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Central America/Mexico Migration News Brief for August 8, 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.

Photo by Emma Buckhout

U.S. Immigration Enforcement

Hundreds of Thousands of People Who Fled Violence in Central America Could Be Sent Back
P.R. Lockhart, Mother Jones, August 3, 2017

“The life Zepeda has built here over more than three decades is in jeopardy. In the next few months, the Trump administration will determine the future of several countries’ TPS designations…The administration has already hinted that it will not extend the TPS designation for Haiti, where conditions are arguably more dire than in El Salvador and other Central American countries whose protections are on the line, raising fears that all of these designations will be allowed to expire.”

Trump Supports Plan to Cut Legal Immigration by Half
Peter Baker, New York Times, August 2, 2017

“President Trump embraced a proposal on Wednesday to slash legal immigration to the United States in half within a decade by sharply curtailing the ability of American citizens and legal residents to bring family members into the country… [The bill] would institute a merit-based system…, favoring applicants based on skills, education and language ability rather than relations with people already here.”

The ACLU Is Investigating Whether States Are Colluding With Sessions To End DACA
Adolfo Flores, BuzzFeed News, August 7, 2017

“The American Civil Liberties Union is investigating whether states have been coordinating with the Department of Justice to force President Trump’s hand and end a program that protects undocumented immigrants from deportation… 10 states have warned Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a letter that if Trump doesn’t end the program by Sept. 5, they will challenge it in court.”

‘We Don’t Feel OK Here’: Detainee Deaths, Suicide Attempts and Hunger Strikes Plague California Immigration Facility
Paloma Esquivel, Los Angeles Times, August 8, 2017

“Government officials say the Adelanto Detention Facility is subject to ‘rigorous operating requirements’ and is tightly monitored to ensure those standards are met… But complaints about the facility have grown particularly loud this year following the suicide attempts and three deaths since March, with multiple hunger strikes by detainees.”

Asylum Seekers Flee U.S. for Quebec, Fearing Their Temporary Permits Will Expire
Alan Freeman, Washington Post, August 3, 2017

“As many as 150 migrants a day are making ‘irregular’ border crossings from northern New York state into Quebec near the border station at Lacolle, and 70 percent of them are Haitians, fearful that the Trump administration will soon end their special temporary status in the country.”

A Game of Cat and Mouse With High Stakes: Deportation
Liz Robbins, New York Times, August 3, 2017

“When officers for United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, known as ICE, are thought to be in a courthouse, a sympathetic judge might reschedule a defendant’s appearance, or, in a seemingly perverse move, set bail that could send a defendant to Rikers Island — keeping the person out of ICE’s hands because the jail complex does not turn over undocumented immigrants to the agency.”

Migrant Deaths At US-Mexico Border Increase 17% This Year, UN Figures Show
Amanda Holpuch, The Guardian, August 5, 2017

“More people have died crossing the border from Mexico to the US in the first seven months of 2017 compared to the year before, even though significantly fewer people seem to be attempting the journey, according to the United Nation’s migration agency… Meanwhile, the US Border Patrol has reported that about half as many migrants were apprehended during border crossings in the first six months of 2016 compared to the first six months of 2017 – down from 267,746 people to 140,024 people.”

The Countdown For Haitians With TPS Has Started. And That Has Many In Haiti Worried
Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald, August 4, 2017

“Four years after the Dominican Republic began cracking down on undocumented Haitian workers following a decision by one of its courts to retroactively strip Dominicans of Haitian descent of their citizenship, tens of thousands of Haitians… have ended up in Haiti after being expelled or forced to flee… Now the prospect that thousands of Haitians temporarily living in the United States could soon find themselves in a similar situation should the Trump administration end their special immigration status, worries humanitarians and U.S.-based activists.”

Cárcel en la que murió una afroamericana participa en programa “287g” contra indocumentados
María Peña, La Opinión, 3 de agosto de 2017

“El programa, reactivado por la Administración Trump, permite que las autoridades locales y estatales actúen también como agentes de Inmigración para identificar y arrestar a inmigrantes indocumentados. Estos acuerdos de ICE, que ahora totalizan 60 – en comparación con tan sólo seis entre 2012 y 2016 bajo la Administración Obama…”

Trump’s Immigration Policies Are Harming American Children
Leila Schochet, Center for American Progress, July 31, 2017

“Since the election, President Donald Trump has indicated that the future of DACA [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals] is unclear, fueling heightened concern and fear among DACA recipients. That uncertainty has reached new heights in recent weeks, as attorneys general from several states have threatened to sue the administration to end DACA if the program is not terminated by September 5, 2017.”

Meet the Law Professor Who’s Been on the Frontlines of the Trump Immigration Battles
Stephen Magagnini, The Sacramento Bee, July 31, 2017

“For all the legal tools at the clinic’s disposal, there’s only so much Cooper and her team can do from their cottage tucked behind the UC Davis Arboretum. Trump’s Jan. 25 executive order pushed for the hiring of an additional 10,000 Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, officers. In the following three months, immigration arrests across the country grew by more than a third compared to the same period last year. The arrests of immigrants with no criminal convictions jumped by 150 percent in that same period.”

Fact Checker: President Trump’s Claim That Illegal Immigration Went Up Under Past Administrations
Michelle Ye Hee Lee, Washington Post, August 1, 2017

“After November 2016, the number of apprehensions and people “deemed inadmissible” at the border declined rapidly. In April 2017, the monthly number of apprehensions and people deemed inadmissible reached the lowest point since at least 2000, Customs and Border Protection data show. Since April, however, apprehensions started climbing again. This increase is consistent with seasonal trends.”

Mexican Journalist Denied Asylum Nine Years After Fleeing to U.S. Because of Death Threats
Teresa Mioli, UT-Austin Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, August 1, 2017

“Nine years after he fled to the United States out of fear for his life, former Mexican journalist Emilio Gutiérrez Soto has been denied asylum in an El Paso immigration court. Gutiérrez, a former reporter at El Diario del Noroeste in the state of Chihuahua, finally had the opportunity to plead his case to a judge on Nov. 14, 2016 after years of postponements.”

Mexican Migration Enforcement

A Flawed Asylum System in Mexico, Strained Further by U.S. Changes
Leer en español: La política migratoria de Estados Unidos empuja al límite al sistema de asilo mexicano
Kirk Semple, New York Times, August 5, 2017
“While the Mexican government has made improvements to its asylum program in recent years and has awarded protection at increasingly higher rates, the system remains deeply flawed, leaving many migrants vulnerable to harm… The weaknesses include inadequate staffing in Mexico’s refugee agency, leading to months-long waits for applicants; uneven training and supervision of immigration agents; and inconsistent adjudication of asylum law.”

Mexico Officials Accused of Abuse in Migration Centers: Report
Gabriel Stargardter, Reuters, August 3, 2017

“A report found that staff at Mexico’s National Migration Institute (INM) abused and even tortured migrants held in detention centers across the country, a finding the organization disputed on Thursday… Mexico’s migration officers have long been accused of corruption, shaking down migrants and even working with organized criminals involved in human smuggling rings.”

Hoy no comes: así amenazan a migrantes en México para que acepten la deportación voluntaria
Manu Ureste, Animal Político, 3 de agosto de 2017

“La ONU denuncia como una práctica ‘sistémica’ que agentes del INM amenazan a migrantes recluidos en centros de detención para que acepten la expulsión voluntaria de México y no soliciten asilo… El Comité Ciudadano documentó que, además de presionarlos con dejarlos sin comer, también hay casos en los que agentes federales del INM… amenazan a quienes no aceptan la expulsión voluntaria negándoles medicinas básicas y productos de higiene personal”.

El INM niega que sus agentes maltraten a extranjeros alojados en las estaciones
Fabiola Martínez, La Jornada, 4 de agosto de 2017

“El Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM) negó que se maltrate a los extranjeros en situación administrativa irregular, alojados en estaciones… Dijo que personal de organismos de derechos humanos… ingresan sin restricción a las estaciones y hasta el momento el instituto no ha recibido ninguna queja o recomendación por alguna violación grave a los derechos humanos, como tortura o hacinamiento de los extranjeros alojados”.

Guatemaltecos rescatados en México llegarían en una semana
Geovanni Contreras, Prensa Libre, 31 de julio de 2017

“Los 61 guatemaltecos rescatados el sábado en Veracruz, México, cuando intentaban llegar a Estados Unidos, arribarían a Guatemala en una semana. El canciller Carlos Raúl Morales informó este lunes que los connacionales fueron encontrados sanos y estables, pese al peligroso trayecto que ya habían recorrido en forma indocumentada. Los 61 guatemaltecos eran parte de un grupo de 178 migrantes centroamericanos que fueron abandonados en un camión”.

Root Causes

Central America Sees 8% Economic Growth from Remittances
Telesur, August 3, 2017

“Remittance money is poised to boost several Central American nations economies again in the coming year…. the flow of cash combined with strong exports will have a major impact on consumption trends across the region. In the early months of 2017, remittances rose by 8 percent over the same period in 2016, partly owing to stronger economic activity in some of the originating countries.”

Finding Hope in Honduras: Padre Melo’s Fight for Human Rights
Jesuit Post, August 5, 2017

“Latin American Jesuits are raising the alarm about threats against human rights defenders in Honduras, including attacks aimed at discrediting the work and threatening the life of Father Ismael Moreno, SJ…. Padre Melo has recently been attacked for his efforts to promote dialogue and advocated for those most marginalized in Honduran society.”

Hondureños huyen de la violencia a Guatemala
AFP, 2 de agosto de 2017

“Las solicitudes de refugio de hondureños y salvadoreños, que huyen principalmente de la violencia en esos países, se incrementan cada año en Guatemala, destacó este miércoles la Oficina del Alto Comisionado de las Naciones Unidas para los Refugiados (ACNUR). El ACNUR… explicó que entre 2014 y 2016 se han sobrepasado por año el centenar de peticiones de refugio, sobre todo de ciudadanos de El Salvador y Honduras, quienes emprenden el éxodo de sus países principalmente por el asedio de las pandillas”.

Primera caravana de migrantes “trans” centroamericanas se prepara a pedir asilo en Estados Unidos
Pilar Marrero, La Opinión, 25 de julio de 2017

“Un grupo de quince chicas -y un joven gay- llegó este martes a Nogales, Sonora tras cinco días de viaje desde la ciudad de México. El grupo se entregará el viernes a la patrulla fronteriza estadounidense y busca resaltar la problemática que sufren como migrantes… El objetivo: pedir asilo en Estados Unidos y dar atención a los abusos y violaciones sufridas por las mujeres trans en Centroamérica y las migrantes que se atreven a escapar al norte”.

La otra violencia de El Salvador
Catalina Lobo-Guerrero, New York Times, 31 de julio de 2017

“Solo en 2016 hubo 524 mujeres asesinadas en el país, es decir, una de cada 5000. Pero eso es un subregistro. Se cuentan los cuerpos que llevan a la morgue, no los que se encuentran desmembrados en los cementerios clandestinos. ¿Quién las está buscando? ¿Quiénes están haciendo algo por las desaparecidas? Muy pocos”.

Cada año pasan 400 mil migrantes por Guatemala
Henry Estuardo Pocasangre, La Prensa Libre, 2 de agosto de 2017

“Las cifras de la Oficina del Alto Comisionado de las Naciones Unidas para los Refugiados (Acnur), revelan que en 2015 unas 400 mil personas pasaron por Guatemala… La gran mayoría de los beneficiados con ese estatus en el país, son originarios de El Salvador y Honduras. Las personas de esas áreas escapan de la violencia y amenazas de pandillas”.

Democrats Voice Frustration Over US Approach in Honduras
Richard Lardner, Associated Press, August 7, 2017

“A group of Senate Democrats voiced frustration on Monday over the Trump administration efforts to address corruption and violence in Honduras, urging Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to link continued U.S. aid to the country with improvements in human rights.
In a letter to Tillerson, the lawmakers warned that the situation in Honduras remains grave despite U.S.-backed programs to strengthen and professionalize key government institutions, such as law enforcement and the judiciary.”

As Honduras Tackles Police Corruption, Security Indicators Improve
Tristan Clavel, InSight Crime, August 1, 2017

“Despite decreasing murder rates, Honduras faces significant security challenges, as evidenced by the fact that even the projected decrease in the homicide rate would still place Honduras far above the regional average of about 23 per 100,000. But the recent arrests of Barralaga and his alleged accomplices are another indication of authorities’ commitment to tackling criminality at high levels of law enforcement.”

In Honduras, Senior UN Official Urges Protection of Human Rights Defenders
UN News Centre, July 28, 2017

“Visiting a newly established United Nations human rights office in Honduras, a senior official today stressed the need to protect human rights defenders in the country… Mr. Gilmour [the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights] brought up ‘widespread impunity, horrific levels of violence, increased militarization of public security, restrictive access to family planning, as well as a disturbing increase in femicide and violence against women’ in his discussions.”

US, El Salvador Tough Talk on Security Distracts From Core Issues
James Bargent, InSight Crime, July 28, 2017

“There is no doubt gangs and the MS13 represent a huge security challenge in both the United States and El Salvador, and improving transnational cooperation and coordination is usually a welcome move toward tackling such challenges. However…the direction the US and Salvadoran governments are taking is informed more by political expediency than by carefully considered policy making.”

¿Qué hay detrás de la campaña de Trump contra las maras?
Roberto Valencia, New York Times, 7 de agosto de 2017

“La pandilla de origen salvadoreño no representa una amenaza para Estados Unidos ni para los estadounidenses, pero venderla como la reencarnación del mal está permitiendo al gobierno alimentar el discurso contra la migración en general y contra los migrantes latinos en particular”.

Trump Urged Mexican President to End his Public Defiance on Border Wall, Transcript Reveals
Greg Miller, Washington Post, August 3, 2017

“President Trump made building a wall along the southern U.S. border and forcing Mexico to pay for it core pledges of his campaign. But in his first White House call with Mexico’s president, Trump described his vow to charge Mexico as a growing political problem, pressuring the Mexican leader to stop saying publicly that his government would never pay.”

Another Journalist Has Been Gunned Down in Mexico — The Eighth Killed This Year
Kate Linthicum, Los Angeles Times, July 31, 2017

“A journalist celebrating his 29th birthday was shot dead early Monday at a bar in the Mexican resort city of Rosarito. Luciano Rivera Salgado, who covered crime for a Baja California television channel and published a news website called El Dictamen, is at least the eighth journalist to be killed this year in a country that ranks among the most dangerous for members of the media.”

Justice for Lesvy: Indifference and Outrage in Response to Gender Violence in Mexico City
Nidia Bautista, NACLA, July 31, 2017

“The death of 22-year-old Lesvy Berlin Rivera Osorio on May 3 at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), Latin America’s largest public university in Mexico City, is a tale of pervasive government indifference toward violence against women in Mexico. Rivera was found dead with a telephone cord wrapped around her neck on the campus, long considered a sanctuary by students and the intellectual community of Mexico’s capital. Her death sparked outrage among students and community members.”

Tillerson Weighs Latin America Expert for Top State Department Post
Robbie Gramer, Foreign Policy, August 2, 2017

“William Brownfield, a career diplomat who currently leads the State Department’s law enforcement and anti-narcotics efforts, is a top pick for Tillerson to be the new assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs… The assistant secretary for Western Hemisphere affairs…could play an outsized role in U.S. foreign policy given the Donald Trump administration’s fixation on immigration issues stemming from Latin America, trade deals with its closest neighbors, and the unraveling crisis in Venezuela.”

Actions, Reports, and Resources

Special Report: Challenges Facing DHS in Its Attempt to Hire 15,000 Border Patrol Agents and Immigration Officer
Department of Homeland Security, July 27, 2017

“The Department, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are facing significant challenges in identifying, recruiting, hiring, and fielding the number of law enforcement officers mandated in the Executive Orders. Neither CBP nor ICE could provide complete data to support the operational need or deployment strategies for the additional 15,000 additional agents and officers they were directed to hire.”

Still No Action Taken: Complaints Against Border Patrol Agents Continue to Go Unanswered
Guillermo Cantor and Walter Ewing, American Immigration Council, August 2, 2017

“According to more recent CBP data obtained by the American Immigration Council, the agency has made little progress in its efforts to improve accountability. This data, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, includes 2,178 cases of alleged misconduct by Border Patrol agents and supervisors that were filed between January 2012 and October 2015. These cases range from instances of verbal abuse, to theft of property, to physical assault.”

Personas en detención migratoria en México
Consejo Ciudadano del Instituto Nacional de Migración, julio de 2017

“Se registraron numerosos episodios de violencia y uso excesivo de la fuerza por parte de agentes del INM y otros cuerpos de seguridad en los operativos de control y detención… El ingreso en los centros de detención constituye la norma de trato a las personas identi cadas en situación migratoria irregular, y no la excepción”.       

Victim Assistance Update, January-June 2017
Cristosal, July 31, 2017

“38 cases of violence and forced displacement [in El Salvador] were addressed by Cristosal. 193 individuals were recognized as victims of violence… Half of the households affected did not report their cases to the authorities, citing fear of reprisals, lack of trust in public institutions, and lack of evidence.”

“Following the Money Trail” to Combat Terrorism, Crime, and Corruption in the Americas
The Wilson Center, August 7, 2017

“Over the past decade, there has been a greater appreciation of how “following the money trail” directly contributes to the fight against terrorism, crime, and corruption around the world. Money serves as the oxygen for any activity, licit or illicit; it is the critical enabler for any organization, from international crime syndicates like the Mexican cartels to terrorist groups like the FARC, ISIS, and Hezbollah. Financial intelligence has helped governments to better understand, detect, disrupt, and counter criminal and terrorist networks and expose political corruption.”

Observaciones Preliminares de la Visita in loco de la CIDH a Guatemala
La Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos, 4 de agosto de 2017

“La Comisión se encuentra especialmente preocupada por las deplorables condiciones de detención observadas en las cárceles guatemaltecas, que presentan riesgo a la vida e integridad de las personas privadas de la libertad, y que se caracterizan por alarmantes niveles de hacinamiento; deficiente infraestructura, falta de higiene, atención médica negligente, y alimentación inadecuada”.

Educación: Una Deuda Pendiente
Inter-American Dialogue, 31 de julio 2017

“En relación con la cobertura del sistema, todavía hay demasiados niños y jóvenes fuera del sistema educativo, y el acceso aparece asociado a las condiciones socioeconómicas de los estudiantes. Se necesitan políticas de discriminación positiva que apoyen el acceso… para aquellos estudiantes que presentan condiciones socioeconómicas más desfavorables, en particular en las zonas rurales y municipios con mayores índices de pobreza… En estos ciclos de la educación nacional, Honduras se encuentra mejor posicionado con relación al porcentaje promedio del área Centroamericana”.

Al día: Las cifras hablan
Instituto Belisario Domínguez, 30 de julio de 2017

“México está catalogado como un país de origen, tránsito y destino de víctimas de trata de personas… De acuerdo con la Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos, las estimaciones sobre el número de personas víctimas de trata en México varían entre 50,000 hasta 500,000 casos”.

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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