island, much like the refugees today. The mayor will call for three days of mourning and also action to stop the traffickers.&nbsp;</p><div><img alt="The Saint Panteleimon cemetery, where dozens of refugees have been buried." src="http://cdn1.pri.org/sites/default/files/styles/original_image/public/story/images/lesbos1.jpg?itok=q5EDUiEX" style="height: 349px; width: 620px;" title="The Saint Panteleimon cemetery on Lesbos, where dozens of people who died trying to cross the sea to Greece have been buried over the past years. (Jodi Hilton/PRI)" typeof="foaf:Image" /><div><p>Efi Latoudi, a founder of the grassroots refugee support group Village All Together, has been organizing funeral and burial services for refugees since 2012.&nbsp;Today&rsquo;s flow of refugees to the island is massive but Lesbos has been a destination for refugees and migrants for over a decade and local authorities have had to contend with many dead bodies.&nbsp; &ldquo;But this summer it became a nightmare.&nbsp; There was something every day, and very tragic situations &mdash;&nbsp;mothers who were breastfeeding who had lost their children.&nbsp;It was a nightmare.&ldquo;</p></div></div><p>I met Latoudi at PIKPA, the small refugee camp in Mytilene designated for vulnerable people who are ill or injured or who have lost loved ones.&nbsp;She pointed out some Afghan families sitting nearby; they had lost a mother and several children on October 20, a few days before the big shipwreck.&nbsp; &ldquo;The mayor found five places so they could bury their relatives last Sunday.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;But before when we thought there was no space in the cemetery they were fainting, they were crying.&nbsp; Now that their loved ones are buried they are calmer.&nbsp;They at least have the possibility to slowly move on.&rdquo;</p><div><img alt="Volunteers and medical professionals attending to the survivors of a boat that sank while trying to cross from Turkey to Greece." src="http://cdn1.pri.org/sites/default/files/styles/original_image/public/lesbos3.jpg?itok=01pjVDkP" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Volunteers and medical professionals attending to the survivors of a boat that sank while trying to cross from Turkey to Greece. (Jodi Hilton/PRI)" typeof="foaf:Image" /><div><p>&ldquo;But the ones where they don&rsquo;t find the body or they&rsquo;re not able to give a proper funeral, this is a wound that never heals.&rdquo;</p></div></div><p>We moved to another part of the camp.&nbsp;An Afghan man, noticing that we only had one chair, brought one over for us.&nbsp;&ldquo;He lost his child,&rdquo; Efi explains.&nbsp;&ldquo;Ten days ago.&nbsp;He drowned.&rdquo;</p><p>I asked Efi what she felt about the photos of dead children in the media.&nbsp;She understands the need to make people aware of what&rsquo;s going on but as a mother finds it hard to stomach.&nbsp;&ldquo;A photographer, a friend of mine actually, took photos of three dead children, the children of the woman over there.&nbsp;It was shocking to see their bodies like that.&rdquo;</p><p>On Tuesday, the mayor&rsquo;s office said that a hospital has stepped forward to donate land adjacent to the cemetery to accommodate the need for more burial plots. That news means&nbsp;the refugees that Efi cares for can at least have&nbsp;some peace: If they choose to bury their loved ones on the island, they can do so.&nbsp;</p><div><img alt="A boat full of approximately 50 refugees arriving in Lesbos." src="http://cdn1.pri.org/sites/default/files/styles/original_image/public/lesbos04.jpg?itok=IYyO2yrv" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="A boat full of approximately 50 refugees arriving in Lesbos. (Jodi Hilton/PRI)" typeof="foaf:Image" /><div><p>But thousands of refugees&nbsp;pour into the island every day.&nbsp;October saw the highest number of arrivals in a single month &mdash; over 120,000 &mdash; and the most deaths.&nbsp;Weather and sea conditions will only get worse.</p></div></div><p>&ldquo;We need a solution to stop this,&rdquo; Effie said. &ldquo;We don&rsquo;t get used to it.&nbsp;We get angrier.&rdquo;</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.pri.org/stories/2015-11-03/cemeteries-lesbos-are-full-refugee-families-still-need-bury-their-dead" target="_blank"><em> via PRI&#39;s The World</em></a></p></p> Thu, 05 Nov 2015 15:53:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/cemeteries-lesbos-are-full-refugee-families-still-need-bury-their-dead-113661 Refugees, migrants face long border waits, cold winters in the Balkans http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-11-03/refugees-migrants-face-long-border-waits-cold-winters-balkans <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/1102_migrants-winter-624x415.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="attachment_95364"><img alt="Migrants and refugees prepare to board a train heading to Serbia from the Greece-Macedonia border near Gevgelija on October 31, 2015. (Nikolay Doychinov/ AFP/Getty Images)" src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/media.wbur.org/wordpress/11/files/2015/11/1102_migrants-winter-624x415.jpg" style="height: 412px; width: 620px;" title="Migrants and refugees prepare to board a train heading to Serbia from the Greece-Macedonia border near Gevgelija on October 31, 2015. (Nikolay Doychinov/ AFP/Getty Images)" /><p>Thousands of refugees are flooding across borders in southeastern Europe by foot, bus and train, nearly all of them trying to make their way to Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and other northern European countries.</p></div><p>Despite the impending winter, the number of people making the journey does not appear to be slowing down.</p><p>Sian Jones, a Balkans researcher with Amnesty International, joins&nbsp;<a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/">Here &amp; Now&rsquo;</a>s Peter O&rsquo;Dowd to describe the conditions that refugees and migrants are facing at the borders of Serbia and Macedonia, and Serbia and Croatia.</p><hr /><p><strong><span style="font-size:20px;">Interview Highlights: Sian Jones</span></strong></p><p><strong>On what the border crossings look like</strong></p><p>&ldquo;There are hundreds of thousands of people walking, taking vehicles, on trains and on buses, moving from Greece, trying to get refugee status in EU member states. And they are traveling through Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia on their way to the EU. And what struck me as well was their determination and their fortitude to keep going in the most difficult conditions.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;The problem is that so many people are coming at any one time that in order to queue up and get papers which will legally entitle them to travel through Serbia, people are having to wait for up to five hours at a time in the middle of the main street of a town called Preševo. And people have no protection from the rain, from the wind, from the weather. And they sit on the ground, on those streets waiting their turn to go get the documentation that they need.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>On whether refugees&nbsp;and border countries are prepared for the winter</strong></p><p>&ldquo;Many people aren&rsquo;t prepared at all, mainly because they&rsquo;ve come from Turkey on very tiny, little boats to the Greek islands and made their journey from there. And very many people lose many of their possessions whilst they are coming. And physically, they are not able to carry things. If you think of a family with two or three children, most of their effort has to go into looking after the children, keeping them, and we saw more women and children than we&rsquo;ve seen in our previous visits.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;But essentially what is needed is for the governments in those countries to provide shelter because winter is coming. And it&rsquo;s all very well to have additional socks and hats, but when the temperature goes down below zero, you really are not going to be able to sit out in the street waiting for five hours to get to register your family, to be able to continue on your journey.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>On protections for unaccompanied children</strong></p><p>&ldquo;So many children &mdash; at least 60 children &mdash; are found to have lost their parents&nbsp;in any one day. And UNHCR are doing their best, along with other organizations, to make sure that the families are traced. But the conditions are such that there are so many people &mdash; it&rsquo;s so crowded &mdash; there are so many people pushing to get across the border, that there is a real concern for children who have lost their families, and also for children who are travelling alone, who&rsquo;ve become separated from their parents, or for some reason, are traveling by themselves. And there are real concerns that there&rsquo;s not adequate protection or identification of those children.&rdquo;</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/11/02/refugees-balkans-jones" target="_blank"><em> via Here &amp; Now</em></a></p></p> Mon, 02 Nov 2015 11:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-11-03/refugees-migrants-face-long-border-waits-cold-winters-balkans Rubio and Obama are in a fake immigration fight http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-02/rubio-and-obama-are-fake-immigration-fight-105674 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS4285_Election%202010_22.jpg" style="float: left; height: 187px; width: 280px;" title="GOP Senator Marco Rubio (AP)" />The last time Sen. Marco Rubio and President Barack Obama squared off over immigration, Obama swept the floor with the junior senator from Florida.</div><p>Which explains, at least in part, Rubio&rsquo;s evolution on immigration. And explains too why, though Rubio and Obama&rsquo;s immigration proposals are practically identical, Rubio will not only distance himself from the president because of internal GOP politics but also because the man is rightfully wary.<br /><br />I&rsquo;m referring, of course, to the fight over the DREAM Act, which the president supported, Rubio opposed, and Congress rejected -- setting Obama up to use executive power to suspend enforcement of deportation rules and allow millions of young people from all over the world to legalize their status.<br /><br />Obama&rsquo;s move came not in the wake of congressional action but just as Rubio -- who had been hounded by Latino activists for his anti-immigration positions -- announced that he was going to propose his own DREAM Act, one that did not include amnesty or a path to citizenship but would &ldquo;accommodate&rdquo; these undocumented young people.<br /><br />Of course, Rubio never got a chance. Obama&rsquo;s announcement made any proposal from the young Cuban-American a moot point.<br /><br />As a Florida state legislator, Rubio had exhibited zero interest in immigration matters (in spite of the fact that Miami is one of the country&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.gadling.com/2009/08/02/top-u-s-ports-of-entry/">top three ports of entry</a> for immigrants). Once elevated to the U.S. Senate after a quixotic campaign fueled by the Tea Party, Rubio adopted most of the movement&rsquo;s <a href="http://univisionnews.tumblr.com/post/25446741345/marco-rubio-jorge-ramos-spar-immigration-first-interview">immigration platform</a>: No to the DREAM Act, no to legalization of any kind for the undocumented, yes to Arizona&rsquo;s SB1070, yes to E-verify, yes to English as an official language, and yes to increased border security.<br /><br />But Rubio, like so many Republicans, has had a what <em>appears </em>to be massive change of heart since the election -- when Latinos overwhelmingly supported the Democratic Party at every level.<br /><br />It&rsquo;s a funny place for Rubio. I don&rsquo;t think he wants to be a champion for Latinos, but suddenly his party needs one, and just as suddenly, though he claims not to have particular presidential ambitions, riding the Latino pony (i.e., immigration) could take him all the way to the White House. I don&rsquo;t think he really cares one way or the other how the party does with Latinos or about immigration (which is totally absent from his <a href="http://www.rubio.senate.gov/">Senate website</a>), but if the party thinks it needs Latinos, and if he could be perceived as the guy who brought them over ...<br /><br />Anyway, he&rsquo;s still saying no to the DREAM Act and yes to Arizona&rsquo;s SB1070 (though he&rsquo;s not talking about it much these days) and yes to E-Verify and to English as an official language and, God, a big, big <em>yes</em> to increased border security, but there&rsquo;s been one significant flip: Rubio is now onboard, as one of the Senate&rsquo;s Gang of Eight, with finding a way to legalize the status of the 11 million undocumented people in his country.<br /><br />And he has <a href="http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2013/02/rubio-immigration-strategy.php">a plan</a>. It&rsquo;s a plan &quot;totally different&quot; from the president&rsquo;s with nearly the same wording: an eventual path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants (after they jump through a few hoops), a crackdown on employers who hire future undocumented workers, and a fix to allow for future worker programs.<br /><br />But Rubio and the few Republicans onboard have made the citizenship path contingent on a favorite GOP bugaboo: Increased border security.<br /><br />There are just a few hitches here: 1) Immigration from Mexico is down to net zero; 2) arrests at the border have dropped by nearly a half million in the last five years to 357,000 in 2012; 3) and Obama -- whom Rubio and the GOP accuse of being weak on the border -- has poured more than $73 million into border reinforcement, resulting in the largest number of deportations in U.S. history.<br /><br />As <em>Bloomberg Business Week</em> put it, &ldquo;that&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-02-21/the-u-dot-s-dot-mexico-border-got-secured-dot-problem-solved#p1">more than the budgets of all other federal law enforcement agencies</a>&mdash;the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Secret Service, Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Marshals Service&mdash;combined.&quot; (For comparison, Bush spent $37.4&nbsp;billion on immigration enforcement in his first term and $60&nbsp;billion in his second.)&rdquo;<br /><br /><em>Bloomberg</em> continues: &ldquo;Rubio acknowledges the border is more secure than it was a few years ago, but says it&rsquo;s not enough. &lsquo;We need to achieve control of our borders,&rsquo; he wrote in a Jan. 30 op-ed on the conservative website <em>RedState</em>. &lsquo;This is not just an immigration issue; this is a national security and sovereignty issue.&rsquo; Yet Rubio&rsquo;s office won&rsquo;t specify what he&rsquo;d do differently.&rdquo;<br /><br />(Never mind that between 33 and 50 percent of undocumented people in the U.S. <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illegal_immigration_to_the_United_States">come in with legal visas</a> and overstay -- a matter that no amount of border security short of sealing can prevent.)<br /><br />In truth, immigration has become a performative issue. Understanding that he can&rsquo;t actually agree with the current Democratic president if he wants to be a future Republican president, Rubio will now press for an even greater waste of money at the borders, which Obama, to prove just how bipartisan he can be, will probably agree to. Both will immediately declare victory.<br /><br />Or not.<br /><br />The problem with Rubio&rsquo;s theatrics is that while Obama will likely play along, there&rsquo;s a chance his GOP cohorts won&rsquo;t think any concession by the president is enough.<br /><br />And Rubio will always side with his party over his people.<br /><br />Meaning that the first chance for immigration reform in a generation could go straight to hell.</p><p><em>Follow Achy on Twitter @achylandia.</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 22 Feb 2013 05:55:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-02/rubio-and-obama-are-fake-immigration-fight-105674 Mexico’s President Calderón and President Obama meet to discuss drugs, security and human rights http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-03-03/mexico%E2%80%99s-president-calder%C3%B3n-and-president-obama-meet-discuss-drugs-secur <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//99988997.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The word &quot;tension&quot; is being thrown around by media and political insiders surrounding today's meeting between President Obama and Mexico&rsquo;s President Felipe Calderón. Diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks revealed the U.S. has little faith in Mexican security agencies. There&rsquo;s also last month&rsquo;s shooting death of a U.S. customs agent and the Mexican drug war that has claimed an estimated 35,000 lives since Calderón took office in 2006. We&rsquo;ll get analysis of U.S.-Mexico relations from <a href="http://www.cipamericas.org/people" target="_blank">Laura Carlsen</a>, director of the <a href="http://www.cipamericas.org/" target="_blank">Americas Program of the Center for International Policy</a> in Mexico City and a columnist for <a href="http://www.fpif.org/" target="_blank"><em>Foreign Policy in Focus</em></a>.</p></p> Thu, 03 Mar 2011 17:14:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-03-03/mexico%E2%80%99s-president-calder%C3%B3n-and-president-obama-meet-discuss-drugs-secur Undocumented youths try to derail Senate hopeful Mark Kirk http://www.wbez.org/story/19th-ward/undocumented-youths-try-derail-senate-hopeful-mark-kirk <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2010-October/2010-10-29/Rogelio_0.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>A requirement to vote in the United States is citizenship. But voting isn&rsquo;t the only way to affect a race&rsquo;s outcome. Some undocumented young people in the Chicago area are going all out against the Republican in Illinois&rsquo;s U.S. Senate election Tuesday.<br /><br />Their motivation is a federal bill called the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act. The DREAM Act, as it&rsquo;s known, would provide legal status to many college students and service members who&rsquo;ve grown up in the United States.<br /><br />The undocumented youths are upset that Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL) isn&rsquo;t supporting the legislation. They&rsquo;re trying to derail his U.S. Senate campaign and get in his face.<br /><br />Ambi: DREAM Act? Yeah, yeah, yeah! Mark Kirk? No, no, no!<br /><br />About a dozen undocumented students have donned graduation gowns and caps outside a Republican office on Chicago&rsquo;s North Side. Three others are staging a sit-in inside. They include this 23-year-old.<br /><br />UNZUETA: My name is Irere Unzueta.<br /><br />Unzueta says her parents brought her to Chicago from Mexico at age 6. She&rsquo;s graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Now she wants a master&rsquo;s in engineering. But she&rsquo;s not a legal resident so doesn&rsquo;t qualify for most financial aid.<br /><br />Unzueta says she and the others aren&rsquo;t leaving the Republican office until Kirk agrees to meet with them.<br /><br />UNZUETA: Him saying that he is going to want to push for a lot more border security -- border enforcement -- before anything positive is really passed, I just think, is a really bad idea.<br /><br />Unzueta says her group isn&rsquo;t endorsing the race&rsquo;s Democrat, Alexi Giannoulias. She says they just want Kirk defeated.<br /><br />After four hours inside the office, police show up and the students leave. But about 10 miles away, some other undocumented youths keep at it.<br /><br />Ambi: Walking through fallen leaves.<br /><br />MITCHELL: I&rsquo;m going door to door through a Latino neighborhood of west-suburban Melrose Park. A 22-year-old named Rogelio is leading a crew of volunteer canvassers that&rsquo;s reminding folks to vote on Tuesday.<br />Ambi: Knocking.<br />ROGELIO: Here we come. (Door opens.) Hola buenas noches. Cómo estás? Se encuentra el señor... <br />MITCHELL: He asked us not to broadcast his last name because he&rsquo;s undocumented. Rogelio says he&rsquo;s lived in the area since his parents brought him from Mexico City at age 6. After graduating from a high school in Northlake, he says he fell into a depression as he realized how hard it would be to go to college or find a decent job without papers.<br />ROGELIO: This is crazy because I&rsquo;m undocumented and I&rsquo;m doing this. And people are thanking me. Even though I can&rsquo;t vote, the people are thanking us for doing this.<br />MITCHELL: Rogelio&rsquo;s not telling anyone how to vote. But he is handing out some yellow fliers comparing the immigration stands of the U.S. Senate candidates. That flier suggests a big difference between Mark Kirk and Alexi Giannoulias on the DREAM Act.<br />ROGELIO: I really enjoy doing this. It gets me out of my depression. It gets me out from where I was at two years ago, just there home doing nothing, like a loser. And I&rsquo;m not a loser. We&rsquo;re not losers, we&rsquo;re winners. And I feel like a winner right now, doing this, just getting out there and just informing the community.<br /><br />We left messages this morning to see what the Kirk campaign and the Illinois Republican Party think about undocumented youths working against the Senate candidate. They didn&rsquo;t get back to us.<br /><br />But a local Tea Party activist says the young people are hurting their own cause.<br /><br />WOJTOWICZ: They&rsquo;re helping Mark Kirk with this.<br /><br />Catherina Wojtowicz lives on Chicago&rsquo;s Southwest Side.<br /><br />WOJTOWICZ: They&rsquo;re strategy is completely skewed. Mark Kirk&rsquo;s weak base is with the conservative movement. If they want to come to the Southwest Side, I&rsquo;ll give them a donation.<br />MITCHELL: Why?<br />WOJTOWICZ: It&rsquo;ll help me. And Worth Township and the 19th Ward are Democratic bastions.<br /><br />The undocumented youths may not have a good shot at winning over Wojtowicz&rsquo;s part of town. But they still think can defeat Kirk.</p></p> Fri, 29 Oct 2010 22:52:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/19th-ward/undocumented-youths-try-derail-senate-hopeful-mark-kirk