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Central America/Mexico Migration News Brief for November 26, 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.

Woman and two toddlers run from tear gas

Source: Reuters

U.S. Enforcement

‘These children are barefoot. In diapers. Choking on tear gas.’
Tim Elfrink and Fred Barbash, Washington Post, November 26, 2018

“The three were part of a much larger group, perhaps 70 or 80 men, women and children, pictured in a wider-angle photo fleeing the tear gas. Reuters photographer Kim Kyung-Hoon shot the images, which provoked outrage and seemed at odds with President Trump’s portrayal of the caravan migrants as ‘criminals’ and ‘gang members.’”

San Ysidro border crossing closed for hours; U.S. officials fire tear gas at migrants

Wendy Fry and Sonali Kohli, Los Angeles Times, November 25, 2018

“‘What we saw at the San Ysidro border crossing should horrify the whole country; it was simply inhumane,’ said Cristóbal J. Alex, president of Latino Victory Fund.”

How a march at the US-Mexico border descended into tear gas and chaos

Dara Lind, Vox, November 26, 2018

“The stated purpose of Sunday’s march — for caravan members to be allowed to seek asylum in the US, or to meet with a representative of the US government — reflected the growing desperation and frustration of Tijuana’s waiting asylum seekers.”

Activists, Politicians React With Horror At Border Scenes Of Tear-Gassed Children
Mary Papenfuss, Huffington Post, November 25, 2018

“Children screamed and coughed amid the gas, The Associated Press reported. The wind carried the aerosol chemicals toward people hundreds of feet away who were not attempting to enter the U.S., the wire service noted. One woman collapsed unconscious amid the chaos, and two babies sobbed with tears running down their faces from the gas, Reuters reported.”

Why tear gas, lobbed at migrants on the southern border, is banned in warfare
Alex Horton, Washington Post, November 26, 2018

“Chemical weapons such as CS gas are indiscriminate and ‘uniquely terrorizing in their application,’ which necessitated their ban in combat in 1993, said Kelsey Davenport, director of nonproliferation policy at the Washington-based Arms Control Association.”

A Not-Guilty Verdict Absolves Border Patrol Of Cross-Border Killing

Ana Adlerstein, NPR, November 25, 2018

“He warns that some Border Patrol agents and CBP officers, however, ‘will unfortunately see this verdict as giving them a wider range to engage in activities with excessive use of force, an unfortunate consequence for people living in border communities.’”

Border agent not guilty of involuntary manslaughter in Mexican boy’s death
The Guardian, November 21, 2018

“Border patrol agents are rarely criminally charged for using force. But the killing of Elena Rodríguez sparked outrage on both sides of the border and came at a time when the agency was increasingly scrutinized for its use of force.”

‘He may not rewrite immigration laws’: Trump’s asylum ban blocked by federal judge
Oliver Laughland, The Guardian, November 20, 2018

“A federal judge in California has temporarily blocked the Trump administration from refusing asylum to migrants who cross the US southern border illegally, marking a significant blow to the president’s crackdown on immigration.”

Feds have paid undercover informants in migrant caravan
Julia Ainsley, NBC, November 20, 2018

“Cohen said the caravan presents a logistical and humanitarian issue, but because the vast majority of its members want to present themselves legally to claim asylum, it is not wise to devote a significant amount of intelligence resources to it.”

From Caravan to Exodus, from Migration to Movement
Amelia Frank-Vitale, NACLA, November 20, 2018

“It grew into a process of empowerment, of demanding dignity and respect despite not having proper authorization, and openly and consciously challenging a regional immigration regime dominated by the United States that sees undocumented movement through the lens of security and criminality.”

In South Texas, Border Residents Struggle to Cope With the Latest Military Surge
Melissa del Bosque, The Intercept, November 24, 2018

“‘Having the military here is a disaster,’ Anzaldua said. ‘Or more likely a tragedy. They are trained for war. They shouldn’t be here. But it’s not their fault.’ Anzaldua, himself a former Air Force sergeant, shook his head, frowning. ‘They’re just doing what they’re told. In my opinion, some of those politicians who sent them down here should be held accountable if they shoot someone.’”

Pentagon says troops at US border to cost about $210 million
Robert Burns, Associated Press, November 20, 2018

“The total includes $72 million for approximately 5,900 active-duty troops providing support to Customs and Border Protection, plus $138 million so far for 2,100 National Guard troops who have been performing a separate border mission since April, according to a report sent to Congress on Tuesday but not released by the Pentagon.”

A Guatemalan Mother Could Lose Her Daughter, Because She’s an American
Miriam Jordan, New York Times, November 23, 2018

“Her asylum claim was denied after the Trump administration early this year ruled out domestic abuse as legal grounds for granting refuge. Even if Ms. Carrillo agreed to go home to Guatemala, immigration lawyers said, her daughter’s status as an American citizen could prompt authorities in the United States to decide that the reports of domestic violence in the family make it too risky to allow her to return.”

For Central Americans, children open a path to the U.S. — and bring a discount
Joshua Partlow and Nick Miroff, Washington Post, November 23, 2018

“Often, these cases can be more complicated than they first appear. The families involved face hunger and threats of violence. There are disagreements about paternity and allegations of abuse. Far from a common practice, illicit ‘adoptions’ seem to brand the participants with a scarlet letter in their own community.”

Mexican Enforcement

Mexico confronted Central American migrants with new severity. It cost one man his life
Kate Linthicum, Los Angeles Times, November 24, 2018

“Large-scale confrontations on Mexico’s southern border were unheard of until last month. In the past, Mexican immigration agents regularly deported Central Americans in the country illegally, but usually after intercepting individuals or small groups well inside Mexico at checkpoints along highways or railroad tracks.”

Mexican police deploy around caravan migrants after day of chaos at border
Sarah Kinosian and Joshua Partlow, Washington Post, November 26, 2018

“Nine bus loads of Mexican federal police took up positions around the Tijuana sports complex where more than 5,000 migrants are camping out, with many waiting for the chance to apply for asylum in the United States.”

Migrant caravan: Mexico deports group that stormed US border
BBC News, November 26, 2018

“On Monday US officials confirmed that 42 people who managed to cross on Sunday had been arrested, accused of disturbing the peace and other charges. And Gerardo Garcia Benavente, of Mexico’s migration office, said: ‘98 foreigners were returned to their country last night following the violent incident at the border post.’”

Mexico negotiating “Marshall Plan” with Trump to combat Central American migration
Javier Lafuente and Jacobo García, El País, November 26, 2018

“…the aim is to achieve a paradigm shift as well as to increase investment in the south of the country, with the help of the United States, which will also boost assistance to countries in the north triangle of Central America and increase the flexibility of the administrative processes for migrants in Mexico.”

Trump is reportedly cutting a deal to force asylum seekers to wait in Mexico
Dara Lind, Vox, November 25, 2018

“As a result, in theory, the majority of Central Americans and other asylum seekers who travel through Mexico would be required to stay in Mexico while their asylum cases were pending in the United States.”

Incoming Mexico gov’t: No deal to host US asylum-seekers
Amy Guthrie, Associated Press, November 25, 2018

“The deal was seen as a way to dissuade thousands of Central American migrants from seeking asylum in the U.S., a process that can take years. In effect, Mexican border towns are already acting as waiting rooms for migrants hoping to start new lives in the U.S. due to bottlenecks at the border.”

Mexico: Tijuana declares humanitarian crisis over migrant caravan

The Guardian, November 23, 2018

“But in those places, the caravan stayed at most two nights with the exception of Mexico City. In Tijuana, many of the migrants who are fleeing violence and poverty are seeking asylum in the US and face the prospect of spending months in the border city before they have the opportunity to speak with a US official.”

Short of Their Destination, Caravan Migrants Wrestle With Next Steps
Elisabeth Malkin and Maya Averbuch, New York Times, November 21, 2018

“The wait has just begun and Tijuana is feeling the strain. With Mexico’s new federal government preparing to take office on Dec. 1, the city has received the barest minimum of help and cannot set up a new shelter, said César Palencia Chávez, who is in charge of migrants’ affairs for the city of Tijuana.”

Asylum seekers blocked at Texas border bridges say Mexican officials are demanding money to let them pass
Molly Hennessy-Fiske, Los Angeles Times, November 22, 2018

“Asylum seekers funneled to bridge crossings at the Texas border are being blocked from approaching the U.S. side, forced onto waiting lists overseen by Mexican officials. The asylum seekers and immigrant-rights advocates say that has put them at risk of extortion, discrimination and deportation, with many telling of Mexican officials demanding money to let them pass and of watching others, further down the list, cross ahead of them.”

Root Causes

They’re killing us in Honduras with U.S.-made guns, some in caravan say
Sarah Blaskey, Miami Herald, November 23, 2018

“The Miami Herald found that the political violence in Honduras, which has contributed to an exodus of migrants, was sometimes carried out with U.S.-made weapons used by the government’s paramilitary force. The Honduran military police should not possess U.S.-made rifles sold under private arms licensing agreements, according to the State Department.”

US Alleges Honduras President’s Brother is Major Drug Trafficker
Parker Asmann, InSight Crime, November 26, 2018

“Prosecutors say Antonio Hernández is a ‘large-scale drug trafficker’ who worked in Colombia, Honduras and Mexico. A criminal indictment obtained by InSight Crime says that he imported ‘multi-ton loads of cocaine’ into the United States for more than a decade.”

Hondurans continue to flee one year after post-election crackdown
Sandra Cuffe, Al Jazeera, November 26, 2018

“There is widespread support for the opposition alliance in northwestern Honduras, but in
the Lopez Arellano Sector, the most active opposition alliance activists formed a
collective. Of the 86 members of the collective, 44 fled the country last month, said

Terror of gang violence drives migrant caravans northward
Delphine Schrank and Goran Tomasevic, Reuters, November 21, 2018

“Former Honduran policeman Ivan says he moved homes so many times to escape the street gangs that terrorize this Central American country that he lost count. Fearful his sons would have to join the gangs or be killed, he eventually joined thousands of Hondurans fleeing to the United States.”

In Honduras, “We’re Supporting the Axe Murderers”
Dana Frank, Jacobin, November 24, 2018

“The United States could have taken a different course at so many points, not just after the coup. Instead, the Obama and then Trump administrations flashed green light after green light after green light.”

Ex-Soldier Gets 5,160 Years in Prison for Guatemala Massacre
New York Times, November 22, 2018

“Prosecutors said the soldier, Santos López Alonzo, 66, who is accused of belonging to an elite squad known as the Kaibiles, had participated in the killings of nearly all of the men, women and children in the farming village of Dos Erres on Dec. 7, 1982, according to Reuters.”

Environmental Activist Bernardo Caal Xol Sentenced to 7 Years
Telesur, November 17, 2018

“Caal Xol’s defense argues the activist is suffering from political persecution. The communities of Alta Verapaz have been organizing themselves for years against several hydroelectric projects on the Oxec and Cahabon rivers due the fact that many of them have been left without water access.”

América Latina, la región más letal para las mujeres
Elena Reina, Mar Centenera y Santiago Torrado, El País, 25 de noviembre de 2018

“Los datos oscuros de la violencia de género planean sobre una región que ya es lo suficientemente mortal y se ha convertido en la zona más peligrosa del mundo para las mujeres”.

Peña deja el peor contexto de violencia hacia las mujeres, denuncian víctimas y organizaciones
Andrea Vega, Animal Político, 25 de noviembre de 2018

“…el Estado toleró y legitimó la presencia y el control territorial de redes y estructuras criminales a nivel nacional que atentaron contra la vida de las mujeres y niñas”.

Alleged Corruption Plagues Selection of El Salvador‘s Top Prosecutor
Héctor Silva Ávalos, InSight Crime, November 19, 2018

“The selection of a weak attorney general by Congress members accused of corruption would put all the recent progress made by El Salvador’s Attorney General’s Office at risk.”

Actions, Reports, and Resources
Qué significa el programa “Quédate en México” y en qué difiere de “México como tercer país seguro”
Dolores París Pombo, El Colegio de la Frontera Norte, 26 de noviembre de 2018

“Ese plan consistiría en que los solicitantes de asilo que llegan a Estados Unidos por su Frontera Sur podrían ser devueltos a México para esperar la resolución de su caso en las cortes estadounidenses”.

*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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