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Central America/Mexico Migration News Brief for January 19, 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: Damian Dovarganes, CBC Radio

Spotlight: Just Americas: A Blog by LAWG

Trouble for Turn Backs: Risks for Migrants in Mexico’s Northern Border States
Lily Folkerts, Annie Gallivan, and Daniella Burgi-Palomino, LAWG, January 18, 2018
“As this administration continues to threaten migrants with deterrence measures like family separation and calls for increased funding for border security and deportation forces, migrants transiting through or being turned back to the other side of our southern border face Mexico’s highest rates of violence in the last two decades.”

Spotlight: Between a Wall and a Dangerous Place

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

U.S. Enforcement

These Factions in Congress, Split Over ‘Dreamers,’ Could Lead to Government Shutdown
Alicia Parlapiano and Wilson Andrews, The New York Times, January 18, 2018
“Ten Democratic senators representing states won by Donald J. Trump are up for re-election this year. While these senators support DACA protections, they are the Democrats most likely to vote for the bill because they do not want to be blamed for a shutdown, or the failure to extend CHIP funding, come November.”

Press Release: LAWG Strongly Condemns DHS Decision to End TPS for Salvadorans, Urges Congress to Act Quickly
LAWG, January 8, 2018.
“Today’s decision to terminate TPS for Salvadorans reinforces the Administration’s xenophobic agenda to drive families and individuals further into the shadows in fear. This decision fails to recognize the contributions of Salvadoran-American families here and the longer-term impacts this will have in destabilizing the Central American region.”

Women, girls, and LGBTI people especially endangered by Trump move to end protections for Salvadoran immigrants
Susan Buttenwieser, Women’s Media Center, January 18, 2018
“Women, girls, and members of the LGBTI community returning from the U.S. will be direct targets for this violence and will have no access to justice for any violations they experience. The stigma that deported migrants face is even worse for women and girls. Upon return, most have a hard time getting a job. And the LGBTI community members who left El Salvador were probably fleeing because of violence against them in the first place, so to return to it would be a death sentence.”

Ex-gang members in El Salvador fear more crime if TPS ends
Patrick Oppmann and Natalie Gallón,
CNN, January 17, 2018
“Bringing 200,000 people back after so many years, that’s only going to create more poverty, more violence and more crime,” says Will, who speaks English more fluently than Spanish after living in California for about 20 years.”

Is Deportation a Death Sentence for Salvadoran Women and Girls?
Xanthe Scharff and Dánae Vílchez, Newsweek, January 16, 2018.
“’In El Salvador, women are terrified, especially young women,’ says Vilma Vazquez, founder of Las Dignas, a feminist association in El Salvador. ‘We know we’re going out but we do not know if we are going to get back home alive.’”

He’s from El Salvador. They’re American. Trump could separate them.
Patrick Oppmann,
CNN, January 14, 2018
“Experts say Salvadorans in the United States could decide to send as much money home as possible before the protections end in 2019. They also caution that American employers may fire Salvadoran employees who will lose their ability to keep a job.”

Trump’s alleged ‘s—hole countries’ comment frames plight of 200,000 Salvadorans facing deportation
CBC Radio, January 12, 2018
“The government in El Salvador cannot provide for its citizens, and the decision to revoke TPS should not solely be based on the 2011 earthquake but on ‘the combination of factors of violence, insecurity, [and] corruption.'”

How will El Salvador cope with deportees from America?
The Economist, January 11, 2018
“If all the Salvadoreans in the TPS programme were to come back, which is highly unlikely, the country’s population would swell by 3%. It is in no state to receive and reintegrate them.”

Drama personal y colectivo: cómo un empresario salvadoreño y sus empleados pueden perderlo todo cuando se queden sin TPS
Milli Legrain, Univision, 11 de enero de 2018
“Baraja la idea de que Trump utilice a los inmigrantes protegidos por TPS como lo hace con los dreamers que -al igual que Cardoza- ve con cierto escepticismo los planes de deportación masiva del gobierno republicano”. 

After Trump’s TPS decision, Canada tells Salvadorans: Please don’t come here
Alan Freeman, The Washington Post, January 10, 2018
“Fearing an influx of newcomers crossing “irregularly” into Canada from the United States, the Canadian government has embarked on an information campaign to discourage Salvadorans from trekking north, as thousands of Haitians did when threatened with a loss of protected status last summer.”

US border patrol routinely sabotages water left for migrants
Rory Carroll,
The Guardian, January 17, 2018
“Volunteers found water gallons vandalised 415 times, on average twice a week, in an 800 sq mile patch of Sonoran desert south-west of Tucson, from March 2012 to December 2015, the report said. The damage affected 3,586 gallons.”

Is ICE Targeting Immigration Activists? Family Members of Detained & Deported Leaders Speak Out
Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!, January 17, 2018
“They have made a conscious decision, at probably higher levels in ICE, to target community activists, to target people who are really willing to come out and say that this system is tearing apart families and that this system needs to be fixed.”

Immigration Agents Target 7-Eleven Stores in Push to Punish Employers
Patricia Mezzei, The New York Times, January 10, 2018
“Today’s actions send a strong message to U.S. businesses that hire and employ an illegal work force: ICE will enforce the law, and if you are found to be breaking the law, you will be held accountable,” Thomas D. Homan, the acting director of the agency, said in a statement.”

‘Trump Effect’ Wears Off as Migrants Resume Their Northward Push
Caitlin Dickerson, The New York Times, January 10, 2018
“Tens of thousands of people apply for asylum annually. The vast majority are denied, and cases can drag on for years, during which time many applicants are released from custody and establish ties to the United States, eventually deciding to stay illegally.”

Mexican Enforcement

As US tightens stance on migrants and refugees, is Mexico prepared to take more?
Amanda Ottaway, The Christian Science Monitor, January 16, 2018.
“In the first half of 2017, asylum claims in Mexico were up 94 percent from the same period in 2016. UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) figures show about 20 percent of applicants abandon the process. More than half – about 60 percent of the remaining pool – will get asylum.”

Guatemala and Mexico Update Border Security Strategy
Juliete Pelcastre, Diálogo, January 12, 2018.
“According to Brig. Gen. Sánchez and Col. Álvarez, Mexico’s border is vulnerable, given its highly porous nature. Such porosity enables a continuous flow of criminal activities, like narcotrafficking, arms trafficking, human trafficking, and contraband. ‘It’s a factor that limits the ability of our armed forces and law enforcement to operate,’ Col. Álvarez said.”

Root Causes
Van senadores contra Ley de Seguridad; ‘beneficia más a EU’, dicen
Iván E. Saldaña, Excelsior, 19 de enero de 2018
“‘Estamos señalando la violación en materia de derechos humanos, la violación a las facultades que tienen los municipios y los estados en materia de seguridad pública, las facultades metaconstitucionales que se les dan a las fuerzas armadas y al presidente de la República’, dijo el senador Luis Sánchez, coordinador de la bancada perredista”.

Central America fears for US remittances as deportations loom
Carlos Mario Marquez, AFP News, January 17, 2018
“Remittances account for a staggering 16 percent of El Salvador’s gross domestic product. Last year, more than $5 billion was received from relatives abroad.”

El Salvador eyes work scheme with Qatar for migrants facing exit from U.S.
Reuters Staff, Reuters, January 16, 2018
“El Salvador’s foreign minister, Hugo Martinez, is in Qatar until Friday and said in a statement that Salvadorans could work in engineering, aircraft maintenance, construction and agriculture. Martinez also noted that Qatar had offered to provide health services to the Central American country, which is struggling with a weak economy and gang violence.”

Mexican columnist is stabbed 21 times in front of family, underscoring deadly risks faced by journalists
Kate Linthicum, Los Angeles Times, January 15, 2018
“The day before his death, in a column published on a news website called Horizonte de Matamoros, Dominguez lamented growing political violence ahead of Mexico’s July presidential election, calling out the federal government for its ‘failure on the matter of public security.’”

The Good News About El Salvador
Robert Muggah and Katherine Aguirre, Americas Quarterly, January 15, 2018
“After years of sustained investment in security and violence prevention, the country’s murder rate is on its way down. The same is true of violence-plagued neighbors Honduras and Guatemala, where murder rates have fallen dramatically in recent years.”

Sonora concentra 75 % de las víctimas de tráfico de menores en el país: SNSP
Ernesto Aroche Aguilar, Animal Politico, 17 de enero de 2018
“De los 547 víctimas registradas por el SNSP, entre enero de 2015 a noviembre de 2017, 408 se dieron en Sonora. Se trata de una cifra que recién se conoce luego que el SNSP presentó, a mediados de diciembre, su nueva metodología que amplía el tipo de delitos a reportar y las víctimas que implica”.

El Salvador’s Youth Are Trapped Between Gang Violence and Police Abuse
Cora Currier and Natalie Keyssar, The Intercept, January 12, 2018
“Kids in El Salvador face well-documented threats at the hands of gangs, from extortion to forced recruitment as members or ‘girlfriends’ of members. Being a witness to a gang murder, or just being in the wrong part of town or on the wrong bus line, can get you killed. Increasingly, they also face violence from police. Poor youth are rounded up on suspicion of being gang members, hassled, imprisoned, and, in some cases, killed.”

Plan anticrimen coordinado por Osorio Chong deja 96 mil homicidios, 6% más que en el sexenio pasado
Aturo Ángel, Animal Politico, 11 de enero de 2018
“La estrategia que Osorio coordinó y que consistía en dividir el país en regiones (noreste, noroeste, occidente, centro y sur) para mejorar la coordinación entre autoridades y apaciguar la violencia, heredada por la administración del sexenio Felipe Calderón, no ha funcionado en 3 de esas 5 zonas donde los homicidios se han incrementado todavía más”.

When Corporate Elites Won Partial Control of a Mexican City — and Then Lost It
Max Fisher and Amanda Taub, The New York Times, January 10, 2018
“Monterrey’s problem wasn’t just crime. It was institutional breakdown at nearly every level of government, which allowed corruption to become the norm, including among police officers who sometimes beat citizens and extort money from them just as brazenly as did the drug gangs. Fixing crime required fixing corruption, which required fixing the state.”

Actions, Reports, and Resources

Report Documents Administration’s Shameful Criminal Prosecution of Asylum Seekers at Border
Human Rights First, January 18, 2018
“Seeking asylum is a legal act, but this administration is committed to criminalizing asylum seekers—like all immigrants—in its efforts to sell its harmful, xenophobic policies. These asylum seekers will now have a criminal record and the administration will count them as so-called ‘criminal aliens’ in its enforcement statistics.”

Disappeared: How the US Border Enforcement Agencies Are Fueling a Missing Persons Crisis
Part 2: Interference with Humanitarian Aid

No More Deaths and La Coalición de Derechos Humanos, January 17, 2018

“We conclude that the culture and policies of the US Border Patrol as a law-enforcement agency both authorize and normalize acts of cruelty against border crossers.”

Trump’s First Year on Immigration Policy: Rhetoric vs. Reality
Sarah Pierce, Jessica Bolter, and Andrew Selee, Migration Policy Institute, January 2018
“Looking ahead, it is unlikely that the President will be able to implement all ten points enumerated in the Arizona speech exactly as proposed; yet there is no question that his administration has radically changed the conversation on legal and illegal immigration alike.”

Moving Beyond “Root Causes:” The Complicated Relationship between Development and Migration
Susan Fratzke and Brian Salant, Migration Policy Institute, January 2018
“The brief suggests shifting the focus of development assistance away from increasing individuals’ skills and assets toward the creation of opportunities at the local, regional, or national level.”

Mexican Migrant Health Access Lower After U.S. Border Crossing — And Even When They Return to Mexico
Frank Otto, Drexel University, January 10, 2018
“Once in the U.S., migrants may have less access than they did in Mexico before they left their communities of origin,” explained Martinez-Donate. “And then, after they migrate to the U.S., even when they are back temporarily in Mexico, they may experience barriers to health care access there because they are not covered by the Mexican insurance programs either.”

*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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