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Central America/Mexico Migration News Brief for August 14, 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, LAWG

U.S. Immigration Enforcement

Entrevista con Jorge Gestoso: Conversamos con Daniella Burgi-Palomino
Telesur, 9 de agosto de 2017

“El RAISE Act es la última pieza de la agenda xenófoba, racista, anti-migrante y anti-refugiado del presidente. No tiene nada que ver con los valores que la inmigración estadounidense ha tenido por años, ni con realizar y tener una economía más fuerte”.

Stay, Hide or Leave? Hard Choices for Immigrants in the Heartland
Jack Healy, New York Times, August 12, 2017

“Now, at this tense juncture for immigrants and their adoptive hometowns across the conservative swaths of rural America, Ms. Rivera planned to sever one last tie. She was returning to Mexico — and to her husband — with Steven, 13 years old and American-born. Some politicians call it ‘self-deportation.’ She called it her family’s only hope of being together.”

What Does It Take to Secure a Border? Lessons From the Wall Dividing San Diego and Tijuana
Patrick J. McDonnell, Los Angeles Times, August 13, 2017

“In many ways, the story of the soccer field’s transformation from a kind of lawless, latter-day Ellis Island into a forsaken backwater reflects the nation’s incendiary debate about illegal immigration — its high emotion, challenges and cost, both in resources and lives, and the inherent contradictions and misperceptions. The images of unchecked immigration persist — evident in President Trump’s determination to build a border wall — even as the reality on the ground has shifted dramatically.”

IACHR Expresses Deep Concern for Deaths and Detention Conditions at Migrant Detention Centers in the United States
Leer en español: CIDH expresa profunda preocupación por muertes y condiciones de detención en centros de detención migratoria en Estados Unidos
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, August 11, 2017
“The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) expresses deep concern for the deaths of ten migrant persons detained under custody of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement authorities… The IACHR urges the Government of the United States to undertake a serious and impartial investigation regarding these deaths, including the detention conditions of migrant persons under its custody.”

The Definitive Proof ICE is Going After Immigrants Who Have Lived in the U.S. for Decades
Esther Yu Hsi Lee, ThinkProgress, August 8, 2017

“Immigration enforcement focused on detaining and deporting recent border crossers under the Obama administration. Interior immigration enforcement had generally relied on workplace raids, employment verification, and state and local collaboration with the ICE agency. But with new Trump administration directives, interior enforcement has become indiscriminate, with agents going after immigrants with longstanding ties to their community.”

U.S. Set to Break Precedent, Ignore International Tribunal in Killing by Border Agents
Alliance San Diego, August 8, 2017

“The Trump administration has until Thursday to respond to the first ever case of an extrajudicial killing by law enforcement against the United States — and so far, it looks like it will stay silent and ignore one of the most respected international human rights organizations. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) opened the case against the United States in May, and gave the administration until Thursday, August 10 to respond. The case alleges that border agents engaged in the extrajudicial killing and torture of Anastasio Hernández-Rojas, a resident of San Diego who was beaten to death in San Diego in 2010.”

When the U.S. Deports You — And Keeps All Your Stuff
John Carlos Frey, Marshall Project, August 8, 2017

“An estimated 120,000 people are deported to Mexico from the U.S. each year without at least some of their most vital belongings, including cash, identification, and cell phones, according to the Migration Policy Institute. And advocates say it’s putting migrants at grave risk. Without basic necessities or the ability to contact their families, the newly deported face greater risk of harassment, extortion, kidnapping and sexual assault by organized crime.”

Immigrants Are Now Five Times More Likely to Die Crossing the Border
Melissa Cruz, Immigration Impact, August 7, 2017

“The recent deaths of ten migrants who suffocated in the back of a tractor trailer as they were allegedly being smuggled into the United States has brought renewed attention to the grave risks involved in crossing the border… [B]order deaths are on the rise and the reasons will come as no shock. There are too few legal avenues to enter the country, coupled with a dramatic increase in border enforcement in the past two decades. These two dynamics together are forcing migrants to pursue more perilous routes.”

“Dreamers” Deadline Looms for Trump
Rafael Bernal, The Hill, August 13, 2017

“The Trump administration is stuck between a rock and a hard place as a deadline approaches for Texas and nine other states to file suit against the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.Neither the White House nor the Justice Department have said whether they’ll defend the Obama-era program that’s set to be challenged in court unless the administration rescinds it by Sept. 5.”

GOP Congressman Wants to Withhold Federal Funding to Test Rape Kits From Sanctuary Cities
Esther Yu Hsi Lee, ThinkProgress, August 11, 2017

“Georgia is facing a backlog of more than 10,000 untested rape kits, but one Republican congressman from the state wants to withhold federal dollars to test these kits from so-called ‘sanctuary cities,’ according to a video obtained by Jezebel.”

Fearful of Court, Asylum Seekers are Banished in Absentia
Julia Preston, Marshall Project, July 30, 2017

“Of nearly 100,000 parents and children who have come before the courts since 2014, most asking for refuge, judges have issued rulings in at least 32,500 cases, court records show. The majority –– 70 percent –– ended with deportation orders in absentia, pronounced by judges to empty courtrooms.”

17 Immigrants Were Rescued From a Truck Parked at a Texas Rest-Stop
Kevin Lui, TIME, August 13, 2017

“Police discovered 17 undocumented immigrants locked inside a tractor-trailer parked at a rest-stop Sunday in Edinburg, a south Texas town on the border with Mexico… In late July, an 18-wheeler in San Antonio was found packed with about 90 immigrants inside, resulting in 10 deaths.”

Avoiding the Trap of Immigration Porn
Héctor Tobar, New York Times, August 7, 2017

“Today, immigration porn is ubiquitous. You are many times more likely to see a deportee on the TV news than a Latino doctor or teacher. Images of immigrants facing deportation have accumulated in our collective national consciousness as the essence of the Latino experience.”

Mexican Migration Enforcement

Migrantes en México reciben maltratos en albergues del INM
HispanTV, 12 de agosto de 2017

“Un reporte del Consejo Ciudadano del Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM) volvió a encender la alerta sobre el trato que reciben los migrantes  que quieren llegar a la frontera norte para cruzar a los Estados Unidos. El informe detalla la práctica sistemática de privación ilegal de indocumentados, hay falta de espacio, muchos presentan delicadas condiciones mentales como ansiedad y depresión. Así lo detallan los haitianos en albergues de la ciudad de Tijuana, el estado de Baja California (noroeste)”.

INM debe reconocer y atender violaciones graves a los DDHH al interior de centros de detención de migrantes
Red Todos los Derechos para Todas y Todos, 10 de agosto de 2017

“La Red Nacional de Organismos Civiles de Derechos Humanos “Todos los Derechos para Todas y Todos” (Red TDT) expresa su preocupación frente a la falta de voluntad política por parte del Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM), la Secretaría de Gobernación (SEGOB) y otras instancias gubernamentales competentes, para reconocer, sancionar y prevenir las graves violaciones a derechos humanos contra personas migrantes sujetas a detención migratoria”.

México: Negativa a informe sobre maltrato a migrantes detenidos muestra total desinterés oficial
Amnesty International, 10 de agosto de 2017

“El Instituto Nacional de Migración no puede seguir haciendo caso omiso de la ola de denuncias que se han presentado sobre el trato que sus oficiales ejercen contra personas vulnerables… Su negativa solo pone de manifiesto lo lejos que esta institución está de la realidad y el poco interés que tiene sobre la vida de las miles de personas migrantes y refugiadas que entran al país cada año”.

Venezuelan Asylum Seekers in Mexico Surge as Crisis Deepens
Stefanie Eschenbacher, Reuters, August 5, 2017

“Venezuela’s deepening political and economic crisis has provoked a surge of asylum seekers to Mexico this year, government figures show, with applications to stay in Mexico setting a record pace. During just the first six months of this year, 1,420 Venezuelans have sought asylum in Mexico, a nearly four-fold jump compared to the 361 total Venezuelan asylum applicants for all of 2016. No Venezuelans applied for asylum in Mexico in 2014 or 2015.”

•  Rescatan a trece migrantes hondureños que habían sido secuestrados en Guanajuato
AFP, 8 de agosto de 2017

“Trece migrantes indocumentados hondureños, que estaban secuestrados en el estado de Guanajuato, fueron rescatados de distintas casas de seguridad, en la zona industrial de la ciudad de Celaya, informó la fiscalía estatal… Cada año, unos 200 mil migrantes indocumentados, la mayoría centroamericanos, atraviesan México en su intento por llegar a Estados Unidos, pero muchos en su camino son víctimas de robo, secuestro y asesinato a manos de bandas criminales”.

Root Causes

El Salvador: UN Expert on Internally Displaced Persons to Conduct First Official Visit
UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights, August 10, 2017

“United Nations human rights expert Cecilia Jimenez-Damary will conduct her first official visit to El Salvador from 14 to 18 August 2017, to assess the human rights situation of people forced to leave their homes due to factors including high levels of gang-related violence… Estimates suggest that tens of thousands of people may have been displaced by violence in El Salvador each year with the vast majority thought to have fled persecution and violence by gangs.”

Niños de El Salvador huyen por la violencia
Íñigo Arredondo,
El Universal, 14 de agosto de 2017
“Hoy en día [en El Salvador] a los niños de ocho o 10 años, ya no se les puede decir niños. Ellos nacen así [sin infancia], ven la realidad como está y se acoplan a lo que les toque. Ingresan a una pandilla o se van. No tienen más caminos. El país no genera un ambiente donde ellos puedan crecer de una manera diferente”.

Raúl no quiere ser el Shadow
Fred Ramos y Carla Ascencio, El Faro, 7 de agosto de 2017

“El Salvador es uno de los países con las cárceles más hacinadas del mundo entero; sin embargo, ni Estado ni sociedad parecen ver con agrado que se invierta en rehabilitación. La historia de Raúl, un expandillero de la 18-Revolucionarios, muestra que es posible dejar atrás la vida delictiva, pero muestra también lo difícil que resulta la reinserción social para quienes se atreven a dar ese paso”.

El Salvador Gang Truce Was “State Policy”: Trial Testimony
Angelika Albaladejo, InSight Crime, August 9, 2017

“Early testimony and public statements by several officials during the early days of the trial suggested that the truce was a “state policy” endorsed by former President Mauricio Funes. Witnesses also said that the impetus for the gang truce did not come from the gangs or civil society, but from the government itself.”

Democrats Voice Frustration Over US Approach in Honduras
Richard Lardner, US News, 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.”

CIDH condena el ataque en contra del defensor de derechos de personas LGBTI David Valle en Honduras
Read in English: IACHR Condemns Attack on LGBTI Rights Defender David Valle, in Honduras
Comisión Internacional de Derechos Humanos, 9 de agosto de 2017
“Washington, D.C. – La Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos condena el intento de asesinato en contra de David Valle, defensor de los derechos humanos de las personas lesbianas, gay, bisexuales, trans y intersex (LGBTI) en Tegucigalpa, Honduras. La Comisión insta a Honduras a que adopte medidas específicas para abordar de manera efectiva y con debida diligencia el patrón de violencia que existe en contra de defensores y defensoras de derechos humanos de personas LGBTI”.

Cada 2.20 minutos se comete un robo con violencia en México: Observatorio
Ernesto Aroche Aguilar, Animal Político, 8 de agosto de 2017

“Los delitos que más crecieron en los primeros meses de 2017 fueron el robo con violencia, el robo a negocios y el robo a vehículos… En el caso del robo con violencia, el ONC estableció que tan solo en mayo pasado, a nivel nacional, se presentó en promedio una denuncia por ese delito cada 2.20 minutos”.

Un año después, el sistema penal no está completo; Oaxaca, Sonora e Hidalgo, los más atrasados
Arturo Angel, Animal Político, 10 de agosto de 2017

“Un nuevo diagnóstico oficial sobre el funcionamiento del sistema penal acusatorio, que por ley entró en vigor hace un año, evidencia que el mismo no funciona al 100% en ninguno de los estados, ya sea por falta de capacitación, infraestructura o sistemas tecnológicos. Oaxaca, Sonora e Hidalgo son las entidades más atrasadas”.

Actions, Reports, and Resources

Violence, Development, and Migration Waves: Evidence from Central American Child Migrant Apprehensions
Michael Clemens, Center for Global Development, July 27, 2017

“A recent surge in child migration to the United States from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala has occurred in the context of high rates of regional violence. But little quantitative evidence exists on the causal relationship between violence and international emigration in this or any other region… one additional homicide per year in the region, sustained over the whole period—that is, a cumulative total of six additional homicides—caused a cumulative total of 3.7 additional unaccompanied child apprehensions in the United States.”

Inside MS-13
Latino USA, NPR, August 10, 2017

“President Trump has been talking a lot lately about MS-13, a street gang that started in California and spread to Central America. But what is the real story behind the gang? Latino USA takes a deep dive into MS-13, from the gang’s origins in Los Angeles, to the economic motor that powers them in Central America, to a string of brutal murders in Long Island, New York.”

The RAISE Act: What Lies Beneath the Points System?
American Immigration Council, August 11, 2017

“First, [the RAISE Act] would represent a departure from the demand-driven model that characterizes the U.S. employment-based immigration system… While switching to the points system proposed in the RAISE Act may result in a higher proportion of high-skilled immigrants, this may not lead to economic growth and increased competitiveness if these immigrants cannot find jobs to match their skill set. Second, the effort to create a points system conflicts with many core values the United States has traditionally embraced, such as providing equal opportunities for all, fighting discrimination of all sorts, [and] protecting minorities and disadvantaged groups.”

Immigration and Farm Labor: From Unauthorized to H-2A for Some?
Philip Martin, Migration Policy Institute, August 2017

“Although immigrant workers have long been employed on U.S. farms, shifting migration patterns and employer labor strategies are reshaping the agricultural workforce. Migration from Mexico to the United States has slowed with the the 2008–09 recession, improving conditions in rural Mexico, and stepped-up border enforcement… With the supply of newcomers seeking work on U.S. farms less certain than in the past, farm employers are adjusting how they recruit and retain workers.”

7,000 Deaths and Counting
National Foundation for American Policy, August 2017

“Over the past 20 years, more than 7,000 men, women and children have died along the Southwest border… The root cause of the deaths is the lack of legal avenues to work combined with increased enforcement at the border. Only rescues by U.S. Border Patrol agents have prevented the number of deaths from being far higher. If Congress adopted reforms to allow the legal entry of foreign-born workers in sufficient numbers, then the tragedy of immigrant deaths at the border would largely disappear.”

Reporte Ethos: Descifrando el gasto público en seguridad
Ethos Laboratorio de Políticas Públicas, Julio 2017

“A pesar del incremento del gasto, México es uno de los países más violentos del mundo con 15.7 homicidios por cada 100 mil habitantes… no debemos olvidar que el fenómeno delictivo es mucho mayor de lo que se reporta… El dato de la cifra negra indica que en México menos de uno de cada diez delitos cometidos es registrado”.

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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