Visit AustinKocher.com for more short articles about the current state of the US immigration system or follow me on Twitter here for news, policy, and data about immigration.

The Department of Homeland Security announced plans today to process 28,000 asylum-seekers with active cases under the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), also known as ‘Remain in Mexico.’ When MPP was announced in January 2019, TRAC at Syracuse University responded quickly by making detailed data available to the public. Today, TRAC updated its publicly-available MPP data tool here.

As of the end of January 2021, immigration court records show that:

  • 71,036 immigrants have…


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Visit AustinKocher.com for more short articles about the current state of the US immigration system or follow me here on Twitter.

Depending on who you are, your emotional response to talking about death and the migration system ranges somewhere between uncomfortable to re-traumatizing. If you belong somewhere on the “uncomfortable” side of the spectrum, I believe we have a responsibility to make ourselves uncomfortable by actively analyzing and engaging with the ways in which our lives are ethically bound up with the suffering of others. …


Visit AustinKocher.com for more short articles about the current state of the US immigration system or follow me on Twitter here for news, policy, and data about immigration.

For most of us, from the time we are children, we learn that in an emergency we should call 911. Heart attack in the airport? Call 911. Someone broke into your car in Las Vegas? Call 911. Break your arm while hiking in Maine? If you can get reception, you know what you’d do. Call 911.

But according to a new report from No More Deaths released yesterday, 911 doesn’t work if…


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If you’re looking for up-to-date non-partisan immigration data, let me introduce you to our work at Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse -or TRAC-at Syracuse University.

For the past 15 years, TRAC has been a valuable source of immigration data. TRAC’s reports and statistics are often cited in news articles, used in scholarly and legal publications, and referred to by government officials. TRAC’s data tools and applications are accessed by thousands of people each month and TRAC reports are sent to people across the US and around the world. This report provides a brief introduction to our immigration data and tools. …


Conspiracy theories were a driving force behind right-wing violence at the Capitol last week. Here’s one conspiracy theory you might not have heard of.

The term ‘conspiracy theory’ has worked its way into common discourse due mostly to our Snake Oil Salesman in Chief Donald Trump’s efforts to convince the public (or maybe just himself) that he really won an election that he so clearly lost.

The violence on Wednesday at the US Capitol was a manifestation of Trump’s conspiracy theory, but also the culmination of years of conspiracy theories invented and propagated to assuage mostly white voters of what…


40% of Americans can trace at least one ancestor through Ellis Island, which opened on this day in 1892. Here are some of their stories.

Ellis Island, the Gateway to the New World, has a rich and complicated history. As I described in a previous post here (Ellis Island Opened on New Years Day 1892: A Look Back) and in a day-long theme on Twitter, the island was first used to hang pirates, then later became an immigration screening center, a detention center, and now a museum.

But I wanted to do more than just talk about the history of Ellis Island. I also wanted to learn more about how people today are still connected to the island in some way. …


Co-authored with Jairo Flores, who conducted much of the research and writing for this article. Visit AustinKocher.com for more short articles about the current state of the US immigration system.

Today marks 129 years since the opening of Ellis Island. Ellis Island opened on New Years Day in 1892. As an immigration researcher, Ellis Island looms large in America’s history of immigration, serving both as a symbol of how much our country has been shaped by immigration while also hiding many of the abuses and exclusionary policies that remain in place today.

I’ll be posting lots of interesting information about…


Visit AustinKocher.com for more short articles about the current state of the US immigration system.

In the final presidential debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden on October 22, 2020, Trump claimed that when asylum seekers are allowed into the country for their hearings, “less than one percent of the people come back.”

Is he right? No. Not even close.

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Photo by Dennis Maliepaard on Unsplash

Why Immigration Hearing Attendance Matters

Under international and US law, immigrants who are fleeing persecution have a right to request asylum. Due to the complexity of asylum cases (and immigration law more generally) as well as the backlog of cases in…


To paraphrase Faulkner, America’s religious past is never dead; it isn’t even past. The recent resurgence of overt white supremacy and antisemitism has prompted renewed debate about the role of fundamentalist Christianity in U.S. politics.

Trump is unavoidably at the center of this debate.

But so, too, are the White evangelicals who, through an astonishing routine of theological gymnastics, rationalized voting for him, casually dismissed his misogynistic “locker room talk,” and gave him, in the words of Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, a “mulligan” on his past affair with and likely pay-off of adult film actress Stormy Daniels. …


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Visit AustinKocher.com for more short articles about the current state of the US immigration system.

Three in four Americans say that immigration is extremely important or very important in the 2020 election (Gallup poll). In the past few years, news outlets have reported on workplace immigration raids, family separation, exploitation among migrant farmworkers, prolonged detention, and travel bans just to name a few. …

Austin Kocher, PhD

Critical geographer studying immigration, policing, and courts. Visit AustinKocher.com for more on the current state of the US immigration system.

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