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Central America/Mexico Migrant News Brief for February 19, 2016

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A compilation of this week’s top articles and reports related to issues of migration from Central America and Mexico (articles in English and Spanish).

See: Spotlight on Pope’s Visit to Mexico; Root Causes; Mexican Enforcement; U.S. Enforcement; New Reports & Resources.

Spotlight: Pope’s Visit to Mexico Highlights Migration

•   Pope Francis, Illegal Immigration And Border Security: How Mexico Became Tougher Than The United States On Migrants
Cristina Silva, International Business Times, February 18, 2016
“Arriving at a wide field along the Rio Grande for an outdoor mass, [Pope Francis] walked across a ramp lined with flowers and prayed before a cross erected in memory of migrants who died trying to reach the United States before urging government officials to have compassion for people searching for a better life. But for Central Americans looking to pass through Mexico and reach the United States, making the trip north has never been more expensive or dangerous.”

•   Migrant Voices: On Journey to North, ‘You Can’t Smile Because There Is No Reason To’
Marisa Gerber and Laura Tillman, Los Angeles Times, February 15, 2016
“Five Central American migrants attempting that journey reflect on their faith and the pope’s visit and explain why they left their homelands. They asked that their last names be withheld because they crossed into Mexico illegally and fear gangs will retaliate against their families back home.”

•   Pope Francis Visits U.S.–Mexico Border
Jim Yarley, Azam Ahmed, Manny Fernandez, and Julia Preston, The New York Times, February 17, 2016
Pope Francis “celebrated Mass at a fairground barely 300 feet from the Rio Grande, calling forced migration ‘a human tragedy.” See series of coverage of his visit.

•   Handful of Migrants, Refugees Will Greet Pope Francis as He Walks along U.S.-Mexico Border
Alfredo Corchado, The Dallas Morning News, February 15, 2016
“In his first speech to the church hierarchy over the weekend in Mexico City, Francis wasted little time in addressing the plight of migrants. ‘So many families are separated,’ he said, ‘and integration into the supposedly ‘promised land’ is not always as easy as some believe.’”

•   Los migrantes no pudieron ver al Papa en Ecatepec: huyeron del acoso de la migra mexicana
Sergio Rincón, Sin Embargo, 14 de febrero de 2016
“Hace unas semanas SinEmbargo publicó un reportaje sobre la cacería contra migrantes y personas en situación de calle, ante la limpia por la llegada del Papa Francisco I. Justo en esa zona sí hubo obras de limpieza y donde antes los migrantes dormían bajo puentes, hoy es un estacionamiento de autobuses que transportan a elementos de la Gendarmería Nacional.”

•   The Pope Is Visiting Ground Zero of a Humanitarian Crisis in Mexico
Christopher Woody, Business Insider, February 14, 2016
“The wave of migrants that has surged out of the Northern Triangle, which is made up of the countries of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, over the last two years has flowed through Chiapas, as residents of the region flee faltering economies and rampant violence driven by gangs and drugs.”

•   The Dark Side of Mexico the Pope Didn’t See
Daniel Gonzalez, USA Today, February 15, 2016
“The woman, 28-year-old Maria Garcia, said she came from Veracruz six months ago to live with relatives in Ecatepec, which is about the size of Phoenix. Many of the city’s estimated 1.6 million residents are migrants who fled poverty in other states in search of better opportunities near the nation’s capital, Mexico City.”

Root Causes

•   El Salvador’s Violence: No Easy Way Out
Sarah Kinosian, Angelika Albaladejo, and Lisa Haugaard, CIP, LAWGEF, February 10, 2016

•   El Salvador’s Police Kill and Lie Again
Oscar Martínez, El Faro, February 15, 2016
“The official story of El Salvador’s police department fell apart again in the face of testimony from direct witnesses. The police say they killed four pandilleros (gang members) in a shootout in a house in Villas de Zaragoza. Two witnesses say that when they left the house, the four were alive and had surrendered.”

•   An Anti-Corruption Charade in Honduras
Alexander Main, The New York Times, February 15, 2016
“In Honduras, protests erupted when a local journalist revealed that millions of dollars of public funds from the country’s health care system had been funneled to the ruling National Party and the election campaign of President Juan Orlando Hernández.”

•   Honduras: Reports of ‘Death Squads’ as Attacks against Marginalized Communities Rise
Steven James Grattan, Latin Correspondent, February 16, 2016
“U.S. humanitarian organization Casa Alianza reported their concerns Sunday over increased of extermination squads set to cause fear among the population. The organization urged the government to stop the “slaughter” of children and adolescents, victims of crime in Honduras.”

•   Guatemala: agiotistas y coyotes financian a migrantes y después los “asfixian”
Rodrigo Soberanes, Ruta 35, 18 de febrero de 2016
“Los guatemaltecos, como la mayoría de centroamericanos que viajan indocumentados hacia Estados Unidos, emprenden el camino sin grandes maletas y están dispuestos a pasar hambre, frío y muchos riesgos en el intento. Pero lo que ignoran es que aún si logran llegar y enviar remesas, las trampas de los prestamistas pueden dejarlos sin casas, terrenos y terminar de hundir a sus familias en la pobreza.”

•   Being a Journalist in Mexico Is Getting Even More Dangerous
Javier Garza Ramos, The Washington Post, February 18, 2016
“The facts are dramatic, but it’s also an old story: Flores was a reporter, and her fate was similar to that suffered by more than 100 journalists in the past 15 years.”

Mexican Enforcement

•   “Marginación y violencia impulsan migración de niños”: Giusti
Pierre-Marc René, El Universal, 19 de febrero de 2016
“En entrevista con El Universal, Dora Giusti, jefa de Protección de la Infancia del Fondo de las Naciones Unidas para la Infancia (UNICEF), comentó que existe un contraste entre la repatriación de menores mexicanos desde Estados Unidos y de ciudadanos centroamericanos desde México.”

•   Aumento en el número de niños migrantes no acompañados en México requiere atención prioritaria: UNICEF
UNICEF México, 17 de febrero de 2016
“El número de casos de niños, niñas y adolescentes extranjeros que migraban sin la compañía de un adulto y fueron detectados por autoridades migratorias mexicanas aumentó un 333% de 2013 a 2015 . . . , por lo que esta problemática requiere toda la atención para garantizar que sus derechos sean respetados, señaló hoy el Fondo de las Naciones Unidas para la Infancia en México, UNICEF.”

•   Human Rights Groups Sue US Over Immigration Payments to Mexico
Nina Lakhani, The Guardian, February 12, 2016
“A coalition of human rights groups are suing the US State Department to make it reveal how much it is paying the Mexican government to stop migrants and refugees reaching the US border.”

•   Los Grupos Beta, la ayuda humanitaria de México en la que ya no confían los migrantes
Manu Ureste, Animal Político, 17 de febrero de 2016
“Según el informe ’20 temas actuales y relevantes sobre la Migración en México’, elaborado por el Colegio de la Frontera (Colef), de 7 mil 058 migrantes que recibieron algún tipo de ayuda en el camino, sólo 640 refirieron que fueron asistidos por el Grupo Beta, la unidad de ayuda humanitaria del Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM).”

•   Zetas los mataron, y la PGR de Calderón incineró a decenas de migrantes, acusan familias
Sergio Rincón, Sin Embargo, 18 de febrero de 2016
“La Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación dejó pendiente el fallo sobre un proyecto de dictamen el cual obliga a la Procuraduría General de la República a reconocer como víctimas directas a familiares de personas asesinadas en el municipio de San Fernando, Tamaulipas. De aprobarse, los deudos tendrán acceso a los expedientes y el derecho a la verdad; y con ello se podría poner fin a las trabas e irregularidades que las instituciones mexicanas han cometido durante al menos cinco años.”

•   Realizan primer taller regional de atención consular a menores migrantes no acompañados
Agencias, El Sol de México, 30 de enero de 2016
“Participaron funcionarios de los Ministerios de Relaciones Exteriores y de Gobierno, así como de instituciones especializadas en protección a la niñez de los 11 países miembros de la Conferencia Regional de Migración (CRM), junto con representantes de organismos internacionales y de organizaciones de la sociedad civil de América Central, América del Norte y República Dominicana.”

U.S. Enforcement

•   Raids on Asylum Seekers Must Stop
Michelle Brané, The Hill, February 15, 2016
“We have the ability to both regulate our borders and uphold our values by providing due process and asylum to those fleeing some of the world’s most dangerous countries. Instead, we seem determined to do the opposite.”

•   The Border Patrol Still Won’t Tell Us Who They’re Shooting
Nigel Duara, El Daily Post, February 17, 2016
“A U.S. Border Patrol agent shot a drug-running suspect late last year, but the agency has not revealed much more than that. This is the nub of an ongoing debate promoted by police responsibility groups and civil liberties advocates: When the Border Patrol uses lethal force, how much information ought the agency reveal publicly?”

•   Undocumented Detainees Accuse U.S. Of Denying Access To Lawyers
Adolfo Flores, BuzzFeed News, February 12, 2016
“Arevalo, other women detained in the January raids, and their attorneys are accusing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) of violating their own rules by telling them they had no legal recourse to dispute their deportations.”

•   States Step Up As Washington Stalls On Immigration
Richard Gonzales, NPR, February 16, 2016
“The number of states taking action by passing immigration-related laws is growing — by 26 percent last year, according to a new study released Tuesday by the National Conference of State Legislatures.”

•   What Does Justice Scalia’s Death Mean for United States v. Texas, the DAPA/DACA Case?
Beth Werlin, Immigration Impact, February 19, 2016
“Earlier this week, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia passed away at the age of 79. . . . But, it is unlikely that the Senate will confirm another Supreme Court Justice quickly, even if the President promptly nominates one, which means that only eight Justices will hear cases this spring. The question among many in the immigration community is: what does this mean for United States v. Texas, the case challenging the President’s executive actions on immigration, which the Court will hear this spring?”

•   Man Reports Car Stolen, Ends Up In Deportation Limbo
Richard Gonzales, NPR, February 16, 2016
“This situation has brought San Francisco’s sanctuary-city law under scrutiny again. Local law enforcement officials are forbidden from cooperating with federal immigration authorities, except in the cases of violent felons.”

•   Now More Than Ever, Obama’s Immigration Policies Are Punishing the Persecuted
Archi Pyati, Vice News, January 27, 2016
“Today, parents are afraid they might come into contact with ICE at their children’s schools. They are not taking their children to the doctor for routine check-ups and vaccinations out of fear of encountering DHS. Breadwinners are not reporting for work. And people of faith are afraid to go to church. The climate of fear that the raids have created is palpable across communities and across the country.”

New Reports and Resources

•   20 Temas actuales y relevantes sobre la migración en México
Dr. Jesús Peña Muñoz y Dra. Melissa Ley Cervantes, El Colegio de la Frontera Norte, febrero de 2016
“El objetivo de este documento es mostrar algunas de las principales características del fenómeno migratorio tal y como se desarrolla en la actualidad en México. Para esto hemos seleccionado veinte temas que muestran distintas facetas del fenómeno migratorio a través de datos sociodemográficos, geográficos, procesos migratorios y situación laboral de las personas que tocan la frontera sur y norte de México.”

•   Papa Francisco en México
Conferencia del Episcopado Mexicano y Arquidiócesis Primada de México
Sitio oficial de la visita de Papa Francisco a México. Se puede acceder vídeos y fotos del viaje.
Video de su misa en Ciudad Juárez (comentario sobre migración)

•   Niñas y niños migrantes: Factores de expulsión y desafíos para su reinserción en Honduras
Casa Alianza Honduras, enero de 2016
“El objetivo de la presente investigación es profundizar en el conocimiento de los principales factores que motivan a niños, niñas y adolescentes (NNA) a migrar a otros países, principalmente hacia los Estados Unidos, y las condiciones sociales y familiares que encuentran cuando son deportados al país.”

•   Understanding the Central American Refugee Crisis: Why They are Fleeing
Dr. Jonathan T. Hiskey, et al., American Immigration Council, February 2016
“The increase of asylum-seekers, primarily from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala—the countries making up the “Northern Triangle” region—was characterized by President Obama as a “humanitarian crisis.” The situation garnered widespread congressional and media attention, much of it speculating about the cause of the increase and suggesting U.S. responses.”

•   Situation of Human Rights in Honduras
Situación de derechos humanos en Honduras
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, 2015
“This report addresses the human rights situation in Honduras and offers recommendations intended to assist the State in strengthening its efforts to protect and uphold human rights in the country.”

•   Entre la política deseada, la practicada y los flujos migratorios emergentes: respuestas en construcción y desafíos duraderos
Rodolfo Casillas R., Migración en Tránsito, ITAM, febrero de 2016
“[Poco] análisis se ha hecho para explorar a fondo el entramado causal y motivacional de las políticas y acciones adoptadas por el gobierno mexicano hacia los migrantes en tránsito irregular desde la década de 1980. . . . La emergencia de atención a estos flujos migratorios y los retos que traen a la política mexicana en el contexto regional actual, nos obliga a analizar el surgimiento de actores sociales e institucionales específicos y el proceso de concepción, coordinación y aplicación de estas políticas. De eso trata el texto que a continuación se presenta.”

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*The Central America/Mexico Migrant News Brief is a selection of relevant news articles, all of which do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Latin America Working Group.