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Central America/Mexico Migrant News Brief for September 19, 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.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

U.S. Enforcement

Keegan Hamilton and Alex Thompson, Vice, September 12, 2017
“Multiple sources, including an official in the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) with direct knowledge of the situation, say Trump plans to cap refugee admissions for the 2018 fiscal year at no more than 50,000. That limit would be the fewest in modern history, and less than half as many as President Obama authorized last year. The world is currently in the midst of the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II, with more than 65 million displaced people fleeing conflict, climate change, and extreme poverty.”
Mica Rosenberg, Reuters, September 14, 2017
“At a hearing in a federal court in Brooklyn on Thursday, U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis said the administration’s ‘arbitrary’ deadline is destructive, and extending it would give Congress time for a legislative solution. ‘No one will be harmed by extending this deadline,’ Garaufis said, ‘especially the 800,000 people who are sweating about whether someone is going to come knocking on their door and send them back to a country that they don’t even know and where they don’t speak the language.’”
Diane Guerrero, The Hill, September 12, 2017
“During my freshman year in high school, my family was deported. When politicians talk about immigration, they focus on the politics more than the affected families. I assure you, the impact is great. The family unit comes to an end when it is separated, and the financial, emotional and scholastic lives of children are shaken.”

Pelosi and Schumer Say They Have Deal With Trump to Replace DACA

Maggie Haberman and Yamiche Alcindorsept, The New York Times, September 13, 2017
“The Democrats, Senator Chuck Schumer and Representative Nancy Pelosi, said in a joint statement that they had a ‘very productive’ dinner meeting with the president at the White House that focused on the program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. ‘We agreed to enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly, and to work out a package of border security, excluding the wall, that’s acceptable to both sides,’ they said.”
William Galston, Brookings, September 13, 2017
“The breakdown of the 76 percent who want the Dreamers to remain either as citizens or permanent legal residents is revealing. It includes 84 percent of Democrats, 74 percent of Independents, 69 percent of Republicans—and two-thirds of self-identified Trump voters. 60 percent of the voters who ‘strongly approve’ of Mr. Trump’s performance as president want the Dreamers to be allowed to stay, compared to 33 percent who want them to be deported.”
United We Dream, September 12, 2017
“Just one week ago,Trump and his crony, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, came after immigrant youth and their loved ones by killing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program which protects them from deportation. But immigrant youth weren’t having it. From school walkouts, to street blockages, to overnight occupations, to rallies, to confronting politicians and taking over the Trump hotel. Let’s take a look back at the resilience across the country. They are the fearless, bad ass freedom fighters we all aspire to be and they are all #HereToStay.”
Nick Miroff, The Washington Post, September 18, 2017
“The report, published last week by the agency’s Office of Immigration Statistics, estimates that 55 to 85 percent of attempted illegal border crossings are unsuccessful, up from 35 to 70 percent a decade ago. In one telling sign of the difficulty, the number of illegal migrants and deportees who make repeated attempts to get in has also fallen dramatically, because so many would-be migrants are giving up. The report’s findings challenge depictions of the U.S. border as a place where American law enforcement is overwhelmed and ineffective.”
Alice Driver, Lenny, September 12, 2017
 “‘Maybe they are not related,’ Father Javier Calvillo Salazar, the director of the migrant shelter, speculated when I asked if he was worried about Ana since her husband had left. ‘They don’t have any legal documents — no marriage registry, no birth certificate.’ And then he began to talk about how human trafficking was a bigger business than the drug trade. ‘Every migrant is a story, and you know the journey for many of them is similar — all the loss, all the pain, all the suffering,’ Father Javier said. ‘That is precisely the reality.’”
Charles Bethea, New Yorker, September 13, 2017
“In May, Project South, a Georgia-based nonprofit focussed on immigrant advocacy, released a report, co-authored with Penn State Law’s Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic, detailing a twelve-month study of Stewart and another Georgia facility, Irwin County Detention Center. Both are run by private companies. The report declared that conditions in both are in violation not only of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s own guidelines but of those established, in 2012, by the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The report recommended shutting down the two centers immediately.”
Hannah Dreier, ProPublica, September 11, 2017
“About 90 percent of minors detained at the southern border are eventually turned over to a family member. It’s a system intended to spare the state from having to take care of children, and allow young people to live in normal homes while their visa and asylum claims work through the courts. Under President Barack Obama, ICE was instructed not to go after people who came forward to claim relatives, even if they were in the U.S. illegally. Guardians were told they had no reason to fear revealing themselves to authorities. Under President Donald Trump, that policy has been reversed.”
Alex Daugherty, Miami Herald, September 8, 2017
“A bipartisan group of lawmakers, including Miami Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, are urging President Donald Trump to allow people in the United States but from Caribbean countries hit by Hurricane Irma to stay here for a temporary period. Ros-Lehtinen, along with New York Democrat Eliot Engel and California Democrat Barbara Lee are circulating a letter to colleagues in Congress over the weekend asking them to support extending what’s known as Temporary Protected States to affected countries, including the Dominican Republic and Antigua and Barbuda.”
Patrick McDonnell, The Los Angeles Times, September 13, 2017
“…350 deported U.S. veterans born in more than 30 countries, including India, Italy, Mexico and the nations of Central America. Scores have passed through the support house… The veterans are well aware that there is little sympathy in the U.S. for ex-convicts. But they argue that they have done their time, paid their debts to society, and are now serving what amounts to life sentences — permanent banishment from the country they regard as home.”
Phil Stewart, Reuters, September 15, 2017
“But Mattis portrayed U.S.-Mexican military ties as strong, saying both countries shared common concerns about issues that include drug trafficking in Mexico but also drug consumption in the United States that fuels the illicit industry. Asked how he would navigate the political tensions, Mattis said: ‘We have shared security concerns. There’s partnerships, military-to-military exchanges, that are based on trust and respect. I’m going down to build the trust and show the respect on their Independence Day,’ Mattis said.”

Reuters, 15 de septiembre de 2017
“Kelly, ex secretario de Seguridad Nacional estadounidense, ha advertido durante mucho tiempo sobre la inestabilidad en nuestro país y los riesgos que esto podría ocasionar en el país norteamericano, reveló NYT. Ante esta situación, el funcionario norteamericano se convirtió en un férreo defensor de la construcción del muro en la frontera entre Estados Unidos y México, así como de la defensa de su territorio”.
Mexican Enforcement
Jorge Guajardo, Politico, September 11, 2017
“Fast forward to two thousand and Trump. Mexico now wakes up to his tweets and humiliations. He doesn’t even offer the usual routine condolences after an earthquake kills nearly 100 Mexicans, even though we offered that and more after Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston. All our old suspicions are confirmed: The United States is not a friend. The United States is out to get us, again. We’re back to where we were before NAFTA. In Mexico, however, many believe Americans want to screw us, and Mexican politicians, like politicians everywhere, have to pander to voters if they want to win elections. No matter which of Mexico’s three main political parties they support, the demand is the same: Don’t submit us to humiliation from the United States. Not again. Not ever.”
Teresa Moreno, El Universal, 13 de septiembre de 2017
“La Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) junto con la Fundación Carlos Slim y la Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos (CNDH) lanzaron un programa de capacitación en línea y presencial para ayudar a más de 3.4 millones personas de origen mexicano, que son residentes permanentes en Estados Unidos, a obtener la ciudadanía de ese país”. 
Redacción Animal Político, Animal Político, 11 de septiembre de 2017
“La Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos (CNDH) emitió una recomendación en la que exige la reparación del daño al hondureño Ángel Amílcar Colón Quevedo, quien estuvo preso durante cinco años de manera injusta y fue torturado por militares en su detención… La CNDH reconoció que fueron violados los derechos a la libertad personal, a la integridad, a la asistencia consular, protección de datos personales, al honor y al acceso a la justicia del migrante, quien hace tres años recuperó su libertad”.
Root Causes
Arturo Wallace, BBC, 12 de septiembre de 2017
“Yo creo que cada vez más huyen. Esa es mi impresión, habiendo ido recientemente a hacer siete materiales a EE.UU. y muchos en Centroamérica. Y es que hay una diferencia entre migrar y huir: uno migra con la esperanza de lo que hay adelante y huye cuando quiere dejar algo atrás”.
Steven Dudley, InSight Crime, September 14, 2017
“Guatemala’s congress took another bold step towards institutionalizing corruption on September 13, by reforming a law to protect politicians and their party functionaries from prosecution and penalties in cases of illicit financing of political campaigns… What’s more, some have interpreted the new law as allowing anyone convicted of any criminal offense and sentenced to less than 10 years in prison to pay for their crimes with money instead of time — reportedly between 5 and 100 quetzales (between $0.70 and $13.70) for each day they would have been incarcerated.”
Elisabeth Malkin, The New York Times, September 12, 2017
“Guatemalan legislators on Monday overwhelmingly voted to keep President Jimmy Morales’s immunity from prosecution, a measure that protects him from a campaign finance investigation that has roiled the country’s politics…‘It was a predictable decision,’ said Alejandro Rodríguez, director of justice programs for Impunity Watch, a human rights organization. ‘Corrupt politicians are trying to prevent the country from changing.’”
Cristosal, September 14, 2017
“Human rights organizations said Thursday that senior officials of the Security and Legislative Assembly disqualified and attacked the organizations’ denunciation last week of alleged extrajudicial executions by El Salvador security agents in front of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). ‘Some officials have even said that these organizations, who are working to defend human rights, could be acting in accordance with gang logic or agendas. It has even been said that we were instrumental in giving them a response,’ said Arnau Baulenas, a lawyer with the Human Rights Institute of the Central American University (IDHUCA).”
Milli Legrain, The Christian Science Monitor, September 11, 2017
“‘I got to know Christ in jail,’ says Wilfredo, whose last name has been omitted for privacy. Here at Eben Ezer, it’s a common story. Every Tuesday, he brings together former gang members who, like him, say they have left gang life for good after becoming Evangelical Christians in prison.”
Julio Santos, El Periódico, 15 de septiembre de 2017
“El togado indicó que en total, abogados particulares y organizaciones civiles presentaron seis amparos que buscaban dejar sin efecto esos decretos, los cuales modificarían el artículo 407, inciso N, sobre el financiamiento electoral ilícito, y el artículo 50 y 51, que establece la conmuta de las penas.‘Se consideró de esa manera en virtud que constituye una seria amenaza que podría ocasionar daños irreparables al sistema de justicia’, dijo De Mata, quien puntualizó que la votación fue de forma unánime”.
Kirk Semple, The New York Times, September 16, 2017
“On July 28, he told relatives, the Jalisco New Generation criminal organization gave him a car, cash and some drugs to push. Eight days later he was dead, shot by an unidentified assailant on the street. His death is among hundreds that have bloodied this once-peaceful area — homicide cases are up more than threefold this year compared with last, a surge that has stunned residents, bedeviled officials and alarmed leaders in the booming tourism industry. A similar wave of violence has also jolted the state of Quintana Roo on the Caribbean coast, which is home to tourism hot spots like Cancún, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen and Tulum.”
Paulina Villegas and Elisabeth Malkin, The New York Times, September 11, 2017
“As the death toll in the earthquake rose to 96 on Monday, desperation intensified among people who have spent four nights on the streets in front of damaged homes. Although the Mexican army has been handing out supplies in the worst-hit regions of southern Oaxaca State, even Gov. Alejandro Murat admitted that help had yet to arrive for many people. ‘We are talking about almost a million people who need attention block by block,’ he said in a television interview.”
Melissa del Bosque, Texas Observer, September 14, 2017
“Correa-Cabrera looks at organized crime from an economic perspective and argues that the term ‘drug cartel’ is outmoded: The Zetas and groups like them have morphed into transnational corporations with interests in everything from coal mining and the extraction of oil and gas to cornering the market on avocados.” 

Timothy Quintero, InSight Crime, September 13, 2017
“The global proliferation of internet access has transformed societies, enabling online and financial inclusion in the developing world. But it has also empowered organized crime in Latin America and the Caribbean, international officials warn. With 43 percent of the world’s online community, Latin America and the Caribbean — home to some of the world’s most dominant criminal networks — has become even more vital to transnational crime, said Amado Philip de Andrés, the representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Central America and the Caribbean.”
Actions, Reports, and Resources
Bipartisan Policy Center, September 2017
“What You Need to Know on Immigration is a five-part series that will cover DREAMers and DACA, border and interior enforcement, temporary worker visas, sanctuary cities, and the status of comprehensive immigration reform. Listen to understand the background, ins and outs, and current status of these key issues in the immigration debate.”
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, September 12, 2017
“The fight against corruption is inextricably linked to the exercise and enjoyment of human rights. Impunity fosters and perpetuates acts of corruption. Therefore, the establishment of effective mechanisms to eradicate corruption is an urgent obligation in order to achieve effective access to an independent and impartial justice and to guarantee human rights. In the context of the OAS, the fight against corruption plays an important role in the implementation of the fundamental commitments that the member States have made.”

*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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