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Central America/Mexico Migration News Brief for February 2, 2018

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A compilation of recent top articles and reports related to issues of U.S. immigration and enforcement policy and migration from Central America and Mexico (articles in English and Spanish). Please feel free to send us recommendations or requests for upcoming news briefs: lfolkerts@lawg.org.

Source: Giorgio Trucchi, Rel-UITA


•LAWG Denounces WH Immigration Framework—Dreamers Are Not Bargaining Chips
LAWG, January 30, 2018
The Latin America Working Group denounces the White House Framework on Immigration Reform and Border Security released last week as more of the same hateful, anti-immigrant rhetoric attacking border and immigrant communities and asylum seekers fleeing violence in their home countries

•Press Release: Secretary Tillerson’s Vintage Latin America Tour
LAWG, February 1, 2018
“The United States should raise tough questions for governments of left and right, urging actions to protect human rights, strengthen the rule of law and democratic governance, and fight corruption. Instead, it seems to be a return to the past: Latin America as a threat, a rerun of the failed war on drugs, pressure for democratic change directed largely to left-wing governments, and turning back the clock on U.S. policy towards Cuba. This is accompanied by ever escalating demands to block migrants and refugees from crossing the U.S. border. We’ve seen this movie before.”

U.S. Enforcement

•RELEASE: How Weak U.S. Gun Laws Contribute to Violent Crime Abroad
Center for American Progress, February 2, 2018
“‘The Trump administration has made it a point to demonize Mexicans as perpetrators of violence, but that racist policy neglects the fact that hundreds of thousands of guns are smuggled from the U.S. to Mexico each year,’ said Eugenio Weigend, associate director of Guns and Crime Policy and co-author of the report.”

•5 things Trump got wrong about immigration in his State of the Union
Keegan Hamilton, Vice News, January 31, 2018
“While Trump wants to build a wall along the border, the U.S. already has more than 650 miles of fencing, along with record levels of staff for ICE and CBP. The government has also spent more than $1 billion on drones and other technology to create a ‘virtual fence.’”

•Trump’s State of the Union: A diatribe against immigrants
Jennifer Rubin, The Washington Post, January 30, 2018
“He utterly rejects the notion that America is the land of immigrants — the place made prosperous and dynamic by those who come here from elsewhere.”

•Judge reviewing DACA expiration says he can’t ignore Trump’s previous statements on immigration
Karen Matthews, PBS, January 30, 2018
“U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis told Justice Department lawyers that Trump’s ‘drumbeat’ of statements and tweets about immigrants from Mexico and other countries are relevant to the case. The judge is hearing lawsuits seeking to overturn the administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. ‘In this country, in over 230 years, this is not ordinary,’ Garaufis said during the hearing. ‘It’s extreme. It’s recurring. It’s vicious.’”

•ICE detains man at traffic court after DACA status expires, then frees him after outcry
Robert McCoppin and Brian L. Cox, Chicago Tribune, February 2, 2018
“After his release, Gomez Garcia told WGN-TV that he was treated in a manner that was ‘very aggressive, inhumane, very unfair. You don’t have a chance to react, to think, to do anything. They ask for a name, they turn you around and handcuff you. We’re here just working, making a living, trying to become somebody in this world, and anybody that has this could go through this same process that I’m going (through).’”

•With DACA in Limbo, Teachers Protected by the Program Gird for the Worst
Erica L. Green, The New York Times, February 1, 2018
“‘I don’t know what I’m going to tell them,’ Ms. Reyes said through tears. ‘They understand when I go on an airplane. Maybe they’ll just think I’m on a never-ending flight.’”

Losing Dreamers would be a loss for Heartland economy
John C. Austin, Brookings, January 31, 2018
“Ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provides Dreamers with the opportunity to live and work in the United States lawfully, could remove about 700,000 workers from the American economy. Of those, nearly 50,000 live in Midwestern states stretching from Iowa to Ohio.”

•Passing a solution for Dreamers will strengthen our military
James W. Partington, Margaret Stock and Scott Cooper, The Hill, January 30, 2018
“Nearly 1,000 Dreamers have already enlisted in our armed forces and many more possess the skillset and talent necessary for military readiness — including medical training, language skills and core cultural competencies that support our global strategic interests. Dreamers also participate in Junior ROTC programs nationwide.”

•Debunking the Lie that Dreamers Can Wait
Tom Jawetz, Center For American Progress, January 19, 2018
“The nearly 17,000 people that have already lost DACA since September have not had their protections restored, and they remain at risk of detention and deportation and unable to work lawfully.” 

•Feds Formalize Plan To Pursue Certain Undocumented Immigrants In Courthouses
Richard Gonzales, NPR, January 31, 2018
The chief justice of California, Tani Cantil-Sakauye, had been an outspoken critic of ICE actions inside courthouses. In her annual State of the Judiciary address in March 2017, she expressed concern that courthouse immigration arrests ‘will trickle down into communities, churches, schools and families, and I worry that people will no longer cooperate, or come to court to press their rights, or to seek protection because they will see the court as a bad place. And I worry that crimes will go unreported and communities will live in fear.’”

•U.S. Immigration Agency to Review Newest Asylum Cases First in Bid to Deter Fraud
Yeganeh Torbati, Reuters, January 31, 2018
“Trump administration officials contend that the years-long waits encourage fraudulent claims. By judging new claims first, officials want to discourage applications by people who have no legitimate claim but hope to take advantage of the backlog to work legally in the United States for a few years while their applications work their way through the system.”

•WALLED IN: Immigration Detentions Are Way Up Under Trump
James Goodman, The Progressive, January 31, 2018
“‘They are turned back to face complete uncertainty and violence along the Mexican border—without any institutional support or shelter,’ says Daniella Burgi-Palomino, senior associate for the Latin America Working Group.”

•Thousands of Central American Kids Planned to Reunite With Family in the U.S. Trump Shut Them Out.
Erin Stone, Mother Jones, January 30, 2018
“A program put in place by the Obama administration allowed young people from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala to seek asylum if they had a parent with legal immigration status in the U.S. Bany had been approved to fly from El Salvador to rejoin with her parents at the end of August. Then, days before her scheduled arrival, Jorge got a call from his lawyer. He remembers his hand shaking as he held his phone to his ear and listened in disbelief: The Trump administration was ending the Central American Minors (CAM) program. Bany would not be coming.”

•America Is One of the Least “Generous” Countries on Immigration
David Bier, Cato Institute, January 30, 2018
“The 50 most prosperous countries have double both the average foreign-born share and average immigration rate of the United States. Those countries at or above the 50th percentile have an average foreign-born share three times the U.S. share and an immigration rate four times as high as the U.S. rate. The United States is far from generous: it is downright stingy to immigrants.”

•ICE arresting spouses seeking legal residency
Antonio Planas, Boston Herald, January 30, 2018
“‘By ICE arresting anybody who applies for this type of benefit,” [immigration attorney Zola Gomez] added, ‘what they’re saying is, ‘Don’t do it. Because if you do apply, we’re going to arrest you — we’re going to deport you.’”

•Trump is wrong about MS-13. His rhetoric will make it worse.
José Miguel Cruz, The Washington Post, January 31, 2018
“MS-13 is as American-made as Google — or, for that matter, as Trump.”

•Harris slams Trump for linking young immigrants and MS-13
Alexander Bolton, The Hill, January 30, 2018
“’MS-13 is an example of some of the worst of criminal gang behavior. To equate that with Dreamers and DACA was completely irresponsible and it was scapegoating and it was fear-mongering and it was wrong,’ Harris said, speaking of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.”

•Activists Charged with Federal Crimes After Leaving Water and Blankets for Illegal Immigrants
Ryan J. Farrick, Legal Reader, January 30, 2018
“The volunteers were all members of the faith- and community-based organization ‘No More Deaths.’ Appearing in court on Tuesday, the group was charged with a series of offenses, ranging from driving in a wilderness area to entering a wildlife refuge without a permit. Among the charges was abandonment of property – likely a stab at the group’s activities leaving water, food and blankets along trails frequented by illegal immigrants.”

•Immigrants aren’t ‘pouring’ across the border, as Trump says in pitching the wall
David Jordan, Dallas News, January 29, 2018
“From an all time high of 1.64 million in 2000, federal authorities counted 303,916 apprehensions along the Southwest border in 2017. That number trended downwards through the Bush and Obama administrations. Not everyone who crosses illegally gets caught and detained, but the measure is widely viewed as a barometer of the ebb and flow.” 

•On the Migrant Trail, a Refugee Movement Emerges
Martha Balaguer, NACLA, January 29, 2018
“In fact, the Viacrucis represented more than a means to obtain temporary freedom from outright violence: the caravan allowed for a critical process of concientización, or awareness-raising, for its participants along the migrant trail… Conversations between refugees and other people fighting displacement allowed different groups to see that they are fighting against and fleeing from a system rather than individual oppressors.”

•In Mexico, Trump’s Bark Has Been Worse Than His Bite
Ioan Grillo, The New York Times, January 29, 2018
“But while Mr. Trump’s language angers residents here, his first year in power did not affect them as much as they feared. Migrants still send home money. In fact, last year is estimated to be a record-breaker for remittances, with the Central Bank of Mexico estimating that Mexicans living in the United States sent home $26.1 billion between January and November alone. Not a single brick has been laid to build Mr. Trump’s promised “beautiful wall.” And total trade between the two countries continues to grow.”

•Trump’s immigration ‘compromise’ is a trick

Catherine Rampell, The Washington Post, January 29, 2018
“It’s not a “generous” deal for Democrats, and it’s not full of “concessions.” It’s a sleight of hand designed to help the far right shove through sharp new limits on legal immigration, under the pretense of moderation and reasonableness.”

•Se duplican los salvadoreños inscritos al TPS en una semana
Susana Peñate, La Prensa Gráfica, 28 de enero de 2018
“Desde el 18 de enero hasta ayer a las 9 de la mañana, 10,196 salvadoreños se reinscribieron al programa de Estatus de Protección Temporal (TPS, por sus siglas en inglés), cuyo plazo de inscripción finaliza el 19 de marzo de este año y tendrá vigencia hasta septiembre de 2019”.

•Anti-immigration Republicans have a decision to make about America’s future
Fred Hiatt, The Washington Post, January 28, 2018
“Those who favor a drastic, absolute drop in the level of immigration, as many Republicans do, would be making a choice about America’s future. They would be turning us into Japan… a country that admits few immigrants — and, as a result, it is an aging, shrinking nation.”

•Unshackled by the Trump administration, deportation agents discount basic decency
Editorial Board, The Washington Post, January 28, 2018
“Detentions of immigrants with no criminal records more than doubled in the first year of President Trump’s administration — to 13,600 in 2017 from 5,498 in 2016… In its boilerplate communiques, the agency defends its actions by insisting that it prioritizes bona fide threats to national security and public safety but exempts no category of ‘removable alien’ from enforcement. Which raises a question: Have discretion and humanity been dropped from the attributes that Americans can expect of their law enforcement agencies?”

•Protest set for Texas wildlife refuge at ground zero of Trump’s border wall plan
Tom Dart, The Guardian, January 27, 2018
“Ocelots – small, spotted wild cats – are endangered in the US because of habitat destruction and Nichol [of the Sierra Club] fears that a wall would trap them, not only restricting their movement but killing them if the area floods during a storm. ‘That basically turns the refuge into a death trap, the waters rise and the animals all drown,’ he said.”

•Republicans praise ‘dreamers’ publicly — but want them to live under permanent suspicion
Radley Balko, The Washington Post, January 25, 2018
“Under this bill, the law wouldn’t view dreamers as prospective U.S. citizens. It wouldn’t view them productive members of society. Under this bill, the state would perpetually be looking over every dreamer’s shoulder. It’s perpetual probation.”

Mexican Enforcement

•The Southern Border Plan on the Ground in the Trump Era
Nicholas Greven, NACLA, January 26, 2018
“Since at least 2011, U.S. funds have been directed toward fortifying Mexico’s southern border through the Mérida Initiative, a U.S.-Mexico security cooperation agreement, which includes border and immigration enforcement provisions.”

•Mexico Finds 109 Central American Migrants Crammed in Truck
U.S. News, January 26, 2018
“The migrants said they started their trip in Chiapas state, on the border with Guatemala, and were heading to the United States. They included 83 Guatemalans, 17 Hondurans and nine people from El Salvador. The children were turned over to child welfare authorities. Adult migrants from Central America are usually bused back to their home countries.”
En español:
•México: hallan 109 migrantes centroamericanos en camión
Chron, 26 de enero de 2018
•Mexico Evaluating Allowing Armed US Agents on Cross-Border Flights
Latin American Herald Tribune, January, 2018
“Videgaray also made clear that the decision will not be linked to the negotiations to restructure the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement currently underway with the US and Canada.”

Root Causes

•International Concern Regarding the Serious Increase of Attacks Against Human Rights Defenders in Honduras’ Post-Electoral Context
Peace Brigades International, January 22, 2018
“PBI Honduras expresses serious concern about the use of military forces in matters of citizen security. Of particular concern are the actions taken by agents of the public forces in the electoral context, which contravene international principles of proportionality, absolute necessity and legality established by the United Nations  and the InterAmerican System.”

•Civil society organizations reveal data on extrajudicial executions in El Salvador
Cristosal, January 25, 2018
“‘Humans rights cannot be treated as an added extra to be traded off in moments of national crisis. They must be embraced as the foundation of security and peace. These human rights organizations have documented a pattern of permissiveness and impunity for rights violations by state security forces against Salvadoran citizens. To end the perpetual cycle of violence that causes so much suffering for the Salvadoran people, the government must make fundamental rights to life and liberty, due process, freedom from torture and cruel punishments the bedrock of their security policy’ [said] Noah Bullock, Executive Director, Cristosal.”

•En 5 años, al menos 106 mil armas provenientes de EU estuvieron relacionadas con crímenes en México
Animal Político, 2 de febrero de 2018
“Mientras el presidente Donald Trump dice que su país necesita protegerse de amenazas externas, y de inmigrantes que puedan cometer crímenes, Estados Unidos alimenta la violencia de otras naciones, al proveer armas que son utilizadas en crímenes violentos.”

•99 policías procesados por agredir a mujeres
Ricardo Flores, Gabriel García y Beatriz Benítez, La Prensa Grafica, 31 de enero de 2018
“De acuerdo con Cotto, 63 de esos casos fueron por agresiones que los agentes cometieron contra compañeras de trabajo y el resto está relacionado con violencia intrafamiliar: esposas, madres, hermanas, compañeras de vida y otras parientes”.

Investigaciones deficientes y corrupción ponen a México en últimos puestos del índice de Estado de derecho

Arturo Angel, Animal Politico, 31 de enero de 2018
“Pese a la entrada en funcionamiento del nuevo sistema penal, que ha traído consigo una mejora en la percepción de la eficacia en los juicios, aspectos como las deficientes investigaciones policiales, el sistema penitenciario y la corrupción colocan a nuestro país en el puesto 92, de una lista de 113 naciones, e incluso en las posiciones más bajas dentro de América Latina”.

•Mexico Registers Its Highest Number Of Homicides On Record
James Frederick, NPR, January 25, 2018
“From 2009 to 2014, more than 70 percent of arms seized by Mexican authorities originated in the U.S., according to a congressional report. An estimated 253,000 firearms cross from the U.S. to Mexico every year. 

•Habitantes de Acapulco, con estrés por la violencia.
Fernando Camacho Servín, La Jornada, 28 de enero de 2018
“Una gran cantidad de habitantes de Acapulco sufre problemas físicos y sicológicos por los altos niveles de violencia ante los cuales las autoridades han tenido nula respuesta, debido tanto a su falta de capacidad como de voluntad política, advirtió Carmen Rodríguez, de la organización Médicos Sin Fronteras (MSF)”.

•IACHR Wraps Up Working Visit to El Salvador

Organization of American States (OAS), January 29, 2018
“The IACHR observes that the State of El Salvador has made some progress in the areas of citizen security and the rights of women and other groups at special risk, such as the “Safe El Salvador Plan” or the Ciudad Mujer (“Women’s City”) program. At the same time, the IACHR expresses its deep concern about violations of human rights stemming from citizen insecurity, the lack of universal access to basic services, and the lack of budgetary resources to ensure the proper functioning and development of human rights policies. With regard to the rights of women and girls, the IACHR notes the prevalence of violence and discrimination against them, which is clearly reflected in the total criminalization of abortion in the country.”
En español:
CIDH culmina visita de trabajo a El Salvador

•Defienden actuación represiva de la PNC
Jessica Ávalos, Ezequiel Barrera y Ricardo Flores, La Prensa Gráfica, 28 de enero de 2018
“La postura de los entrevistados coincide en que los recientes escándalos en la Policía por abusos cometidos contra mujeres compañeras también tiene relación con el estrés de trabajo”.

•Meet the Women Fighting One of the World’s Most Oppressive Anti-Abortion Laws
Alice Driver, Narratively, January 24, 2018
“Rosa Cruz also discusses a hospital-to-prison pipeline that criminalizes poor women, often sending them to jail to await trial for abortion or miscarriage without treating medical issues such as hemorrhaging. ‘Unlike in other countries, when any woman arrives with an emergency and is bleeding or almost fainting, the first thing the nurses or hospital staff says is, ‘Ah, she is bleeding, this must be an abortion!’ explains Rosa Cruz. ‘They will handcuff you. They will call you a bad woman. You are very ill, critically ill. You might be weak and disoriented, but they will take you to jail.’”

•How President Trump is fueling Honduran migration north
Gabriela Rosazza, openDemocracy, January 27, 2018
“For the Honduran people, this is not just about one fraudulent election. Accepting Hernandez is accepting four more years of state-sponsored violence, impunity and corruption. Honduran citizens want a future where they can feed their families, have decent wages and fully participate in their democracy, without fear of reprisal.”
En español:
•Cómo presidente Trump está provocando la migración hondureña hacia el norte

Actions, Reports, and Resources

•Beyond Our Borders: How Weak U.S. Gun Laws Contribute to Violent Crime Abroad
Chelsea Parsons and Eugenio Weigend Vargas, Center for American Progress, February 2, 2018
“The United States has a moral obligation to mitigate its role in arming lethal violence abroad. While there are many factors unique to each nation that affect rates of violent crime, there is more the United States could do to reduce the risks posed by U.S.-sourced guns that cross the border and are used in crime in nearby countries.”

•Honduras: Monitoreo de violaciones de derechos humanos en la coyuntura del fraude electoral
Coalición contra la Impunidad, enero de 2018
“El propósito de este informe preliminar es registrar o documentar las agresiones, detenciones, el uso indiscriminado de la fuerza policial y militar, el uso de fuerza letal mediante disparos a los manifestantes, los heridos, la criminalización y otras violaciones de derechos humanos”.

•Fiscal Year 2017 ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations Report
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. January, 2018
“The 17 percent decrease in border removals shows the deterrent effect of strong interior enforcement, while the increase in interior removals restores the integrity of our nation’s immigration system and enhances the safety and security of the United States.” 

•Welcome to Work? Legal Migration Pathways for Low-Skilled Workers
Kathleen Newland and Andrea Riester, Migration Policy Institute, January 2018
“Such pathways take a variety of forms and are created to serve a range of policy aims, from deterring illegal migration to reducing deaths along unmanaged routes and supporting international development goals.”

•White House Framework on Immigration Reform & Border Security
The White House, January 25, 2018
“Securing the Southern and Northern border of the United States takes a combination of physical infrastructure, technology, personnel, resources, authorities, and the ability to close legal loopholes that are exploited by smugglers, traffickers, cartels, criminals and terrorists.”

•The Trump Immigration Plan: A Lopsided Proposal
Julia Gelatt and Sarah Pierce, Migration Policy Institute, January 2018
“The White House is pressing to cut family-sponsored immigration by as much as 40 percent and enact sweeping enhancements to border security and interior enforcement in exchange for legalizing less than one-sixth of the unauthorized population.”

•Effects of Immigration From Impoverished Nations
James D. Agresti, Just Facts Daily, January 30, 2018
“The U.N. and political leaders of Haiti, El Salvador, and various African nations pushed back against Trump’s alleged characterization of their countries, but the truth is that these nations are rife with government corruption and poverty”

•Decoding the White House Immigration Framework

American Immigration Council, January 26, 2018
“The administration summarized its proposal to provide a long path to citizenship for 1.8 million DACA-eligible immigrants in exchange for a massive border package, draconian cuts to family immigration, and complete elimination of the diversity visa.”

*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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