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Central America/Mexico Migrant News Brief for November 19, 2018

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Author: Lily Folkerts

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. Read online here.

Migrants sleep in front of the U.S.-Mexico border fence

Source: New York Times

U.S. Enforcement

Migrant Caravan Is Just Yards From U.S. Border, but Long Wait Lies Ahead
Elisabeth Malkin, New York Times, November 18, 2018

“Tijuana’s mayor, Juan Manuel Gastélum, has estimated that if all of the Central American migrants traveling north come to the city and seek asylum in the United States, it could take six months for their claims to be heard at the main port of entry to San Diego.”

LGBTQ Caravan Migrants Marry While Waiting for Asylum in Tijuana
Sarah Kinosian, INTO, November 18, 2018

“They are hopeful that being married will prevent them from being forcibly separated in the U.S. — but even though they aren’t sure of how it works on the other side, for now they are happy just to have the option of legal marriage.”

A Mexican grandmother waits for justice for boy shot at border fence
Ana Adlerstein, The Guardian, November 18, 2018

“‘If no guilty verdict is achieved in this trial, I believe it would be interpreted by frontline border patrol agents as open season on young Latino boys at the border who may be engaging in misconduct that does not in any way justify lethal force,’ he said.”

Dozens From Migrant Caravan Line Up at Border, Seeking Asylum Interviews

Kirk Semple, New York Times, November 15, 2018

“About 80 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people who have been traveling with a large migrant caravan had come to the crossing, with stories of victimization and persecution, to make an appointment for asylum interviews in the United States.”

Changes to USCIS Policy Will Directly Impact Vulnerable Immigrants
Emily Creighton, Immigration Impact, November 15, 2018

“Starting November 19, individuals who have applied for humanitarian benefits will be directly impacted. USCIS has announced that, as of that date, it may issue [Notices to Appear] impacting individuals who seek U visas (victims of crime), T visas (victims of severe forms of trafficking), and self-petitions under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).”

First Wave of Migrants in Caravan Reaches U.S. Border in Tijuana
Kirk Semple and Elisabeth Malkin, New York Times, November 14, 2018

“Their arrival in Tijuana marked the end of one struggle — making it safely to the United States border. But it signaled the start of another to get across that border, something that President Trump has promised to impede, even for those seeking asylum.”

DACA Is Still in Effect as It Heads to the Supreme Court
Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, Immigration Impact, November 13, 2018

“The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stinging rebuke to President Trump’s ongoing efforts to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative last week, unanimously upholding a lower court injunction which had blocked the Trump administration from ending the program.”

LGBT asylum seekers are first to reach the U.S. border from the caravan. Now they wait.

Sarah Kinosian and Joshua Partlow, Washington Post, November 13

“‘We were discriminated against, even in the caravan,’ said Erick Dubon, 23, from San Pedro Sula, Honduras, who has been traveling with his boyfriend, Pedro Nehemias, 22. ‘People wouldn’t let us into trucks, they made us get in the back of the line for showers, they would call us ugly names.’”

‘It breaks my heart, but I have to keep going’: The Honduran women forced to leave their homeland
Duncan Tucker and Louise Tillotson, The Lily, November 13, 2018

“Suyapa fled the Honduran city of San Pedro Sula after members of violent criminal networks known as maras extorted her modest food business, demanding all her weekly earnings, and then forced her eldest son to join them.”

Trump’s attack on asylum is based entirely on false claims

Lindsay M. Harris and Dree K. Collopy, Washington Post, November 13, 2018

“Immigration lawyers like us know the truth about the people whom Trump calls an ‘invasion.’ These asylum-seeking families, most fleeing horrific violence in Central America, where their own governments cannot protect them, are doing what is most human — trying to survive and protect their children.”

Is Nielsen getting fired? Maybe. It still doesn’t change her central role in family separation
Gabe Ortiz, Daily Kos, November 13, 2018

“Don’t ever forget that Kirstjen Nielsen is complicit, a coward who couldn’t even defend her decision in front of an outraged nation, and repeatedly lied about the policy to our faces.”

Trump is preparing to remove Kirstjen Nielsen as Homeland Security secretary, aides say

Nick Miroff, Josh Dawsey, and Philip Rucker, Washington Post, November 12, 2018

“President Trump has told advisers he has decided to remove Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, and her departure from the administration is likely to occur in the coming weeks, if not sooner, according to five current and former White House officials.”

They Were Stopped at the Texas Border. Their Nightmare Had Only Just Begun.
Manny Fernandez, New York Times, November 12, 2018

“Over the past four years, at least 10 people in South Texas have been victims of murder, attempted murder, kidnapping or rape — all, according to prosecutors and officials, at the hands of Border Patrol agents who suddenly and violently snapped.”

Trump Asylum Ban Will Extend To Thousands Of Unaccompanied Immigrant Minors
Elise Foley, Huffington Post, November 12, 2018

“On Friday evening, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services posted a six-page procedural guidance to its field officers. On the final page, it states that unaccompanied minors who cross the U.S.-Mexico border without authorization would be ‘barred from asylum eligibility.’”

The asylum ban — Trump’s boldest immigration power grab yet — explained
Dara Lind, Vox, November 12, 2018

“The text of the Immigration and Nationality Act specifies that people may apply for asylum ‘whether or not’ they enter the US at a port of entry. The Trump administration is setting up to render that ‘or not’ basically dead letter — at least as long as the proclamation is in effect.”

ICE Is Imprisoning a Record 44,000 People
Spencer Ackerman, The Daily Beast, November 11, 2018

“That massive increase in detentions by the highly controversial agency has prompted questions from rights groups about how Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) obtained the money to place into its custody 4,000 more people than Congress has funded.”

Democrats are in. Sessions is out. Here’s what that means for immigration
Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN, November 10, 2018

“But the asylum rule is another clear example of what the administration has shown time and again: It will take action on immigration, with or without Congress on board.”

When You Carry All That You Love With You
Alice Driver, Long Reads, November 9, 2018

“You will look at your reflection in the blue-gray puddles of water, trying to see how much you have changed. You want to know if your face shows what your body has lived. You feel sure that the difficult and tender movements lived over hundreds miles are written on your body.”

The U.S. Government’s 2018 Border Data Clearly Shows Why the Trump Administration is on the Wrong Track
Adam Isaacson,WOLA, November 9, 2018

“The data about migration, and about what crosses the U.S.-Mexico border illicitly, point to problems at the border. But they’re not the problems that the president is talking about. Instead, they point to a need to adapt our asylum system to a very different profile of U.S.-bound migration, and to build up our official border crossings—our ports of entry—instead of our walls and barriers.”

Jeff Sessions Is Out, But His Dark Vision for Immigration Policy Lives On
Jonathan Blitzer, New Yorker, November 8, 2018

“As the government’s top lawyer, Sessions was responsible for, among other things, cancelling daca, spurring family separations, trying to defund sanctuary cities, dismantling the asylum system, reshaping the immigration courts, and retooling multiple travel bans. To the extent that the President has styled himself as an anti-immigration crusader, it’s with a script written entirely by Sessions.”

Mexican Enforcement

Dozens of migrants disappear in Mexico as Central American caravan pushes northward
The Conversation, November 15, 2018

“Earlier this month, two trucks from the caravan disappeared in the state of Veracruz, Mexico. One person who escaped told officials that about ’65 children and seven women were sold’ by the driver to a group of armed men.”

Migrant Caravan in Mexico Changes Course, but Dangers Still Lurk

Seth Robbins, InSight Crime, November 13, 2018

“The migrants, which left Honduras in October, have rerouted onto the much longer but safer path toward California, to avoid one of the most dangerous Mexican states for migrants.”

In Mexico, mothers of missing migrant children start their own caravan to warn of journey’s dangers
Annie Rose Ramos, NBC, November 11, 2018

“Twenty-five mothers, sisters, daughters, lovers — all women — traveled from countries including El Salvador and Honduras to Mexico, searching for their relatives and trying to bring awareness to what advocates believe are tens of thousands of migrants who have disappeared as they have made the arduous trek north toward Mexico and the United States.”

Tuberculosis e influenza golpean a migrantes en su ruta hacia EE. UU.
El Tiempo, 12 de noviembre de 2018

“Para el médico, los riesgos más apremiantes son infecciones respiratorias y gastrointestinales. ‘Hemos detectado focos de infección por influenza y tuberculosis’, aseguró un médico de la Cruz Roja que pide el anonimato y pasó la noche en el albergue”.

The Racist Backlash To The Migrant Caravan Is Building In WhatsApp Groups In Mexico
Karla Zabludovsky, Buzzfeed News, November 15, 2018

“As the caravan approaches, their incendiary rhetoric increases, with members calling for the group’s deportation — or worse. And with a long wait ahead of the migrants, the odds of a confrontation rise with every angry message sent.”

Política migratoria de México no puede estar subordinada a la de Trump: equipo de AMLO
Manu Ureste, Animal Político, 11 de noviembre de 2018

“Guillén asegura que los tres objetivos prioritarios en el interior del INM será tener ‘cero denuncias’ de violaciones a derechos humanos, cortar de raíz la corrupción en la institución y en las estaciones migratorias, y atender la problemática de los menores migrantes”.

Mexico Gave the Migrant Caravan a Warm Welcome. It Wasn’t Always This Way.
Elisabeth Malkin, New York Times, November 10, 2018

“Now, Mexico City’s embrace of the caravan has thrown an opposing idea into sharp relief, an acknowledgment that the country’s asylum laws require the government to protect migrants, who are vulnerable to criminal gangs.”

Root Causes

El Salvador: Highest Rates of Murdered Women in Latin America
Telesur, November 15, 2018

“Femicide ‘has a scope in El Salvador that is seen nowhere else in the region,’ the [U.N. Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean] said as it released the report from its Gender Equality Observatory.”

Woman who bore rapist’s baby faces 20 years in El Salvador jail
Nina Lakhani, The Guardian, November 12, 2018

“This pattern of prosecutions targeting a particular demographic suggests a discriminatory state policy which violates multiple human rights…”

Flouted Justice for Berta
Jackie McVicar, November 14, 2018

“The trial against Berta Cáceres’ accused assassins has been riddled with irregularities and bias—and barred the victims’ lawyers from participation. It is a tragic lost opportunity for justice in Honduras.”

Obstáculos a la prensa, dentro de grandes preocupaciones en juicio por asesinato contra Berta Cáceres
Cesario Padilla, ConexiHon, 10 de noviembre de 2018
“El impedir que la prensa brinde cobertura sobre el juicio oral y público contra ocho implicados en el asesinato de Berta Cáceres, es una de las “graves violaciones” que denunciaron este viernes las organizaciones que conforman la Federación Internacional de Derechos Humanos (FIDH)”.

Mexico’s high court tosses law on policing by military
Associated Press, November 15, 2018

“Mexico’s Supreme Court invalidated a controversial law signed last year that created a legal framework for the military to work in a policing role in much of the country, ruling Thursday that the measure violated the constitution by trying to normalize the use of the armed forces in public safety.”

Una comunidad de casi 2 mil personas huye por la violencia en Chiapas

Claudia Altamirano, Animal Político, 14 de noviembre de 2018

“Tanto el Centro Fray como el sacerdote han urgido al gobierno estatal a intervenir para cesar los ataques armados de paramilitares, autodefensas y el crimen organizado contra los pueblos indígenas, que al no poder defenderse abandonan sus pueblos y todo lo que tenían en ellos”.

Four Years After the Forced Disappearance of 43 Students, a Father Is Still Looking
John Washington, The Nation, November 12, 2018

“It wasn’t only these students who were attacked that night—authorities were trying to silence their community’s very way of thinking, being, and even speaking.”

New state government will declare humanitarian crisis in Veracruz

Mexico News Daily, November 10, 2018

“By formally requesting humanitarian aid, the international organizations ‘can help to confront the humanitarian crisis,’ he explained. The new state government also hopes to attract greater funding for the identification of human remains found in hidden graves.”

How Guatemala achieved what was once thought impossible: major reductions in homicides.

Renard Sexton, Washington Post, November 13, 2018

“In Guatemala, however, changes spurred by the International Commission Against Impunity — known by its Spanish acronym CICIG — have achieved what was once thought impossible: major reductions in the country’s homicide rate. A new report estimates that the changes associated with the CICIG have avoided more than 4,500 homicides in Guatemala from 2007-2017 — an extraordinary feat.”

How Nicaragua Uses Anti-Terror Laws Against Protestors to Suppress Dissent

Sarah Kinosian, Carlos Pérez Osorio, The Intercept, November 11, 2018

“…over 200 people have been accused of terrorism. At least 18 people have so far been found guilty. The cases mark the first time anyone in Nicaragua has been convicted of terrorism.”

Actions, Reports, and Resources

Response to arrivals of asylum-seekers from the North of Central America
UNHCR, November 14, 2018

“UNHCR supports national and local authorities; provides information and supports facilitation of access to the Mexican asylum system; and provides humanitarian assistance to those who sought asylum. Additional resources and staff are being mobilized along the routes.”

Communities in Crisis: Interior Removals and Their Human Consequences
Center for Migration Studies, November 2018

“The interviews explored: (1) the impact of removals on deportees, their families, and other community members; (2) the deportation process; and (3) the relationship between deportees and their families. They provided an intimate, often raw look at the human consequences of deportation.”

Nicaragua: Revolution and restoration
Richard E. Feinberg, Brookings, November 2018

“The way forward can combine reforms of the electoral institutions and the Supreme Court, as well as credible terms for election monitoring, with guarantees for Ortega and his family that secure their eventual departure.”

Withholding of Removal and the U.N. Convention Against Torture—No Substitute for Asylum, Putting Refugees at Risk
Human Rights First, November 2018

“The Trump Administration’s November 9, 2018 order bars refugees who have not entered the United States at an official border crossing point from receiving asylum in the United States. This move violates U.S. law and treaty obligations and puts refugees with well-founded fears of persecution at risk of return to persecution.”

Proposed Public Charge Rule Would Significantly Reduce Legal Admissions and Adjustment to Lawful Permanent Resident Status of Working Class Persons
Donald Kerwin, Robert Warren, and Mike Nicholson, Center for Migration Studies, November 13, 2018

“A large percentage of the 2.25 million undocumented persons examined would be found inadmissible under the rule, although this population overwhelmingly consists of working-class persons.”

Gauging the Impact of DHS’ Proposed Public-Charge Rule on U.S. Immigration

Randy Capps, Mark Greenberg, Michael Fix, and Jie Zong, Migration Policy Institute, November 2018

“While the proposed rule is vague on the relative importance immigration officers should give to different negative and positive factors, the analysis finds there would be a disproportionate effect on women, children, and the elderly.”


*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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