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Central America/Mexico Migration News Brief for February 6, 2017

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This week’s MNB focuses on updates on the U.S. immigration and refugee executive orders, 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, Trump Administration

Refugee/Travel Ban

•   Thousands of Young Central Americans at Risk as Refugee Ban Halts Key Program
Nina Lakhani, The Guardian, February 2, 2017
“The Central American Minors (CAM) in-country refugee processing scheme was halted after the US president’s executive order froze the US refugee admissions programme for 120 days, ostensibly to beef up security checks.”

•   This Is What a Refugee Looks Like
Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times, February 3, 2017
“I’ve prepared this video telling the story of Elena, 14, who was forced into a relationship with a gang member in Honduras when she was only eleven. Her family members were threatened and soon after, they fled their home. People like Elena are not economic migrants. They are refugees, escaping violence and desperate for asylum. Do we really want to send kids like Elena home to be murdered?”

•   Homeland Security Suspends Travel Ban
Laura Jarrett, Rene Marsh, and Laura Koran, CNN, February 4, 2017
“President Donald Trump’s government moved swiftly Saturday to comply with a federal judge’s order halting his travel ban — even as Trump himself denounced the judge — but readied its legal defense of the controversial executive action.”

•   Trump pierde su primera batalla para reponer el veto migratorio
Univision, 5 de febrero de 2017
“Una corte de apelaciones rechazó en la madrugada del domingo la solicitud del gobierno de Donald Trump de restablecer de inmediato un decreto antiinmigración del presidente de Estados Unidos, bloqueado por un juez federal el pasado viernes.”

•   What’s Next in the Legal Battle Over the Travel-Ban Block?
Chas Danner, New York Magazine, February 5, 2017
“The legal battle over President Trump’s travel ban has greatly intensified over the past several days, starting with a ruling by the federal judge, James Robart in Washington State, granting a temporary restraining order on several elements of the controversial executive order that Trump signed on January 27. As a result of that order, federal agencies have suspended their enforcement of the travel ban, and anyone with a valid U.S. visa is once again able to enter the U.S.—at least for now.”

•   With Trump’s Travel Ban Blocked, Visa-Holders, Refugees Scramble to Board Flights
Miles Parks and Jane Arraf, NPR, February 6, 2017
“A federal appeals court denied President Trump’s attempt to restore his travel ban on refugees and visa holders from seven majority-Muslim countries Sunday morning, sending people scrambling to board planes while it’s legal once again for them to enter the country.”

•   Former Top Diplomats, Tech Giants Blast Immigration Order as Court Showdown Looms
Matt Zapotosky, Robert Barnes, and Brian Murphy, The Washington Post, February 6, 2017
“Fresh challenges to President Trump’s court-frozen immigration order took shape Monday with two former secretaries of state claiming the White House was undermining national security and nearly 100 Silicon Valley tech companies arguing it will keep the best minds from coming to America.”

•   Trump Administration Offers Conflicting Numbers of Revoked Visas after Travel Ban
Amanda Holpuch, Oliver Laughland and agencies, Los Angeles Times, February 3, 2017
“Justice department reveals during lawsuit hearing that more than 100,000 were cancelled in the past week, but state department claims it’s fewer than 60,000.”

•   Federal Judge in L.A. Orders a Temporary Halt to Trump’s Travel Ban
Joel Rubin, Los Angeles Times, February 1, 2017
“Federal judge in Los Angeles has added another legal challenge to President Trump’s controversial suspension of travel from a group of predominantly Muslim countries, issuing an emergency order that forbids government officials from enforcing the new rules.”

•   More Than 100 Members of Congress Call For DHS Briefing This Week on Trump Muslim Ban Executive Order
The Judiciary Democrats, February 2, 2017
“We hope you will urge the President to immediately rescind the Executive Order, which has created profound chaos and fear among refugees and immigrants who have been admitted to the United States, as well as their families. As a nation of immigrants that has been a refuge for people fleeing persecution from around the world, these actions are contrary to who we are as a nation.”

•   State Department Dissent Memo: ‘We Are Better than this Ban’
Josh Rogin, The Washington Post, January 30 2017
“Dozens of State Department officials are expected to sign a memo opposing President Trump’s executive order suspending immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries, activating the famous “Dissent Channel,” which diplomats have used for decades, to oppose what they see as wrongheaded policies put forth by the Trump White House.”

•   IACHR Expresses Concern over Executive Orders on Immigration and Refugees in the United States
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, February 1, 2017
“The implementation of these orders deepens the severe humanitarian crisis that affects all migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, and the IACHR urges the United States to rescind them.”

•   Whip Count: Here’s Where Republicans Stand on Trump’s Controversial Travel Ban
Aaron Blake, The Washington Post, January 31 2017
“President Trump’s executive order to ban entry to the United States to citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries has been roundly criticized by the international community and Democrats, who allege it amounts to a religious test — even a thinly veiled “Muslim ban.” There have also been numerous implementation headaches, with two judges halting deportations of those denied entry.”

•   Guterres: Trump’s Ban Violates Basic UN Principles, Should Be Ended
Latin American Herald Tribune
“‘This is not the way to best protect the US or any other country in relation to the serious concerns that exists about possibilities of terrorist infiltration,’ said Guterres in remarks to reporters at the UN headquarters in New York.”

•   Justice Department Memo on Trump’s Refugee and Travel Immigration Ban
Zoe Tillman, Buzzfeed News, February 2, 2017
“The US Department of Justice on Thursday released a copy of the legal memo prepared by the Office of Legal Counsel about President Trump’s executive order on immigration. The acting head of the office, Curtis Gannon, wrote that the order was approved for “form and legality.”

•   ACLU Files Demands for Documents on Implementation of Trump’s Muslim Ban
American Civil Liberties Union, February 2, 2017
“Fifty American Civil Liberties Union affiliates filed 18 coordinated Freedom of Information Act requests today with local U.S. Customs and Border Protection offices to expose how Trump administration officials are interpreting and executing the president’s Muslim ban at over 55 international airports across the country, acting in violation of federal courts that ordered a stay on the ban’s implementation.”

•   Trump Administration Signals that Some Bans on U.S. Entry Could Be Extended Indefinitely
Brian Bennett, Los Angeles Times, January 31, 2017
“Some of the temporary bans on travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries are likely to be extended indefinitely and elevated a deportations official to run the nation’s top immigration enforcement agency as it pushed further to dramatically restrict U.S. immigration policy.”

•   DHS to Make Exceptions to Donald Trump’s Ban on Refugees and Certain Travelers
Elise Foley and Laura Barron-Lopez, The Huffington Post, January 31, 2017
“In a briefing to reporters, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly announced that his agency is planning to make exceptions to President Donald Trump’s executive order on refugees and certain foreign nationals, including by allowing 872 refugees into the U.S. this week.”

•   Immigrant Rights Groups File Class Action Suit Challenging Trump Administration’s “Muslim Ban”
American Immigration Council, January 30 2017
“The lawsuit is filed on behalf of tens of thousands of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who have filed immigrant visa petitions for their immediate family members who are nationals of seven predominantly Muslim countries.”

•   Inside the Battle for Immigrant Rights at Dulles Airport
Jack Jenkins, Think Progress, January 30 2017
“One of dozens of groups that descended on airports across the country to protest President Donald Trump’s Muslim ban over the weekend, their goal was to voice support for refugees and green card holders who were suddenly detained by officials as they arrived in the United States.”

•   LGBT Refugees’ Lives Depend on the U.S. Resettlement Program
 Sharita Gruberg, Center for American Progress, January 30, 2017
“Reiterating the need to protect Americans from persecution because of their sexual orientation in the same order that yanks the welcome mat out from under LGBT refugees fleeing the Islamic State and militias is hypocritical.”

Border Wall, Enforcement, U.S.- Mexico News

•   Donald Trump’s Cuts Could Increase Illegal Immigration
Betsy Woodruff and Kelly Weill, The Daily Beast, February 6, 2017
“The report obtained by The Daily Beast shows that the bulk of U.S. aid to Mexico funds the so-called Mérida Initiative, which helps bankroll Mexico’s own Trump-esque border policy—one that turns away Central American immigrants by the hundreds of thousands.”

•   Executive Orders Could Block Access to Asylum for Vulnerable Individuals
Eleanor Acer, Human Rights First, January 27, 2017
“While the details of the administration’s plans for asylum seekers at the border are a bit murky, the message is clear: detain, deport, and expedite processing.”

•   Trump to Mexico: Take Care of ‘Bad Hombres’ or US Might
Vivian Salama, Associated Press, February 2, 2017
“President Donald Trump warned in a phone call with his Mexican counterpart that he was ready to send U.S. troops to stop ‘bad hombres down there’ unless the Mexican military does more to control them, according to an excerpt of a transcript of the conversation obtained by The Associated Press.”

•   U.S., Mexican Officials Try to Find Common Ground on Security-Sources
Reuters, The New York Times, February 1, 2017
“A Mexican delegation met U.S. military officials in southern Mexico on Tuesday to discuss security initiatives, sources said on Wednesday, as the two countries try to find common ground in tough negotiations over trade, security and immigration.”

•   U.S.-Mexico Tensions: Harbinger for Latin America?
Eric Hershberg and Fulton Armstrong, AULA Blog, January 31, 2017
“U.S. President Donald Trump’s unilateral actions on Mexico last week have precipitated the most serious crisis in bilateral relations in decades and threaten to further undermine U.S. image and interests throughout Latin America.”

•   The Human Cost of Deportation Policy: A Cross-Border Commute
Telesur, January 28, 2017
“Yemilet has to do this because her mother, an undocumented Mexican immigrant, was deported two years ago for what she calls a “white-collar crime.” Now, the mother and daughter live in Tijuana. The teen was born in the U.S. and has decided to make this tedious journey every day in order to have better educational opportunities and remain close to her family. “

•   Hundreds of Families Meet on the US-Mexico Border for the First Time in Years
Julio Chavez, KVIA, January 29 2017
“From the US in blue and from Mexico in white, thousands of people had just three minutes to hug, kiss, and see each other on the US-Mexico border after years of separation. Tears streamed down everyone’s faces as they reconnected on the Rio Grande riverbed, one daughter noticing her father’s grey hairs for the first time.”

•   Messing with Mexico is a Dangerous Idea: David Andelman
David A. Andelman, USA Today, January 31 2017
“President Trump’s growing feud with Mexico is destabilizing our enormous neighbor to the South and putting our national security in grave jeopardy. If he’s not aware of that, he should be.”

Interior Enforcement, Sanctuary Cities

•   ICE Confirms Portland Officials’ Fears About Immigration Arrests At Courthouse
Conrad Wilson and Phoebe Flanigan, OPB, January 30 2017
“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents made 64 arrests in Oregon and Southwest Washington in January. Five of those were of foreign nationals arrested at or near courthouses in Multnomah County, according to an official with the federal government.”

•   Trump’s Most Forceful Executive Order on Immigration Isn’t the Immigration Ban
Jeremy Berke, Business Insider, February 4, 2017
“Buried in the text of the earlier executive order is a section that could have widespread implications for the enforcement of immigration laws.”

•   Sanctuary City Policies Continuing in Texas Despite Trump’s Threats
Latin American Herald Tribune
“The reaction of Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a firm opponent of ‘sanctuary cities’ policies, was immediate and on Wednesday he cut off state financing of $1.5 million for Travis County, which the county should have received this year.”

•   Giving Sanctuary to Undocumented Immigrants Doesn’t Threaten Public Safety—It Increases It
Wayne A. Cornelius, Angela S. García, and Monica W. Varsanyi, Los Angeles Times, February 2 2017
“Sanctuary jurisdictions — 39 cities and 364 counties across the country have policies that limit local law enforcement’s involvement in enforcing federal immigration laws — increase public safety.

•   San Francisco Sues Trump for Withdrawing Funds from Sanctuary Cities
Latin American Herald Tribune
“San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee announced on Tuesday that the California city has filed a lawsuit against President Donald Trump over his decision to withdraw federal funds for “sanctuary cities,” which protect undocumented migrants from deportation.”

Other U.S. Immigration News

•   Trump’s Policies will Affect Four Groups of Undocumented Immigrants
Susan Bibler Coutin, Jennifer Chacón, Sameer Ashar and Stephen Lee, UC Irvine via The Conversation, February 1, 2017
“Since 2014, we have followed the lives of some 50 Southern California immigrants, many of whom either lack or never had legal status in the United States. Each of these individuals has a different story of how and when they came to the United States. Some are related to U.S. citizens and some are not. They have had unique experiences studying, working and living in this country.”

•   Trump Administration Circulates More Draft Immigration Restrictions, Focusing on Protecting U.S. Jobs
Abigail Hauslohner and Janell Ross, The Washington Post,  January 31, 2017
“The Trump administration is considering a plan to weed out would-be immigrants who are likely to require public assistance, as well as to deport — when possible — immigrants already living in the United States who depend on taxpayer help, according to a draft executive order obtained by The Washington Post.”

•   Trump Draft Executive Order Full of Sound and Fury on Immigration, Welfare and Deportation
Janell Ross, The Washington Post, February 2, 2017
“A draft plan, under discussion inside the Trump administration, promises to exclude would-be immigrants who might need public assistance and to deport, whenever possible, those already dependent on welfare.”

•   Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch on Immigration
American Immigration Council, February 1, 2017
“The nominee is widely seen as embodying many of the traits possessed by the late Justice Scalia: a strict devotion to original intent of the founding fathers, a strongly conservative mindset, and a rejection of judicial activism.”

•   Trump Fires Acting Attorney General Who Defied Him
Michael D. Shear, Mark Landler, Matt Apuzzo and Eric Lichtblau, The New York Times, January 30 2017
“President Trump fired his acting attorney general on Monday night, removing her as the nation’s top law enforcement officer after she defiantly refused to defend his executive order closing the nation’s borders to refugees and people from predominantly Muslim countries.”

•   Trump Names Thomas Homan as Acting Immigration Enforcement Chief
Ron Nixon, The New York Times, January 31 2017
“President Trump appointed Thomas D. Homan late Monday to be the new acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an agency within the Homeland Security Department that identifies, detains, arrests and deports immigrants who are in the country illegally.”

•   Cities in Midwest, Rust Belt Say They Need Immigrants
Will Connors, The Wall Street Journal, January 31 2017
“An array of Republican and Democratic officials from across the Rust Belt and Midwest are united in concern about President Donald Trump’s clampdown on refugees and certain immigrants for one overriding reason: Their communities need more people.”

Root Causes, Country Conditions

•   540 niños asesinados el año pasado en El Salvador: Informe
Tristan Clavel, InSight Crime, 1 de febrero de 2017
“Un reciente informe de la policía de El Salvador muestra que en promedio 1,5 niños fueron asesinados diariamente el año pasado, lo que indica que el intenso conflicto con las pandillas y la violencia generalizada están impactando a las poblaciones más jóvenes y vulnerables del país.”

•   El Salvador: Waiting for a Reckoning
Aryeh Neier, The New York Review of Books, February 2, 2017
“It may not be a stretch to say that the misery of El Salvador today—a country that has the highest rate of homicide in the world—can be attributed, at least in part, to what happened in 1980.”

•   Honduras: The Deadliest Place to be an Environmental Activist, New Report Says
Natalie Gallón and Elvin Sandoval, CNN, February 3, 2017
“A scathing report by environmental watchdog Global Witness names Honduras the “deadliest place to defend the planet” and links the country’s business and political elite to brutal acts of human rights abuses.”

•   One Dead, Four Wounded in Attacks on Buses in Guatemala
Latin American Herald Tribune
“Money extorted from bus operators is a major source of income for criminal gangs in Guatemala, where each day sees an average of 16 homicides.”

•   El Salvador Gangs Responsible for 84% of Forced Displacement: Report
Parker Asmann, InSight Crime, January 30, 2017
“A new report from El Salvador says that the country’s street gangs accounted for 84 percent of forced displacements in 2016, in the undeclared war that is ravaging that country.”

•   Honduras Elites Blamed for Violence against Environmental Activists
Nina Lakhani, The Guardian, January 31, 2017
“High-ranking politicians and business tycoons are implicated in a wave of violence against environmental activists in Honduras, according to an investigation by the anti-corruption group Global Witness, which says the country’s elites are using criminal methods to terrorize communities with impunity.”

•   Mexico’s Bloody Cartel Realignment is Intensifying in One of the Country’s Smallest States
Christopher Woody, Business Insider, January 23, 2017
“While levels of violence are high in many places, perhaps nowhere has the rise been as dramatic as in Colima, a small state tucked in the middle of Mexico’s Pacific coast, between Michoacan and Jalisco states.”

•   Asesinan a otro activista indígena en Guadalupe y Calvo, Chihuahua
Patricia Mayorga, Proceso, 1 de Febrero de 2017
“Mientras cientos de agentes estatales desplegaban un operativo de vigilancia sobre los manifestantes contra el gasolinazo, ayer desconocidos levantaron a otro activista indígena de Choreachi, municipio de Guadalupe y Calvo, quien este miércoles fue localizado sin vida.”

Actions, Reports, Resources

•   Resumen de las Órdenes Ejecutivas de la Administración Trump sobre Migración y Refugio y sus Impactos Negativos
Latin America Working Group, 2 de febrero de 2017
“Este documento es un resumen de las tres órdenes ejecutivas, las preguntas que surgen a partir de ellas y las distintas maneras en que perjudican a los inmigrantes, refugiados y la seguridad de este país.”

•   Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) & Migration Fact Sheet
KIND, LAWG, WRC, January 2017
“Many individuals and families fleeing SGBV are potentially eligible for protection under U.S. as well as Mexican refugee law, as the governments of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras fail to protect their
citizens from SGBV.”

•   Leaked Draft of Possible Trump Executive Order on Public Benefits Would Spell Chilling Effects for Legal Immigrants
Michael Fix and Randy Capps, Migration Policy Institute, February 2017
“A draft executive order apparently under consideration by the Trump administration could have widespread chilling effects for legal immigrants—both those already in the United States as well as prospective ones who seek to reunify with relatives here. A leaked draft that has circulated widely in recent days includes language asserting that immigrants are a drain on U.S. taxpayers, and proposes restricting the grant of green cards for low-skilled, low-income immigrants.”

•   A Primer on Expedited Removal
American Immigration Council, February 3, 2017
“Created in 1996, expedited removal is a process by which low-level immigration officers can quickly deport certain noncitizens who are undocumented or have committed fraud or misrepresentation. Since 2004, immigration officials have used expedited removal to deport individuals who arrive at our border, as well as individuals who entered without authorization if they are apprehended within two weeks of arrival and within 100 miles of the Canadian or Mexican border.”

•   Report: What Makes a City a Sanctuary Now
Mijente, January 27, 2017
“The term ‘sanctuary’ most recently refers to local policies that limit when and if local law enforcement communicates with, or submits to, (often unconstitutional) requests from federal immigration agents.”

•   Civil Rights Challenges to President Trump’s Executive Orders on Immigration and Refugees
University of Michigan Law School, January 28, 2017
“In his first week in office, President Trump issued three Executive Orders relating to immigration and refugee policy. The two immigration orders, available here and here directed much heavier use of detention for those seeking lawful status, an increase to the number of deportation officers, and building of a border wall. The order on refugees, available here, totally barred admission into the United States of all nationals of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen–including those who are already legal greencard holders here. It suspended the refugee program for all countries for 120 days (indefinitely for Syria).”

•   Challenging President Trump’s Ban on Entry
American Immigration Council, January 31, 2017
“This practice advisory provides information about how President Trump’s Executive Order, Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States, is being implemented, offers resources and practice tips for attorneys whose clients are affected by the Executive Order, and outlines legal challenges to the entry provisions that have been filed to date.”

•   Chronic Violence Affects Human Development, Social Relations, and the Practice of Citizenship: A Systemic Framework for Action
Tani Adams, Wilson Center, January 31, 2017
“In this report, Tani Adams describes how living in such conditions affects our lives in myriad and systemic ways. Children fail to flourish; parents are often unable to nurture their children adequately and can turn against them; social relations between individuals and groups become more restricted, polarized, and conflictive; and our role as citizens or participants in the larger community suffers—as do the social support for democracy and the prospects for democratic governance.”

•   Honduras: The Deadliest Country in the World for Environmental Activism
Billy Kyte, Global Witness, 2017
“More than 120 people have died since 2010, according to Global Witness research. The victims were ordinary people who took a stand against dams, mines, logging or agriculture on their land –murdered by state forces, security guards or hired assassins. Countless others have been threatened, attacked or imprisoned.”

•   84 Lumber Super Bowl Commercial – The Entire Journey
84 Lumber, February 5, 2017
“See a mother and daughter’s symbolic migrant journey towards becoming legal American citizens. Contains content deemed too controversial for the original ad and banned from broadcast.”

*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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