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Central America/Mexico Migration News Brief for December 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.


Spotlight: Between a Wall and a Dangerous Place

Between a Wall and a Dangerous Place
LAWG, Fall 2017
“The Latin America Working Group’s (LAWG) weekly series, “Between a Wall and a Dangerous Place,” discusses the intersection of human rights, migration, corruption, and public security in Honduras and El Salvador. The series shows how the dangers that propel children, teenagers, women, and men from those countries to seek refuge in the United States, Mexico, and elsewhere have not ended. The blogs are based on interviews with activists, government officials, journalists, humanitarian workers, diplomats, and academics, and aim to present a more nuanced understanding of the root causes of emigration.”

U.S. Enforcement

In fear of deportation: five hours that can make or break a family’s future
Carey Dunne, The Guardian, December 11, 2017
“An undocumented couple, the Chens were on their way to a check-in appointment with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice). That morning, they faced the prospect of being separated from their US-born children, taken into detention, and deported to China. Every weekday, volunteers go to court hearings and Ice check-ins with undocumented people facing final removal proceedings. ‘It’s not as easy to violate someone’s rights if there are witnesses,’ said Sara Gozalo, NSC’s supervising organizer.”

This is what the hours after being deported look like
Nina Lakhani, The Guardian, December 12, 2017

“Around 20% of those deported to Tijuana try to return to the US, unable to let it go. Half return to their town of origin; the rest stay in Tijuana to find work and be close to their families or because they have nowhere else to go or nothing left to lose.”

Wildcats, butterflies, tortoises: all are endangered by Trump’s border wall
Les Carpenter, The Guardian, December 12, 2017

“Among those who will find it an impenetrable barricade are many of the area’s butterflies…; the Texas tortoise; and the ocelot… All could be separated from an environment essential to their existence. Some will be cut off from the river, which is a primary water source. In fact, there appears to be just one species that will scale the proposed border wall with little trouble. Humans.”

Deportaciones de salvadoreños desde México y EU superan las 25,500 en 2017
El Periodico de Mexico, 10 de diciembre de 2017

“De acuerdo con la Organización Internacional para las Migraciones (OIM), entre las causas que han propiciado la caída en las deportaciones en los últimos meses está la disminución del número de centroamericanos tratando de llegar a Estados Unidos, debido al discurso antiinmigrante del presidente de ese país, Donald Trump”.

New DHS Numbers Show Trump is Deporting Longtime U.S. Residents, Ripping Families Apart
Alice Speri, The Intercept, December 6, 2017

“…the number of people detained inside the U.S. rather than at the border — meaning that they were not new arrivals — increased by 42 percent over last year, while immigration arrests of people with no criminal convictions nearly tripled.”

U.S. Deportations Down in 2017 but Immigration Arrests Up
Yeganeh Torbati, Reuters, December 5, 2017

“The U.S. government deported fewer illegal immigrants in 2017 than it did last year, even as it arrested far more people suspected of being in the United States illegally, according to Department of Homeland Security statistics released on Tuesday.”

Bajan arrestos en la frontera, suben deportaciones
The San Diego Union-Tribune, December 5, 2017

“Los arrestos realizados por la Patrulla Fronteriza de Estados Unidos cayeron a su nivel más bajo en 45 años al tiempo que aumentaron las detenciones realizadas por agentes de deportación, según el informe estadístico más completo del gobierno federal sobre la aplicación de las leyes de inmigración bajo el presidente Donald Trump. La patrulla efectuó 310,531 arrestos durante el año fiscal que finalizó el 30 de septiembre, 25% menos que el año anterior y la cifra más baja desde 1971”.

A DACA Recipient Describes the Feeling of Watching Her Legal Status Expire
Jonathan Blitzer, The New Yorker, December 8, 2017

“’When Trump won, I thought, daca’s going to be gone. There was a sense of exhaustion, of being permanently tired. More than really stressed, more than really worried; it was more of a tired feeling, like a heavy blanket.'”

Ending Temporary Protection For Foreign Workers Could Hurt U.S. Rebuilding Efforts
Yuki Noguchi, National Public Radio, December 6, 2017

“An estimated 50,000 of them work in the construction industry, concentrated in areas like Texas, Florida and California that are recovering from hurricanes and wildfires and where labor shortages in construction are especially acute.”

Abuela mexicana acepta su deportación para no tener que pelear su caso desde una cárcel de ICE
Isaias Alvarado, Univision, 5 de diciembre de 2017

“Para Mora, de UndocuMedia, este caso refleja la insensibilidad del gobierno Trump. ‘Es una práctica inhumana porque Osvelia era una persona que tenía una residencia permanente y se la quitaron por una falta pequeña’, comentó el activista. ‘Esta administración quiere tener el título de la que más ha deportado gente’, agregó”.

Padres e hijos en busca de asilo son separados por ICE
Kate Morrissey, San Diego Union-Tribune, December 4, 2017

“’No sé dónde está. No sé cómo está. No sé si está herido. No sé nada’. Los solicitantes de asilo generalmente son detenidos después de llegar a la frontera. Solo unos pocos centros de detención en Estados Unidos están equipados para mantener a familias unidas, y debido a casos de la corte, existen reglas sobre cuánto tiempo se puede retener a los niños. Como resultado, las familias a menudo son liberadas más rápidamente”.

Tucson’s Police Chief: Sessions’s Anti-Immigrant Policies Will Make Cities More Dangerous
Chris Magnus, The New York Times, December 6, 2017

“When crime victims and witnesses are unwilling to testify because they’re afraid an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent will be waiting to arrest them at the courtroom doors, real criminals go unpunished. It means drug dealers and people who commit domestic and sexual violence are free to exploit a voiceless class of victims; such criminals become a threat to us all.”

Mexican Enforcement

Movimiento Migrante alerta que situación empeora en México y Centroamérica
Agencia EFE, 9 de diciembre de 2017

“El Movimiento Migrante Mesoamericano denunció hoy que la situación ha empeorado en toda la región y que en México aumentan los secuestros de migrantes y de las agresiones a defensores de derechos humanos. ‘La situación de México cada vez esta peor no hay visos de que vaya a mejorar’, denunció Martha Sánchez Soler, directora del Movimiento y coordinadora de la caravana de madres y padres que buscan en México a sus hijos desaparecidos”.

Detienen camión en México con 153 migrantes, entre estos 49 menores de edad
Univision, 6 de diciembre de 2017

“El vehículo detenido en una carretera del sureño estado de Tabasco transportaba a personas provenientes de Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras y Ecuador en ‘condiciones inhumanas’, según las autoridades. La Procuraduría General de la República informó por medio de un comunicado que el conductor y su acompañante fueron puestos a disposición del Agente del Ministerio Público Federal”.

Pacto Mundial para Migración: ‘Queremos que los migrantes gocen de sus derechos al igual que todos y todas’
ONU Noticias Mexico, 9 de diciembre de 2017

El encuentro tenía como objetivo compartir los datos y las recomendaciones de la sociedad civil recolectados durante la fase de consultas, que se realizó entre abril y noviembre de este año…‘Queremos justicia para personas migrantes, rutas seguras, queremos regularización, documentación para las personas migrantes, que los niños y las niñas no sean detenidos. Queremos que los migrantes gocen sus derechos al igual que todos y todas en este mundo’, afirmó”.

Mexico to Discuss Security With U.S. in Parallel to Nafta
Eric Martin, Bloomberg, December 11, 2017

“Mexico’s top diplomatic and interior officials will visit Washington this week to discuss security cooperation with their U.S. counterparts…if the Nafta renegotiation encounters trouble, it could impact other areas of cooperation with the U.S. such as security and immigration.”

Root Causes

Honduras’s political crisis takes an unexpected turn
The Economist, December 7, 2017

“Even as they wrangle over the terms of a recount, there is speculation that the two candidates are cooking up a private deal. Mr Hernández would remain president; the Alliance would refuse to recognise his government but would not call its supporters onto the streets. In exchange, Mr Hernández would offer concessions including, perhaps, fresh elections next year or a promise to leave office after his second term. Such a deal would not be unprecedented.”

Trump administration praises Honduras amid election crisis
Christopher Sherman, Garance Burke, and Martha Mendoza, Associated Press, December 7, 2017

“’We were really surprised that in the middle of this crisis the State Department comes out with this kind of statement when the government of Honduras is not meeting the conditions,’ said Carlos Sierra, a security and human rights investigator with the Center for Investigation and Promotion of Human Rights in Honduras. ‘It came right in this institutional and political crisis.’”

Crisis of Honduras democracy has roots in US tacit support for 2009 coup
Sarah Kinosian, The Guardian, December 7, 2017

“‘Americans should care about the current chaos in Honduras because of cocaine and migrants,’ he said. ‘After the 2009 coup, the government essentially stopped functioning in rural areas where organized crime took hold and cocaine shipments started arriving in larger numbers. This prompted even more US anti-drug assistance. Then, as institutions hollowed out and became corrupted, gang activity increased and the United States got a wave of migrants. An unstable Honduras will mean more of this.’”

Journalists denied entry to Honduras say US Embassy told them to ‘figure it out’
Jon Allsop, Columbia Journalism Review, December 6, 2017

“Two freelancers from the U.S. have been refused entry to Honduras, where they were planning to cover the tumultuous aftermath of the country’s disputed recent presidential election. The reporters, Jihan Hafiz and Reed Lindsay, say they were turned away from the Central American country for dubious reasons, and that when they called the US Embassy for assistance they were told by a staffer, ‘It’s not my problem. You’re an adult, figure it out.’”

Los y las defensoras del país más riesgoso para defender DDHH
Defensores en Linea, 9 de diciembre de 2017

“Y hoy 09 de diciembre se conmemora su día. Los defensores y defensoras de los derechos humanos son personas que, a título individual o colectivo, trabajan para hacer realidad los derechos recogidos en la Declaración Universal de los Derechos Humanos. Por lo que es importante desarrollar trabajos en redes y grupos afines a un mismo propósito”.

Amid criticism, Mexico is on track to strengthen military’s role in fighting crime
David Agren, The New York Times, December 10, 2017

“Proponents say the law would resolve potential legal problems surrounding the deployment of the military for domestic crime-fighting. Mexico’s constitution limits the use of the military in domestic situations in peacetime. But the forces are needed to fight crime because of local police forces’ incompetence and corruption, supporters say. Opponents fear the new measure will risk militarization of the country, weaken civilian oversight and offer fewer incentives for local politicians to fix their police forces.”

A New Law Could Make Mexico’s Horrific Drug War Even Deadlier
Duncan Tucker, Vice News, December 6, 2017

“The government is poised to pass a bill that would put even more power behind its armed forces in their war against organized crime, but security experts aren’t convinced it’ll change the country’s bloody course, and fear that the formal militarization of Mexico’s streets will only invite more bloodshed, illegal surveillance, and human rights abuses.”

Mexican army hit by execution finding as Senate mulls new military powers
Noe Torres and David Graham, Reuters, December 6, 2017
“After arbitrary detention, soldiers killed two of them by breaking their necks, the Commission said. While its rulings are not binding, the Commission’s recommendations are influential and require a response from the institutions it reports on. The timing is awkward for President Enrique Pena Nieto’s government, as it faces widespread criticism over legislation passed in the lower house and now in the Senate that seeks to enshrine in law the use of the military in crime fighting.”

Actions, Reports, and Resources

The Deported: Immigrants Uprooted from the Country They Call Home
Human Rights Watch, December 5, 2017

“This report sets forth the 2017 official data on immigration arrests and deportations and details the often-wrenching human impact of Trump’s policies on undocumented immigrants, their families, and their US communities. The latter analysis draws heavily on 43 in-depth Human Rights Watch interviews with long-term immigrants deported since Trump’s election. Taken together, the data and firsthand accounts illustrate how the enforcement machine President Trump has moved so eagerly to accelerate rarely ever considers people’s deep and longstanding ties to the United States before deporting them.”

Publication of Temporary Protected Status Determinations
Catholic Legal Immigration Network, December 4, 2017

“…126 undersigned represent organizations that are comprised of, represent, and advocate on behalf of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders. We write to request the immediate publication of the Federal Register Notices associated with the TPS determinations for Honduras, Nicaragua, and Haiti released on Nov. 6 and Nov. 20, respectively.”

Rural DACA By The Numbers
Senator Martin Heinrich, Joint Economic Committee, December 2017

“In rural America, these estimated tens of thousands of young people are part of the answer to building sustainable economies in small towns across the country:
91% of DACA recipients living in rural areas are employed.
63% of rural recipients pursued education opportunities previously not open to them after receiving DACA
61% of rural recipients got jobs with health insurance or other benefits after being approved for DACA.”

DACAmented: The Documentary
Steve Ahlquist, Uprise RI, December 10, 2017

…“a 36-minute documentary which follows the the day-to-day lives of nine DACA recipients navigating life in the United States as their future in the country they call home hangs in limbo, caught in the crossfires of a fractured government which too often uses immigration as a game of political wins and losses.”

 *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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