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Central America/Mexico Migration News Brief for June 26th, 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.

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Source: Emma Buckhout, LAWG


Feature: World Refugee Day

LAWG Letter to U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, World Refugee Day
Latin America Working Group, June 8, 2017
“As we approach World Refugee Day on June 20, we urge Congress to call for an end to anti-refugee and anti-immigrant policies that threaten the most vulnerable, support funding for refugee protection and resettlement, and provide foreign aid, particularly to Central America and Mexico, to address the root causes of displacement and migration abroad.”

Declaración conjunta de la CIDH y el ACNUR en ocasión del Día Mundial del Refugiado
Alto Comisionado de las Naciones Unidas para los Refugiados, 20 de junio de 2017
“Para finales de 2016 en los países de las Américas se registraban 7,584,816 personas desplazadas internas, 471,178 personas refugiadas… [y] 654,640 solicitantes de asilo con sus casos pendientes de resolución… La CIDH y el ACNUR expresan su preocupación por la gran disparidad… entre el drástico aumento en el número de personas solicitantes de asilo y la disminución en el número de personas que han sido reconocidas como refugiadas”.

Las personas refugiadas: Víctimas de un sistema letal,
Comunicado por el día internacional del refugiado y refugiada

La 72 Hogar––Refugio Para Personas Migrantes, 20 de junio de 2017
“Lo hemos dicho reiteradamente: El Estado mexicano se niega sistemáticamente a ofrecer refugio a las víctimas de la violencia en Centroamérica… La 72 ha acompañado el proceso de 202 solicitantes de la condición de refugiado en Tenosique entre los meses de enero y junio de 2017”.

U.S. Immigration Enforcement

A Mexico Border Tour With Alfredo Corchado
Luisa Leme, America’s Quarterly, June 22, 2017
“Born in Mexico, Corchado’s family moved to El Paso when he was a boy, and he was a waiter in their restaurant just two blocks from the border itself. In this short video, Corchado shows AQ Editor-in-Chief Brian Winter how integrated both countries are – and talks to Mexicans and Americans about how life has changed (and stayed the same) under President Donald Trump.”

Days of Deportation: Sixty Scenes of Immigration Enforcement in the Age of Trump
Seth Freed Wessler, Slate, June 15, 2017
“To mark President Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office, the Department of Homeland Security posted a multimedia update on its website featuring video of faceless federal agents placing handcuffs on a series of suspects. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers had detained some 41,000 undocumented immigrants in that period.”

In the Days of Deportation, All Immigrants Are Targets
Melissa Cruz, Immigration Impact, June 22, 2017
“Arrests of non-criminal immigrants under the current administration have doubled and studies have found that roughly half of these arrests were of people with no criminal convictions or were guilty of a traffic violation… immigration-related arrests have increased by nearly 40 percent since this time last year.”



A ‘Hero’ Who Cleared 9/11 Wreckage Faces Deportation Under President Trump
Kristine Phillips, Washington Post, June 22, 2017
“Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have long known about Cardona, who has reported to ICE during the past several years. But he was arrested recently after changes in immigration policy under President Trump’s administration.”

Video of Teen Killed by Border Patrol Agent Shows He was Facedown on Ground When Shots Fired
Rob O’Dell, The Republic, June 19, 2017
“A 16-year-old Mexican teenager killed by a U.S. Border Patrol agent appeared to be on the ground as the agent fired 13 of the 16 shots through the border fence in Nogales, a partial video of the 2012 killing showed Monday.”

U.S. Can’t Revoke Citizenship Over Minor Falsehoods, Supreme Court Rules
Adam Liptak, The New York Times, June 22, 2017
“The justices unanimously rejected the government’s position that it could revoke the citizenship of Americans who made even trivial misstatements in their naturalization proceedings.”

What’s Happening With the Travel Ban at the Supreme Court?
Chris Geidner, BuzzFeed News, June 22, 2017
“One big request before the justices comes from the Trump administration, which has asked the justices to allow enforcement of Trump’s travel and refugee bans and hear its appeal of cases challenging the March 6 executive order.”

Trump’s Proposed Five-Year Welfare Ban for Immigrants is Already U.S. Law
Jeremy Diamond, CNN, June 23, 2017
“With a few exceptions, new immigrants already cannot access welfare programs during their first five years in the US, per a 1996 welfare reform law signed by President Bill Clinton.”

Outcry After Immigration Agents Seen at Queens Human Trafficking Court
Beth Fertig, WNYC, June 16, 2017
“Public defenders and the state’s top judge were rattled Friday after federal immigration agents were present in a Queens criminal courtroom for human trafficking victims.”

Ex-Detainees: Detention Center’s practices border on slavery
Colleen Slevin, Associated Press, June 22, 2017
“A group of former detainees says the system borders on modern-day slavery. They are challenging it in federal court and have won the right to sue the Denver-area detention center’s operator on behalf of an estimated 60,000 people held there over a decade…Forcing detainees to work violates the 13th Amendment, which ended slavery and bars involuntary servitude except for punishment of a crime.”

U.S. Lacks Evidence Linking Migrant Children to MS13 Crimes
Héctor Silva Ávalos, InSight Crime, June 23, 2017
“Supporters of the narrative put forth by US President Donald Trump’s administration, such as Sen. Grassley or previously Attorney General Jeff Sessions, claim that there is a correlation between the rise in homicides attributed to the MS13 along the East Coast since 2015, and the growing influx of [child migrants]. Based on what was said yesterday in the Senate, however, the administration has very little evidence to support this claim.”

U.S. Sees Steep Rise in Asylum Claims from Latin America
Bruno Gallo, NBC News, June 21, 2017
“Violence and persecution generated by organized crime, gang-related violence, and drug cartels are likely to be the primary cause behind the increasing numbers of asylum-seekers from Central America seeking international protection in the United States.”

Tumbas abiertas, desde Centroamérica hasta Estados Unidos
EFE, 16 de junio de 2017
“La frontera entre México y EEUU es la más mortal de América, según la Organización Internacional para las Migraciones (OIM): en ella se registraron 6.951 muertes entre 1998 y 2016…[U]nas 3.000 muertes se produjeron en el estado de Arizona, especialmente en el desierto de Sonora, uno de los puntos de cruce más peligrosos junto al río Grande (Texas).”

Mexican Enforcement

Refugio de migrantes La 72 acusa que el gobierno criminaliza su labor y quiere intimidarlos
Animal Político, 26 de junio de 2017
“El equipo de trabajo del refugio para migrantes en Tabasco, La 72, acusó este lunes que el gobierno busca criminalizar su labor e intimidarlos, con una demanda presentada por el Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM) en contra de uno de sus integrantes”.

Osorio destaca apoyo del gobierno federal a los menores refugiados
Misael Zavala, El Universal, 22 de junio de 2017
“Durante un diálogo con aproximadamente 30 niños y jóvenes refugiados de El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras y República Dominicana del Congo…el titular de la Segob expuso que una vez en nuestro país el gobierno ayuda en sus aspiraciones para dejar atrás una vida difícil”.

Pide la CNDH al gobierno proteger a extranjeros que huyen de la violencia
Emir Olivares Alonso, La Jornada, 21 de junio de 2017
“La CNDH remarcó que ante la grave crisis de personas desplazadas de sus países de origen a escala mundial, es necesario y urgente generar acuerdos globales que tiendan a la ayuda humanitaria a todos ellos, evitando acciones discriminatorias y poner en el centro de toda política pública la dignidad de las personas”.

Intentan colocar a Tapachula como Ciudad Solidaria con migrantes
Elio Henríquez, La Jornada, 22 de junio de 2017
“Con la finalidad de apoyar a las personas que llegan en busca de asilo, el Alto Comisionado de la Naciones Unidas para Refugiados (Acnur) buscará integrar a la fronteriza Tapachula como Ciudad Solidaria…se prevé el arribo de unos 20 mil solicitantes de refugio a la región fronteriza, que están huyendo de la violencia en países como Guatemala, Honduras y El Salvador”.

En medio de una crisis global de refugiados, México y Estados Unidos ponen en peligro a los migrantes
Albinson Linares, The New York Times, 19 de junio de 2017
“Desde el infierno en que se han convertido países como Honduras, Guatemala y El Salvador donde democracias débiles, la ausencia del Estado de derecho y el crecimiento de una poderosa criminalidad han provocado el éxodo forzoso de decenas de miles de personas, hasta las fallas de las políticas desplegadas por Estados Unidos y México … ‘Estados Unidos y México son socios en el crimen y están fraguando una incipiente catástrofe de derechos humanos’”.

Four Common Misconceptions about U.S.-bound Drug Flows through Mexico and Central America
Adam Isacson, Washington Office on Latin America, June 20, 2017
“With so much Andean cocaine flowing through the Mexico-Central America vector, one might expect Mexico to be finding and stopping a large amount of the drug. Seizure data, in fact, indicates otherwise: once smugglers reach Mexico, their probability of losing control of their cocaine drops.”

Root Causes

U.S. Bid to Stem Central America Migration Will Displace More––NGOs
Matthew Ponsford, Reuters, June 21, 2017
“The core U.S. strategy to curtail migration from Central America will trample human rights in the region and force more people from their homes, according to academics and activists.”

Panama President Presents Alternative to Trump’s CentAm Security Approach
Caroline Kuritzkes, InSight Crime, June 21, 2017
“It remains to be seen how Varela will reconcile his simultaneous calls for economic development with his agreement to amplify anti-drug and security programs in cooperation with the Trump administration.”

Police and Military Death Squads Killed 36 in El Salvador
Associated Press, June 21, 2017
“Federal prosecutors in El Salvador say four National Civil Police officers and 15 soldiers participated in death squads that killed 36 people…Some victims were alleged gang members while other killings appeared to be contract hits.”

How Not to Assemble a Country: In El Salvador, Levels of Violence Persist and Intensify
Óscar Martínez, NACLA, June 21, 2017
“In 2016, El Salvador had the highest homicide rate in the world: 81 murders for every 100,000 people, for a total of 5,278 murders…El Salvador has become a clear example of how the end of war does not necessarily mean the start of peace.”

New Death Threats in Rio Blanco Against COPINH Members
Honduras Resiste, June 21, 2017
“COPINH urgently communicates to the national and international community our serious worry about the defenseless state of the Lenca people in Río Blanco, faced with armed men and constant threats. We insist that the authorities take immediate action to protect the physical well-being and lives of COPINH members in Río Blanco, who continue to defend their ancestral territory against the invasion of people linked to the DESA corporation.”

Climate Change-Induced Migration from Central America
Stephanie Leutert, Lawfare, June 22, 2017
“Honduran migrants often report violence and poverty as the primary reasons for why they leave their country, and these two factors are both real and extremely well documented. Yet, these issues…may not be entirely separate from climate change. As farmers lose their livelihoods and ranchers are left unable to feed their cattle, more Central Americans will be left scrambling to make ends meet. This family-level instability then grows, resulting in clashes over scarce resources, more criminal activity, and increased tensions and potential for social conflict.”

In Mexico, 3 People Were Killed Every Hour Last Month
Telesur, June 21, 2017
“New government crime statistics revealed that May was Mexico’s bloodiest month in at least 20 years…The statistics, which exposed a stark rise in homicides for 2017 compared to last year, demonstrated that there were 2,186 murder probes in May, the highest for any month since 1997.”

Récord violento con gobierno de EPN: mayo tiene la cifra más alta de homicidios desde 1997
Arturo Angel, Animal Político, 21 de junio de 2017
“Las averiguaciones previas por homicidios llegaron a un nivel nunca antes visto en México, por lo menos desde que hay registros oficiales…Esa es la cifra mensual de carpetas o averiguaciones por asesinatos más alta no solo del sexenio del presidente Enrique Peña Nieto, sino de cualquier sexenio desde 1997, año más antiguo del que hay datos disponibles”.

Defensores y académicos documentan 1,075 fosas clandestinas en México
Ernesto Aroche Aguilar, Animal Político, 23 de junio de 2017
“La inhumación clandestina de personas en contextos de violencia ‘por posibles actores estatales y no estatales es una práctica que, a casi tres décadas de la llamada guerra sucia, vuelve a ser recurrente en nuestro país aunque con una nueva correlación de actores y contextos distintos’”.

Mexican authorities accused of failures over notorious mass murder
David Agren, The Guardian, June 22, 2017
“Human rights officials in Mexico City have concluded that authorities in the country’s capital failed to properly investigate one of the capital’s most notorious recent crimes, instead launching an “inadequate” inquiry which failed to exhaust all possible leads…From the start, details from the case files were leaked, such as the victims’ personal drug consumption and suggestions that one of them was somehow involved in drug dealing and sex work.”

Using Texts as Lures, Government Spyware Targets Mexican Journalists and Their Families
Azam Ahmed and Nicole Perlroth, The New York Times, June 19, 2017

“Mexico’s most prominent human rights lawyers, journalists and anti-corruption activists have been targeted by advanced spyware sold to the Mexican government on the condition that it be used only to investigate criminals and terrorists. The targets include lawyers looking into the mass disappearance of 43 students, a highly respected academic who helped write anti-corruption legislation, two of Mexico’s most influential journalists.”

Asamblea Legislativa tiene registrados al menos 20 casos de periodistas amenazados
Diana Villavicencio, El Universal, 22 de junio de 2017
“La Comisión Especial para Garantizar el Ejercicio Periodístico en la Ciudad de México de la Asamblea Legislativa tiene registrados por lo menos 20 asuntos de periodistas amenazados, en su mayoría por servidores públicos…Los asambleístas que integran esta Comisión llamaron a las autoridades locales y a los organismos de derechos humanos a iniciar las investigaciones pertinentes…”

One-Month Anniversary of the Murder of Mexican Journalist Javier Valdez Cárdenas
Eric L. Olson and Gina Hinojosa, The Wilson Center, June 15, 2017
“One month ago today, world-renowned Mexican journalist Javier Valdez Cárdenas was ambushed by unidentified assailants while leaving his office in his hometown of Culiacán, Sinaloa…What is most concerning is the systemic impunity that would appear to make reporters an easy target for perpetrators looking to silence their critics. By Article 19’s estimate, 99.75 percent of attacks against the media in Mexico end in impunity.”

Actions, Reports, and Resources

Global Trends: Forced Displacement in 2016
United Nations Human Rights Commission, June 19, 2017
“The United States of America was the second-largest recipient of new asylum applications in 2016 with 262,000, an increase of 52 per cent over the previous year (172,700 claims) and more than double received in 2014 (121,200).58 Just over half (52 per cent) of the applications in the United States of America were from people from Mexico and Central America.”

How Are Refugees Faring? Integration at U.S. and State Levels
Michael Fix, Kate Hooper, and Jie Zong, Migration Policy Institute, June 2017
“As federal funding for many of the transitional assistance programs that help refugees find their footing in the United States fails to keep up with demand, states, local communities, and civil society have come under increased pressure to bridge the gaps.”

Point of No Return: The Fear and Criminalization of Central American Refugees
Center for Migration Studies, June 2017
“The refugees interviewed could not rely upon any of these states to protect them from violence. In addition, they experienced violence from gangs, public officials, smugglers, and drug traffickers. In the absence of state protection, they were forced to rely on protection from a network of family members in both the sending and receiving countries.”

From Struggle to Resilience: The Economic Impact of Refugees in America   
New American Economy, June 2017
“While refugee policy is often framed as a humanitarian or safety issue, it is often the economic impact of refugees that leaves the most enduring impression.”

Latinoamérica puede bajar el homicidio en un 50 por ciento en 10 años ¿Cómo hacerlo?
Instinto de Vida, junio 2017
“Mientras que los homicidios llegarían a convertirse en eventos raros en algunas partes del mundo, podrían continuar aumentando en América Latina. La proyección del periodo 2015 a 2030 revela que, si no se hace nada al respecto, la tasa regional escalaría de 21 por cien mil habitantes a 35, siete veces más que el promedio mundial”.

Boletín de Prensa: Dos años de impunidad para las familias de desaparecidos de Chilapa
Centro Morelos, May 9, 2017
“Se cumplen dos años de la desaparición forzada de por lo menos 30 personas que fueron privadas de su libertad de manera ilegal por un grupo de hombres armados que incursionaron a Chilapa el 09 de mayo del año 2015, sembrando el terror y el pánico a la toda la población”.


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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