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Central America/Mexico Migration News Brief for January 26, 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: Guillermo Arias, AP

Spotlight: Just Americas: A Blog by LAWG

Protest Met with Brutal Repression: A Summary of Human Rights Abuses in Post-Electoral Honduras
Lisa Haugaard, LAWG, January 26, 2018
This report details acts of government repression of protesters, journalists, and human rights defenders in the wake of the election. It also suggests the challenges that Honduran citizens, and the international community, face in order to protect human rights at this critical moment.

U.S. Enforcement

White House jumps back into Dreamer battle with citizenship offer
Rachel Bade, Burgess Everett, and Lorraine Woellert, Politico, January 25, 2018

“The framework also eliminates the visa lottery and curbs U.S. migration by extended families, a fundamental change to existing immigration policy. New citizens would be able to sponsor their immediate families — spouses and children — to legally enter the country, but other relatives, such as parents and siblings, would be excluded.”

The immigration deal Trump’s White House is floating, explained
Dara Lind, Vox, January 25, 2018

“The administration is willing to allow 1.8 million unauthorized immigrants who came to the country as children to become legal residents and ultimately apply for US citizenship — including the 690,000 beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, as well as others who would have been eligible for DACA but did not apply — in exchange for a $25 billion fund for its wall on the US/Mexico border; reallocating slots currently given to immigrants via the diversity visa lottery on the basis of ‘merit’; and preventing people from sponsoring their parents, adult children, or siblings to immigrate to the US.”

Department of Justice demands documents over sanctuary cities
Pete Williams, NBC News, January 24, 2018
“The Justice Department told 23 local governments Wednesday that they must prove they are abiding by an immigration law if they want to continue receiving money under a federal crime-fighting program… The letters demand documentary proof that their police and sheriff’s deputies are sharing information with federal immigration agents. If the communities refuse to respond, a Justice Department official said, the government would issue subpoenas ordering them to comply.”

Border Patrol agents were filmed dumping water left for migrants. Then came a ‘suspicious’ arrest.
Amy B. Wang, The Washington Post, January 24, 2018
“Alicia Dinsmore, a volunteer with No More Deaths, told The Washington Post that the group felt it was ‘suspicious’ that Border Patrol agents would arrest a known, longtime volunteer the same day the group released video that was critical of the agency.”

•Nine humanitarian activists face federal charges after leaving water for migrants in the Arizona desert
Ryan Devereaux, The Intercept, January 23, 2018
“‘I think one of the things that we’re seeing is an escalation in tactics by on-the-ground agents that are emboldened by racist and dehumanizing policies of this administration,’ said Genevieve Schroeder, a volunteer with No More Deaths. ‘It has really disturbing implications for emboldened actions that are being taken against people that are in the field, who have much less of a media platform than humanitarian aid workers or possibly sanctuary rights movement leaders.’”

•Trump Administration Waives Environmental Laws for New Mexico Border Wall
Center for Biological Diversity, January 22, 2018
“‘The Trump administration is stopping at nothing to ram through this destructive border wall,’ said Brian Segee, a senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity. ‘Trump’s divisive border wall is a humanitarian and environmental disaster, and it won’t do anything to stop illegal drug or human smuggling.’”

•Trump Campaign Uses Shutdown To Accuse Democrats Of Being Complicit In Murder 
Elise Foley, The Huffington Post, January 20, 2018
“It’s a return to form for Trump, who launched his campaign by claiming that Mexico was sending rapists and other criminals across the border, has called for a U.S.-Mexico border wall and has highlighted crimes committed by people without legal status in the country.”

•IACHR Expresses Concern for Decision of the United States regarding Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
Organization of American States (OAS), January 19, 2018
“The IACHR does not identify objective reasons to change the solid substantive considerations that for years have justified the continued existence of TPS, and considers the possibility of mass deportation of hundreds of thousands of individuals presented by the end of TPS to be of the utmost seriousness. The deportation of Salvadoran TPS beneficiaries could put the United States’ international human rights obligations at risk.”

•Lost in Court: A visit to Trump’s immigration bedlam
Julia Preston, The Marshall Project, January 19, 2018
“Instead of the efficiency the Trump administration sought, the proceedings were often chaotic. Hearing schedules were erratic, case files went missing. Judges were exasperated by confusion and delays… With the intense pressure on the court to finish cases, immigrants who had run from frightening threats in their home countries were deported without having a chance to tell the stories that might have persuaded a judge to let them stay.”

•Leaked Memo Shows White House Doesn’t Really Want a Dreamer Deal
Eric Levitz, New York Magazine, January 19, 2018
“Trump is personally inclined, at least some of the time, to notch a bipartisan victory, claim credit for achieving something that Obama failed to do, and celebrate his success in convincing Congress to make a down payment on his wall. But he is also highly impressionable and deeply racist, and surrounded by far-right ideologues who are eager to exploit both those traits to their own ends.”

•’Blatant and brazen’ Trump accused of blocking abortions for undocumented women
Ed Pilkington, The Guardian, January 26, 2018
“On this week’s 45th anniversary of supreme court’s landmark Roe v Wade ruling, lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have accused Trump-appointed officials of in effect holding pregnant women hostage in order to stop them reaching abortion clinics. Four cases in which women have been blocked have so far been confirmed, provoking a flurry of legal challenges, while the total number denied their constitutional rights could be much higher.”

Mexican Enforcement

•Mexico: Migration authorities unlawfully turning back thousands of Central Americans to possible death
Amnesty International, January 23, 2018
“Amnesty International found that 40% of the responses of 297 people that had been detained by the INM gave solid indications that a refoulement had occurred. These testimonies involved people explicitly seeking asylum or expressing fear for their lives in their country of origin, yet nevertheless being ignored by the INM and deported to their country.”
En espanol: 
Amnistía: México pone en riesgo a migrantes centroamericanos
Chron, 23 de enero de 2018
“Amnistía Internacional mencionó el caso de un conductor de autobús de Honduras asesinado tres semanas después de ser repatriado por México, a pesar de que los conductores de autobús son extorsionados con frecuencia por pandillas en el país centroamericano”.

•“Se vive un holocausto migrante”, dice el padre Solalinde
Astrid Rivera, EL UNIVERSAL, 22 de enero de 2018
“Para el sacerdote, las autoridades no tienen ‘voluntad política’ para atender el fenómeno migratorio en la frontera sur del país, puesto que no atienden las violaciones a los derechos humanos cometidas contra los migrantes. Advirtió que el gobierno mexicano se ha limitado a incrementar la presencia de elementos policiacos en la zona, sin acercarse a quienes transitan por nuestro país en búsqueda de mejores oportunidades”.

•Aumenta proporción de migrantes que eligen a México como país de destino
Noticias Xtra, 18 de enero de 2018
“México se está convirtiendo en país de destino para migrantes, pues con mayor frecuencia personas que buscan llegar a Estados Unidos deciden quedarse en territorio mexicano ante el endurecimiento de las políticas migratorias del Gobierno de Donald Trump, señaló Elizabeth Figueroa, integrante del Servicio Jesuita a Migrantes.”

Root Causes

•Secret report: Honduras’ new top cop helped cartel move coke
Christopher Sherman, Martha Mendoza and Garance Burke, ABC News, January 26, 2018
“High-ranking Honduran police officials have been accused of ordering assassinations, trafficking cocaine and leading criminal gangs. At least six former National Police officers now face U.S. criminal charges in a federal court in New York and the DEA says their investigations into Honduras police corruption are still active. The U.S. Embassy in Honduras declined to comment.”

•En tres meses desaparecieron o se extraviaron 1,411 personas en México; un caso cada 90 minutos
Ernesto Aroche Aguilar, Animal Politico, 24 de enero de 2018
“‘No sabemos si son personas que fueron halladas o no, pues de acuerdo con el marco normativo puede ser que se haya decidido sacarlos del RNPED porque en la investigación se determinó que el delito ya no era desaparición sino cualquier otro. Y en el caso de que las personas que sí hallaron, tampoco sabemos en qué condición estaban, si con vida o sin ella’, explicó Mónica Meltis, directora de Data Cívica”.

•102 condenas por desplazamientos, pero víctimas no son atendidas
Ezequiel Barrera, La Prensa Gráfica, 23 de enero de 2018
“‘El problema es que si solo se hace eso (capturar y procesar pandilleros por el delito de limitación ilegal), no se está resolviendo la complejidad del fenómeno. El Estado debe trabajar más en las comunidades, llegar no solo con la Policía, sino con otras instituciones para atender de forma integral. Más importante que eso, todavía, es que el Estado prevenga los desplazamientos’”.

•Frente a las continuas tensiones ocurridas en el contexto post-electoral CIDH saluda la creación de una Secretaría de Derechos Humanos en Honduras
Organización de Estados Americanos (OEA), 22 de enero de 2018
“‘La creación de una instancia superior al interior del Gobierno de la República de Honduras dedicado exclusivamente a la atención de los derechos humanos debe tener como consecuencia una mayor cooperación entre las entidades competentes del Estado, pero al mismo tiempo servir para una mejor interlocución con el Sistema Interamericano de Derechos Humanos’, indicó el Comisionado Joel Hernández”.

•El año más violento: los homicidios dolosos aumentaron 23% de 2016 a 2017 
Arturo Angel, Animal Politico, 22 de enero de 2018 
“El incremento más dramático se registra en Nayarit, donde la tasa de homicidios pasó de 3.13 casos en 2016 a 20.10 en 2017, que es un incremento del 542% de los homicidios dolosos en esa entidad”.

•Militarization Continues as Mexico Records Most Homicidal Year on Record
Parker Asmann, InSight Crime, January 22, 2018
“Despite posting its most homicidal year in recent years, Mexico appears poised to continue using the controversial and counterproductive strategy of relying on increased militarization to combat organized crime groups operating in the country. In December 2017, lawmakers in Mexico approved the Internal Security Law, effectively cementing the military’s role in the fight against organized crime groups and codifying the armed forces ability to intervene in domestic security issues. Mexico’s armed forces have for years been linked to rights abuses and extrajudicial killings.”

•Two-Thirds of Human Rights Defenders Killed in 2017 Were From Latin America: Report
telesur, January 22, 2018
“A majority of the Latin American countries with the highest killings are ruled by governments favorable to the United States.”

•The rise of walls in a warming world
Todd Miller, San Francisco Chronicle, January 20, 2018
“These walls generally have risen between the richer countries and the poorer ones, between those that have the heavier carbon footprints and those plunged into Parenti’s ‘catastrophic convergence’ of political, economic and ecological crises.”

•Office of the Special Rapporteur Condemns Murder of Journalist Carlos Domínguez in Mexico and Urges the State to Investigate Connection to Journalistic Activity
Organization of American States (OAS), January 19, 2018
“‘The systematic nature of the violence demands not just specific individual measures but also ones of a structural nature. […] We urge the Mexican government to replace this paradigm of impunity with one of effective investigation, prosecution and monitoring consistent with its international obligations.’”

Actions, Reports, and Resources

•Family & Diversity Immigrants Are Far Better Educated Than U.S.-Born Americans
David Bier, Cato Institute, January 25, 2018
“Not only are many of them educated, they are generally much better educated than U.S.-born Americans are. Nearly half of all diversity and family-sponsored immigrants who arrived in 2015 had college degrees. Diversity and family-sponsored immigrants were 62 percent more likely than U.S.-born natives to have graduated college. At the same time, they are no more likely to have dropped out of high school than natives.”

•Refoulement in Mexico: Overlooked, Under-Protected
Amnesty International, January 23, 2018
“‘The INM agent said to me: now that you’ve been detained, you’re screwed and you’re gonna get deported to your country.’”

InSight Crime’s 2017 Homicide Round-Up
Tristan Clavel, InSight Crime, January 19, 2018
“Record highs, all-time lows, and a few surprises: 2017 proved a remarkable year in terms of homicide rates for many countries across Latin America and the Caribbean. Once again, InSight Crime presents its annual homicide round-up to give a snapshot of murder rates around the region.”

•Protect Dreamers: America is Better with Immigrants
National Immigration Forum Action Fund, January 18, 2018
“‘America is Better with Immigrants’ highlights Dreamers and members of their communities speaking on the importance of a legislative solution not just to Dreamers but to the communities where they work and live.”

•Saving migrants on the risky Mexico border crossing
NBC News, January 18, 2018
“Trump’s border wall and the debate over DACA, on the front lines U.S. policy has been to prioritize providing medical aid and saving lives when possible, but border agents can’t help who they can’t find, which makes the volunteers the only hope for those dying in the desert.”

•Sealing the Border: The Criminalization of Asylum Seekers in the Trump Era
The Hope Border Institute and the Borderland Immigration Council, January 18, 2018
“By effectively nationalizing troublin policies, practices, patterns and a culture of abuse unique to the El Paso Sector, the Trump administration has weaponized border enforcement, immigrant detention and the immigration courts, solidifying an iron triangle of deterrence against bona fide asylum seekers, forcing them to make the painful choice between deportation and prolonged detention.”

•Punishing Refugees and Migrants: The Trump Administration’s Misuse of Criminal Prosecutions 
Human Rights First, January 18, 2018
“These directives subvert U.S. treaty obligations that prohibit the penalization of refugees for unauthorized entry or presence—protections created in the wake of World War II after many nations treated refugees seeking asylum in their countries as ‘illegal’ entrants. As a result, asylum seekers are subjected to a deeply dehumanizing system that punishes them for seeking protection and threatens to return them to countries where they will face persecution—a violation of the Refugee Convention.”

Dam Violence: The Plan that Killed Berta Cáceres
Grupo Asesor Internacional de Personas Expertas (GAIPE), November 2017
“Based on its analysis, GAIPE has identified willful negligence by financial institutions such as the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI), the Netherlands Development Finance Institution (FMO), and the Finnfund… They failed to implement appropriate, effective, and timely measures to guarantee respect for the human rights of indigenous communities affected by the Agua Zarca dam, much less to protect the life and personal integrity of Berta Isabel Cáceres Flores. Nor did they make sufficient efforts to call for the appropriate criminal investigations.”

*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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