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Central America/Mexico Migrant News Brief for September 12, 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.

Photo by Emma Buckhout
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

LAWG Strongly Opposes President’s Decision to end DACA, Urges Congress to Pass Dream Act of 2017 NOW
Latin America Working Group, September 5, 2017
“The Latin America Working Group (LAWG) vehemently opposes today’s decision by President Trump to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in six months and turn his back on the nearly 800,000 young Dreamers and their families. The President’s decision does not represent American values, and it will not strengthen our economy. It is an attack on the immigrant youth and families that make this country great and on our neighbors in Latin America from which many of these youth and their parents originate.”

Trump Moves to End DACA and Calls on Congress to Act
Michael Shear and Julie Hirschfeld Davis, The New York Times, September 5, 2017
“The statement was released shortly after Mr. Trump, who had called the issue a personal dilemma, dispatched Attorney General Jeff Sessions to announce that the government will no longer accept new applications from undocumented immigrants to shield them from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA.”

The government is already winding down DACA — no matter what Trump tweets

Dara Lind, Vox, September 6, 2017

“A lot of DACA recipients — and would-be DACA recipients — will be vulnerable to deportation in the next six months. The Department of Homeland Security’s plan to wind down DACA is a lot more complicated than just the March 5 ‘deadline.’ It’s not punting DACA for six months; it’s taking steps, over the next six months, to end the program on March 5.”

Another thing Trump stripped from ‘Dreamers’: A loophole that helped 40,000 of them get green cards

Kate Linthicum, The Los Angeles Times, September 7, 2017

“Those in favor of stricter immigration enforcement applauded the White House decision to end the travel program, which some have described as a ‘back door’ to citizenship because it helped tens of thousands of DACA recipients get green cards in recent years. Migrants applying for legal permanent residence in the U.S. — through sponsorship by a U.S. citizen family member or employer — typically get green cards quickly as long as they have come into the country lawfully or through advance parole.”

A Typical ‘Dreamer’ Lives in Los Angeles, Is From Mexico and Came to the U.S. at 6 Years Old

Alicia Parlapiano and Karen Yourish, The New York Times, September 5, 2017

“According to a 2017 online survey of more than 3,000 DACA recipients, the median age of entry into the United States was 6 years old, and the most common age was 3. The current age of DACA recipients ranges from 16 to 35 years old.”

Pope Francis says rescinding DACA is not ‘pro-life’

Delia Gallagher, CNN, September 11, 2017

“If US President Donald Trump considers himself ‘pro-life,’ he should reconsider his decision to end a program that allows the children of undocumented immigrants to remain in the United States, Pope Francis said.‘The President of the United States presents himself as pro-life and if he is a good pro-lifer, he understands that family is the cradle of life and its unity must be protected,’ Francis said.”

I was shocked to learn I was undocumented. And furious to learn DACA was ending.

Leezia Dhalla, The Washington Post, September 8, 2017

“My family moved from Canada to San Antonio in 1996 when I was 6. We had a visa, and my parents worked to change our immigration status for as long as I can remember. We spent decades playing by the rules, but one time our immigration attorney filed our paperwork late, and another time our sponsor sold his business, forcing us to restart the entire application process. For more than 20 years, we attempted to navigate the broken immigration system, an emotionally exhausting and financially draining process. Suffice it to say that I am not undocumented for lack of trying.”

Airbnb vows to be first company to defy Trump and keep employing Dreamers

Sam Levin, The Guardian, September 7, 2017

“Airbnb has become the first major company to pledge to keep employing undocumented immigrants known as “Dreamers” after their work permits expire, defying the Trump administration in what would potentially be a breach of employment law. The plan, revealed in a statement to the Guardian, distinguishes the company from others in Silicon Valley, where the chief executives of corporations like Facebook and Microsoft have denounced Trump’s decision to rescind a program protecting undocumented immigrants from deportation, but declined to offer specifics of how they will resist.”

U.S. Enforcement

The House Has Passed a Bill That Could Create a National Deportation Machine

Simon Lazarus and Tom Jawetz, The American Prospect, September 7, 2017

“The transparent design of this ‘No Sanctuary for Criminals Act’ is to erect a legal platform for federal immigration enforcers to assert powers eerily close in scale to a monolithic national police state. It would combine Department of Justice (DOJ), DHS, and local law enforcement resources, flouting vital constitutional constraints and court decisions. By undermining local governments’ capacity to resist federal enforcers’ overreach—resistance now widely apparent in red as well as blue state jurisdictions—the No Sanctuary bill would facilitate the administration’s drive to conscript local police officers into its mass deportation machine.”

Trump Plans Massive Raids on Immigrant Communities Starting Mid-September

Detention Watch Network, September 7, 2017

“Multiple sources within and close to ICE have shared information with advocates about the operation, which ICE is calling ‘Operation Mega.’   In addition to apprehending targeted individuals prioritized in the president’s January 25 Executive Order, ICE agents will apprehend undocumented or otherwise removable individuals encountered during the operation, per ICE policy under the Trump administration. These raids are intended to be historic in size, targeting between 6,000 and 10,000 immigrants.”

Homeland Security Cancels Massive Roundups of Undocumented Immigrants

Julia Ainsley and Andrew Blankstein, NBC News, September 7, 2017

“But after NBC News reported the plans late Thursday, the agency issued a statement saying it had cancelled nationwide enforcement actions due to Hurricane Irma and the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey…‘Due to the current weather situation in Florida and other potentially impacted areas, along with the ongoing recovery in Texas, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had already reviewed all upcoming operations and has adjusted accordingly. There is currently no coordinated nationwide operation planned at this time.’”

Court rejects Trump administration on travel ban exemptions

Josh Gerstein, Politico, September 7, 2017

“A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously declined to overturn a district court judge’s ruling that the administration was taking too narrow a view of an exception the Supreme Court carved out from the travel ban in June. The appeals court judges reasoned that since the justices said the mother-in-law of one travel-ban challenger was entitled to a reprieve from the president’s order, other relatives should enjoy the same treatment.”

All the relief money in the world won’t rebuild Houston. Undocumented workers will.

Alexia Fernandez Campbell, Vox, September 7, 2017

“Unauthorized immigrants were crucial to rebuilding New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. And they are likely to be desperately needed as Texas rebuilds to clean streets, demolish buildings, and reconstruct homes and offices…‘This could have a chilling effect on the community,’ said Laurel Fletcher, a law professor at the University of California Berkeley who studied the working conditions of laborers in New Orleans after Katrina. ‘A lot depends on what the climate will be like for Latinx and undocumented residents in the greater Houston area.’”

Houston’s Undocumented Residents Left Destitute And Fearful In Harvey’s Wake

Adrian Florido, National Public Radio, September 7, 2017

“Houston is home to some 600,000 immigrants without legal status — 1 in 10 Houstonians does not possess the right to live in the U.S. — and in the storm’s aftermath, many of them now find themselves teetering on the edge of destitution. Unlike other victims of the storm, immigrants in the U.S. illegally do not qualify for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The exception are those, like Roxana Sosa, who are allowed to submit an application in the name of a U.S.-born child. Even so, advocates say, many who qualify have not done so out of fear that asking for help might alert immigration authorities to their presence and ultimately lead to deportation.”

Raised in America, now back in Mexico: ‘The country I loved kicked me out’

Amanda Holpuch, The Guardian, September 6, 2017

“They spoke of tough challenges, including the need to navigate new healthcare and educational systems. They spoke of local hostility – typically their Spanish is mocked while some resent their fluent English. They also discussed cultural and emotional challenges, including indefinite separation from family and friends. One spoke of singing the pledge of allegiance at her US school ‘with such joy’, only to realise that ‘those words don’t apply to me, this country that I loved and felt so proud to be from then kicked me out’.”

Seven cities to vote on border wall resolutions Tuesday

Molly Smith, The Monitor, September 5, 2017

“Seven cities in Hidalgo County will consider resolutions opposing the border wall Tuesday, the same day Congress reconvenes to decide before the month’s end how much money, if any, to allocate for the president’s proposed wall.

Local elected municipal officials in McAllen, Edinburg, Pharr, San Juan, Alamo, Palmview and Sullivan City will discuss and take possible action on resolutions opposing the construction of new border walls, levees and fences along the U.S.-Mexico border.”

Salvadorans, Hondurans could form next wave of asylum seekers, U.S. advocates warn

Allan Woods, The Star, September 4, 2017

“…195,000 Salvadorans, 60,000 Hondurans and 2,500 Nicaraguans are also awaiting word on their status. The current designations are set to expire in January for Hondurans and Nicaraguans, and in March for Salvadorans. ‘We’re preparing for the worst … because we have not gotten the best signals from this administration,’ said Daniella Burgi-Palomino, a senior associate with the Washington-based Latin America Working Group, which is lobbying U.S. lawmakers for a TPS extension.”

Lo que debes saber sobre el cierre de 57 horas en la frontera

Alexandra Mendoza, San Diego Union-Tribune, 9 de septiembre de 2017

“De las 3 de la mañana del sábado 23 de septiembre hasta el mediodía del lunes 25 de septiembre se suspenderá el cruce de vehículos a través de la aduana mexicana El Chaparral, por lo que la ruta alterna hacia México será la garita de Otay Mesa o inclusive, la garita de Tecate, Baja California. Durante estas 57 horas, se procederá a desmantelar infraestructura y equipo al final de la interestatal 5 con el fin de preparar el terreno para la alineación de la autopista con la aduana El Chaparral”.

Mexican Enforcement


From ‘the Beast’ to Broken Shoes: Shifting Dangers in Southern Mexico

Simon McMahon, News Deeply, September 8, 2017

“Today, Mexico’s southern border doesn’t only run alongside the brown water of the Suchiate River; immigration enforcement measures are found hundreds of miles inland. But increased controls rarely stop people from fleeing their homes as long as conditions remain unchanged. Rather, they push people to take new routes and make journeys more dangerous. As the number of people reaching the United States falls, the human cost of migration in Mexico risks rising.”

México rendirá cuentas sobre tema migratorio ante ONU

Sin Fronteras IAP, 22 de agosto de 2017

“El próximo 6 y 7 de septiembre el gobierno mexicano sustentará, ante el Comité de Protección de los Derechos de Todos los Trabajadores Migratorios y de sus Familias, su tercer informe sobre las medidas legislativas, judiciales y administrativas que ha adoptado para garantizar los derechos humanos de la población migrante y sus familiares en el país, de acuerdo a lo establecido en la Convención Internacional sobre la Protección de los Derechos de todos los Trabajadores Migratorios y de sus Familiares. El informe fue entregado el pasado 19 de mayo del 2017”.

Inicia Videgaray gira por EU; se reunirá con Dreamers

El Universal, el 11 de septiembre de 2017

“En un comunicado de la Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores se informó que Videgaray ‘sostendrá encuentros con autoridades estatales y locales, así como con los Presidentes de la Asamblea y el Senado de la entidad, además de empresarios, líderes comunitarios y abogados migratorios. En tanto, en la capital estadounidense continuará el diálogo con autoridades federales para evaluar diversos temas de la agenda bilateral’”.

Mexico offers teaching jobs to ‘dreamers’ returning from US

Associated Press, September 6, 2017

“The department said Wednesday it is inviting “dreamers,” as the mainly Mexican youths are known, to apply for jobs as English teachers in teacher-training colleges. The department has programs to help people get credit for studies abroad, certify language and other skills, and enter Mexico’s educational system. Mexico has also set up educational programs for returning migrants with deficient Spanish skills.”

Root Causes

Desplazamiento, migración y emprendimiento

Cristosal, 7 de septiembre de 2017

“En su ponencia, Quijano, destacó que parte de la migración irregular es el resultado del desplazamiento interno por violencia generalizada de parte de agentes del Estado, crimen organizado o pandillas. No es un problema que se limita a factores económicos”.

The Latest: Guatemala congress backs Morales in key vote

Associated Press, September 12, 2017

Guatemalan lawmakers have voted against lifting President Jimmy Morales’ immunity from prosecution. Monday’s vote in congress comes after a five-member commission of legislators recommended earlier that the president’s immunity be withdrawn so he could face possible trial on campaign-finance accusations.”

Guatemala’s Democratic Crisis Point

Anita Isaacs, The New York Times, September 6, 2017

“Civil society needs to play a lieutenant’s role… The American government has an opportunity to match its supportive rhetoric with concrete action. It can use its leverage to keep the army in the barracks and to lean heavily on recalcitrant elites. Military assistance can be cut. Wealthy Guatemalans and politicians who choose graft over justice can be denied the visas… If the commission’s hands are tied, even temporarily, the United States can intensify its investigations of fishy financial transactions made by the same elites in the American banking system.”

PDDH indaga 17 casos de ejecuciones extralegales por agentes de seguridad

Ricardo Flores, La Prensa Gráfica, 7 de septiembre de 2017

“La procuradora para la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos, Raquel Caballero de Guevara, reveló ayer que la institución que dirige tiene en estudio 17 casos de supuestas ejecuciones extralegales atribuidas a elementos de las fuerzas de Seguridad Pública del país. ‘Por ahorita tengo en investigación 17 casos de ejecuciones extralegales, lamentablemente, en mi periodo he conocido de esto’, dijo Caballero de Guevara durante su participación en entrevista de radio Sonora 104.5 FM”.

CIDH interpela a El Salvador por ejecuciones extrajudiciales

Jessica Ávalos, La Prensa Gráfica, 6 de septiembre de 2017

“‘Me ha tocado estudiar las cifras de enfrentamientos reales en el hemisferio, en otros países y otras regiones. La verdad es que la proporción cuando se trata de enfrentamientos reales puede ser dos o tres veces más civiles que policías. Cincuenta veces más yo puedo afirmar que no es posible que se trate de enfrentamientos. Cuando hay cifras así se trata de algunos enfrentamientos y muchos casos de ejecución’, señaló Cavallaro, luego de escuchar las cifras”.

In El Salvador, ‘Girls Are a Problem’

Catalina Lobo-Guerrero, The New York Times, September 2, 2017

“Girls are indeed considered a problem in a country where women are raped and killed daily. For the past few years El Salvador has been listed among the world’s deadliest countries for women, and ranks first in Latin America. In 2016 alone, 524 women were killed, according to the Institute of Legal Medicine, the organization charged with identifying the dead and figuring out what killed them — one in every 5,000 women. But this number understates the extent of the slaughter. Only the bodies that are taken to morgues are counted, not those found dismembered in clandestine dumping grounds.”

New Details Reveal Breadth of Guatemala Human Smuggling Network

Parker Asmann, InSight Crime, September 5, 2017

“Authorities in Guatemala have released new information on the modus operandi of an international human smuggling network that coordinated the movement of people from as far away as Africa and Asia through the country on their way to points north.”

Top Democrats Demand Inquiry Into Deadly DEA-Led Operations

Ginger Thompson, ProPublica, September 1, 2017

“The letter, addressed to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, drew on a scathing Justice Department inspector general investigation into a 2012 DEA operation in Honduras — known as ‘Operation Anvil’ — that had targeted drug trafficking networks operating along that country’s Caribbean coast. During one botched operation, members of the agency’s vetted Honduran federal police unit — acting on the DEA’s orders — fired on a water taxi carrying people who were apparently unarmed and not connected to the drug trade. Four people were killed and another four were injured.”

Director ANSP crítica interpelación de CIDH por ejecuciones

Ricardo Flores, La Prensa Gráfica, 7 de septiembre de 2017

“La CIDH escuchó el martes pasado el informe del Instituto de Derechos Humanos de la UCA (IDHUCA) y el Servicio Social Pasionista (SSPAS), dos organizaciones que han denunciado en El Salvador supuestas violaciones de derechos humanos por parte de agentes policiales y elementos militares, porque han cometido ejecuciones extralegales cuando realizan labores de seguridad pública. El IDHUCA y SSPAS presentaron en la audiencia de la CIDH la cifra oficial de los últimos tres años, que da cuenta de la muerte de 1,415 personas, más del 90 % pandilleros, en supuestos enfrentamientos”.

Three Years After 43 Students Disappeared in Mexico, A New Visualization Reveals the Cracks in the Government’s Story

Ryan Devereaux, The Intercept, September 7, 2017

“With the third anniversary of the tragedy approaching, a new project by an international team of investigators has taken the most damning of those inquiries and visualized them, offering a means of seeing the night of September 26 for what it truly was: a coordinated, lethal assault on the students involving Mexican security forces at every level, and grave violations of international law.”

Plataforma cartográfica e interactiva reconstruye visualmente los ataques de Iguala

Sistema Integral de Información en Derechos Humanos, 8 de septiembre de 2017

“La plataforma demuestra claramente el alcance geográfico de los ataques y el patrón de escalamiento. Esta reconstrucción demuestra que las diversas fuerzas presentes en la escena – las policías municipales de tres distintas localidades, estatal, ministerial, federal y el Ejército, así como integrantes de organizaciones criminales – actuaron en distintos niveles durante la noche: como autores u observadores de la violencia u obstruyendo la justicia”.

Mexico Mourns After Quake: ‘We Have No Idea How We Are Going to Rebuild’

Paulina Villegas and Elisabeth Malkin, The New York Times, September 10, 2017

“The death toll from Mexico’s strongest earthquake in living memory rose to 90 on Sunday, as the people of southern Oaxaca State mourned their dead and rescue workers began assessing the damage in small towns where dust still hung in the air.”

Actions, Reports, and Resources

Negative Consequences of Ending Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in El Salvador and Honduras for U.S. Interests in Promoting Prosperity, Security, and Governance in the Northern Triangle

Read the brief version.

Latin America Working Group, Kids in Need of Defense, Alianza Americas, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America

“The United States has allocated more than $1.3 billion USD to the U.S. Strategy for Engagement in Central America since it was approved in 2014. The current Trump Administration budget proposal would push that to $1.8 billion. The strategy describes three lines of work—Prosperity, Security, and Governance—aimed at moving toward “sustained, broad-based economic growth, better government performance, and improved security conditions” and “advance[ing] economic and social inclusion and safeguard[ing] citizen safety and security.” At the Conference on Prosperity and Security in Central America in Miami this past June, Vice President Pence affirmed the U.S. government’s commitment to a “stronger, safer, and more prosperous Central America.” Ending TPS for Hondurans and El Salvadorans would have profound negative impacts on these goals, undermining U.S. investments in improved security, prosperity, and governance in the region.”

What Do I Need to Know about the End of DACA? (Community Advisory)

Immigrant Legal Resource Center, September 5, 2017

Leer en español.

“On September 5, 2017, President Trump directed the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to phase out and eventually end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) over two and half years. This community advisory lays out what this means for DACA recipients, those with pending applications, those who need to renew their DACA, and more.”

Informe alternativo sobre el cumplimiento de México de la Convención Internacional sobre la Protección de los derechos de todos los trabajadores migratorios y de sus familiares para el Comité de los Trabajadores Migratorios y de sus Familiares de Naciones Unidas (CMW)

Voces Mesoamericanas, Agosto 2017

“Es un documento que tiene por objetivo presentar información actualizada al Comité de Protección de los Derechos de todos los Trabajadores Migrantes y de sus Familiares (CMW) sobre el contexto migratorio en México, los principales retos y puntos de preocupación que la sociedad civil identifica a través de su trabajo y en respuesta a las cuestiones que el Comité definió para que México presentará su Tercer Informe Periódico. Asimismo presenta una serie de recomendaciones sobre las acciones que consideramos que México debiera implementar a corto, mediano y largo plazo”.

164 Período Extraordinario de Sesiones

Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos, 4 al 8 de septiembre de 2017

El Salvador: Ejecuciones extrajudiciales

Triángulo Norte Migrantes

Guatemala: Defensorxs DDHH


*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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