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18
SEP

Polarized Politics Increases Divide Over Who Is a Real American

In the United States, the growing political divide along ethnic lines, along with President Donald Trump’s racially charged rhetoric, are renewing debate over what it means to be an American.  The growing divide and rising ethnic tensions come amid a time of rapid demographic change in the country.  White European-Americans are projected to lose their majority status by 2045, to be eclipsed by the growing populations of Hispanic Americans, African Americans, and Asian Americans.  “Demographic shifts are certainly fueling animosity but it's more about, in essence, white people feeling they're losing control of their country,” said Andre Perry, a scholar and commentator on issues of race, structural inequality and education at both the Brookings Institution and American University in Washington.Former President Barack Obama seemed to foreshadow a new demographic alignment in the U.S. when he won two decisive election victories in 2008 and 2012, with surging support from minority voters, in addition to winning over large numbers working class whites, traditionally affiliated with the Democratic Party. Immigration rhetoricMany of those same Democrats switched in 2016 to help elect Donald Trump as president, however, galvanized in key battleground states to support the head of the Republican ticket in part because he made illegal immigration a key campaign issue.   Trump, his critics say, also stoked ethnic tensions by engaging in racially charged rhetoric, referring to undocumented Mexican immigrants as criminals and calling for a “total and complete” immigration ban on all Muslims following a terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California, that was carried out by a Pakistani-born immigrant.While in office, the president has continued to single out minority groups for criticism. Trump denounced African American football players for kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and inequality in the country. He refused to strongly condemn a neo-Nazi and white nationalist demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia, that turned violent. And he questioned the loyalty to the country of two Muslim American congresswomen who a support a boycott movement against U.S. ally Israel over its occupation of Palestinian territories.Trump’s defenders dismiss charges of racism against the president. They say Trump's political strategy is to tie the Democratic Party to what he sees as its most unpopular issues and divisive leaders, adding that Trump's reflex is to fiercely attack all critics.“President Trump, I think is an equal opportunity insulter. Anybody who raises his ire or criticizes him is liable to be insulted regardless of race, ...
14
SEP

Voices of Migrants: Returned to Mexico

VOA reporters Victoria Macchi and Ramon Taylor spoke with a broad sampling of migrants and asylum-seekers in early August. Many departed their home countries months before U.S. policy changes went into effect, under assumptions that no long apply. All are awaiting immigration court hearings. Here are some of their stories.
14
SEP

Voices of Migrants: Fleeing Violence, Crime

VOA reporters Victoria Macchi and Ramon Taylor spoke with a broad sampling of migrants and asylum-seekers in early August. Many departed their home countries months before U.S. policy changes went into effect, under assumptions that no long apply. All are awaiting immigration court hearings. Here are some of their stories.
14
SEP

Voices of Migrants: Detained at the US-Mexico Border

VOA reporters Victoria Macchi and Ramon Taylor spoke with a broad sampling of migrants and asylum-seekers in early August. Many departed their home countries months before U.S. policy changes went into effect, under assumptions that no long apply. All are awaiting immigration court hearings. Here are some of their stories.
31
AUG

At U.S.-Mexico Border, Africans Join Diversifying Migrant Community

VOA's Ramon Taylor contributed to this report.SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS — It took Julia and her two daughters five years to get from Kassai, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, to a cot on the floor of a migrant shelter in Laredo, Texas, on a Sunday night in August 2019.First, it was four years in Angola. She saved money, she says, by working as a hairdresser.They flew to Ecuador. Took a bus and boat to Colombia. They spent 14 days crossing through Panama’s Darien Gap, lost part of the time in the dense jungle. Three weeks in Panama, then three more in Costa Rica while Julia recuperated from an illness. Then Nicaragua. Honduras. Guatemala.Finally, after a month of waiting in Acuña, on the U.S.-Mexico border, they stuck their feet in the sandy dirt along the southern bank of the Rio Grande. They were alone, and didn’t know how to swim.“We prayed first, then we got into the water,” Julia recalled. “My daughter was crying.” “‘Mom, I can’t…’” Julia remembers her pleading in chest-high water.Halfway across, she says, U.S. soldiers — possibly border agents — shouted to them: “‘Come, give us your hands.’““I did,” Julia recalls, “and they took us out.”Migrants from African countries rest outside a barn used as a shelter in Peñitas, Darien Province, Panama, May 10, 2019. African and Asian migrants tend to pay smugglers to shepherd them through the Darien Gap on their journey north to the U.S.More families from afarHistorically, the majority of people caught crossing into the southwest U.S. without authorization were single Mexican adults. In fiscal 2009, Mexicans accounted for 91.63% of border apprehensions, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data.But demographics of migrants and asylum-seekers crossing into the U.S. from Mexico are shifting in two significant ways: In the last decade, nationals of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras began migrating in greater numbers. In the same period, the number of Mexicans dropped.Then, in the last year, families became the top source of Southwest border migration. The Border Patrol apprehended 432,838 adults and children traveling in family units from October 2018 through July 2019, a 456% increase over the same period the previous fiscal year.To the surprise of longtime border agents, while the overwhelming majority of these families continue to be from Mexico and the Northern Triangle countries of Central America, a small but growing proportion are from countries outside the Americas, nearly twice as much as ...
29
AUG

Russians Leaving for US Under Tough Political Climate

An oppressive political climate marked by a lack of rights and freedoms is now a key factor driving emigration from Russia, with more than 1.5 million Russians leaving the country since Vladimir Putin became president, according to the Atlantic Council. 
25
AUG

Explainer: Migrant Protection Protocols

 Under the U.S. policy of Migrant Protection Protocols, migrants who enter the United States on its southern border seeking asylum can be sent back to Mexico to await a decision on their case.  It's a controversial policy as Ramon Taylor and Victoria Machii report. 
15
JUL

Immigration Agents Start Raids in US Cities

Immigration raids began in nine U.S. cities Sunday, including New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, as authorities started to round up as many as 2,000 migrants who have been issued deportation orders.  Mike O'Sullivan reports the stepped-up enforcement has angered Democrats, including many local officials, but is applauded by supporters of President Donald Trump.
14
JUL

Refugee Girls' Choir Touches Hearts

The power of song can heal the hearts and bring people together.  A girls' chorus named Pihcintu sings to do just that.  Most members are from war-torn countries and refugee camps around the world. Together they sing as one and spread a message of hope. VOA's June Soh caught up with the group in Washington and has this story narrated by Carol Pearson 
 
06
JUL

US Communities Uneasy as Trump Threatens ICE Raids

Two weeks ago, U.S. President Donald Trump told the Democrats to fix the loopholes in the U.S. asylum laws or federal authorities would deport millions of undocumented immigrants through mass raids. Since then, immigrant communities around the country have organized to protest the threat, but some Americans feel those deportations should have happened a long time ago. VOA's Schuyler Ogden has more.

10 episodes