en English

Central America/Mexico Migration News Brief for August 19, 2016

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

A compilation of the last two week’s top articles and reports related to issues of migration from Central America and Mexico (articles in English and Spanish).
Please note that the MNB will continue throughout August according to staff capacity.

Root Causes

•   A Look at the Northern Triangle of Central America in 2016: Sustained Violence and Displacement
Lily Folkerts, Daniella Burgi-Palomino, Emma Buckhout, LAWG, August 15, 2016
“Confronted with alarmingly high homicide rates, gender-based violence, and forced internal displacement, many individuals from the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala have had little choice but to seek safety by migrating abroad in recent years. More than halfway into 2016, sustained high rates of Central American families arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border and seeking protection demonstrate the ongoing severity of regional violence.”

•   ‘If you come back, we’ll kill you’: Central Americans Seek refuge in US Only to Be Sent Home (Video)
The Guardian, August 4, 2016
“Thousands of refugees from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala are fleeing deadly gang violence, and the region still suffers from some of the highest rates of violence in the world. As the US continues to face a growing migration crisis along its border with Mexico, some refugees tell their stories.”

•   Join a Gang or Die: Deported Central American Teens Face Harrowing Choice
Steve Fisher, Newsweek, August 8, 2016
“With more kids on the way, the Obama administration is making the deportation of young adults like Acosta, who arrived in the past two years, a top priority. But once American authorities send them home, many face a terrible choice: join a gang or die.”

•   Honduras, One of the Most Dangerous Countries for Human Rights Defenders – Experts Warn [English]
Honduras, uno de los países más peligrosos para los defensores de derechos humanos – Advierten expertos [Español]
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, August 19, 2016
“Honduras has become one of the most hostile and dangerous countries for human rights defenders, warned today two top United Nations and Inter-American human rights experts.”

•   Más de 1,000 niños murieron violentamente en Honduras en 2015
EFE, 9 de agosto de 2016
“Más de mil niños murieron de forma violenta en Honduras en 2015 y más de 150 en lo que va de este año, según un estudio presentado hoy por la Universidad Nacional Autónoma del país centroamericano (UNAH) y el Fondo las Naciones Unidas para la Infancia (Unicef).”

•   Human Rights Lawyer’s Home Ransacked in Guatemala in Latest String of Attacks
Nina Lakhani, The Guardian, August 15, 2016
“Armed men posing as police officers have forced their way into the house of one of Central America’s most prominent human rights lawyers, in the latest episode of an escalating wave of intimidation against legal officials.”

•   The Demise of a Prison Lord
Anthony Fontesaug, The New York Times, August 16, 2016
“While it was a fellow prisoner who, the authorities said, put two bullets in Mr. Lima’s head, in all likelihood the intellectual authors of the killing hail from the highest echelons of the state and the moneyed elite. In Guatemala, it is often impossible to tell where the state ends and the underworld begins.”

•   Northern Triangle Countries to Launch Elite Security Task Force
Telesur, August 13, 2016
“The three Central American nations announced the tri-national task force to combat the gangs and crimes. However, human rights could become an issue.”

•   Should the U.S. Still Be Sending Military Aid to Honduras?
Jonathan Blitzer, The New Yorker, August 17, 2016
“For U.S. policymakers, the death toll has also spurred a debate about whether the U.S. should cut off military aid to the regime of President Juan Orlando Hernández. Since 2009, when a military coup brought the key players in Honduras’s right-wing government to power, the U.S. has given the country two hundred million dollars in police and military aid….the money has served to prop up a government that has increasingly used state security forces to repress dissent.”

•   Honduras Purges One-third of Its Senior Police Officers
EFE/AFP, August 18, 2016
“Honduras has fired more than 300 top cops linked to organized crime. The purge comes following recommendations by a commission that will now turn its focus to more than 10,000 lower-ranking police officers.”

•   Honduran Activist Wants Trudeau to Pressure Canadian Mining Companies on Human Rights Abuses
Marina Jimenez, The Star, August 16, 2016
“Father Melo fears he may soon be a target of assassination. His home country is both one of the most dangerous in the world for activists and fertile ground for Canadian investment.”

•   400 Arrests This Year as Honduras Cracks Down on Extortion
Luis Fernando Alonso, InSight Crime, August 18, 2016
“The National Anti-Extortion Force (Fuerza Nacional Antiextorsión – FNA) said it had arrested 404 people for extorting of public and private transportation organizations, a common target of gangs throughout Central America, La Tribuna reported.”

•   Exclusive: Paperwork, Rights Concerns Hold up U.S. Aid for Central America
Patricia Zengerle, Reuters, August 11, 2016
“The U.S. Congress approved $750 million in aid last December to help El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras combat the violence and poverty that are driving migrants toward the U.S. border, but the money has yet to reach the struggling countries.”

•   U.S. Aid to Honduras in Doubt after Killings of Activists
Roque Planas, The Huffington Post, August 11, 2016
“A $750 million U.S. economic aid package for Central America was touted last year as a way to slow migration into the U.S. by making one of the world’s most violent regions more prosperous. But the March assassination of indigenous land-rights activist Berta Cáceres has shined an international spotlight on the Honduran government’s abysmal human rights record, casting doubt on whether it can meet conditions for claiming a large chunk of the aid money.”

•   The Accused: The U.S. Government Accused a Salvadoran Human Rights Activist of Gang Activity – Now He’s In Jail
Danielle Marie Mackey, The Intercept, August 8, 2016
“Romero’s arrest appears to be part of the Salvadoran government’s attempt to clear a path for its vicious zero-tolerance approach to gang violence. In August 2015, the country’s Supreme Court declared gangs “and their apologists” to be terrorist groups…. A pattern of torture and extrajudicial killings of young people assumed to be gang members has emerged since January 2015, which the country’s human rights ombudsman, David Morales, calls ‘extermination violence … for purposes of social cleansing.’”

•   El Salvador’s MS13 Gang Sought Big Guns in Mexico, Guatemala
Mike LaSusa, InSight Crime, August 12, 2016
“Prosecutors in El Salvador have filed court documents alleging that MS13 leaders sought to arm an ‘elite unit’ of the gang with high-powered weapons purchased in Mexico and Guatemala, an indication that the group’s transnational connections contribute to its domestic clout.”

•   Lo que es necesario saber sobre la MS-13 para entender la Operación Jaque
Carlos Martínez, El Faro, 11 de agosto de 2016
“Conocer el interior de la Mara Salvatrucha es imprescindible para dimensionar los posibles efectos de la Operación Jaque. Las autoridades apuestan a que las revelaciones financieras hechas tras la investigación terminen generando un sisma dentro de la pandilla, a la que el FBI ha calificado como ‘la más peligrosa del mundo’”.

•   FBI recomienda al Triángulo Norte: trabajar en conjunto contra las Pandillas
Elvin Diaz, Tiempo, 11 de agosto de 2016
“Personeros del Buró Federal de Investigaciones (FBI) propusieron a los Fiscales Generales de los países del Triángulo Norte (Honduras, Guatemala y El Salvador), reunidos hoy en la ciudad de Guatemala, un abordaje conjunto para la Estrategia del Triángulo Norte Contra las Pandillas, con el que se buscará combatir de manera este tipo de flagelos.”

•   Human Trafficking among Mexico’s Lucrative Crimes
Lorena Figueroa, El Paso Times, August 7, 2016
“After drug trafficking, human trafficking in México is the illicit activity that generates the most money for criminal groups, according to a high-ranked official of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.”

•   Violencia contra las mujeres es cultural, responde gobierno de Morelos por feminicidios
Nayeli Roldán, Animal Político, 18 de agosto de 2016
“Ante las críticas de organizaciones civiles que aseguran que las autoridades estatales no hacen nada para prevenir e investigar los feminicidios, la encargada de atender el tema en Morelos sostiene que la violencia contra mujeres es ‘cultural’ y que la solución de este complejo problema es reeducar a mujeres, hombres y niños.”

•   Mexicans Are Seeking Asylum in U.S. to Escape the Chaotic Violence of Prolonged Teachers’ Protests
Luis Chaparro, Fusion, August 17, 2016
“The violent standoff between radical factions of a teachers’ union and the Mexican government has led to an unexpected push of emigrants fleeing the south of Mexico to seek asylum at the U.S. border.”

Mexican Enforcement

•   Refugee Children Drowned by Policy
José Luis González, American Friends Service Committee, August 17, 2016
“Jennifer Gavarrete, Carlos Daniel Aguilar, Erick Robles… These were the names of the migrant children who drowned to death on July 20 on the coast of Chiapas, Mexico, when the boat they were in capsized….The regional migration policies imposed by the United States provoke the use of these dangerous routes….The political hostility against migrants has led to a growing cultural hostility that is not typical of Mexico.”

•   Refugee/Displaced Person Crisis Continues in Tijuana
Fr. Pat Murphy, c.s. Center for Migration Studies
“In a period of eight weeks (from May 26th to July 21st), Casa del Migrante in Tijuana has hosted 834 ‘asylum seekers’ from 24 countries as guests. Other migrant shelters in Tijuana – Casa Madre Assunta, Padre Chava of the Salesians and the two Casas of the Salvation Army – have reported similar numbers. We have assisted close to 4,000 asylum-seekers in just eight weeks.”

•   La “cacería” del INM a María de Jesús y sus pequeñas hijas en Oaxaca
Roselia Chaca, En el Camino, 14 de agosto de 2016
“Una migrante hondureña y sus dos hijas que huyen de una sentencia de muerte de la Mara 18 en su país fueron perseguidas violentamente por agentes del INM en el Istmo de Tehuantepec. Una historia que podría ser común en el flujo de migrantes centroamericanos si no fuera por un dato: las presas de los agentes de migración son niñas de 6 y 10 años de edad.”

•   Aumenta la migración infantil en México
Univision, 12 de agosto de 2016
“En apenas dos años las cifras se han elevado 344%, las autoridades alertaron ya de la gravedad del asunto e iniciaron un nuevo protocolo.”

•   Exclusive: U.S. Seeks Latin American Help amid Rise in Asian, African Migrants
Julia Edwards, Reuters, August 17, 2016
“U.S. agents deployed to an immigration facility on Mexico’s southern border have vetted the more than 640 migrants from countries outside the Americas who have been detained at the center since October 2015, according to U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) documents reviewed by Reuters.”

•   A tres meses de la desaparición forzada de Maximiliano Gordillo Martínez, entre la impunidad y corrupción
Red Nacional de Organismos Civiles de Derechos Humanos Todos los Derechos para Todas y Todos, 8 de agosto de 2016
“Como organizaciones que asesoramos y acompañamos a la familia de Maximiliano Gordillo Martínez, nos gustaría poder decirles que a tres meses de su desaparición ha habido avances, que la Procuraduría Genereal de la República (PGR) ha investigado eficientemente, que ha dado con los responsables y con el paradero de Maximiliano, o que al menos nos tiene un indicio por mínimo que este sea.”

•   Ardelio: el jefe de la Border Patrol mexicana
Luis Carlos Rodríguez González, Siete24, 8 de agosto de 2016
“Las cifras no mienten: el año pasado México, a través del Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM), de la cual Ardelio Vargas es su titular, apoyado por instancias como el Ejército Mexicano, la Marina y Policía Federal, detuvieron y deportaron a 202 mil centroamericanos, entre ellos casi 40 mil niños, mucho más del doble de lo que deportó Estados Unidos en el mismo 2015.”

•   Cinco inmigrantes relatan horrendas historias sobre ‘El Tren de la Muerte’
Alfonso Chardy, El Nuevo Herald, 14 de agosto de 2016
“Los hondureños —que perdieron brazos, piernas o pies— cuando resbalaron y cayeron del tren en marcha, dijeron que vinieron a Miami para publicitar no solo su difícil situación, sino para describir las privaciones, consecuencias de la pobreza y la violencia que enturbian su país, y que son factores que generan la creciente emigración de hondureños y otros centroamericanos a Estados Unidos.”

U.S. Enforcement

•   Arizona Court Releases Photos from Inside ‘Freezers’ at Immigrant Processing Centers [English]
Corte federal difunde fotos de las ‘hieleras’, celdas para un máximo de 12 horas en las que inmigrantes llegan a pasar días [Español]
Melvin Félix and Rachel Glickhouse, Univision, August 18, 2016
“The images provide a rare look inside Border Patrol centers with “inhumane and unconstitutional” conditions, according to immigrant rights groups. / Las fotos, tomadas de grabaciones de cámaras de seguridad, muestran a decenas de inmigrantes durmiendo en el piso o en los bancos de concreto en los centros transitorios.”

•   The Problem With The DOJ’s Decision To Stop Using Private Prisons
Aviva Shen, ThinkProgress, August 18, 2016
“While the decision will affect 13 federal prisons currently operated by private companies, the bulk of federal private prisons aren’t run by DOJ. In fact, the industry’s biggest client is the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) — a separate agency that relies on private prisons to hold immigrants, often in appalling and unconstitutional conditions.….CCA explicitly credited a boost in revenue this year to the increased imprisonment of these Central American mothers and children.”

•   Inside the Administration’s $1 Billion Deal to Detain Central American Asylum Seekers
Chico Harlan, The Washington Post, August 14, 2016
“The four-year, $1 billion contract — details of which have not been previously disclosed — has been a boon for CCA, which, in an unusual arrangement, gets the money regardless of how many people are detained at the facility. Critics say the government’s policy has been expensive but ineffective. Arrivals of Central American families at the border have continued unabated….”

•   Why Is the Obama Administration Keeping Toddlers Behind Bars?
Joshua Holland, The Nation, August 17, 2016
“Twenty-two mothers who have been interned with their children for up to a year in a for-profit immigration detention facility entered the ninth day of a hunger strike on Wednesday….Advocates and attorneys representing the women tell The Nation that their children are suffering, they feel that they’ve been lost in the system and their desire for freedom has become desperate.”

•   Mothers to Homeland Security: We Won’t Eat Until We Are Released
Madres de Berks, The New York Times, August 12, 2016
“We left our homes in Central America to escape corruption, threats, and violence. We thought this country would help us, but now we are locked up with our children in a place where we feel threatened, including by some of the medical personnel, leaving us with no one to trust. On Monday, we decided to begin this hunger strike, hoping that our voices will be heard and that we will obtain the liberty from detention that we need so much.”

•   Why the U.S. Effort to Stop Central Americans from Surging across the Border Is Failing
Chico Harlan, The Washington Post, August 15, 2016
“The U.S. has invested heavily in new family detention centers designed as deterrents for female and child asylum seekers. But the prospect of detention has so far failed to change the calculus for most migrant Central Americans, who ultimately decide to leave because of acute fears about safety in what are the Western Hemisphere’s most violent places.”

•   Las detenciones de familias inmigrantes en la frontera con México aumentaron un 99% en los primeros diez meses del año
Jorge Cancino, Univision, 12 de agosto de 2016
“Durante el mes de julio fueron detenidos 7,574 unidades familiares y 5,068 menores no acompañados, de acuerdo al último reporte de la Patrulla Fronteriza.”

•   Migrant Deaths Reach Second Highest Point in RGV Sector History
Kristian Hernandez, The Monitor, August 16, 2016
“As security at the border has tightened, it has pushed undocumented immigrants to seek more remote and dangerous routes. Even the healthiest person is going to have a hard time surviving in these kinds of temperatures here in the Rio Grande Valley.”

•   How the Most Dangerous Place on Earth Got Safer
Honduras: el lugar más peligroso del mundo es ahora un poco más seguro
Sonia Nazario, The New York Times, August 11, 2016
“What we really need to do is double down on the programs that are working and replicate them elsewhere. Even as fewer children are coming to the United States from Honduras, the overall number from Central America could set a record this year. What is working in Honduras may offer hope to Guatemala, El Salvador and other countries in crisis.”

•   NYT Touts Honduras as Ad for ‘American Power’–Leaving Out Support for Murderous Coup Regime
Jim Naureckas, FAIR, August 17, 2016
“She offered the results of this and similar programs as evidence that ‘smart investments in Honduras are succeeding’ and ‘a striking rebuke to the rising isolationists in American politics,’ who ‘seem to have lost their faith in American power.’ But Nazario failed to explain how American power paved the way for the shocking rise in violence in Honduras.”

•   Marked for Life: U.S. Government Using Gang Databases to Deport Undocumented Immigrants
Ali Winston, The Intercept, August 11, 2016
“Immigration lawyers and advocates contend that being classified as a gang member in immigration proceedings directly impacts a defendant’s ability to plead his or her case….Gang involvement is also one of the criteria used to deny appeals for stay of deportation through Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a federal process that allows undocumented immigrants to remain in the United States….ICE shares information on gang-affiliated deportees with authorities in Central America or Mexico. There, deportees ‘face an alarming likelihood of extra-judicial murder in their home country’ from law enforcement or feuding gangs….”

•   How Immigrants Get Deported for Alleged Gang Involvement
Aviva Stahl, Vice News, August 12, 2016
“But for people like Xochitl Hernandez, Obama’s call to deport the most dangerous—and spare those with roots and families—is not nearly as straightforward as it may seem.”

•   Obama’s Last Attempt at Immigration Reform
Priscilla Alvarez, The Atlantic, August 8, 2016
“In late July, the administration announced additional steps to address Central American migrants….The goal is to provide ‘orderly and safe resettlement here in the United States,’ as Eric Schultz, the principal deputy White House press secretary, put it in a press briefing.”

•   Four Years Later, the Fight for Deferred Action Remains as Important as Ever
Juan Escalante, Univision, August 16, 2016
“Four years later, now in 2016, I am reminded of the benefits and opportunities DACA has provided me, my family, and hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants like myself…[but] I should not have to plan my life in two or three year increments, fear that my DACA could be taken away, or that my personal information is released without my explicit consent.”

•   DACAversary
AILA Leadership Blog, August 15, 2016
“Today marks the 4th anniversary of those first [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)] applications, and is cause to celebrate, but also to push for further expansion of this program.”

•   Government Sued For Withholding Records on Immigration Raids
Tory Johnson, Immigration Impact, August 11, 2016
“The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is continuing to defend the controversial “Operation Border Guardian” program that took more than 100 Central American women and children from their homes in two days of immigration raids last January. According to a lawsuit filed this week by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the law firm Alston & Bird, the government has failed to release records related to the program under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).”

•   Jueces de inmigración frenan el 57% de las órdenes de deportación pedidas por el gobierno de Obama
Jorge Cancino, Univision, 17 de agosto de 2016
“Las cortes justifican el rechazo indicado que el gobierno no demostró que el individuo debía ser deportado o tenía derecho a pedir asilo. Arizona, Nueva York y Colorado son los estados con más rechazos.”

•   Immigrant Rights Groups Ask Federal Judge to Compel DHS Disclosures About Embattled Jail-Based Deportation Program
NDLON, August 15, 2016
“In response to the refusal of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to provide information about promised reforms to its controversial jail-based deportation program, immigrant rights groups asked a federal judge Monday to compel urgent disclosures required under the Freedom of Information Act.”

•   The Obama Administration Is Still Targeting the Immigrants It Said It Wouldn’t Target
Sara Rathodaug, Mother Jones, August 11, 2016
“New government data shows enforcement in the field doesn’t match official policy.”

•   Border Fence Viewed with Apprehension
Lauren Villagran, Albuquerque Journal, August 7, 2016
“The new fencing will create a more secure and imposing barrier in a location that is deeply symbolic to immigration activists and often problematic for U.S. border enforcers.”

•   45 Years in, the Border Wall at Friendship Park Has Changed But the Fellowship Hasn’t
Brooke Binkowski, Voice of San Diego, August 18, 2016
“When First Lady Pat Nixon inaugurated Friendship Park in 1971, she said, “I hope there won’t be a fence here too long.” Instead, the fencing and wire has gotten more intense. But it hasn’t stopped a steady stream of cross-border gardening ventures, yoga classes, prayer services and fleeting pinky touches.”

Actions, Reports, and Resources

•   Sign the Postcard: Urge the U.S. to Lead by Example on Refugee Protection & Resettlement
In the lead up to the refugee summits organized by both the United Nations General Assembly and President Obama, more than 40 organizations have developed a postcard to be delivered to Congress and President Obama urging the U.S. to lead by example. The postcard will also be used during the DCRally4Refugees in Washington, DC on August 28th.
The postcard can be signed electronically at http://bit.ly/refugeepostcard, and can also be printed off to have people sign at events.

•   Action: End the Detention Quota
American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), August 22-26
“Every year, the United States imprisons nearly half a million immigrants in detention centers across the country. This mass detention is fueled by an inhumane federal policy known as the ‘detention quota,’ which requires U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to maintain 34,000 spaces for immigrant detention every single day.” Sign up for the week of action.

•   Tell the Dept. of Homeland Security to Cut its Private Prison Contracts Too
#Not1More Deportation, August 2016
“Terminate and refuse to renew immigrant detention contracts with private prison companies.”

•   Detained Beyond the Limit: Prolonged Confinement by U.S. Customs and Border Protection along the Southwest Border
Guillermo Cantor, American Immigration Council, August 18, 2016
“As numerous reports, media accounts, and documented complaints of former detainees have previously shown, these facilities remain wholly inadequate for any overnight detention. Moreover, the conditions are reprehensible—as consistently reported by many who were held in them—even with respect to truly short-term detention. In addition to the fact that there are no beds in the holding cells, these facilities are extremely cold, frequently overcrowded, and routinely lack adequate food, water, and medical care.”

•   Informe de Registro de la Procuraduría para la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos sobre Desplazamiento Forzado
Procuraduría para la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos en El Salvador, 8 de agosto de 2016
“Se ha observado en años recientes un aumento en el número de personas o familias que
denuncian haberse visto obligadas a desplazarse de sus lugares de origen o residencia como
efecto directo de la violencia, una situación que expone a mayores afectaciones a las mujeres y las personas que forman parte de los grupos en condición de vulnerabilidad.”

•   Alianza para la Prosperidad: desafíos y oportunidades para El Salvador
WOLA, DPLF, OSF, y FESPAD, 18 de agosto de 2016
“En este foro escucharemos de miembros del gobierno salvadoreño sus perspectivas sobre la Alianza para la Prosperidad y los avances en el plan desarrollado por El Salvador como parte de dicha Alianza. Por su parte, desde la Embajada de Estados Unidos en el país, comentarán sobre los programas de asistencia complementarios a la Alianza. Finalmente, miembros de sociedad civil compartirán sus impresiones sobre las oportunidades y los desafíos que presenta la Alianza.”

•   Violence, Children and Organized Crime in the Americas
Violencia, niñez y crimen organizado en América
IACHR/CIDH, August 2016
“This multimedia site presents the findings, conclusions and recommendations of the IACHR in its Report ‘Violence, Children and Organized Crime in the Americas.’ / Este sitio multimedia presenta los hallazgos, conclusiones y recomendaciones de la CIDH en su informe ‘Violencia, niñez y crimen organizado en América’.”

•   Mexico: Progress under the Global Strategy beyond Detention 2014-2019, Mid 2016
UNHCR, 2016
“In Mexico, the number of asylum claims has increased in 2015 and 2016, as
Guatemalans, Hondurans and Salvadorans continue to flee high rates of homicides
and criminal violence. 3,423 asylum-seekers were registered in 2015, a 162%
increase compared to 2013.”

•   Mexico’s Not-So-Comprehensive Southern Border Plan
Luis A. Arriola Vega, Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, August 5, 2016
“The most salient critique about the CPSB is that the program has made the journey through Mexico more perilous for migrants because it has forced them to seek alternative routes, many of which are much more dangerous to traverse.”

P.S. Do you know of someone who might be interested in receiving the Migrant News Brief? Forward this e-mail and have them sign up here.

*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.