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Central America/Mexico Migrant News Brief for January 22, 2016

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Happy 2016! The Migrant News Brief is a compilation of this week’s top articles and reports related to issues of migration from Central America and Mexico.

See Root Causes; Mexican Enforcement; U.S. Enforcement; New Reports & Resources.

Root Causes

•    Deportados centroamericanos regresan a vida de zozobra y escasa ayuda
María Peña, La Opinión, 21 de enero de 2016
“Los miles de centroamericanos que EEUU prevé deportar a lo largo de este año a El Salvador, Honduras y Guatemala regresarán a empobrecidos países con escasos recursos para ayudarlos en su reinserción y supervivencia laboral, advirtieron este jueves expertas.”

•    Violencia en Centroamérica quintuplicó solicitudes de refugio
Tamoa Calzadilla, Univision.com, 20 de enero de 2016
“Las Maras tumbaron la puerta de su hogar. Su esposo le pidió que se escondiera. Mataron a su familia. Ella y su hijo sobrevivieron y se mudaron a otra comunidad, pero las Maras querían más y siguieron amenazándola. Finalmente, consiguió protección como refugiada, con el apoyo de las Naciones Unidas.”

•    The Re-Emergence of Social Cleansing in El Salvador
Carlos A. Rosales and Ana Leonor Morales, Open Democracy, January 20, 2016
“In the most violent country in the world, youth is killing youth, the state is in a state of war and extrajudicial killings are on the rise. This cannot continue unabated.”

•    Crimen y cuerpos de seguridad causan desplazamientos forzados en El Salvador
EFE, Vanguardia, 19 de enero de 2016
“Atribuyó el fenómeno a un ‘enfoque equivocado de seguridad pública’ que se manifiesta con ‘acciones de uso de la fuerza’ y ‘acoso hacía los familiares de pandilleros por parte de las instancias estatales’.”

•    Central America’s Gangs Are All Grown Up
Douglas Farah, Foreign Policy, January 19, 2016
 “This level of violence makes daily living in much of the Northern Triangle a potentially fatal gamble. Boys are corralled into gangs; those who refuse are killed. Girls as young as 11 years old are taken asjainas, or sex slaves. This inescapable threat is why parents and relatives send their children on the treacherous and costly trip to the United States.”

•    Defender los derechos humanos, una profesión de muy alto riesgo
Jaime Septién, Aleteia, 13 de enero de 2016
“En buena parte del mundo, particularmente en América Latina, ser defensor de los derechos humanos es un trabajo peligrosos. A veces, en la más pura esencia del acto cristiano, se paga con la vida misma. Así lo describe el documento ‘Basta de asesinatos’, Informe Anual 2016 de Front Line Defenders.”

•    Gang Warfare in El Salvador Pushes Death Rate to Record
Nelson Renteria, Reuters, January 21, 2016
“Violence has risen steadily in El Salvador since a 2012 truce between the country’s two main gangs began to fall apart in 2014. Last year was the most violent on record, with a 70 percent increase in murders from the previous year and a surge in attacks by street gangs, said a civil servant.”

•    Honduras Soldiers Have Killed at Least 6 Civilians: NGO
FOCUS News Agency, January 5, 2016
“Honduran soldiers assigned to help police combat rampant crime have killed at least six civilians — children and youths — in the past few months, a non-governmental organization, Casa Alianza, said Tuesday, cited by AFP.”

•    Murder Rate Climbs in Mexico, While Other Crimes Fall
Anna Yukhananov, Reuters, January 21, 2016
“Murders in Mexico jumped nearly 9 percent last year, . . . But other crimes like kidnapping and extortion have fallen, according to government data released late on Wednesday, perhaps pointing to a shift toward more brutal tactics by some of the country’s dozens of drug cartels.”

•    The Sorry State of State Police Forces
Alejandro Hope, El Daily Post, January 21, 2016
“A common argument used in defense of the Mando Único policing model is that it is easier to build 32 good state police forces than to reform the more than 1800 municipal police departments that exist across Mexico. That plausibly-sounding argument would be way stronger if state police forces were shining examples of reform and modernization.”

•    Impunity: The Beast That Keeps Killing Journalists in Mexico
Andalusia Knoll, TeleSur, January 21, 2016
“Moises Sanchez was kidnapped and killed by people employed by the government or directly connected to it. The case has barely been investigated and the family now has to rely on the protection of bodyguards working for the same government. Jorge’s father’s murderers not only roam free but also live and work close to him.”

Mexican Enforcement

•    Mujeres migrantes recibirán atención médica en consulados mexicanos
Bertha Becerra, El Sol de Mexico, 20 de enero de 2016
“En la red de 67 consulados que la Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores tiene en el mundo se brindará atención médica, contra la violencia y de otro tipo a mujeres mexicanas migrantes.”

•    Mexico, Central American Countries OK Plan for Stranded Cubans
Reuters, January 20, 2016
“Mexico and Central American countries approved a plan on Wednesday for more flights that would allow thousands of Cubans stranded in Costa Rica to continue on to the United States.”

U.S. Enforcement

•    Washington and Mexico Helped Create a New Wave of Central American Migrants
Editorial Board, Washington Post, January 19, 2016
“Deportations are often cruel and unfair. Many deportees are initially judged to have plausible claims for asylum, but relatively few receive competent or adequate legal representation in immigration courts, and the government provides inadequate funds for volunteer attorneys to represent minors and nothing for families. Given the scant legal advice they receive, little wonder the likely result for so many is a deportation order.”

•    Activistas: hay contradicción en respuesta de EEUU a la violencia en Centroamérica
María Peña, La Opinión, 14 de enero de 2016
“Activistas pro-inmigrantes y defensores de los derechos humanos destacaron este jueves la aparente contradicción en la respuesta de EEUU a la ola de violencia en Centroamérica, al anunciar un nuevo programa para refugiados mientras continúa su campaña de deportación de migrantes centroamericanos.”

•    Supreme Court to Hear Challenge to Obama Immigration Actions
Adam Liptak and Michael D. Shear, New York Times, January 19, 2016
“The Supreme Court said Tuesday that it would consider a legal challenge to President Obama’s overhaul of the nation’s immigration rules, agreeing to examine the reach of presidential power as it decides the fate of one of his most far-reaching executive actions.”

•    Morales le pide a Biden protección temporal para los migrantes guatemaltecos
Univision.com, 14 de enero de 2016
“‘Existe un pensamiento que dice: no tenés porque no pedís, yo quiero pedir algo para los guatemaltecos, es una decisión difícil pero necesaria, me quiero unir a la petición de 10 de senadores y 139 legisladores en Estados Unidos que han estado abogando por el TPS en favor de nuestros connacionales’, le dijo Morales a Biden horas antes de su investidura.”

•    A Shameful Round-Up of Refugees
Editorial Board, New York Times, January 8, 2015
“The homicidal brutality in Central America has spawned a humanitarian disaster, but the administration has been treating it as a Texas border-security emergency, and a political headache. Perhaps this is why its efforts at deterring the migrant flow have not succeeded. Families have taken the journey anyway, not because they are determined to flout our immigration laws — but because they want not to be murdered.”

•    US to Expand Refugee Admissions for Central Americans Fleeing Violence
David Smith and Nina Lakhani, The Guardian, January 13, 2016
“The US is to expand its refugee programme to help thousands of people fleeing violence in Central America avoid a perilous journey often exploited by human smugglers, secretary of state John Kerry has announced. The office of the UN high commissioner for refugees will now conduct initial screenings to test whether people from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala may qualify as refugees eligible to move to the US legally.”

•    US Program Aims to Get Immigrants Into Court to Track Cases
Associated Press, New York Times, January 21, 2016
“Advocates want immigrants to attend the hearings because they believe many of those arriving from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras have a strong shot of winning asylum but must be in court to do so. Judges routinely issue deportation orders for those who don’t show.”

•    Gobierno anuncia programa para ayudar a migrantes centroamericanos
Jorge Cancino, Univision, 21 de enero de 2016
“La Administración Obama anunció el jueves el lanzamiento de un programa que tiene como objetivo ayudar a migrantes centroamericanos a que se presenten ante una corte para que un juez decida sus futuros en Estados Unidos. Los beneficiarios son mujeres embarazadas, lactantes y madres con hijos enfermos que padecen problemas mentales.”

•    ACLU lanza campaña sobre derechos de los indocumentados durante redadas de inmigración
Jorge Cancino, Univision.com, 21 de enero de 2016
“La Unión Americana de Derechos Civiles (ACLU, por su sigla en inglés) lanzó una campaña a través de redes sociales para enseñarle a los indocumentados que tienen derechos en Estados Unidos encaso de verse afectados por una redada del servicio de inmigración.”

•    The Democrats’ Immigration Conundrum
Priscilla Alvarez, The Atlantic, January 22, 2016
“The frustration culminated in a series of press conferences and a letter to the president. At the heart of the dispute is a question: Are Central Americans arriving in the U.S. properly treated as illegal immigrants, or refugees?”

•    Immigrants in the U.S. Illegally Have Declined to the Lowest Level in Over a Decade
Kate Linthicum, Los Angeles Times, January 20, 2016
“A new study by the Center for Migration Studies estimates that 10.9 million immigrants are living in the country without authorization. That is the lowest level since 2003 and the first time the number has dipped below 11 million since 2004.”

•    Llega a Honduras y Guatemala el primer grupo de madres y niños deportados
Univision.com y EFE, 6 de enero de 2016
“Un total de 18 mujeres y 29 menores de edad, que fueron detenidos por autoridades migratorias en una serie de redadas realizadas este fin de semana, fueron llevados de vuelta a Guatemala y Honduras, sus países de origen, como parte de las medidas anunciadas por el gobierno de Estados Unidos.”

New Reports and Resources

•    Infographic: The Rising Death Toll in Central America’s Northern Triangle
Ignatian Solidarity Network, January 14, 2016
“This infographic charts the surge of violence last year in Central America’s Northern Triangle, which includes Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. Driven by gang warfare, government corruption, and poverty, the violence in this comparatively small region exceeded the death tolls in several combined war zones from around the world in 2015.”

•    LAWGEF Applauds SCOTUS Step towards Protecting Immigrant Families
LAWGEF, January 20, 2016
“We remain optimistic that a favorable decision by the court this spring can grant relief from the fear of deportation for millions of immigrants living, working, and raising their families in the United States.”

•    AILA’s Recommendation To Ensure Vulnerable Central Americans Are Treated Fairly and Humanely and Are Protected from Deportation
AILA Doc No. 16011501, January 15, 2016
“AILA urges the president and DHS to halt the raids and deportations of vulnerable Central Americans and recommends that procedures be established that ensure these families receive fair and humane treatment and can meaningfully seek humanitarian protection under U.S. law.”

•    Trends in Unaccompanied Child and Family Migration from Central America
Marc Rosenblum and Isabel Ball, Migration Policy Institute, January 2016
“While the drop in child migration and family arrivals in 2014 led some to believe the regional migration crisis had been resolved, rising flows in 2015 offer a reminder that humanitarian and migration pressures in the Northern Triangle remain a major concern, and that smuggling networks play a significant role. This fact sheet examines influencing factors on the recent trends in unaccompanied child and family arrivals from Central America to the U.S.-Mexico border, as well as Mexico’s role in enforcement.”

•    CARA: 33 Mothers and Children Protected from Immediate Deportation
AILA Doc No. 16011330, January 13, 2016
“In the last week, 121 mothers and children were brought to the South Texas Residential Family Center in Dilley, Texas, after being rounded up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project reviewed the cases of 13 families, filed appeals for 12, and won stays of removal from the Board of Immigration Appeals for all 12 families – 33 mothers and children.”

•    InSight Crime’s 2015 Latin America Homicide Round-up
David Gagne, InSight Crime, January 14, 2016
“The most notable development in this year’s round-up (see InSight Crime’s 2014 homicide rankings here) is the change that occurred at the top of the list. El Salvador has eclipsed neighboring Honduras as the most violent nation in the Western Hemisphere following its worst year of violence since the country’s civil war ended.”

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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.