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Central America/Mexico Migration News Brief for January 30, 2017

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We’re back for 2017! This week’s MNB focuses on the new 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

•   Las nueve medidas clave de la nueva política migratoria de Estados Unidos
Jorge Cancion, Univision, 29 de enero de 2017
“En Univision Noticias revisamos las novedades en las decisiones de Trump y hallamos varios puntos que consultamos con expertos para saber cómo podrían afectar a la comunidad inmigrante.”

•   Read Leaked Drafts of 4 White House Executive Orders on Muslim Ban, End to DREAMer Program, and More
Matthew Yglesias and Dara Lind, Vox, January 25, 2017
“In all, the combined documents would represent one of the harshest crackdowns on immigrants — both those here and those who want to come here — in memory.”

•   The Wall Is the Least Aggressive Part of Trump’s Executive Actions on Immigration
Dara Lind, Vox, January 25, 2017
“His early executive orders, especially these on immigration, suggest that Trump is serious about changing US policy to fulfill the strident immigration commitments at the center of his policy agenda. Already, he has laid out a policy agenda that is aggressive — even hostile — toward many unauthorized immigrants within the US, both those who have crossed the border seeking asylum and those who have lived here for years.

•   US Could Face Human Rights Crisis after Trump’s Xenophobic Immigration Orders
Oliver Laughland, The Guardian, 26 January 2017.
“As Trump pledges to significantly bolster the ranks of Ice agents and border patrol officers, he will effectively control a small army of enforcers empowered by a remit that is both harsh and broad.”

Refugee Ban

•   What Trump’s Executive Order on Immigration Does—and Doesn’t Do
Krishnadev Calamur, The Atlantic, January 30, 2017
“Here’s what the executive order does and doesn’t do, the challenges to it, and how the Trump administration responded.”

•   A Look at Trump’s Executive Order on Refugees, Immigration
 Alicia Caldwell, Associated Press, The Washington Post, January 28, 2017
“President Donald Trump signed an executive order Friday making major changes to America’s policies on refugees and immigration.”

•   Judge Blocks Trump Order on Refugees Amid Chaos and Outcry Worldwide
Michael Shear, Nicholas Kulish, and Alan Feuerjan, The New York Times, January 28, 2017
“The judge’s ruling blocked part of the president’s actions, preventing the government from deporting some arrivals who found themselves ensnared by the presidential order. But it stopped short of letting them into the country or issuing a broader ruling on the constitutionality of Mr. Trump’s actions.”

•   How Trump’s Rush to Enact an Immigration Ban Unleashed Global Chaos
Michael Shear and Ron Nixon, The New York Times, January 29, 2017
“As President Trump signed a sweeping executive order on Friday, shutting the borders to refugees and others from seven largely Muslim countries, the secretary of homeland security was on a White House conference call getting his first full briefing on the global shift in policy.”

•   Trump Defiantly Says ‘All Is Going Well’ on Immigration Order amid Chaos, while Obama Backs Protesters
Mark Berman and Matt Zapotosky, The Washington Post, January 30, 2017
“President Trump continued Monday to adamantly defend his immigration order temporarily banning entry into the United States for migrants from seven Muslim-majority countries and refugees from around the world, despite mounting criticism, legal challenges and questions that stretched from Capitol Hill to the United Nations.”

•   Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Democrats Demand Meeting and Answers from DHS Chief
Minority Media, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, January 30, 2017
“Senators raise alarm about the role of Stephen Bannon/Stephen Miller in revoking rights of Green Card holders, and President Trump’s plan to institute religious test for immigrants.”

•   House Democrats Demand Meeting with DHS Chief over Trump Ban
Heather Caygle, Politico, January 29, 2017
“Top Democrats on committees with judiciary, homeland security and foreign affairs oversight are demanding an “emergency” meeting with DHS Secretary John Kelly to discuss President Donald Trump’s controversial executive action on refugees.”

•   Leading Voices From Business, Entertainment Worlds Slam Donald Trump’s Muslim Ban
Gabe Ortiz, America’s Voice, January 30, 2017
“A flood of pro-immigrant, pro-refugee, pro-Muslim voices from the business, financial, and entertainment worlds have joined demonstrators on the ground to condemn the Donald Trump Administration’s unconstitutional executive orders, which have resulted in chaos at airports across the US and abroad.”

•   Consejos de expertos hispanos a los residentes legales musulmanes: no salgan del país
Jorge Cancion, Univision, 29 de enero de 2017
“Una orden ejecutiva del presidente Donald Trump firmada el viernes puso a miles de inmigrantes musulmanes refugiados, residentes e incluso ciudadanos, al borde de la deportación.”

•   Protests Erupt at Airports Following Trump Travel Ban
Associated Press, The Washington Post, January 29, 2017
“President Donald Trump’s travel ban barring ci
tizens of seven predominantly Muslim nations entry into the U.S. has sparked protests around the country Saturday night and early Sunday morning.”

•   Trump’s Immigration Ban Is Illegal
David Bier, The New York Times, January 27, 2017
“But the order is illegal. More than 50 years ago, Congress outlawed such discrimination against immigrants based on national origin.”

Border Wall, Enforcement

•   Trump to Order Mexican Border Wall and Curtail Immigration
Julie Hirschfeld Davis, David E. Sanger, and Maggie Habermanjan, The New York Times, January 24, 2017
“President Trump on Wednesday will order the construction of a Mexican border wall — the first in a series of actions this week to crack down on immigrants and bolster national security, including slashing the number of refugees who can resettle in the United States and blocking Syrians and others from “terror prone” nations from entering, at least temporarily.”

•   Trump’s Border Wall Attacks the Wrong Immigration Crisis
Seth Stodder, The Agenda, January 25, 2017.
“The biggest immigration crisis facing the country has nothing to do with Mexicans illegally crossing the border. Instead, it’s that hundreds of thousands of Central Americans are fleeing brutal violence and extreme poverty in their home countries and seeking asylum in the United States — but our immigration system is overwhelmed and completely unprepared to handle the flood.”

•   5 Challenges Trump May Face Building a Border Wall
 Kevin Schaul and Samuel Granados, The Washington Post, January 25, 2017
“5. Migrants are determined and often have few options: Increased violence in some Central American countries has pushed migrants and asylum seekers to the U.S. at a breakneck pace.”

•   Latin America Leaders Condemn Trump’s Mexico Wall at CELAC Summit
Lucia Newman, Al Jazeera News, January 26, 2017
“Our commitment is to defend the right to migrate, the most important form of movement. It is not the flow of capital or the flow of merchandise, but rather the mobility of human beings, which is a human right,” Correa added.

•   Retiring Border Chief Calls Trump’s Wall a Waste of Time, Money
Brian Ross, ABC News, 23 January 2017
“I think that anyone who’s been familiar with the southwest border and the terrain … kind of recognizes that building a wall along the entire southwest border is probably not going to work,” Gil Kerlikowske, the commissioner of the CBP under President Barack Obama since 2014, said shortly before leaving office last Friday.”

•   Homeland Security Secretary Has Said Border Wall Alone Will Not Work
Ron Nixon, The New York Times, January 25, 2017
“It has to be a layered defense,” Mr. Kelly said during an exchange with Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona. “If you build a wall, you would still have to back that wall up with patrolling by human beings, by sensors, by observation devices.”

•   Little National Security Benefit to Trump’s Executive Order on Immigration
Alex Nowrasteh, Cato Institute, January 25, 2017
“However, a rational evaluation of national security threats is not the basis for Trump’s orders, as the risk is fairly small but the cost is great. The measures taken here will have virtually no effect on improving U.S. national security.”

•   U.S. Considering 20% Tax on Imports to Pay for Border Wall, White House Says
Michael A. Memoli, Los Angeles Times, January 26, 2017
“The Trump administration said Thursday that it would seek to impose a tax on imports, at least from countries with which the U.S. runs a trade deficit, as a way to pay for the wall on the border with Mexico that is one of President Trump’s central campaign promises.”

•   The Economics of the Mexican Border
Jon Talton, The Seattle Times, January 26, 2017
“But working out the balance sheet is more complicated, something I learned working on the team at the Arizona Republic that produced the award-winning 2003 series “Dying to Work.” (Hundreds of migrants die in the desert every year trying to reach American cities and towns, or rendezvous points established by smugglers).”

•   Trump’s Plan to Halt ‘Catch and Release’ of Migrants Could Hit a Wall
Frank Jack Daniel, Reuters, January 26, 2017
“OK, Mr Trump, you don’t want them released, show me where you are going to hold them – show me the building,” said Ruben Garcia, the director of Annunciation House, a Roman Catholic charity in El Paso, Texas, that gives shelter to migrant families.

•   Mark Morgan, Border Patrol Chief, Out a Day after Trump Border Wall Decree
CBS News, January 26, 2017
“Morgan’s departure was part of an effort by the incoming administration at the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection to show the agency will be headed in a new direction, a source told CBS News.”

•   ACNUR observará el impacto de la decisión de EE.UU. de construir muro fronterizo
Centro de Información de las Naciones Unidas, 26 de enero de 2017
“La dependencia de la ONU señaló que espera que Estados Unidos conserve su papel de liderazgo en un momento de gran necesidad de protección a los refugiados y que continúe su tradición de amparar a quienes huyen de conflictos y persecución.”

Interior Enforcement, Sanctuary Cities

•   Sanctuary Cities See Legal Holes in Trump’s Immigration Orders
Mica Rosenberg, Dan Levine and Andy Sullivan, Reuters, January 27, 2017
“President Donald Trump’s executive order directing federal agencies to take away funding from self-proclaimed sanctuary cities had one big exception for one of his favorite constituencies: the police, who would be protected from cuts. But Trump’s opponents say that very exemption makes it much more likely that a judge could strike down that section of the order as unconstitutional.”

•   D.C., Other ‘Sanctuary Cities’ Defiant in the Face of Trump’s Threats
Aaron C. Davis, Peter Jamison and Fenit Nirappil, The Washington Post, January 25, 2017
“Being a sanctuary city means we are not an agent of the federal government . . . . It means that our police can focus on serving D.C. residents—protecting and serving them—no matter their immigration status.” —Mayor Bowser

•   A Little-noticed Move by Trump Could Make It Easier to Deport Immigrants
Craig Timberg and Jerry Markon, The Washington Post, January 27, 2017
“A little-noticed provision in one of President Trump’s executive orders this week stripped federal privacy protections from many immigrants, raising fears among advocacy groups that information people willingly submitted to the federal government during the Obama administration could now be used to help deport them.”

•   Trump Order Views Most Undocumented Immigrants as Deportation Priorities
Roque Planas, The Huffington Post, January 26, 2017
“Buried in President Donald Trump’s executive order for a crackdown on so-called ‘sanctuary’ jurisdictions, signed Wednesday, is his administration’s first official statement of which undocumented immigrants it will classify as a deportation priorities. The short answer is: almost anyone.”

•   Trump’s Immigration Executive Order is a Blueprint for Mass Deportation
David Leopold, Medium, January 26, 2017
“Trump’s plan is a blueprint to implement his campaign promises of mass deportation, and it puts in place the Deportation Force to carry out his plan. It’s clear that the executive orders were crafted by the most extreme anti-immigrant zealots in Trump’s orbit.”

•   U.S. Mayors Issue Powerful Pro-Immigrant Resolution
Joshua Breisblatt, American Immigration Council Immigration Impact, January 23, 2017
“The United States Conference of Mayors approved a resolution last week calling for immigration reform, the continuation of programs that protect DREAMers and the need for adopting a more welcoming approach to immigration.”

Other U.S. Government Updates

•   GOP Senator Lays Groundwork for Broad Immigration Overhaul
Kristina Peterson and Laura Meckler, The Wall Street Journal, January 24, 2017
“A Republican senator is trying to break years of congressional gridlock over immigration with a new plan that would pair changes sought by Democrats with those pushed by his own party

•   Cruz Introduces Bill Letting States Bar Refugees
Max Greenwood, The Hill, January 24, 2017
“The State Refugee Security Act requires the federal government to notify a state at least 21 days before resettling a refugee there. Under the law, governors could block refugees from being resettled in their states unless federal officials can provide “adequate assurance” that the individual doesn’t pose a security threat.”

•   Deciding Asylum: Challenges Remain as Claims Soar
Dennis Stinchcomb and Eric Hershberg, AULA Blog, January 19, 2017
“The exodus of children and women from the three countries of Central America’s Northern Triangle – El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala – is accelerating, but information gaps and institutional flaws are obstructing asylees’ access to legal protections and hindering equitable decision-making on their claims in the United States.”

•   Former Executive Director of Anti-Immigrant Hate Group FAIR Joins Trump Administration
Stephen Piggott, Southern Poverty Law Center, January 23, 2017
“Julie Kirchner, the former executive director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), has been named chief of staff at U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the largest federal law enforcement agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS).”

•   On Trump’s Latin America Team: Who’s on Transition and Who’s Likely First In
Latin America Goes Global, January 18, 2017
“Global Americans took a close look to the Latin Americanists working on the Trump transition teams and those reputed to be under consideration for administration appointments.”

•   Schumer, Immigration Groups Brace for Trump Actions
Niels Lesniewsk, Roll Call, January 23, 2017.
“Senate Democrats have been supporting a bipartisan effort led by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., to pass legislation that would effectively make DACA part of the law rather than subject to administrative discretion.”

•   Trump Risks Isolating Critical Neighbor with Mexico Feud
Eli Stokols, Nahal Toosi and Louis Nelson, Politico, January 26, 2017
“Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on Thursday called off his trip to Washington scheduled for next week, after Trump moved forward with his plan for a long-promised border wall and needled his southern neighbor about forcing Mexico to pay for it.”

•   A Private Prison Is Allegedly Keeping Immigrant Detainees From Their Attorneys
Adolfo Flores, Buzzfeed News, 18 January 2017.
“Immigration advocates on Wednesday filed a federal complaint accusing one of the largest private prison companies in the US of preventing detainees from meeting with attorneys.”

•   Five Chilling Ways Senator Jeff Sessions Could Attack Immigrants as Attorney General
David Leopold, Medium, January 5, 2017
“Since he entered the U.S. Senate twenty years ago, Jeff Sessions has made his mark as one of the most vehemently nativist, anti-immigrant legislators in American history.”

Mexican Enforcement

•   México usará migración centroamericana como “moneda de cambio” con Trump, alerta activista
Mathieu Tourliere, Proceso, 23 de enero de 2017
“Las declaraciones del canciller Luis Videgaray Caso durante la presentación del decálogo del presidente Enrique Peña Nieto respecto a la relación México-Estados Unidos, llevan a pensar que el gobierno mexicano usará la migración centroamericana “como moneda de cambio” ante la administración de Donald Trump, afirma Rubén Figueroa, integrante del Movimiento Migrante Mesoamericano (MMM).”

•   Mexico Will Push US for Orderly Repatriation of Migrants
TeleSur, January 24, 2017
“Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said Monday that as part of a comprehensive dialogue with the new Trump administration, he will ask that any expulsion of Mexican migrants from the United States take place in an orderly, coordinated manner.”

•   La trata invisible
Lydiette Carrión, En El Camino, 23 de julio de 2014.
“Casi todas las mujeres que migran sufren una agresión sexual y estas agresiones sistemáticas cumplen una función: las expone, las quiebra para que sean una presa más fácil de tratantes y explotadores sexuales.”

•   Preparing to Meet Trump, Mexican Leader Seeks Common Ground
Azam Ahmed, The New York Times, January 23, 2017
“In his first major speech since the change of administrations in the United States, President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico promised a robust dialogue with President Trump based on shared interests and mutual respect, but insisted that Mexico’s sovereignty — and the protection of its citizens — would be the guiding forces for his government.”

•   As Migrants Strain Border Towns, Pressure Builds on Mexico to Act
Kirk Semple, The New York Times, January 27, 2017
“As more migrants are blocked at the American border and more undocumented immigrants are deported from the United States, border communities in Mexico could be overwhelmed, migrant shelters could overflow, the ranks of the unemployed could swell, and Mexico will bear the strain, officials and advocates say.”

•   Militarized Approach Continues as Mexico to Send 500 Troops to Border Town
Parker Asmann, Insight Crime, January 23, 2017
“The decision indicates that the military remains a go-to option for the administration of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, despite the fact that militarized efforts nationwide to combat organized crime have shown considerable shortcomings.”

•   Gas-cost Protests Disrupt Mexico Border Crossings
Elliot Spagat, The Salt Lake Tribune, January 23, 2017
 “Demonstrators have taken control of Mexican border crossings with the U.S. several times in the past month to oppose Mexican gasoline price hikes in an unusual, if not unprecedented, show of protest.”

Root Causes, Country Conditions

•   Isidro Baldenegro, Mexican Environmental Activist, Is Shot to Death
Elisabeth Malkin, The New York Times, January 18, 2017
“Isidro Baldenegro López, an indigenous activist whose struggle to protect the pine-oak forests of Mexico’s Sierra Madre range won him the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize, has been killed by a gunman, the authorities said on Wednesday.”

•   The Deportees Taking Our Calls
Jonathan Blitzer, The New Yorker, January 23, 2017.
“How American immigration policy has fuelled an unlikely industry in El Salvador.”

•   Honduras Extends Police Reform Commission until 2018
Victoria Dittmar, Insight Crime, January 24, 2017
“The president of Honduras has announced that a reform commission designed to purge the country’s police forces will continue its work until 2018, a move that could strengthen his bid for re-election.”

•   Journalist Shot Dead in Honduras
AFP, Yahoo News, January 17, 2017
“A journalist has been shot dead in northern Honduras, hospital officials said, becoming the 69th member of the media killed in the violence-plagued Central American country since 2003.”

•   Remittances to El Salvador Surge to Record High in 2016
Reuters, VOA News, January 23, 2017
“Remittances to El Salvador jumped by 7.2 percent in 2016 compared to the same period a year earlier, reaching the highest level in the country’s history and marking the biggest increase in a decade, El Salvador’s central bank reported Monday.”

•   Rights Defenders: “Do They Feel Safe in Mexico?” – UN Expert Launches Official Visit to Assess the Situation
United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner, January 11, 2017
 “I look forward to this timely opportunity to gather first-hand information and to hold an impartial genuine dialogue with the Mexican Government, civil society and other stakeholders,” the Special Rapporteur said. “My goal is to take the pulse of Mexican rights defenders, understand their situation, hear about their challenges, and come up with concrete ideas to bolster Government’s efforts.”

•   Fraud, Contraband Equivalent to 3.5% of Guatemala GDP: Report
James Bargent, Insight Crime, January 20, 2017
“Profits from customs fraud and contraband in Guatemala amounted to almost $2.3 billion in 2015 according to a new report, highlighting how commercial crime networks extend far beyond the operations of the disgraced former government.”

•   Guatemala Demilitarization Plan Bucks Regional Trend
Leonardo Goi, Insight Crime, January 23, 2017
“Guatemala’s recent effort to demilitarize public security may represent a break from the heavy-handed anti-crime policies adopted across much of Latin America, and could set an example for other countries to follow.”

•   Investment in Central America Deters Immigration, Aid Expert Says
Lisa Nikolau, Humansophere, January 26, 2017
“As President Donald Trump ramps up policies to deter Central American migrants from entering the U.S., aid experts are more urgently calling for increased foreign aid to the countries migrants are fleeing from.”

Actions, Reports, Resources

•   Action: Speak Out for Immigrant and Refugee Rights!
Latin America Working Group, January 25, 2017.
“These actions threaten the basic civil and human rights of our communities as well as individuals and families seeking refuge at our borders. They undermine our fundamental American values of welcoming the immigrants and refugees who truly make our nation great. We reject language that criminalizes immigrants and pushes them out without considering their rights, no matter their status, and our government should too!”

•   Resources for Families Facing Deportation and Separation/Guia para familias enfrentando deportación y separación
Women’s Refugee Commission, December 9, 2017
“The following guides and reports provide information about family separation due to detention and deportation, safety planning and child welfare for families facing deportation./ Las siguientes guías y informes proporcionan información sobre la separación de familias debido a la detención y deportación y guías para las familias que enfrentan la deportación.”

•   10 Things to Know about How Trump’s Executive Order will Harm Women and Children Seeking Protection
Women’s Refugee Commission, January 25, 2017
“On January 25, 2017, President Trump signed two executive orders relating to immigration. Although these orders have not yet been implemented, this backgrounder discusses the potential impact of the Executive Order on “Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements” on women and children seeking protection in the United States.”

•   Urge Your Senators & Representatives to Oppose Trump’s Pending Refugee Announcement
Interfaith Immigration Coalition
“It is critical that Members of Congress hear their constituents decry these announcements and weigh in directly with Trump to urge him to immediately abandon these plans.”

•   Women’s Pledge of Unity
We Belong Together
“We pledge to stand up for human rights, dignity and our democracy. We will not be silent as so many of us — women, children, people of color, immigrants and refugees, Muslims, LGBTQ communities and people with disabilities — are targeted by the government.”

•   Immigrant and Refugee Children: A Guide for Educators and School Support Staff
Teaching Tolerance, 2017
“This guide was created for educators, school support staff and service providers who teach, mentor and help open the doors of opportunity for undocumented youth and unaccompanied and refugee children currently living in the United States. Educators, school support staff and service providers are often the first individuals a student and/or family comes out to as undocumented.”

•   In Sanctuary Counties, Crime is Significantly Lower and Economies are Stronger Than in Comparable Nonsanctuary Ones, Says New CAP-NILC Report
Tanya Arditi, Center for American Progress, January 26, 2017
“In one of the first systematic analyses comparing sanctuary counties to nonsanctuary counties across a range of social and economic indicators, a report released jointly today by the Center for American Progress and the National Immigration Law Center finds that crime is statistically significantly lower in sanctuary counties compared to nonsanctuary counties.”

•   Summary and Analysis of Trump Executive Order on Visa Issuance/Screening and Refugees
American Immigration Lawyers Association, January 27, 2017
“AILA and the American Immigration Council issued a summary and analysis of the January, 27, 2017, Executive Order issued by President Trump, ‘Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.’”

•   Annotated Border Immigration Enforcement Executive Order
National Immigrant Justice Center, January 27, 2017
“The order below puts forth the president’s proposal to build a massive wall on the border in addition to a dangerous array of policies that will undermine basic due process protections and the basic rights of asylum seekers seeking safety on our southern border.”

•   Annotated Interior Immigration Enforcement Executive Order
National Immigrant Justice Center, January 26, 2017
“The order below outlines massive changes to the interior enforcement of the immigration laws, placing unconstitutional restraints on community policing efforts and announcing a set of enforcement priorities that are certain to breed racial profiling while tearing communities apart.”

•   AILA and NIJC Policy Brief: ICE’s Detainer Program Operates Unlawfully
American Immigration Lawyers Association & National Immigrant Justice Center, 18 January 2017
“At a time when ICE issues more than 5,000 detainers in violation of federal law and the Constitution every month, states and localities that have restricted or are considering restricting their cooperation are well within their rights to question participation in an unlawful program.”

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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.