Is a “surge” of migrant youth causing a crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border? Not if you ask CLS affiliate faculty member Erin Barbato. Her comment appeared in a recent article by Ruth Conniff in the Wisconsin Examiner on the growing media panic about the situation at the southern border. Prof. Barbato and colleagues who practice immigration law in Madison noted that migrant apprehensions at the border match closely the numbers from 2019 and do not represent an unprecedented “surge.” Prof. Barbato herself shared the story of a Guatemalan mother and her three-year-old daughter who were separated at the border and are now in Madison pursuing an asylum claim with assistance from UW-Madison law students. She also noted that Homeland Security chief Alejandro Mayorkas’s statements that the border is “closed” may conflict with the law and cause confusion about the government’s responsibilities under the Refugee Act of 1980. With an ongoing crisis in Central America driving people to seek refuge in the United States, Barbato and her students and colleagues continue to seek compassionate, workable solutions. “People are really trying to participate in creating a more humane policy, and having a country that really does recognize human rights,” she told the Examiner.
Prof. Barbato will share more of her thoughts on the current migration situation tonight on Wisconsin Public Television’s Here and Now.