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Central America/Mexico Migrant News Brief for March 25, 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: Root Causes; Mexican Enforcement; U.S. Enforcement; New Reports and Resources.

Root Causes

•   Threat of Gang Violence Drives 100 Out of Honduras’ Capital
AP, NBC News, March 25, 2016
“People in El Hoyo on Tegucigalpa’s south side told local television that masked gang members armed with semi-automatic rifles appeared Wednesday night and announced that residents had 24 hours to abandon their homes or face the consequences.”

•   Hija de la activista Berta Cáceres denuncia hostigamiento
AP, El Universo, 23 de marzo de 2016
“Laura Zúñiga Cáceres relató a The Associated Press que sujetos desconocidos armados las han seguido y que personas extrañas han llegado a fotografiar la casa de su abuela, donde reside gran parte de su familia y la morada que ocupó la activista ambientalista hasta que se mudara varios meses antes de ser asesinada en su hogar”.

•   Development Banks Need to Wake up to the Human Rights Crisis in Honduras
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, The Guardian, March 20, 2016
“The murders of Cáceres and García are the latest in a string of violent deaths of human rights defenders connected with land disputes and development projects in Honduras, provoking global condemnation. Clearly, the government bears principal responsibility for investigating and bringing to justice the perpetrators….But international financers of development projects have human rights duties too.”

•   Honduras Prisons Put Inmates at Risk, Fuel Gang Violence: OAS
Mimi Yagoub, InSight Crime, March 22, 2016
“Following a visit to the country in December 2014, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States (OAS) found that detainees often exert more power than the prison staff. The IACHR also found cases of men and women sharing cellblocks and military weapons used in riots.”

•   The US State Department Maintains a Hands-Off Approach to Honduras, Despite Wave of Activist Murders
Darren Ankrom, Vice News, March 21, 2016
“Two high-profile murders of activists in Honduras — including a recipient of the world’s leading environmental prize — have prompted calls for the US government to halt aid to the country and for the US Department of State to more aggressively push for an investigation.”

•   Radio Station Director Killed In Guatemala, Renewing Calls For Protection Mechanism For Journalists
Teresa Mioli, Journalism in the Americas, March 21, 2016
“Guatemalan journalists have condemned the murder of a 32-year-old radio director in the country and called for renewed attention to the construction of a protection program for journalists. Mario Roberto Salazar Barahona, director of Estéreo Azúcar in Asunción Mita in the department of Jutiapa, was killed on March 17.”

•   Guatemala: Another Environmental Activist Shot to Death
TeleSur, March 19, 2016
“Rights organizations in Guatemala condemned the killing of Walter Mendez Barrios, a prominent activist fighting against deforestation and hydroelectric projects in the Central American country.”

•   People vs Politicians: Who Can Tackle Mexico’s Corruption?
Katy Watson, BBC News, March 22, 2016
“And according to public opinion survey Latinobarometro . . . Mexicans are the least satisfied with democracy among Latin Americans. ‘The distinctive thing about this administration is that they claimed that they were going to be very open and different in terms of reforming every single important structural thing,’ says Eduardo Bohorquez of Transparency International’s Mexican chapter.”

•   Militares implicados en desapariciones: Sedena tiene 72 casos sin resolver
Arturo Angel, Animal Político, 18 de marzo de 2016
“La Secretaría de la Defensa Nacional (Sedena) tiene un registro oficial de 72 casos de desaparición forzada entre 2006 y 2014 en los que están involucrados elementos del Ejército Mexicano, de los cuales, la Procuraduría de Justicia Militar no ha resuelto ninguno”.

•   Óscar Martínez habla sobre la soledad, locura y huida que azotan a Centroamérica en ‘A History of Violence’
Alberto Arce, The New York Times (ES), 20 de marzo de 2016
“Martínez…escribe desde ese ejercicio de empatía, de no saberse mejor que el ‘otro’ sino solo producto de condiciones de vida diferentes. Con ese carisma adictivo que transmite nos ofrece su visión del Triángulo Norte de Centroamérica, la región con más homicidios per capita del mundo, o al menos la más violenta de las que existe registro.”

•   What Did You Expect? The Question that Women Are Sick of Hearing
Jasmine Garsd, NPR, March 19, 2016
“The 2012 Small Arms Survey, often cited by United Nations, surveyed murders of women around the world in the years 2004-2009. At a rate of 12 per 100,000, El Salvador is the country with the highest femicide rate, followed by Jamaica (10.9), Guatemala (9.7) and South Africa (9.6).”

Mexican Enforcement

•   El refugio trasfronterizo de Chiapas
Valentina Valle Baroz, El País, 21 de marzo de 2016
“Sería la confirmación del estereotipo de que donde hay migrantes hay problemas, y no se le reconocería al Bungalow su característica principal: la tranquilidad generada por sus habitantes, lo que permitió que este lugar saliera de la lista de los focos rojos de la migración y entrara en la normalidad de una simple vecindad entre muchas”.

•   INM incumple sentencia de juez y niega reconocimiento de la calidad de víctima de delito a mujer migrante
Sin Fronteras, 17 de marzo de 2016
“María fue detenida ilegalmente, agredida física y verbalmente durante una hora en un automóvil particular por agentes de la Policía Estatal del Estado de México”.

•   In Mexico It’s Institutions, Stupid
Brian Fonseca, The World Post, March 22, 2016
“Critics of U.S.-Mexico bilateral security cooperation blame the U.S. government for incentivizing human rights violations and corruption through the Merida Initiative, and they argue for the withdrawal of all forms of U.S. foreign assistance.”

U.S. Enforcement

•   ‘We Have a Moral Obligation’: Lawmakers Want the U.S. to Provide Attorneys for Immigrant Children
Sarah Wire, Los Angeles Times, March 25, 2016
“You’ve got a 10-year-old who speaks Spanish and they’re in a courtroom facing a trained prosecutor making the asylum case….The consequences of being unable to make your case are severe.”

•   Lawyers: Children Need Lawyers in Immigration Court
AP, The New York Times, March 24, 2016
“Government lawyers urged a federal judge on Thursday to remove certain children listed in a lawsuit that seeks to require court-appointed lawyers for indigent children who enter the country illegally. But lawyers for the ACLU and immigration-rights groups said any child sent to immigration court has a constitutional right to a fair hearing and the only way to ensure that happens is to provide them with a lawyer.”

•   Atlanta Field Office Tops ICE Arrests Amid Immigration Crackdown
Jeremy Redmon, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, March 23, 2016
“Federal immigration authorities operating out of an Atlanta field office covering Georgia and the Carolinas have arrested the largest number people of any field office in the nation — 127 — since resuming a nationwide crackdown in late January, new federal figures show.”

•   Obama Administration Deportation Raids Continue
Michael Oleaga, Latin Post, March 18, 2016
“In a statement from U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency conducted additional ‘enforcement actions’ at his discretion in late January. The raids were known as ‘Operation Border Guardian.’”

•   Supporters Urge Release of Teen Student Facing Deportation
AP, The New York Times, March 24, 2016
“About 50 people showed up in support of Wildin Acosta, 19, a senior at Riverside High school who is being held in a rural jail in Georgia. After the director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued an order Sunday temporarily preventing the deportation of Acosta, his attorney Monday filed an appeal, which was granted, an ICE spokesman said.”

•   Indocumentado consigue la detención de su deportación
Noticias Telemundo, 23 de marzo de 2016
“El joven cayó en manos de una persona que no supo asesorarlo, su caso podría sentar precedente.”

•   Dilley, Tex., Home to the Nation’s Largest Immigration Detention Center
Jake Naughton, The New York Times, March 22, 2016
“What happens to a town of 4,000 when the country’s largest detention center for immigrants opens its doors there? That’s the question we at Black Box traveled to Dilley, Tex., last year to try and answer.”

•   Centros familiares de detención de ICE cambiarían de rubro a finales de año
Jorge Cancino, Univision, 18 de marzo de 2016
“Dos polémicas cárceles para niños migrantes ubicadas en Texas podrían cambiar pronto nuevamente de rubro y convertirse en centros de detención para adultos, según se desprende de declaraciones dadas por un alto funcionario de la Administración en el Congreso”.

•   U.S. Government to be Held Accountable for Death of Anastasio Hernández Rojas
Chakiara Tucker, Southern Border Communities Coalition, March 24, 2016
“In an unprecedented step, the family of Anastasio Hernández Rojas…will file a petition with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Washington D.C. The petition follows six years of stalled investigations and failure to hold U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents accountable for killing Anastasio.”

•   Justice Delayed: Immigration Courts Drown In Backlogged Cases
Kendal Blust, Arizona Sonora News, March 24, 2016
“Immigration spending has not kept pace with money spent on border enforcement, leaving courts with steadily increasing caseloads and wait times. These backlogs mean hundreds of thousands of people are in limbo for an average of two years, and the courts have inadequate resources to tackle the problem.”

•   Estudio revela que más de 6 millones de estadounidenses se beneficiarían con DAPA
Univision, La Opinión, 24 de marzo de 2016
“Cerca de 6.1 millones de ciudadanos estadounidenses tienen un familiar indocumentado que califica para el amparo migratorio de Barack Obama, por lo que se verán afectados si la Corte Suprema falla en contra de esta acción ejecutiva, reveló un estudio del Centro para el Cambio Americano (Center por American Progress -CAP-)”.

•   Transgender Asylum-Seekers Often Mistreated In Detention, Study Finds
Cindy Carcamo, Los Angeles Times, March 23, 2016
“Transgender women fleeing abuse in their home countries who seek asylum in the United States have been sexually assaulted, denied medical care and held in indefinite solitary confinement in prison-like detention facilities, according to a report released Wednesday.”

•   Salvadorans Catching up to Mexicans in U.S. Immigration Court Filings
Jacob Gershman, The Wall Street Journal, March 22, 2016
“So far this fiscal year only one in four filings (25%) involve individuals from Mexico. With 15,821 new proceedings so far this fiscal year, this is still the largest nationality group represented in Immigration Court proceedings. Not far behind is a growing number of cases involving those from El Salvador, currently numbering 14,512.”

•   Men in the U.S. Illegally Are More Likely to Work Than Men Born Here, For Less
Jeffrey Sparshott, The Wall Street Journal, March 22, 2016
“Men in the U.S. illegally are more likely to work than their native-born counterparts, and they’re willing to take jobs pretty much regardless of how much or little they get paid, new research from Harvard University finds.”

•   Being An Undocumented Black Immigrant In America Is A ‘Lonely Experience’
Ester Yu-Hsi Lee, Think Progress, March 24, 2016
“But there are also 400,000 undocumented black immigrants living in the United States who have largely been left out of the debate over immigration reform. These immigrants make up just a small fraction of the more than three million black immigrants who come mostly from the Caribbean or Northern and sub-Saharan Africa.”

•   PRI’s The World: 03/18/2016
Public Radio International, March 18, 2016
“Marco Werman and Global Nation editor Monica Campbell are co-hosting a special show that will bring you stories of life along the US-Mexico border.”

New Reports and Resources

•   Welcome to Dilley
Black Box, 2016
“In one such town, Dilley, Texas, as night falls, the warm tendrils of the evening sun rake across the dusty landscape and an unforgiving glow builds to take their place. Thickets of huge lights burn brighter and a radiant bruise blooms in the sky, visible for miles along I-35. The source of the bright lights, and intense national controversy, is the country’s largest immigrant detention center: the benignly named South Texas Family Residential Center (or as its detractors call it, ‘baby jail’).”

•   A Visceral Portrait of Life at the U.S.-Mexico Border
Rodrigo Reyes, Greyson Korhonen, The Atlantic, March 15, 2016
“In this short documentary, filmmaker Rodrigo Reyes re-works material from his award-winning feature film, Purgatorio, into an ode to the squalid borderland between the United States and Mexico.”
Link to full documentary here.

•   [Video] Mujeres migrantes centroamericanas en tránsito irregular por México
Instituto para las Mujeres en la Migración, septiembre de 2015
“El informe contribuye al conocimiento de las experiencias de las mujeres migrantes en tránsito, además de destacar como las actuales prácticas de control y verificación migratoria, en las carreteras, resultan en detenciones arbitrarias, aumentan la situación de vulnerabilidad de las mujeres migrantes e impiden el acceso a sus derechos.”

•   [Infografía] Mujeres migrantes en el mundo
Instituto para las Mujeres en la Migración, Sin Fronteras

•   “Do You See How Much I’m Suffering Here?”: Abuse against Transgender Women in US Immigration Detention
Human Rights Watch, March 23, 2016
“Immigration detention can be a difficult experience for anyone. But it is often particularly harmful for transgender women due to the abuse they have previously endured. Many are traumatized by extended placements in solitary confinement and other physically isolated settings—a practice that authorities often justify as a step to protect them from other forms of abuse in detention.”

•   [English] Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression presents its 2015 Annual Report
[Español] La Relatoría Especial para la Libertad de Expresión presenta su Informe Anual 2015
Organization of American States, March 23, 2016
“In its assessment over the situation of freedom of expression in 2016, the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) draws attention to the increase in the violence against journalists.”

•   DAPA Matters to U.S. Citizen Family Members in States Across the Country
Lizet Ocampo, Center for American Progress, March 22, 2016
“On April 18, the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in United States v. Texas, the lawsuit blocking implementation of the expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, and the creation of Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA.”

•   FY 2017 Notice of Funding Opportunity for Reception and Placement Program
U.S. Department of State, March 21, 2016
“The R&P Program for the initial reception and placement of refugees in the United States is managed by PRM (hereinafter referred to as the “Bureau”). The purpose of the R&P Program is to promote the successful reception and placement of all persons who are admitted to the United States under the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.”

•   UNHCR Eligibility Guidelines for Assessing the International Protection Needs of Asylum-Seekers from El Salvador
UNHCR, March 15, 2016
“Over the last few years, Salvadorian nationals have been seeking international protection as refugees in the region of the Americas and beyond in increasing numbers. These Eligibility Guidelines provide guidance on deciding claims for international protection lodged by Salvadorian asylum-seekers who fall within certain risk profiles or who find themselves in certain circumstances.”

•   Young Children of Refugees in the United States: Integration Successes and Challenges
Migration Policy Institute, March 2016
“In an attempt to fill the knowledge gap on integration outcomes for children of refugees, this report presents a demographic and socioeconomic data profile of the 941,000 children ages 10 and younger with refugee parents living in the United States in 2009-2013.”

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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.