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Central America/Mexico Migrant News Brief for October 11, 2017

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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.

U.S. Enforcement

LAWG Strongly Condemns Trump Administration’s Anti-Immigrant, Anti-Refugee Agenda
LAWG, October 11, 2017
“LAWG urges Congress to oppose this vision for immigration reform that does not recognize the full contributions of all immigrants and refugees to the United States. We urge Congress to pass a clean Dream Act that does not unnecessarily increase funding for border militarization that will harm border communities, including thousands of Dreamers. LAWG also urges an 18 month extension of the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for the over 300,000 Haitians, Hondurans, Salvadorans, and Nicaraguans whose status is up for renewal in the next three months.”

White House Makes Hard-Line Demands for Any ‘Dreamers’ Deal
Leer en español: La Casa Blanca exige el muro fronterizo como condición para ayudar a los ‘dreamers’
Michael D. Shear, The New York Times, October 8, 2017
“Before agreeing to provide legal status for 800,000 young immigrants brought here illegally as children, Mr. Trump will insist on the construction of a wall across the southern border, the hiring of 10,000 immigration agents, tougher laws for those seeking asylum and denial of federal grants to ‘sanctuary cities,’ officials said.”

Why the White House Doubled Down on DACA
Jonathan Blitzer, The New Yorker, October 9, 2017
“There is finally a sense of urgency, and with that comes an advantage for the small but influential bipartisan group of senators who are willing to reach a compromise, he told me. But, he added, ‘border security is the issue we turn to over and over again.’ The Democrats’ core constituencies want a so-called clean version of the Dream Act, without severe countermeasures to appease Republicans.”

Trump lists immigration demands that could derail ‘Dreamers’ deal
Seung Min Kim, Politico, October 8, 2017
“The list will certainly turn off Democrats and even Republicans – many of whom have endorsed providing a pathway to legal status for ‘Dreamers,’ or undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as minors. The White House said Sunday it was not interested in providing citizenship to DACA beneficiaries, even though the main proposals for Dreamers on Capitol Hill would allow a pathway to citizenship.”

Immigration reform is still possible and conservatives can lead the way
Ali Noorani, The Hill, October 5, 2017
“As important as DACA has been to these young people and their families, for the rest of us it has opened hearts and changed minds. Americans now realize their child’s best friend is undocumented, the family one pew over in church is undocumented or the family down the street is undocumented. However, if we are going to come together around a DACA fix and meaningful reforms to the immigration system, then we have to acknowledge upfront that the vast majority of Americans are between two poles. One pole pulls them towards being a nation of laws, safe and secure. The other pulls them towards being an open and welcoming nation.”

How many immigrants have DACA, really? We finally have one answer – just as they start to lose it.
Dara Lind, Vox, October 6, 2017
“Only after starting to shut the program down on September 5, by refusing to accept new applications, did the Trump administration disclose how many people had DACA on the last day the program was fully in effect: 690,000 immigrants were protected by DACA on September 4 of this year. The reapplication period for DACA recipients is now closed, and that number is going to start shrinking slowly over the next few months. And come March 5 – unless Congress has acted by then to protect DACA recipients – it will start shrinking quickly and permanently.”

Immigrants rush to file last DACA renewals by Thursday
Maria Sacchetti, The Washington Post, October 4, 2017
“Despite pleas from advocates in hurricane-ravaged Texas and Florida, the federal government did not extend the deadline to accommodate immigrants in those areas who may have had difficulty gathering the necessary paperwork and $495 fee.”

The Trump administration didn’t notify immigrants about an abrupt deadline to renew DACA
Dara Lind, Vox, October 4, 2017
“Some DACA recipients got letters from USCIS before September 5 reminding them that they had 180 more days to reapply – and recommending they reapply in the next three months. But USCIS didn’t send out any corrections to warn those immigrants that if they followed the instructions from the earlier letter, they’d find themselves locked out.”

U.S. could lose an estimated 20,000 teachers, many bilingual, as DACA is phased out
Dianne Solis and James Barragán, Dallas News, October 5, 2017
“Texas stands to lose about 2,000 teachers who are in the DACA program, and as many as 20,000 such teachers would be affected nationwide. The clock is ticking, and without a legislative reprieve, within a few years it will be illegal for these teachers to  work in the U.S. Their loss would hit bilingual education, where there’s a constant dearth of educators, especially hard.”

A Young Woman Was Tortured and Raped After Being Turned Away From The US
John Stanton, Buzzfeed, October 10, 2017
“So she fled north, seeking asylum in the US. But once she arrived, instead of a safe haven she found a skeptical immigration system that rejected her request and deported her back to El Salvador, in part because she couldn’t prove she faced persecution back home – something that would only change after she’d been tortured and raped. Within months, she had been brutally beaten and raped by the gang leader, who declared her his property. The attack meant she could finally return to the US and prove her asylum case.”

CAMIÓN DE LA MUERTE: They Helped Prosecutors After Escaping Death in a Smuggler’s Truck. Now They’re Being Deported.
Ryan Devereaux, The Intercept, October 1, 2017
“On September 5, a grinning Jeff Sessions announced the Trump administration’s plans to kill the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program…That same morning, as young people across the country saw the futures they had strived to build being pulled away from them, Assistant U.S. Attorney Christina Playton filed a motion to dismiss the complaints against all 22 material witnesses in the San Antonio case. The order was signed and with the stroke of a pen, the survivors of the deadly July 22 journey were told the justice system no longer required their services. They were ICE’s responsibility now. That afternoon the immigration enforcement agency began moving the survivors to a private detention facility for processing.”

U.S. Border Crossings Are Fewer, Riskier and More Expensive
Alicia Caldwell, The Wall Street Journal, October 5, 2017
“Though would-be immigrants from all over the world have long been caught trying to illegally cross the U.S. border, migrants are now making riskier journeys. The Chinese group’s use of a transborder tunnel, for instance, was unusual, border officials said, with such labor-intensive conduits previously reserved for high-profit drug loads.”

Supreme Court Weighs Immigrants’ Rights to have Detention Reviewed
Vivian Yee, The New York Times, October 3, 2017
“The justices were considering whether immigrants fighting deportation or applying for asylum in the United States are entitled to periodic hearings before a judge to decide whether they can be released on bond while their cases make their way through the nation’s clogged immigration courts. Lawyers for the immigrants argue that the government’s practice of keeping immigrants in jail-like detention facilities indefinitely, without independent reviews of whether there are grounds for keeping them there, violates their due process rights.”

California becomes sanctuary state as governor signs bill
Jonathan J. Cooper and Kathleen Ronayne, The Washington Post, October 5, 2017
“Brown’s signature means that police will be barred from asking people about their immigration status or participating in federal immigration enforcement activities starting Jan. 1. Jail officials only will be allowed to transfer inmates to federal immigration authorities if they have been convicted of certain crimes.”

House panel approves $10B for border wall
Rafael Bernal, The Hill, October 4, 2017
“The bill includes the $10 billion in border wall funding, $5 billion to improve ports of entry and adds 5,000 agents to both the Border Patrol and Customs and Border Protection… But Democrats are wary that the bill’s provisions could be the first shot at a Republican proposal for border security measures on a bill to protect so-called Dreamers – undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children – in the wake of Trump’s rescission of DACA.”

Haiti requests 18-month TPS extension from Trump administration
Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald, October 9, 2017
“The request, delivered Friday to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, was written by the country’s ambassador to the United States, Paul Altidor, on behalf of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse. It includes an invitation to acting DHS Secretary Elaine Duke to visit Haiti before the decision next month on whether to extend the designation, called Temporary Protected Status or TPS, for nearly 60,000 Haitians.”

Mexican Enforcement

Riding ‘the beast’: child migrants reveal full horror of their journeys to America
Valeria Luiselli, The Guardian, October 5, 2017
“Question seven on the questionnaire is: ‘Did anything happen on your trip to the US that scared you or hurt you?’ What happens to them between their home countries and their arrival in the United States can’t always help their defence before an immigration judge, so the question doesn’t make up a substantial part of the interview. But, as a Mexican, this is the question I feel most ashamed of – because what happens to children during their journey through Mexico is always worse than what happens anywhere else.”

The Citizens Council of Mexico’s National Migration Institute Exposes the Harsh Realities Faced by Migrants in Mexico
WOLA, October 2, 2017
“In 2016, members of the CCINM carried out a monitoring mission to several of Mexico’s migrant detention centers (estancias migratorias) to evaluate how Mexico’s migration law is being implemented when migrants are in detention, and the treatment migrants receive while under the custody of the INM and in the deportation process.”

Obligaciones internacionales hacia migrantes
Miguel Concha, La Jornada, 7 de octubre de 2017
“En lo que respecta a la privación de libertad en estaciones migratorias, se urge la adopción de medidas para poner fin a la detención de niñas, niños y adolescentes y sus familiares, así como el establecimiento de medidas alternativas para garantizar que cumpla con los principios de excepcionalidad, proporcionalidad, necesidad y razonabilidad. Y en el caso de que ésta sea una excepción, se deben garantizar condiciones de acceso a derechos, como la salud física y mental, la alimentación y el descanso, además de los derechos al debido proceso y acceso a la justicia, sin que esto signifique una extensión de la privación a la libertad, como hasta ahora está estipulado en el artículo 111 de la Ley de Migración”.

Terremoto sepulta el sueño de algunos migrantes
AP, 28 de septiembre de 2017
“Sus números son bajos, pero sus vidas en conjunto permiten dar un vistazo a la situación migratoria reciente que se vive en México. Con el estrechamiento de lazos comerciales entre China, Taiwán y México, una nueva ola de inmigrantes llegó para invertir en fábricas y abrir negocios de exportación e importación. Grandes números llegan desde otras naciones de Latinoamérica, ya sea con la esperanza de ingresar a Estados Unidos, o de mejorar su situación económica en México”.

Some Haitian Migrants Stranded in Mexico Put Down Roots
Jacqueline Belizare and Arturo Martinez, VOA, October 5, 2017
“It’s ‘not easy to live in this country. The salary is very low,’ the 31-year-old said, conceding it’s still better than in Haiti. Here, ‘the officials welcome you like human beings, not like refugees.’ He’s among thousands of Haitian migrants who, beginning in early 2016, set off for the United States. But, dissuaded by tightened U.S. immigration policy, some like Woldo have been stranded south of its border. They’ve modified their own dreams and are putting down at least tentative roots in Mexican soil.”

Descubren modus operandi de bandas extranjeras que roban en Jalisco
Raúl Torres, El Universal, 4 de octubre de 2017
“Después de la captura de 44 extranjeros en diferentes municipios del estado, la Fiscalía de Jalisco logró descubrir la forma de operar de varias bandas dedicadas al robo, al asalto e incluso al narcomenudeo que están vinculadas con funcionarios públicos que expiden o validan identificaciones falsas para evitar la deportación de los presuntos delincuentes tras un eventual arresto”.

Root Causes
How Fear of Crime in Central America Impacts Daily Life, Contributes to Migration
Tristan Clavel and Mike LaSusa, Insight Crime, October 4, 2017
“In addition, the study found a strong correlation between greater crime avoidance and increased emigration. Roughly one-third of adults in the Northern Triangle had considered leaving their country due to insecurity during the year prior to the survey.”

Resisting Hydroelectric Dams in Guatemala: A Matter of Life and Death
Zia Kander, Upside Down World, October 3, 2017
“These large-scale hydroelectric projects threaten the very survival of local communities. Pojom I, Pojom II and San Andres have been the source of environmental degradation and continuous human rights violations since the company first moved into the territory. Communities have repeatedly decried the displacement and environmental impacts resulting from the construction of the dams, irregularities in the Environmental Impact Study, as well as the irregular approval of the projects and authorities’ failure to consult affected communities in accordance with Indigenous peoples’ international right to free, prior and informed consent.”

Casa Alianza: Honduras es el país con más homicidios de menores
Confidencial HN, 10 de octubre de 2017
“En ese caso, el defensor de la niñez explicó que el asesinato de jóvenes sigue a la alza y “es el país que tiene la tasa más alta de homicidios de niños por cada 100 mil habitantes”, y eso se refleja la tasa de 32.8 homicidios que según la ONG Save the Children a detallado”.

Honduran President Decries Drug Traffickers’ Bribery Allegations
Tristan Clavel, Insight Crime, October 9, 2017
“The official statement underlined the successes against organized crime during Hernández’ presidency, which saw the dismantling of major Honduran trafficking groups; the extradition of 14 suspected drug traffickers to the United States; and an ongoing campaign to purge corrupt elements from the police. The document also noted that the allegations surfaced 50 days before the country’s presidential ballot, in which Hernández is running for re-election.”

Senate Reverses Most of Trump Administration’s Proposed Cuts in Latin America Assistance
Adam Isacson and Adeline Hite, WOLA, October 5, 2017
“Senate appropriators kept conditions attached to Central America assistance, putting a hold on at least half of funds until the Secretary of State certifies that countries are taking steps to improve accountability, transparency, justice systems, and security practices, among others.”

Danlí: al menos 50 niños y sus familias temen quedar sin hogar
Defensores, 9 de octubre de 2017
“Al menos 44 familias entre estas 50 niños y niñas, y 30 madres solteras están a punto de quedarse sin un hogar, debido a que viven en un en una zona de alto riesgo, que además hay una persona que supuestamente es la dueña de los terrenos, por lo que temen un desalojo en cualquier momento. Entre las familias que están en procesos de recuperaciones de tierras para viviendas, hay 21 personas demandas, y contra ellas las amenazas de desalojo son más insistente”.

El 56 % de los hondureños pagó sobornos en tribunales, según informe de TI
EFE, 9 de octubre de 2017
“El informe de TI señala que el índice de sobornos en Honduras ‘es muy elevado y la Policía es percibida como sumamente corrupta’, sin embargo, los hondureños tienen una ‘perspectiva bastante positiva respecto de los esfuerzos del gobierno para combatir la corrupción'”.

Padre de Berta Cáceres resultó herido en un intento de robo en Marcala, La Paz
El Heraldo, 8 de octubre de 2017
“De acuerdo con Julián Hernández, portavoz de la Secretaría de Seguridad, el responsable del crimen es un menor de 12 años, quien con machete en mano atacó al padre de fallecida ambientalista”.

After 78 Killings, a Honduran Drug Lord Partners With the U.S.
Joseph Goldstein and Benjamin Weiser, The New York Times, October 6, 2017
“The dead included people he described as killers, rapists and gang members. Then there were the innocents: a lawyer, two journalists, a Honduran refugee in Canada, an official who was serving as Honduras’s antidrug czar and a politician who became his adviser; there were even two children caught in a shootout… Knowing that he was already in the sights of United States investigators, Mr. Rivera sought to help the Drug Enforcement Administration root out corrupt Honduran politicians and other elites who had made Honduras a gateway for massive amounts of cocaine headed for the United States through Mexico.”

Violencia contra las mujeres alcanza nivel epidémico
Giorgio Trucchi, ALAI, 5 de octubre de 2017
“En Honduras cada año se registran más de 20 mil casos de violencia doméstica, cada 17 horas una mujer es asesinada y cada día una mujer desaparece. La militarización de la sociedad y la impunidad en casi el 95 por ciento de los femicidios promueven la repetición de los crímenes y profundizan la violencia contra la mujer”.

El Salvador Violence Rising Despite ‘Extraordinary’ Anti-Gang Measures
Héctor Silva Ávalos, Insight Crime, October 3, 2017
“The climbing number of murders in El Salvador contradicts the government’s narrative about the supposed success of its tough talk and heavy-handed actions against the gangs. Not only has the number of homicides begun to rise once again after sustained declines, but the statistics also cast doubt on the claims of the Sánchez Cerén administration that most of those being killed are gang members.”

Homicides in El Salvador surge in past two weeks
El Salvador Perspectives, October 3, 2017
“Authorities in El Salvador have advanced various explanations for this lethal increase.    One theory, advanced by Howard Cotto, director of the PNC, was that the rise in homicides was due to an internal struggle between factions of MS-13 in the country. That theory, however, would seem to be undercut from statistics published by his own agency which labels only a small portion of the victims as ‘presumed gang members.'”

Fotógrafo local secuestrado en su casa en la zona central de México
Committee to Protect Journalists, 5 de octubre de 2017
“México es el país más peligroso para los periodistas en el hemisferio occidental. En el 2017, por lo menos cuatro periodistas fueron asesinados en represalia por su trabajo, según investigación del CPJ, y el CPJ está investigando las circunstancias de otro asesinato. El CPJ ha documentado la desaparición de 14 periodistas en México, excluyendo a Esqueda Castro”.

Actions, Reports, and Resources

Annotated White House Immigration Principles & Policies
National Immigrant Justice Center, October 9, 2017
“The National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) wholly rejects the Trump administration’s October 8 ‘Immigration Principles and Policies’ document. We urge Congress to uphold American values and the rights of immigrants as it debates a path forward to secure protections for 800,000 members of our communities who are losing protection as a result of the Trump administration’s elimination of the  Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Our elected officials must not be complicit in advancing a legislative and policy agenda that is based in lies and anti-immigrant tropes aimed at the administration’s increasingly narrow support base.”

Webinars: Actualizaciones de las políticas estadounidenses hacia México y Centroamérica para organizaciones de la sociedad civil en la región
LAWG, October 6, 2017
Página con grabaciones de los webinars, diapositivas de powerpoint y recursos adicionales.

Beneath the Violence: How Insecurity Shapes Daily Life and Emigration in Central America
Ben Raderstorf, Carole J. Wilson, Elizabeth J. Zechmeister, and Michael J. Camilleri, The Dialogue, October 2017
“Insecurity, crime, and state weakness are parts of everyday life in much of Central America. Most homicides and other crimes go unreported or unsolved and law enforcement, judicial, and correctional systems are overloaded, corrupt, and ineffective… Facing dangerous and daunting contexts, individuals modify their behaviors in ways that have personal, economic, societal, and even transnational consequences. A focus on these dynamics can reveal opportunities for strategic programming to curtail the damaging effects of crime and violence to the region.”

North of Central America Situation: 2017 Mid-Year Update
UNHCR, September 2017
“North and Central America have experienced a large and complex movement of people due to violence, insecurity, and other related factors. As a result more refugees and others are in need of international protection across the region. All countries in the region are affected – as countries of origin, transit, asylum, and/or return, and in some cases as a mixture of these – and have a shared responsibility to respond.”

12 points about the “Border Security for America Act of 2017”
Adam Isacson and Maureen Meyer, WOLA, October 3, 2017
“While some of the bill’s provisions are sensible, many of its proposals are wasteful, expensive, and divisive. Reading the bill, we get the impression that while some of it was written after detailed consultation with border security professionals, much of it is a less thought-out response to political criteria, catering to a hardline, pro-Trump audience.”

Latin America and the Caribbean building on a tradition of protection
Forced Migration Review, October 2017
“The number of asylum applications made in the Latin American and Caribbean
region is accelerating, and almost 100,000 people are currently awaiting a decision
on their asylum claim. This has been a consistent trend in recent years, placing
a strain on asylum systems and adding urgency to the search for appropriate
protection and solutions responses… A profound commitment to providing
protection to those fleeing in search of safety is embedded in the values of Latin America
and the Caribbean.”

The Detention of Women Seeking Asylum in the U.S.
Women’s Refugee Commission, October 2, 2017
“The U.S. immigration detention system is undergoing a fundamental and nearly unprecedented transformation, while at the same time, the number of people in detention has steadily been increasing for one population in particular: those seeking protection at the southern border, many of whom are women.”


*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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