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Central America/Mexico Migration News Brief for December 21, 2016

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A compilation of this 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 Migration News Brief will resume mid-January—Happy Holidays!

We rely on the support of readers like you to keep up the Migration News Brief, as well as our campaigns for peace and justice throughout the Americas. Please consider supporting LAWGEF this holiday season.

Root Causes

•   No, Honduras Isn’t Necessarily Getting Safer
Dan Beeton & Rebecca Watts, NACLA Report on the Americas, December 2, 2016
“Despite cheerleading from some, U.S. security aid to Honduras continues to sow violence.”

•   La pandilla que mata a sus gais
Bryan Avelar, Revista FACTum, 16 de diciembre de 2016
“Un doble homicidio dentro del centro de Reinserción de menores de Tonacatepeque descubre una regla interna no escrita dentro de la pandilla Mara Salvatrucha: un pandillero, bajo ninguna circunstancia, puede ser homosexual.”

•   Prominent Honduran Land Rights Activists Report Death Threats
Reuters, The New York Times, December 16, 2016
“Four high profile Honduran rights activists fighting to protect their ancestral lands in the southwest of the country have received death threats, including a home visit by a man wielding a machete, a monitoring group said on Friday.”

•   10,635 jóvenes lesionados con arma de fuego en siete años
Byron Sosa, La Prensa Gráfica, 18 de diciembre de 2016
“4.2 jóvenes fueron lesionados con arma de fuego entre 2010 y octubre de 2016. Esfuerzos por prevención de violencia se vuelven cada vez más necesarios, por el impacto negativo que genera en ellos.”

•   “Vendo en el búnker de la MS en San Salvador”
Ezequiel Barrera, La Prensa Gráfica, 14 de diciembre de 2016
“Aquí los pandilleros deciden todo. Son la máxima autoridad. Extorsionan, asesinan y se pasean armados por los pasillos de este mercado con toda la impunidad del mundo. Lo sé porque aquí vendo todos los días, desde hace 13 años. El mercado Sagrado Corazón, por decirlo de alguna manera, es el cuartel general de la Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) en el Centro Histórico de San Salvador.”

•   Un muerto y un herido deja atentado contra Pastor Jorge Machado y su esposa
La Prensa, 15 de diciembre de 2016
“El religioso hace parte de la comisión depuradora de la Policía de Honduras.”

•   Guatemala Ex-President and VP Still Wield Power From Jail: Report
Mimi Yagoub, InSight Crime, December 20, 2016
“A recent report has suggested that Guatemala’s incarcerated former president and vice president continue to wield power from behind bars over a year after their fall from grace, casting fresh doubt on whether this monumental case has achieved any lasting successes against impunity.”

•   A proteger los derechos de nuestros migrantes
Hugo Martínez, El Mundo, 10 de diciembre de 2016
“Y en esa lista, por supuesto, la situación de nuestros hermanos migrantes ocupa un lugar prioritario, primero desde una perspectiva de respeto a sus derechos; y también pensando en  su estabilidad económica y familiar en dicho país, al cual han hecho su hogar y el de sus seres queridos.”

•   US Lawmakers, Citing Activist’s Death, Want Aid to Honduras Held
Reuters, VOA, December 13, 2016
“U.S. military assistance to Honduran security forces has fueled impunity and human rights abuses in the Central American country of 8 million, lawmakers said. They said U.S. military aid should not be going to security forces who have been accused of serious human rights abuses, including targeted killings of land activists.”

•   Hallan en Guatemala a 133 inmigrantes brasileños, africanos y haitianos
Departamento 19, 14 de diciembre de 2016
“Un total de 133 inmigrantes, entre los que hay venezolanos, africanos, brasileños y haitianos, fueron localizados hoy en Guatemala sin la documentación legal pertinente, informaron hoy fuentes oficiales.”

Mexican Enforcement

•   Communities in Resistance & Human Mobility along the Mexico-Guatemala Border
Daniella Burgi-Palomino, LAWG, December 20, 2016
“Despite the differences in terrain that we covered, we found many similarities in the nature of the human rights abuses that communities and migrants suffered on either side of the border. We heard over and over again from community members that they lived “en resistencia,” or in resistance, to the violent tactics exerted by law enforcement and migration agencies, private security guards, national and multi-national companies, and organized crime.”

•   En 2016 se registraron 578 migrantes desaparecidos o muertos en Centroamérica y EU
Desinformémonos, 19 de diciembre de 2016
“En la página del proyecto Migrantes Ausentes (Missing Migrants), se demuestra que la OIM registró la mayoría de los casos de muertes y desaparición en los cruces fronterizos de Reynosa, Nuevo Laredo y Piedras Negras en Tamaulipas, así como en la zona fronteriza que une Sonora y Arizona.”

•   Cada día México detiene a 151 menores migrantes de Centroamérica, la mayor cifra en tres años
Patricia Vélez Santiago, Univision, 14 de diciembre de 2016
“El número de menores de edad detenidos en octubre de este año por las autoridades mexicanas es 2.4 veces mayor que el de octubre de 2014, cuando se desató la crisis de los niños centroamericanos migrantes.”

•   Mexico Braces for Fresh Flood of Central American Asylum Seekers
Gabriel Stargardter, Reuters, December 15, 2016
“Mexico expects a sharp increase in people seeking asylum from Central America next year, fleeing gang warfare and poverty in their home countries, a senior official said on Thursday.”

•   As Path to U.S. Border Gets Tougher, More Central Americans Seek Asylum in Mexico
Martha Pskowski, Univision, December 13, 2016
“In the first nine months of 2016, over 4,000 Hondurans, Salvadorans, Guatemalans and Nicaraguans opened asylum cases in Mexico, authorities note. That’s more than the total number of applicants from 2010 to 2014.”

•   Central American Migrants Await Asylum in Southern Mexico
Christopher Sherman, AP, December 17, 2016
“Mejia is among more than 8,000 immigrants expected to seek asylum this year from Mexico, the majority fleeing gang violence in Honduras and El Salvador and to a lesser extent Guatemala. The exodus is turning southern Mexico towns like Tenosique as well as Palenque and Tapachula in neighboring Chiapas state into informal refugee camps.”

•   Mujeres víctimas de violencia, ¿pueden ser refugiadas?
Mark Manly, El Universal, 14 de diciembre de 2016
“Es importante visibilizar a las mujeres y niñas refugiadas; ellas son las más vulnerables a la violencia psicológica, física y sexual….”

•   La selva de Los Chimalapas, la otra ruta de migrantes en Oaxaca
Roselia Chaca, En el Camino, 9 de diciembre de 2016
“El 27 de septiembre agentes del INM persiguieron una camioneta cargada de migrantes, los aseguraron a ellos y detuvieron al conductor. Minutos después, la migra fue alcanzada por traficantes armados para recuperar su mercancía. Varios agentes resultaron heridos. Son las historias de la nueva y solitaria ruta migrantes.”

•   Searching for Our Missing Children: ‘It’s Been Six Years. It Feels Like Yesterday’ – Video
Irene Baqué, Jordi Ruiz Cirera, Claudine Spera, Liz Ford, Alex Purcell, James Armstrong and Pascal Wyse, The Guardian, December 15, 2016
“Almost a thousand people enter Mexico daily, heading for the US. Some never make it – they are kidnapped, imprisoned or killed along the way. Each year, in a bid to find their lost loved ones, a group of women from Central America travel together across Mexico, raising their voices in protest, publicising photographs of the missing and sharing each other’s pain. This is their story.”

•   México, el país que más migrantes ha deportado en 2016
Julissa Mercado, El Heraldo, 11 de diciembre de 2016
“El mayor número de migrantes hondureños deportados en 2016 fueron regresados desde México, aunque en comparación con 2015 ese país redujo las cifras de retorno de hondureños.”

•   Migrantes de refugio 72 piden “posada” ante el INM
Leobardo Pérez Marín, El Universal, 14 de diciembre de 2016
“Acudieron a las puertas del Palacio del Gobierno y Congreso local de Tabasco para exigir que se ponga fin a las agresiones en contra de lo más de 30 mil indocumentados que cada año ingresan por la frontera sur….”

•   Video: ¿Que opinan los migrantes en tránsito de Donald Trump?
Movimiento Migrante Mesoamericano, 13 de diciembre de 2016
“Los migrantes hondureños Walder y Ricardo quienes están en tránsito por México nos comparten su opinión sobre el presidente electo de los Estados Unidos Donald Trump, además envían un mensaje a los migrantes que ya residen en el país norteamericano.”

U.S. Enforcement

•   The Day of the End of the World
Molly Molloy, NACLA, December 15, 2016
“Yet, while a great deal of press covers scenarios in the Trump future for undocumented immigrants already living in the United States, there are thousands more people in migration. These are refugees fleeing violence and environmental disasters, political asylum seekers, and others simply desperate to reunite with family members—who face the same crisis regardless of the outcome of the U.S. election.”

•   Centroamérica y México buscan blindarse contra las posibles deportaciones de Trump
Milli Legraine, Univision, 14 de diciembre de 2016
“Aunque el plan de deportaciones prometido por el presidente electo todavía no es claro, la región se prepara a tomar cartas en el asunto. ‘Los coyotes se aprovechan de la retórica de Trump’, asegura el canciller de Guatemala sobre el repunte de la llegada de migrantes a la frontera.”

•   Your Fears Are Not Credible: A Mother and Child Trapped in Obama’s Brutal Family Deportation System
Ryan Devereaux and Helena Borges, The Intercept, December 13, 2016
“Together, the documents and conversations reflect the desperate measures Vilas Novas took to keep her daughter safe, highlighting the complex intersections of mental health and trauma coursing through the nation’s asylum bureaucracies, and offering a window into one of the darkest corners of the Obama administration’s immigration legacy — the formalization of practices allowing for the indefinite detention of mothers and children seeking safe haven, practices that will soon be overseen by a man on a mission to deport millions.”

•   Photos: Life for Haitian Migrants at the U.S.-Mexico Border
Nick Oza and Daniel González , The Republic, December 13, 2016
“Off and on since October, The Arizona Republic photographer Nick Oza has been following some of the estimated 7,000 Haitian migrants stuck in border cities in Mexico hoping to cross into the U.S. through ports of entry.”

•   El gobierno de Obama expulsó a más de 242 mil mexicanos en 2015
Notimex, La Jornada, 19 de diciembre de 2016
“Alrededor de 2.9 millones de inmigrantes indocumentados mexicanos han sido deportados por el presidente Obama entre 2009 y 2015, siendo 2013 año récord, con 435 mil, de acuerdo con un análisis del Centro de Investigación Pew.”

•   A Creative Plea From Immigrants, and a Ticking Clock for Obama
Caitlin Dickerson, The New York Times, December 20, 2016
“Confronting a tight deadline and armed with a creative legal argument, immigration advocates have made a final plea to President Obama to shield up to 200,000 legal immigrants with minor criminal records from deportation.”

•   DHS Secretary Nominee John Kelly’s Resume Is Thin on Immigration
Maurice Belanger, Immigration Impact, December 16, 2016
“While these views appear to be aligned with President-elect Trump’s promise to focus on securing the border, and Kelly does support enhanced border security, he believes that a wall is not going to stop people from coming here. In his Senate testimony, he said that, ‘addressing the root causes of insecurity and instability is not just in the region’s interests, but ours as well.’”

•   Death At The Border: Threat Of Trump’s Wall Intensifies Search For Dying Migrants
Jean Guerrero, KPBS, December 13, 2016
“Immigration experts and human rights groups believe the expansion of current barriers, which cover nearly 700 miles of the 2,000-mile border, could lead to an increase in the number of people who die trying to enter the U.S. illegally.”

•   States and Localities Respond to Donald Trump’s Immigration Plans
Michele Waslin, Immigration Impact, December 12, 2016
“Given the harsh anti-immigrant tone Trump took, some states and localities are doubling down on protecting their immigrant communities, push back on federal attempts to increase deportations, and make their communities more welcoming for all residents….At the same time, some states and localities will likely feel emboldened by Trump’s victory to push for greater restrictions on immigrants and immigration.”

•   Trump and Immigration: Tough Talk Masks a Complex Reality
Susan Ferriss, The Center for Public Integrity, December 12, 2016
“They fear that Trump’s election means the end of a long quest for immigration reform that recognizes that most undocumented workers are not the ‘criminals’ or ‘bad hombres’ that Trump excoriated during the campaign. Instead, they’re the spouses and parents of U.S. citizens, longtime co-workers and neighbors and home and business owners — and their issues, problems and challenges are far more complex than Trump’s heated rhetoric would make it appear.

•   Don’t Let Trump Fool You, Sanctuary Cities Are Following the Immigration Law
David Leopold, Medium, December 12, 2016
“To begin with the term ‘Sanctuary’ is highly misleading. Sanctuary cities do not and cannot offer sanctuary from federal immigration enforcement. Rather, they simply do not expend local resources to take part in it. It’s more accurate to call them ‘Safe Communities’ because these cities focus on keeping their citizens safe and leave civil immigration enforcement to the federal government.”

•   Proud to Be a Sanctuary City
Editorial Board, The New York Times, December 18, 2016
“If the next president’s immigration agenda includes a pitched battle over ‘sanctuary’ cities, a term Donald Trump uses with disgust, the proper response from places like New York will be: Bring it on.”

•   As Trump Takes Office, Immigration Enforcement and Policy Poised to Undergo Major Changes
Sarah Pierce and Randy Capps, Migration Policy Institute, December 19, 2016
“During his campaign Trump repeatedly associated immigrants with crime, security threats, and job competition for U.S. workers.”

•   Immigrants – and Those Who Fight for Them – Are Here to Stay
Rep. Joseph Crowley and Javier H. Valdés, The Hill, December 13, 2016
“To be clear, Trump’s immigration plan is, at bottom, a plan to tear immigrant families apart. Immigrant communities are understandably scared right now. But Democrats in Congress and grassroots organizations will not let immigrant communities be devastated; we are here to stay.”

•   Republicans Set to Battle on Legal Immigration
Laura Meckler and Kristina Peterson, The Wall Street Journal, December 12, 2016
“Business wing of party wants worker visa total increased; populists say jobs are being taken away from Americans.”

•   From Obama, Trump Will Inherit an Efficient Deportation Apparatus
Adriana Maestas, Paste Magazine, December 14, 2016
“Given that the immigrant community has felt like it has been under siege for over a decade with the tough immigration enforcement bill that was passed in the House (Sensenbrenner) and was later defeated in the Senate back in early 2006 to the record-breaking deportations in the Obama administration, activists are gearing up for the next round of battles in the new Trump administration.”

•   LA Prelate ‘Deeply Concerned’ about Trump on Immigration
Archbishop Jose Gomez, Catholic News Service, December 9, 2016
“Archbishop Gomez steps into the debate on immigrants, refugees underlying the importance of finding merciful solutions and a way forward. ‘Our system has been broken for so long, our politicians have failed to act for so long, that the people we are now punishing have become our neighbors.’”

•   The Other Face of Immigration from Mexico Is African
George Elija Otumu, The Hill, December 10, 2016
“African immigrants, are arriving daily in Mexico on 20-day transit visas, and paying upwards of $2,200 to be shuttled into America from Mexico to border towns like El Paso in Texas and Calexico and San Ysidro in California.”

•   Kamala Harris Says California Will ‘Provide National Leadership’ on Immigration under a Trump Administration
Hailey Branson-Potts, Los Angeles Times, December 12, 2016
“California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris vowed Monday to be a loud, supportive voice for immigrants after she becomes a U.S. senator next month, pledging to push for comprehensive immigration reform and to work closely with lawmakers in Sacramento to ‘provide national leadership’ on the topic.”

Actions, Reports, Resources

•   Informe: Luchas que fluyen por los caminos transfronterizos
Misión Internacional de Observación de Derechos Humanos  en la Frontera Guatemala – México (10 al 16 de Noviembre de 2016)
“La MODH recorrió más de 2.200 kilómetros por la región transfronteriza de Guatemala y México, interlocutó con decenas de personas representantes de organizaciones sociales y comunidades, y pudo constatar junto a ellas la preocupante situación que atraviesan en materia de violaciones a derechos humanos, despojo de la tierra y el territorio, crisis migratoria y de refugio, y iscriminación por motivos de género, en un contexto de casi absoluta impunidad.”

•   Waiting for Refuge: Benefits and Challenges of the Central American Minors In-Country Refugee Processing Program (CAM)
Amber Moulton, Joshua Leach, and Kevin Ferreira, UUSC, December 2016
“The U.S. government’s Central American Minors In-Country Refugee/Parole program  offers life-saving protection for a small subset of the children who flee terror in the Northern Triangle of Central America—the countries of El Salvador, Guatemala
and Honduras. The program, created in 2014, is a clear admission that the United States
acknowledges the refugee crisis in this region. As the Obama administration considers its legacy and a new administration ascends to power, the United States must protect the rights of refugees and asylum-seekers.”

•   The Impact of Externalization of Migration Controls on the Rights of Asylum Seekers and Other Migrants
Bill Frelick, Ian M. Kysel, Jennifer Podkul, Center for Migration Studies of New York, Journal on Migration and Human Security, 2016
“This paper seeks to develop a working definition of the externalization of migration controls and how such externalization of the border implicates the human rights of migrants, and asylum seekers in particular.”

•   When We Were Young/There Was a War
(updated website) When We Were Young/There Was a War is a visually stunning, immersive bilingual (English and Spanish) digital documentary that enlightens and engages viewers as they learn about the armed conflicts and their aftermaths in Guatemala and El Salvador. Watch the poignant personal stories Central Americans – filmed both as teens in the midst of war and adults twenty years later – reflecting on past and present. Supporting text and photos explore the larger context of the wars and the continuing connections between the history and people of Central America and the United States.

•   Children Call on Elected Officials: “Protect Immigrant and Muslim Communities”
We Belong Together, December 2016
“‘I don’t want anything for Christmas, but one of my wishes is to keep my family protected. Not just my family, but our immigrant community,’ wrote 17 year-old Elena”

•   Immigration Policy Update: Senators Introduce Starkly Different Bills on DREAMers
American Immigration Lawyers Association, December 14, 2016
“AILA issued an immigration policy update to provide information on the BRIDGE Act (S. 3542) and the SAFE Act (S. 3546), two starkly different bills on DREAMers.”

•   FAQ: The BRIDGE Act
National Immigration Law Center, December 12, 2016
“Bar Removal of Individuals Who Dream of Growing Our Economy”

•   Top 10 Migration Issues of 2016
Migration Policy Institute, December 2016
“The year 2016 was a notable one for the migration world, marked by ongoing displacement crises, political upheaval, and policy developments on returns, integration, and border enforcement in countries of origin, transit, and destination. MPI experts highlight the biggest migration developments of the year in this countdown of the Top 10 Migration Issues of 2016.”

•   Money on the Table: The Economic Impact of Ending DACA
Jose Magaña-Salgado, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, December 2016
“Report by the ILRC estimating the fiscal cost of ending DACA over ten years. The calculations include the reductions in Social Security and Medicare contributions and the unnecessary turnover costs for businesses.”

•   Free the Children Held in Berks by Christmas!
Amy Maldonado, Change.org
“Berks County continues to appeal the revocation of the license for the facility to hold children. 19 children are still detained, many for more than a year.”

•   The Trump Administration: The First 100 Days
Fraternal Order of Police
“End the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and, using the Federal database
to identify those in the U.S. unlawfully, initiate their deportation….
Please Note: This document is a predictive summary of potential actions that the Trump Administration may take in its first 100 days and is based on statements from the campaign and media reports up to the time the document was distributed to FOP members.”

•   Searching for Sanctuary: An Analysis of America’s Counties & Their Voluntary Assistance With Deportations
Lena Graber and Nikki Marquez, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, December 2016
“Currently, an overwhelming majority of counties are involved in assisting ICE with deportations to varying degrees, all voluntarily. Without enacting stronger county-level policies limiting assistance with deportations, county elected officials and sheriffs knowingly continue to put their residents at risk by keeping their localities enmeshed with the deportation pipeline.”

•   Local Options for Protecting Immigrants
Lena Graber, Angie Junck, and Nikki Marquez, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, December 2016
“This resource identifies and explains some key provisions that cities and counties can enact in order to protect immigrants from discrimination and deportation.”

•   Know Your Rights
National Immigration Law Center, November 10, 2016
Everyone has certain basic rights, no matter who is president

•   Northern Triangle of Central America Situation
UNHCR
“UNHCR produces regular operational and funding updates on the Northern Triangle of Central America (NTCA) situation. The documents made available below are updated weekly.”

•   Northern Triangle: Security & Economic Opportunity Task Force
Atlantic Council, Report Coming Early 2017
“Urgent attention is needed to the dire situations in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Improving security, rule of law, and economic growth are critical to local and US national interests.”

 

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*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.