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Central America/Mexico Migration News Brief for July 10, 2017

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A compilation of recent top articles and reports related to issues of U.S. immigration and enforcement policy and migration from Central America and Mexico (articles in English and Spanish). Please feel free to send us recommendations or requests for upcoming news briefs: lfolkerts@lawg.org.

Protest in Mexico City for press freedom, Wikimedia Commons

U.S. Immigration Enforcement

• Homeland Security Chief Says Administration is Just ‘Enforcing the Law’ on Immigration
Joshua Partlow, Washington Post, June 8, 2017

“During an interview at the conclusion of a three-day visit to Mexico, Kelly described the migration flow, which has sent hundreds of thousands of people north to the United States in recent years, as an ‘overwhelmingly economic’ phenomenon rather than a matter of people fleeing violence, as many in Central America insist.”

• ICE Officers Told to Take Action Against All Undocumented Immigrants Encountered While on Duty
Marcelo Rochabrun, ProPublica, July 7, 2017

“The head of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement unit in charge of deportations has directed his officers to take action against all undocumented immigrants they may cross paths with, regardless of criminal histories. The guidance appears to go beyond the Trump administration’s publicly stated aims, and some advocates say may explain a marked increase in immigration arrests.”

• DPS Director Steve McCraw Issues Immigration Marching Orders
Debbie Nathan, Austin Chronicle, July 7, 2017
“For several years now in the Rio Grande Valley, trooper-initiated handovers have represented a primary method for Texans to be identified as undocumented – then detained and often deported. From Browns­ville to Laredo, DPS squad cars buzz around minor traffic infractions like bees circling flowers. Troopers ask for a driver’s license; if a motorist or passengers don’t have one – in an area where 90-98% of the population is Latino, and as many as 15% are undocumented – the deportation machine kicks in.”

• Parents Risk Prosecution for Helping Children Seek Safety in the United States
Royce Murray, Immigration Impact, July 6, 2017
“Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials recently confirmed their plans to initiate criminal prosecutions and deportation proceedings against immigrant parents and guardians who help bring their children to the United States through the use of smugglers or traffickers. Reports indicate that these enforcement actions are already underway.”

• Detained Immigrant Children Are Entitled to Hearings, Court Rules
Miriam Jordan, The New York Times, July 5, 2017

“Undocumented immigrant children detained by federal authorities are entitled to hearings to determine whether they should remain confined, a federal appeals court ruled on Wednesday.
A three-judge panel…ruled that immigration authorities must abide by a 1997 legal settlement that established a policy for the detention, release and treatment of minors in immigration custody.”

•  EU debe dar audiencia a menores migrantes no acompañados: Corte
La Jornada, July 5, 2017

“Los menores de edad que ingresen de manera indocumentada y sin compañía de sus padres a Estados Unidos deben gozar del derecho a una audiencia de ley para decidir su situación en el país, resolvió este miércoles un panel de la Corte de Apelaciones del Noveno Circuito”.

• Justice Dept Questions Cities’ Immigration Info Sharing
Sadie Gurman, Associated Press, July 6, 2017

“The Justice Department on Thursday questioned whether some so-called sanctuary cities responded honestly when asked whether they follow the law on sharing the citizenship status of people in their custody with federal immigration authorities… The cities were singled out last year by the department’s inspector general for having rules that hinder the ability of local law enforcement to communicate with federal officials about the immigration status of people they have detained.”

• Texas is Getting a New ‘Sanctuary Cities’ Law, and the Mexican Government Isn’t Happy
Alex Horton and Joshua Partlow, Washington Post, July 6, 2017

“A new Texas law has pushed the fight over sanctuary cities to spill over the border, as Mexican officials grow increasingly concerned about Mexican nationals being caught in an expanding immigration dragnet while American authorities worry the measure might derail economic activity… 11 Mexican consulates in Texas met and shared information about how Mexican immigrants were reacting to the law, which showed broad levels of fear and anxiety.”

• After SB 4, Mexican Consulate Hotline Sees Nearly 700 Percent Increase in Texas Calls
Alvaro Céspedes, Texas Observer, July 7, 2017
“After [Governor Greg] Abbott signed SB 4 — also known as the “sanctuary cities” ban — on May 7, a 24-hour hotline saw a 678 percent increase in the number of phone calls from Mexicans seeking assistance in Texas, compared to the same six-week period in 2016, the agency said.”

• EEUU da mayoría de permisos de residencia a personas que ya vivían en el país
La Opinión, 6 de julio de 2017

“Cerca de un millón de inmigrantes reciben permisos de residencia permanente cada año en Estados Unidos, pero la mayoría de ellos son personas que ya llevan mucho tiempo residiendo el país, indicó un estudio del Centro de Investigaciones Pew publicado hoy”.

• A Judge Said These Kids Get a Green Card. ICE Says They Get Deported
Bernice Yeung, Reveal News, July 6, 2017

“For the first time, U.S. immigration officials are seeking to deport children who have received a special status for vulnerable migrants and are in the final stages of getting their green cards… a group of children from Central America who are close to becoming legal permanent residents face imminent deportation after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement declined to close their deportation cases in February.”

• La cárcel de la isla Rikers, Nueva York, se convierte en una peligrosa opción para personas en riesgo de ser deportadas
Univisión, 6 de julio de 2017
“Abogados han puesto a sus clientes en la prisión para protegerlos de que sean repatriados, porque debido a leyes locales los agentes del Servicio de Inmigración y Control de Aduanas (ICE) no pueden ingresar al lugar”.

• Jerome County Residents Protest ICE Renting Beds in the County Jail
Emily Duke, KMVT, July 3, 2017

“The Jerome County Sheriffs Office has been working out the details of a bed rental contract with ICE… ‘When you have a contract that has a guaranteed payment whether the beds are filled or not, it provides a motive for more ICE arrests,’ said immigration attorney Maria Andrade.”

• After Trump’s Immigration Crackdown, a Desert Clinic Tries to Save Lives Without Breaking the Law
Eric Boodman, Stat News, July 6, 2017

“Small nonprofits like No More Deaths and the Samaritans try to keep [migrants]. But for the volunteers, providing even the most basic services out here is a legal high-wire act. They’ve been arrested while driving migrants to the hospital (the felony charges were eventually dismissed). They’ve had run-ins with the Border Patrol. Fellow citizens accuse them of abetting illegal immigrants. They’ve been told that their patients should be left to die.”

• Aumentan remesas y bajan deportaciones desde EE.UU. a Guatemala
Betzi Vásquez, Guatevisión, 6 de julio de 2017

“El ingreso de remesas familiares a Guatemala desde el extranjero aumentó 15,4% en el primer semestre, y las deportaciones desde Estados Unidos disminuyeron 10,8% comparado con el mismo lapso del 2016, informaron este jueves fuentes oficiales guatemaltecas”.

Mexican Migration Enforcement

• Fraile denunciado en México: “No solo no han hecho lo que les corresponde, sino que criminalizan nuestra labor”
Jaime Septién, Aleteia, 7 de julio de 2017

“El albergue ‘La 72’, ubicado en las inmediaciones de la ciudad de Tenosique, Tabasco, muy cerca de la frontera con Guatemala, ha sido, por varios años… objeto de agresiones, denuncias e intimidaciones por quienes ven en este servicio caritativo una ‘ofensa’ a sus ‘intereses’… El resultado que desean obtener las autoridades migratorias del sureste mexicano… es someter a los organizadores y voluntarios que trabajan en “La 72” al silencio, a la complicidad”.

• Mexico President Meets with US Homeland Security Secretary
Associated Press, July 5, 2017

“Mexico’s president has met with U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly in Mexico City. President Enrique Pena Nieto’s office said the two discussed fighting organized crime groups, an apparent reference to drug and gun smuggling across the border… Pena Nieto welcomed the U.S. decision to maintain a program allowing migrants who arrived as children to stay in the U.S.”

• Acuerdan Peña Nieto y Kelly combate corresponsable del crimen
Héctor Figueroa Alcántara, Excelsior, 6 de julio de 2017

“El mandatario mexicano reconoció la decisión del Gobierno de Estados Unidos de mantener el Programa de Acción Diferida para los Llegados en la Infancia, DACA, y reiteró el compromiso de su administración con la protección de los derechos de los mexicanos en Estados Unidos. Tanto Enrique Peña Nieto como John Kelly afirmaron que las autoridades de ambos países deben seguir trabajando juntas para enfrentar el crimen organizado y la migración ilegal…”

 Let’s Put ‘America First’ by Averting a Central American Migrant Crisis
Hannah Carrese, PBS, July 6, 2017

“The southward movement of Mexican nationals makes clear that the real migration problem we face in North America isn’t Mexican migrants seeking jobs in the United States. Rather, it’s Central Americans (and now Venezuelans) fleeing violence in their countries and seeking asylum in Mexico or the U.S. Twenty-two thousand of these Central Americans are expected to apply for refugee status in Mexico during 2017, up from just over a thousand in 2012.”

• Chiapas y Guanajuato, los estados en los que se cometen más delitos contra migrantes: informe
Animal Político, 5 de julio de 2017

“Durante 2016, de las 34 mil 234 personas migrantes que acudieron a pedir apoyo a algún albergue o comedor en el país, un total de 5 mil 239 (el 16.30%) sufrieron algún tipo de delito u agresión, de acuerdo con el informe: Migrantes en México: recorriendo un camino de violencia, siendo Chiapas y Guanajuato los estados donde más ilícitos se registran”.

• Consulados Centroamericanos Facilitan Trámites de Regulación Migratoria para Evitar Falsos Gestores
Marvin Bautista, Desde Puebla, 8 de julio de 2017
“El número de extranjeros que han sido estafados por ‘falsos gestores’ o ‘abogados’ que prometen apoyo para agilizar trámites del programa de regularización en la frontera sur va en aumento, por ello cónsules centroamericanos acercarán servicios gratuitos para evitar que sus connacionales sean engañados”.

• Regularizará México cerca de 4 mil caribeños en la entidad
Ariadna García, El Universal, 9 de julio de 2017

“El gobierno mexicano alista la regularización de unos 4 mil haitianos que permanecen varados en Baja California desde finales de 2016, luego de que no pudieron cruzar hacia Estados Unidos, por el endurecimiento de medidas migratorias en el país vecino”.

• Uprooted: Born in the United States, Learning to Live in Mexico
Alice Proujansky and Cora Currier, The Intercept, July 3, 2017

“Some students struggle with Spanish when they first arrive — Mexican public school curriculum is set at the national level, there are no bilingual schools, and language support is limited… for about a decade, Baja California has run support groups in schools to help kids who come from the United States to adjust and connect with one another.”

Root Causes

• Aid Agencies Adopt Warzone Ways to Help Central Americans in Crisis
Sophie Hares, Reuters, July 6, 2017

“Extreme violence in Central America is forcing aid agencies to use conflict-zone tactics to reach people most at risk in gang-plagued nations such as El Salvador and Honduras, where homicide levels are comparable to those in war… Negotiating with gangs is often essential for aid organisations to get secure access to the people they need to help.”

• Honduras on ‘Red Alert’ over Female Murders, Say Activists
BBC, July 6, 2017

“Honduras is on ‘red alert’ over the number of women being murdered, according to the country’s rights activists. Members of 20 different women’s groups have banded together to highlight the problem, saying at least 18 women were killed in the past two weeks… out of 463 women murdered last year, only 15 cases were investigated.”

• Por drogas y pandillas militarizan dos colegios en la capital de Honduras
El Heraldo, June 30, 2017

“El tráfico y consumo de drogas, así como la resistencia de muchos jóvenes de caer en las garras de las pandillas, está generando que la muerte merodee a su alrededor, sembrando luto y tristeza en las aulas de clase”.

• The Deadly Results of a D.E.A.-Backed Raid in Honduras
Annie Bird and Alexander Main, New York Times, July 2, 2017

“Given the secrecy surrounding many security programs, it is nearly impossible to evaluate their effectiveness. Hundreds of millions of United States taxpayer dollars have been channeled to the region through the opaque Central America Regional Security Initiative… Now security aid to Central America is likely to become even more militarized and less transparent, with the current administration seeking to shift funding and responsibilities from the State Department to the Pentagon.”

• El Salvador Teen Rape Victim Sentenced to 30 Years in Prison after Stillbirth
Nina Lakhani, The Guardian, July 6, 2017

“A teenage rape victim in El Salvador has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for murder after having a stillbirth, the latest in a long line of failures of justice against pregnant women in the Central American country… El Salvador – one of five countries where abortion is illegal in all circumstances – has imprisoned dozens of mainly poor young women for murder after they suffered obstetric complications.”

• Asesinan a periodista hondureño refugiado en Veracruz
Eirinet Gómez, La Jornada, 9 de julio de 2017

“Este domingo fue asesinado en Acayucan, Veracruz, Edwin Rivera Paz, un migrante y camarógrafo hondureño que se encontraba refugiado en México… Rubén Figueroa, vocero del Movimiento Migrante Mesoamericano afirmó que circunstancias en las que perdió la vida el refugiado son preocupantes y deberían encender la alerta de las autoridades”.

 Spyware Sold to Mexican Government Targeted International Officials
Azam Ahmed, New York Times, July 10, 2017
“A team of international investigators brought to Mexico to unravel one of the nation’s gravest human rights atrocities was targeted with sophisticated surveillance technology sold to the Mexican government to spy on criminals and terrorists. The spying took place during what the investigators call a broad campaign of harassment and interference that prevented them from solving the haunting case of 43 students who disappeared after clashing with the police…”

• Reportan 14 muertos por enfrentamiento en Chihuahua
Norma Ponce, Milenio, 5 de julio de 2017

“Un enfrentamiento entre bandas del crimen organizado dejó un saldo de 14 personas sin vida, informó la Fiscalía del estado. Luego de que desde las primeras horas circularan versiones en redes sociales, que daban cuenta hasta de 30 fallecidos en la reyerta, finalmente las autoridades desmintieron tales datos y confirmaron el número real de muertos”.

• At Least 14 Killed in Gunfight in Drug-Plagued Northern Mexico State
Joshua Partlow, Washington Post, July 5, 2017

“A shootout in northern Mexico left at least 14 people dead Wednesday, according to government officials… The violence follows a deadly incident Friday in which 17 suspected drug traffickers were killed near the Pacific Coast city of Mazatlan in a confrontation with police that some relatives of the victims suspected might have involved extrajudicial killings.”

Actions, Reports, and Resources

• Statement by Secretary John F. Kelly
Department of Homeland Security, July 7, 2017

“Mexico and the United States have a history of partnership, and it is natural for the two countries to work together to solve common problems in the region. We’ve had excellent operational cooperation in the security and law enforcement missions for years… We recognize that our prosperity and security are intertwined, and that criminal networks grow in influence and power when our two countries do not work together… that means looking towards new agreements where we can share information, training, infrastructure, and planning resources.”

• Recibe el Presidente Peña Nieto al Secretario de Seguridad Interna de Estados Unidos, John F. Kelly
Presidencia de la República, 5 de julio de 2017

“Durante el encuentro, se enfatizó la importancia de trabajar conjuntamente, autoridades de los dos países, para combatir al crimen organizado transnacional, a partir del enfoque de corresponsabilidad que ambas naciones han reconocido”.

• Migrantes en México: Recorriendo un camino de violencia
Red de Documentación de las Organizaciones Defensoras de Migrantes, julio de 2017
“El presente informe, correspondiente al año 2016, es la cuarta publicación que desde el 2013 la Red de Documentación de las Organizaciones Defensores de Migrantes ha venido presentando y constituye el objetivo principal que se han fijado los Socios que conforman la REDODEM: la presentación y análisis de datos duros para dar a conocer la realidad de las personas migrantes que transitan por México”.

• Policy Adrift: Mexico’s Southern Border Program
Luis Alfredo Arriola Vega, Baker Institute Mexico Center, June 2017

“Despite the fact that PFS [Programa Frontera Sur] was conceived as an instrument of state policy intended to foster development and reinforce border security while mitigating migrants’ vulnerability, the program’s results so far raise deep concerns as to whether it has complied with its stated spirit.”

• Practice Advisory: Working with Child Clients and Their Family Members in Light of the Trump Administration’s Focus on “Smugglers”
Public Counsel and Catholic Immigration Network, July 2017

“This practice advisory is designed for practitioners representing child clients in removal proceedings or advising family members of child clients in removal proceedings… The goal of this advisory is to provide guidance and suggestions on best practices for mitigating the risk of civil immigration enforcement or criminal prosecution of family members of children in removal proceedings.”

•  México: Asesinatos, desapariciones y torturas en Coahuila de Zaragoza constituyen crímenes de lesa humanidad
Federación Internacional de Derechos Humanos, 5 de julio de 2017

“Desde el año 2012, la Federación Internacional de Derechos Humanos… [ha] enviado dos comunicaciones a la Fiscalía de la Corte Penal Internacional… Ambas comunicaciones han presentado fundamentos suficientes para armar la grave situación que vive México, frente a la comisión de crímenes de lesa humanidad cometidos por las fuerzas armadas y las corporaciones responsables de la seguridad pública… el presente documento se enfoca en el análisis del contexto y de casos específicos de crímenes de lesa humanidad cometidos en Coahuila”.

 Incidencia de los delitos de alto impacto en México
Observatorio Nacional Ciudadano De Seguridad, junio 2017

“Lamentablemente, lo que se pudo constatar es que sin lugar a dudas las condiciones de seguridad se han deteriorado significativamente desde 2015… Es innegable que el Estado enfrenta una crisis de violencia si se analizan los datos o ciales pues entre 2015 y 2016 aumentó el homicidio doloso, la extorsión, el robo total con violencia y el robo de vehículo delito que por años vio una disminución sostenida”.

The Central America/Mexico Migration News Brief is a selection of relevant news articles, all of which do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Latin America Working Group.

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