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Central America/Mexico Migration News Brief for February 18, 2017

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This week’s MNB focuses on updates on the U.S. immigration and refugee executive orders and raids, as well as top articles and reports related to issues of migration from Central America and Mexico (articles in English and Spanish). Please feel free to send us recommendations or requests for upcoming news briefs: ebuckhout@lawg.org.

U.S. Immigration Developments

Interior Enforcement

•   AP Exclusive: DHS weighed Nat Guard for Immigration Roundups
Garance Burke, AP, February 17, 2017
“The Trump administration considered a proposal to mobilize as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to round up unauthorized immigrants, including millions living nowhere near the Mexico border, according to a draft memo obtained by The Associated Press.”

•   No Plan to Use National Guard for Immigration Enforcement: White House
Reuters, February 17, 2017
“The White House on Friday said there was no plan to utilize the National Guard to round up unauthorized immigrants, after a news report asserted that the proposal had been under consideration by the Trump administration.”

•   Federal Officials Arrested 680 Immigrants in 11 States this Week Alone
Esther Yu Hsi Lee, Think Progress, February 13, 2017
“But immigration activists say this week’s raids aren’t limited to safety threats — they have also targeted people who have changed their lives around and contributed to their communities, as well as people without proper documentation who have been swept up in “collateral” arrests but have not committed any other crimes. In one case, the ICE agency charged one immigrant as a “gang member” because of old speeding tickets and tattoos.”

•   Daniel Ramirez Medina: What We Know about the DREAMer Trump Is Trying to Deport
Dara Lind, Vox, February 16, 2017
“The Trump administration has stripped him of his work permit, and is trying to deport him.”

•   The Latest: Dreamer’s Lawyers Call Arrest ‘Bogus Operation’
Associated Press, Washington Post, February 16, 2017
“Ramirez’s attorney Mark Rosenbaum told reporters on a conference call Thursday he believes the government is trying to cover up mistakes made by immigration agents.”

•   ICE Agents Arrest Men Leaving Alexandria Church Shelter
Julie Carey, NBC Washington, February 15, 2017
“Oscar Ramirez said he had just left the hypothermia shelter at Rising Hope Mission Church on Russell Road in the Alexandria section of Fairfax County, Virginia, when about a dozen ICE agents surround him and other Latino men.”

•   Texas County Officials Decry Immigration Arrest at Domestic Violence Court
Reuters, The New York Times, February 16, 2017
“Federal agents crossed a line by going into an El Paso family court to take a transgender woman who was the victim of domestic violence into custody for suspected immigration law violations, county officials said on Thursday.”

•   Trump: dreamers es mi decisión más difícil
Luis Alonso Lugo, Associated Press, 16 de febrero de 2017
“El mandatario señaló que la situación de los jóvenes amparados por un alivio migratorio —conocido por sus siglas en inglés DACA— es ‘uno de los temas más difíciles que tengo’ porque ‘me parece muy duro hacer lo que ley ordena exactamente qué hacer. La ley es estricta’”.

•   The White House Has Found Ways to End Protection for ‘Dreamers’ While Shielding Trump From Blowback
Brian Bennett and Michael A. Memoli, Los Angeles Times, February 16, 2017
“Their hunt suggests that the White House is hesitant to publicly target a well-organized group of immigrants who have prominent public backing, including from President Obama, and to whom Trump has shown sympathy.”

•   U.S. Top Court to Set Guidelines for Trump Treatment of Non-Citizens
Reuters, The New York Times. February 17, 2017
“The U.S. Supreme Court will decide three cases in coming months that could help or hinder President Donald Trump’s efforts to ramp up border security and accelerate deportations of those in the country illegally.”

•   La Fuerza de Deportación de Trump persigue a los más vulnerables
America’s Voice, LatinoCalifornia, 16 de febrero 2017
“Como ya lo subrayamos, no cabe la menor duda: la Fuerza de Deportación de Trump va tras los 11 millones de inmigrantes indocumentados, incluyendo a los beneficiarios de DACA, sobrevivientes de violencia doméstica y quienes buscan refugio en una iglesia.”

•   Report Accuses ICE of Delaying and Denying Medical Care to Detained Immigrants
Dan Goldberg, Politico, February 15, 2017
“A 46-year-old man awaiting an immigration hearing in Hudson County’s correctional facility allegedly complained for months of worsening stomach pain before his gall bladder was removed, one of dozens of incidents documented in a new report from New York Lawyers for the Public Interest.”

•   Senate Dems Move to Nix Trump’s Deportation Order
Jordian Carney, The Hill, February 16, 2017
“Democratic Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto (Nev.), Dick Durbin (Ill.) and Mazie Hirono (Hawaii) introduced legislation Thursday to rescind the order, which includes guidelines for prioritizing the deportation of ‘criminal’ undocumented immigrants.”

•   Cortez Masto Files Bill to Override Trump’s Executive Order on ‘Sanctuary’ Cities
Gary Martin, Las Vegas Review Journal, February 16, 2017
“A bill that would roll back President Donald Trump’s executive order to defund so-called ‘sanctuary’ cities and counties was filed Thursday by U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada.”

•   Hispanic Caucus Members Rejected from Meeting with ICE
Tal Kopan, CNN, February 16, 2017
“A meeting with Immigration and Customs Enforcement intended to mollify lawmakers who are concerned one week after a round-up of nearly 700 undocumented immigrants had the opposite effect Thursday, as organizers expelled rank-and-file members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.”

•   Federal Immigration Raids Net Many without Criminal Records, Sowing Fear
Arelis R. Hernández, Wesley Lowery and Abigail Hauslohner, The Washington Post, February 16, 2017
“As the two men and others crossed the street toward a shopping center on Feb. 8, about a dozen ICE agents ordered them up against the wall of a grocery store, questioning them about their immigration status. According to Ramirez and Brewster, the ICE agents then indiscriminately arrested seven of the homeless men — all of them Hispanic — and packed them into a van full of other detainees.”

•   Is Fear the Trump Administration’s Immigration Enforcement Goal?
Editorial Board, The Washington Post, February 15, 2017
“In sweeps by immigration agents across the country, the new administration seemed to be making good on Mr. Trump’s threat by arresting more than 600 undocumented immigrants, most of them in metropolitan areas in a dozen or so states.”

•   Mexican Consulates Flooded With Fearful Immigrants
Jennifer Medina, The New York Times, February 17, 2017
“Mexican citizens come to renew passports that have been unused for more than a decade. They desperately ask lawyers if they can do anything to help them stay in the United States. They register their children for Mexican citizenship, just in case they are sent back and decide to move their whole family with them.”

•   Immigration Enforcers, Unleashed By Trump, Can Finally ‘Do Our Jobs Again’
Elise Foley, The Huffington Post, February 15, 2017
“Border Patrol and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents complained for years that then-President Barack Obama constrained their ability to fulfill their mission. Trump campaigned on a promise that he would unleash them — and vowed to make large-scale deportation of undocumented immigrants a priority. This won Trump the endorsement of Moran’s group, which represents Border Patrol agents, and the National ICE Council, a union that represents ICE officers.”

•   Trump Inherited an Immigration System that Conducts Raids More Often Than You Think
Jorge Rivas, Fusion, February 15, 2017
“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers in the Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, San Antonio, and New York City areas arrested more than 680 individuals over the course of five days. These individuals, mostly men, were arrested at their place of work, private residences, or other public places they may have been when they were tracked down by ICE fugitive teams.”

•   U.S. Migrants Stream across Border into Canada
NPR, February 14, 2017
“There is a spike in the number of migrants who are crossing the U.S. border not into the U.S. but out of the U.S., not from Mexico but to Canada. From Quebec to Manitoba, there are reports of people leaving the U.S. to seek asylum in Canada, trudging through deep snow, literally risking life and limb.”

•   ICE Just Did a Very Bad Tweet
Rafi Schwartz, Fusion, February 16, 2017
“Yup, that’s ICE hoppin’ aboard the #ThrowBackThursday train to…brag about deporting people during the Obama administration”

•   This Undocumented Woman’s Story Shows What’s Wrong with Our Immigration System
Jim McDermott, America: The Jesuit Review, February 16, 2017
“The mass detention and deportation of undocumented immigrants in the United States is nothing new and sadly bipartisan. Over the course of its eight years the Obama Administration deported over three million undocumented persons, more than any previous government.”

•   Open Letter to President Trump: Stop Deporting Veterans and their Families
Cesar Vargas, The Huffington Post, February 17, 2017
“According to the Department of Defense, today more than 65,000 immigrants are serving in the U.S. Armed Forces following in a long line of immigrant soldiers dating back to the Revolutionary War.”

Border Wall/Enforcement

•   Report Details How Federal Agents Violate Asylum-Seekers’ Rights in West Texas
Diego Adame, Texas Observer
“More than 120 cases of immigrants split from their families, detained despite credible fear and denied due process and counsel are included in the report.”

•   Here’s How Trump Has Already Affected the U.S.-Mexico Border and Immigration
Grace Wyler, Southern California News Group, The Mercury News, February 15, 2017
“Last year, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which deals with asylum claims, handled 94,048 cases, nearly double the 48,042 cases the agency handled in 2015 and more than 16 times the 5,523 cases in 2009. Trump is moving to end that.”

•   http://bit.ly/2ls29Xx“>The Other Trump Executive Order That Will Hurt Refugees
Erika Guevara-Rosas, Al Jazeera, February 12, 2017
“Trump’s scandalous executive orders are already proving devastating for hundreds of thousands of refugees across the world. But it is Central Americans who are immediately affected by what has now turned into one of the largest human rights crises in the Americas.”

•   Trump condicionaría ayuda a México para que pague el muro, revelan medios en EEUU
Sin Embargo, La Opinión, 16 de febrero 2017
“El Presidente Donald Trump ordenó a las agencias del Gobierno federal a enlistar todos los programas que benefician a México directa o indirectamente, un preludio del enfrentamiento que se producirá sobre qué país pagará por la construcción del muro fronterizo de Trump.”

•   Border Patrol Responds to Increasing Numbers of Dangerous, Cold-Weather Border Crossing Attempts
Jill Schramm, Minot Daily News, February 15, 2017
“The rescue of a Nigerian family making a bitterly cold break for the Canadian border near Portal in January is a scenario that’s being played out more often than U.S Border Patrol agents would like this winter.”

•   Former ‘Border Czar’ Gives Real Facts About Immigration
Sebastian Rotella, ProPublica, February 13, 2017
“Alan Bersin says a border wall won’t address the real challenges confronting the U.S. border enforcement system: hopelessly understaffed immigration courts and lawlessness and poverty in Central America.“”

•   The Man with No Name
Brooke Jarvis, The Guardian, February 15, 2017
“When an anonymous Mexican man was taken to an American hospital after a car crash, a 16-year quest began. Lying in a persistent vegetative state, he became a source of hope for thousands of families looking for lost loved ones”

•   Trump Wants a Wall. Border Experts Want a Fence.
Scott Bronstein, Curt Devine, Drew Griffin, CNN Politics, February 16, 2017
“One senior U.S. Border Patrol official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told CNN that it’s crucial to be able to see through a border barrier. “I’m not calling it a wall because we are talking about a fence that we can look through. That’s what we need.”

•   The Environmental Consequences Of A Wall On The U.S.-Mexico Border
Leah Donnella, NPR, February 17, 2017 
“When you have such beautiful wilderness areas as we have here in Arizona, the idea of putting this large wall that prevents the migration of animals, that scars the earth itself, and especially knowing how ineffectual it is, is something that is just sad,”

•   U.S. Border Patrol Agent’s Shooting of Mexican Teenager Heads to Supreme Court
Michael Doyle, The Island Packet, February 16, 2017
“Recurring border tensions between the United States and Mexico will soon captivate the Supreme Court, as justices consider the case of a Texas-based U.S. Border Patrol agent who shot and killed an unarmed teenager standing on Mexican soil.”

•   At the Mexico Border, Catholic Bishops Unite for Migrants
The Catholic World Report, February 16, 2017
“We reiterate our commitment to care for pilgrims, strangers, exiles, and migrants affirming that all persons have a right to live in conditions worthy of human life. If these are not given they have a right to migrate.”

Refugee/Travel Ban

•   Trump Seeks Pause in Legal Fight with Revised Travel Ban
Sudhin Thanawala, AP, The Washington Post, February 16, 2017
“The Trump administration said in court documents on Thursday it wants a pause in the legal fight over its ban on travelers from seven predominantly Muslim nations, so it can issue a replacement ban as it strives to protect the nation from terrorism.”

•   Challenge to Trump Travel Ban Moves Forward in Two Courts
Dan Levine, Reuters, February 14, 2017
“The most consequential legal challenge to U.S. President Donald Trump’s travel ban will proceed on two tracks in the next few days: in a U.S. appeals court vote in San Francisco and the Seattle courtroom of a federal judge.”

•   Trump Says He Will Unveil Overhauled Immigration Order Next Week
Reuters, The New York Times, February 16, 2017
“U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday he will issue a new executive order to replace his controversial directive suspending travel to the United States by citizens of seven mostly Muslim countries.”

•   CAC, Members of Congress Battle President Trump’s Muslim Travel Ban in Federal Court
Constitutional Accountability Center, February 17, 2017
“Leading Members of Congress, represented by Constitutional Accountability Center, filed a “friend of the court” brief in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, asking the court to grant the relief requested by those challenging President Donald Trump’s executive order banning the travel into the United States of persons from seven Muslim-majority countries.”

•   Trump’s Reign of Fear May Soon Get a Whole Lot Worse. Here’s What to Look For.
Greg Sargent, The Washington Post, February 13, 2017
“He vowed that the White House would soon offer a new version of the ban, and defended the deportation raids as necessary to “saving many American lives.”

•   Jesuit Networks in Central America, Mexico, and South America Address Concerns Relating to Immigrant and Refugee Executive Orders
ISN Staff, Ignatian Solidarity Network, February 13, 2017
“The statement affirms support of the Jesuits in Canada and the United States, declaring “unity with them when they express solidarity with our migrant brothers and sister, when they reaffirm their decision not to give in to fear and to continue their long tradition of defending and accompanying migrants and refugees, no matter their place of origin or religious beliefs.”

•   Victims of ‘Bad Hombres’ but No Gangsters in Refugee Deals
Graham LLoyd, The Australian, February 13, 2017
“Refugees such as Miguel and Karen, who can’t be identified for safety reasons, may soon be coming to Australia as part of a deal linked to the agreement for the US to take 1250 refugees from Manus Island and Nauru.”

A Day Without Immigrants

•   Scenes from the ‘Day Without Immigrants’ Marches that took place across America
Rafi Schwartz, Fusion, February 16, 2017.
“The marches are, perhaps, the most visible portion of a day which has seen hundreds of restaurants and storefronts close as immigrants—particularly those from Latinx communities—highlight their vital role in society and protest the Trump administration.”

•   Un día sin inmigrantes: la protesta contra Trump cierra comercios y restaurantes en varias ciudades de EEUU
Patricia Vélez Santiago, Univision Noticias, 16 de febrero 2017
“Desde Austin y Chicago hasta Nueva York y Washington DC, negocios no abrieron y trabajadores estuvieron de brazos caídos en un gesto de respaldo a la convocatoria que se viralizó en las redes sociales para repudiar las políticas migratorias del nuevo presidente.”

•   Ten Things You Need to Know on ‘Day Without Immigrants’
Nathan Bomey, USA Today, February 16, 2017
“Here are 10 key things you should know about the impact of immigrants in the U.S. workforce.”

•   Without Immigrants, the US Economy Would Be a ‘Disaster,’ Experts Say
Avianne Tan, ABC News, February 16, 2017
“Immigrants across the U.S. are refusing to go to work, attend school and shop today as part of the Day Without Immigrants, a series of protests intended to illustrate the significant economic and social impact that immigrants have on the country.”

Mexican Enforcement

•   Mexico’s Invisible Wall’, a Migrant Double Standard
John Holman, Al Jazeera News
“But the Mexican government’s concern about how its citizens are treated in the US sits incongruously with its own attitude towards the migrants passing through Mexico which rights organisations have described as hypocritical.”

•   Migrating North, but to Mexico, Not the U.S. [English]
México: de país de tránsito a nación refugio [Español]
Kirk Semple, The New York Times, February 12, 2017
“The United States has long been the dream destination for many Latin American migrants, whether fleeing poverty, political unrest, natural disaster or violence. But now a growing number of migrants are putting down roots in Mexico, legally or illegally, instead of using it as a thruway to the United States.”

•   Mexico Vows to Support Undocumented ‘Dreamer’ Detained by Trump
TeleSur, February 16. 2017
“Mexico’s foreign ministry announced on Wednesday it would provide legal support for the undocumented DACA youth detained last week by Trump immigration officials in spite of his legal status in the U.S.”

•   Mexico City Officials Promise ‘Hospitable City’ for Migrants
Jorge Valencia, Arizona Public Media, February 16, 2017
““I came to Mexico only because I’m looking for a safe place for my family,” Quesada said. “That’s my only goal.””

•   Migrants Staying Put in Mexico
Catholic News Service, Intermountain Catholic, February 17, 2017
“They are among a growing number of Central Americans deciding to stay in Mexico rather than try to reach the United States, the traditional destination for migrants streaming out of countries south of Mexico.”

•   Mexico, Central America to Discuss Migration under Trump: Ambassador
Reuters, February 8, 2017
“The foreign ministers of Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala will meet in Mexico next week to discuss immigration policy responses to Donald Trump’s U.S. presidency, the Honduran ambassador to Mexico said on Wednesday.”

•   México y países del Triángulo Norte de Centroamérica revisan acciones pro migrantes
Turi Mendosa, Tribu Magazine, 16 Febrero 2017
“La reunión permitió a los Cancilleres intercambiar opiniones sobre la coyuntura actual y sobre acciones que podrían ponerse en marcha para fomentar la protección de los derechos humanos de los migrantes donde quiera que se encuentre”

•   López Obrador anuncia en EU la creación de comités que darán ayuda especializada a migrantes
Redacción, Sin Embargo, 12 febrero 2017
“En una asamblea que reunió a cientos de personas en Los Ángeles, el líder de Morena reiteró que si el Gobierno de México no demanda a la administración de Donald Trump ante la ONU por violar los derechos humanos de los mexicanos, su partido lo hará. Asimismo, informó de la creación de comités en todos los condados de Estados Unidos para ofrecer apoyo a los migrantes de cualquier nacionalidad.”

Root Causes, Country Conditions

•   Why Tens of Thousands of Kids from El Salvador Continue to Flee to the United States
Kate Linthicum, Los Angeles Times, February 16, 2017
“Although a fierce military crackdown on El Salvador’s two main warring gangs has chipped away at violent crime in the last year, this tiny Central American nation remains one of the most dangerous places on Earth, with a per capita homicide rate more than 15 times that of the United States.”

•   El Salvador Intensifies Attempts to Break Gangs’ Control over Prisons
Leonardo Goi, Insight Crime, February 16, 2017
“Authorities in El Salvador have announced a massive transfer of incarcerated MS13 and Barrio 18 members to a single prison facility, in an effort to reverse the gangs’ consolidation of power within the penitentiary system.”

•   Mexico Launches Campaign to Help Immigrants in the United States
Luis Pablo Beauregard, El Pais, February 14, 2017
“The Mexican government has responded to concerns from its citizens in the United States about a possible spike in deportations following the arrival of new US President Donald Trump. And it has done so by launching an information campaign informing Mexicans of their rights in the event of arrest by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers.”

•   Mexico’s Zapatistas Condemn Killings of Indigenous Leaders
Telesur, February 14, 2017
“We urgently denounce this new atrocity against comrades committed in their people’s struggle for the recovery of their ancestral lands, as they have been taken over more than 40 years ago by big land owners, cattle breeders and organized criminal groups.”

•   The High Cost of Torture in Mexico
Daniel Wilkinson, Human Rights Watch, February 14, 2017
“Torture will be on the agenda of the Mexican Congress this month. Curbing the widespread practice should be an urgent priority for all branches of the Mexican government. Its impact on Mexico has been devastating, not only for the many individual victims, but also for the credibility of the criminal justice system itself.”

•   After a Decade Fighting the Cartels, Mexico May be Looking For a Way to Get its Military Off The Front Line
Christopher Woody, Business Insider, February 13, 2017
“But in recent months, Mexico’s military leadership, after a decade of fighting a seemingly indefatigable foe, has been increasingly critical of the tasks it has been assigned.”

•   Cartel Power Struggle Fueling Rising Violence in Mexico: Official
Reuters, February 11, 2017
“Surging gang violence in swaths of northern Mexico is likely due to an internal power struggle within the fractured Sinaloa cartel, Defense Minister Salvador Cienfuegos said on Saturday.”

•   Marchan contra Trump, pero también lanzan reclamos al presidente Peña Nieto
Redacción, Animal Político, 12 de febrero de 2017
“Organizaciones ciudadanas, con el lema de #VibraMéxico, marcharon en la CDMX y otras ciudades en varios estados para “defender a México y a los mexicanos ante las amenazas del gobierno de Trump”; también exigen al gobierno de Peña Nieto acciones concretas contra la corrupción y la impunidad.”

Actions and Resources

•   Action: Congress Needs to Hear from YOU this Recess
Latin America Working Group, February 2017
“Together we can send a powerful message to our members across the country to stand for compassion, not hate, at home and abroad. See the following action items and talking points.”

•   Your Rights at the Border and Beyond: A Primer
Daniel Demay, Seattle Pi, February 15, 2017
“Anyone inside U.S. borders has the protection of the Fourth Amendment against unwarranted search and seizure, but since most of the population (200 million) lives within 100 miles of a land or sea border, there are many instances where Customs and Border Protection officials can skirt at least some of that protection. Even still, the agency does have limitations to its power. And it’s worth knowing where those limits are.”

•   Know Your Rights: What to Do When Encountering Law Enforcement at Airports and Other Ports of Entry into the U.S.
American Civil Liberties Union
“REMEMBER: It is illegal for law enforcement officers to perform any stops, searches, detentions, or removals based solely on your religion, race, national origin, gender, ethnicity, or political beliefs. However, law enforcement officers at the airport and at the border generally have the authority to search all bags and to ask you questions about your citizenship and travel itinerary.”

•   ICE Immigration Raids: A Primer
TRAC, February 13, 2017
“To help gauge the extent a large-scale enforcement surge has indeed begun, it is useful to examine the pace at which ICE arrested individuals in the past. Coming up with some clear numbers to answer that question is the focus of this report.”

•   Reclaim Recess Toolkit
Indivisible Guide, February 16, 2017
“The upcoming congressional recess is a big opportunity for local groups around the country to show their Members of Congress (MoCs) how serious they are about stopping the Trump agenda. Use these resources to make the most of Congressional recess.”

•   Sanctuary City Toolkit
National Immigration Law Center, February 10, 2017
“Threats against ‘sanctuary’ cities and other local jurisdictions are not new, though they have gained significant momentum in the aftermath of the 2016 national election. Although the term ‘sanctuary city’—which often is used by opponents of ‘sanctuary’ policies—is overly broad and may refer to policies that differ significantly in their details, it generally refers to a jurisdiction that has adopted a policy limiting the degree to which local and state law enforcement officers may assist in federal immigration enforcement.”

•   Southwest Border Security: Additional Actions Needed to Better Assess Fencing’s Contributions to Operations and Provide Guidance for Identifying Capability Gaps
GAO, February 16, 2017
“GAO recommends that Border Patrol develop metrics to assess the contributions of pedestrian and vehicle fencing to border security along the southwest border and develop guidance for its process for identifying, funding, and deploying TI assets for border security operations. DHS concurred with the recommendations.”

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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.