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Central America/Mexico Migration News Brief for July 12, 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.



Spotlight

•LAWG Joins International NGOs in Urging Sec. Pompeo to Express U.S. Support for Human Rights in Mexico with President & President-Elect
Latin America Working Group, July 11, 2018

“A strong bilateral relationship must include attention to human rights as well as support for Mexico’s efforts to strengthen the rule of law.”

U.S. Enforcement

•As Migrant Families Are Reunited, Some Children Don’t Recognize Their Mothers
Miriam Jordan, Katie Benner, Ron Nixon, and Caitlin Dickerson, The New York Times, July 10, 2018

“One mother had waited four months to wrap her arms around her little boy. Another had waited three months to see her little girl again. When the reunions finally happened Tuesday in Phoenix, the mothers were met with cries of rejection from their children.”

•Some migrant children are reunited with parents as Trump administration misses court deadline
Molly Hennessy-Fiske, Victoria Kim, and Eliza Fawcett, Los Angeles Times, July 10, 2018

“The federal government on Tuesday began its first major wave of reuniting migrant children with their parents amid continued chaos, confusion and legal wrangling over when and how the rest of the thousands of families separated on the border would be brought back together.”

•The enormous cost of toxic stress: Repairing damage to refugee and separated children
Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Brookings Institution, July 9, 2018

“The trauma that many of these parents and children are experiencing on American soil threatens to undermine their future development via the impact of toxic stress.”

•Reunited but traumatised: Salvadoran family split up at border seeks recovery
Sarah Kinosian, The Guardian, July 6, 2018

“Even the briefest separation seems to reawaken panic that her father won’t return.”

•Judge rejects Trump administration bid to indefinitely detain immigrant children with parents
Victoria Kim and Kristina Davis, Los Angeles Times, July 9, 2018

“A federal judge in Los Angeles dealt the Trump administration a significant blow Monday by rejecting its attempt to indefinitely detain immigrant children caught crossing the border illegally with their parents.”

•Trump is set to separate more than 200,000 U.S.-born children from their parents
Mark Schneider, The Washington Post, July 6, 2018

“More than 100 times that number of children — all U.S. citizens — will be placed in similar jeopardy if the Department of Homeland Security begins programs to deport more than 58,000 Haitians on July 22, 2019, more than 262,000 Salvadorans on Sept. 9, 2019, and 86,000 Hondurans on Jan. 5, 2020. Parents will be faced with the decision of whether to take their children — most of whom speak mainly English and know only life in this country — back to countries deemed by the State Department as not safe for travel, some with the highest homicide rates in the hemisphere.”

•SWEC Sues to Block Family Separation Policy
The Southwest Environmental Center, July 5, 2018

“The Southwest Environmental Center (SWEC) announced today the filing of a lawsuit to enjoin the Trump Administration’s Family Separation and Detention Policy.”

•Judge rules DHS must give asylum seekers individualized parole hearings
Lydia Wheeler, The Hill, July 2, 2018

“A federal district court judge ruled Monday that the Trump administration must consider on an individual basis whether immigrants who come to the U.S. seeking asylum represent a flight risk or a danger to their community before they can be detained if they’ve proven a credible fear of persecution.”

•New Trump admin order for separated parents: Leave U.S. with kids or without them
Julia Ainsley and Jacob Soboroff, NBC News, July 3, 2018

“After a court order to reunite more than 2,000 migrant children who were separated from their parents in May and June, the Trump administration has instructed immigration agents to give those parents two options: leave the country with your kids — or leave the country without them.”

•Immigrant mothers were moved outdoors during Kirstjen Nielsen’s secretive visit to detention. They shouted for help to no avail.

Ryan Devereaux and Debbie Nathan, The Intercept, July 3, 2018

“Each recounted being told by guards that afternoon to tidy up their dormitories. They were then directed onto a soccer field bathed in glaring sun with temperatures in the high 90s. One woman heard another say she did not want to go. ‘But the guard said we had to, that it was an order because some important officials were coming,’ the woman said.”

•Immigrant toddlers ordered to appear in court alone
Christina Jewett and Shefali Luthra, The Texas Tribune, June 27, 2018

“As the White House faces court orders to reunite families separated at the border, immigrant children as young as 3 are being ordered into court for their own deportation proceedings, according to attorneys in Texas, California and Washington, D.C.”

•Inside The Courts Where Some Immigrants Plead Guilty Without Knowing What’s Happening
John Stanton, BuzzFeed News, July 11, 2018

“Lawyers, and even a judge, say Operation Streamline’s rapid-fire pace is too fast for some defendants to understand.”

•‘If we’re all together, I can handle it’
Maria Sacchetti, The Washington Post, July 9, 2018

“In the end, the Gomez family would be separated in a way they never expected.”

•Pentagon Says It Won’t Pay for Housing of Immigrants
Lara Seligman, Foreign Policy, July 9, 2018

“The U.S. Defense Department made clear Monday that it would not foot the bill for the housing of some 32,000 detained immigrants whom the Trump administration wants sheltered at military installations as part of its “zero tolerance” enforcement policy on America’s border with Mexico.”

•Southwest Border Data Shows ‘Zero Tolerance’ Didn’t Deter Migrants After All
Adam Isacson, Washington Office on Latin America, July 5, 2018

“It turns out that U.S. Border Patrol apprehended 15.4 percent fewer migrants at the border, between the official ports of entry, in June compared to May. A statement from the Homeland Security Department credits ‘the implementation of the Administration’s zero-tolerance policy.’ Not so fast. Border Patrol almost always measures fewer migrant apprehensions in June compared to May.”

•Trump administration to turn away far more asylum seekers at the border under new guidance

Tal Kopan, CNN, July 12, 2018

“Under new guidance given Wednesday to the officers who interview asylum seekers at the US’ borders and evaluate refugee applications, claims based on fear of gang and domestic violence will be immediately rejected.”

•Out of the spotlight, Mexicans fleeing cartels face worst asylum odds
Acacia Coronado, My Statesman, July 11, 2018

“‘The worst question we have to ask ourselves is where do we have left to run if we are denied,’  he told the American-Statesman.”

•Do You Care About the Rule of Law? Then Act Like It
Sonia Nazario, The New York Times, July 11, 2018

“Opponents of immigration have long had one rallying cry: rule of law! But most of the people seeking asylum at the Adelanto Detention Facility followed the law to a T. They presented themselves at ports of entry on our southern border and asked for asylum. The Trump administration seems to be using every tactic possible to prevent them from gaining that asylum, even if they clearly qualify.”

•While migrant families seek shelter from violence, Trump administration narrows path to asylum

Emma Platoff, Alexa Ura, Jolie McCullough, and Darla Cameron, The Texas Tribune, July 10, 2018

“But under President Donald Trump, immigration lawyers and historians say, the legal path to safety in this country is being systematically narrowed, a process that started long before family separations drew international attention to the nation’s southern border.”

•Impact of ‘zero tolerance’ on display in Texas immigration court. One after another, asylum seekers are ordered deported
Molly Hennessy-Fiske, Los Angeles Times, July 5, 2018

“‘I’m not here to give you an opportunity.’ He ordered her deported.”

•Asylum Seekers on U.S.-Mexico Border Are Waiting for Days in the Hot Sun, Told the U.S. Is “Full”
Democracy Now!, July 3, 2018

“As the Trump administration accuses migrants of illegally entering the United States, Democracy Now! went to the international bridge in Brownsville, Texas, and found asylum seekers waiting for days in the hot sun after being told the United States was full.”

•U.S. and Mexico discussing a deal that could slash migration at the border
Joshua Partlow and Nick Miroff, The Washington Post, July 10, 2018

“The proposal, known as a ‘safe third country agreement,’ would potentially require asylum seekers transiting through Mexico to apply for protection in that nation rather than in the United States.The proposed agreement has divided the Mexican government and alarmed human rights activists who maintain that many of the migrants are fleeing widespread gang violence and could be exposed to danger in Mexico.”

Mexican Enforcement

•Mexico’s Own Refugee Surge
Ioan Grillo, U.S. News & World Report, July 10, 2018

“While many Salvadorans head to the United States, Cashpal has stayed here in Mexico, where she has begun the process of applying for refugee status. She says the family members had no money to travel further and are concerned about the reports of harsh treatment of refugees by U.S. authorities.”

•Juez determina que INM violó derecho a defender los derechos humanos de la CMDPDH al impedir su acceso a estaciones migratorias
Comisión Mexicana de Defensa y Promoción de Derechos Humanos, July 4, 2018

“En la sentencia, el Juez determinó que la negativa del INM era inconstitucional por violar el derecho de la CMDPDH de defender los derechos humanos de las personas migrantes detenidas en estaciones migratorias”.

•Concluye en Guatemala reunión para dialogar sobre la separación y reunificación de familias migrantes

Gob.mx, July 10, 2018

“El Secretario de Relaciones Exteriores, Luis Videgaray, se reunió con Ministros de El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, y la Secretaria de Seguridad Interior de los Estados Unidos en la ciudad de Guatemala para dialogar sobre la separación y reunificación de familias migrantes en Estados Unidos”.

Root Causes

•Trump works to thank Guatemala for moving embassy by weakening anti-corruption panel
Franco Ordoñez, Miami Herald, July 10, 2018
“After Guatemala joined the United States in moving its embassy to Jerusalem, the Trump administration has been working to weaken an international commission on corruption that is targeting the Guatemalan president, according to three people familiar with the discussions.”

•Nicaragua crisis: ’38 killed in bloodiest day’ – NGO
BBC, July 10, 2018

“Sunday was the deadliest day in Nicaragua since a wave of anti-government protests started in April, a local human rights group says.”

•Mexico: 40% of country is paralyzed by violence, says new chief of staff
Tom Phillips, The Guardian, July 10, 2018

“As much as 40% of Mexican territory is prisoner to chronic insecurity and violence, the future chief of staff of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the incoming president, has claimed.”

•Police chief suspended after journalists are attacked while reporting in Mexico City
Paola Nalvarte, Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, July 9, 2018

“The director of internal affairs of the capital SSP, Agustín González Guerrero, said during a press conference that Gerardo Cortés Torres, police chief of the Asturias sector where the attack occurred, was suspended in the wake of the incident. According to La Jornada, another 30 agents of the SSP are being investigated for crimes of abuse of authority and aggression against journalists Mendoza and Corro.”

•¿Cómo elegir al fiscal general? Lo que quiere AMLO vs. la propuesta de #FiscalíaQueSirva
Arturo Angle, Animal Político, July 10, 2018

“Pero más de 300 organizaciones civiles agrupadas en el colectivo #FiscalíaQueSirva han insistido, desde 2017, que no se debe nombrar a un fiscal sin antes reformar el artículo 102 de la Constitución, pues consideran que el procedimiento aprobado NO garantiza la total autonomía ni del fiscal ni de la fiscalía”.

•Guatemala Judges Release Suspects in Major Corruption Case
Felipe Puerta, InSight Crime, July 4, 2018

“The recent decision of two alternate judges in Guatemala to release 10 people implicated in an extensive customs fraud case that toppled a presidency in 2015 has raised suspicions of improper influence in the country’s judiciary.”

•Guatemala: Indigenous Kaqchikel Protest Against Cement Plant Attacked by Paramilitaries
Telesur, July 4, 2018

“A group of armed people wearing balaclavas attacked and threatened the indigenous Kaqchikel community in Santa Fe Ocaña in San Juan Sacatepequez, 15 kilometers away from Guatemala City Tuesday. The attack is believed to be related to the construction of a cement plant in their territory, which the community opposes.”

•Nicaragua’s Diverse Opposition is in Agreement: Ortega Must Go
Geoff Thale, Washington Office on Latin America, July 10, 2018

“Rather than succeeding in suppressing the demonstrations, this time government repression seems to have generated even more resistance.”

•Honduras AG Reelection: A Pyrrhic Victory for the Status Quo?
Felipe Puerta, InSight Crime, July 3, 2018

“Honduras’ Congress rejected its own commission’s proposal for a replacement for the current attorney general, which could signal a temporary triumph for powerful political and economic forces intent on maintaining impunity for elite corruption.”

Actions, Reports, and Resources

•Tantamount to a Death Sentence: Deported TPS Recipients Will Experience Extreme Violence and Poverty in Honduras and El Salvador
Centro Presente, Alianza Americas, and Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice, July 2018

“Our findings indicate that forcing TPS recipients to return to Honduras and El Salvador would place them in imminent harm and danger, and that there is a high likelihood that returning nationals will be murdered or suffer extreme violence.”

•Gross Human Rights Violations in the Context of Social Protests in Nicaragua
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, June 21, 2018

“The instant report is about the human rights situation in Nicaragua as observed by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) during its working visit to the country from May 17 to 21, 2018, in relation to the violent events that have been taking place since the
State repressed the protests on April 18, 2018, and subsequent events over the following
Weeks.”


*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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