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Central America/Mexico Migration News Brief for July 2, 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.

*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.


•Keep Families Together
The Latin America Working Group

“Background on the policies and impact of family separation and detention, our efforts to stop it, and ways you can get involved—it’s never too late to stand up for what’s right!”

•LAWG Press Release: Telling Central American Migrants to Stay at Home Ignores Conditions on the Ground and Human Right to Seek Protection
The Latin America Working Group, June 27, 2018

“Ahead of the visit of Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen to Guatemala to meet with the presidents of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, the Latin America Working Group (LAWG) urges the United States to recognize an individual’s right to seek protection from persecution and violence and reaffirm a commitment to rights-based assistance to address the root causes of this migration.”

U.S. Enforcement

•Exclusive: Trump administration plan would bar people who enter illegally from getting asylum
Dara Lind, Vox News, June 29, 2018

“A sweeping regulation being considered by the Department of Justice would likely stop most Central Americans from winning asylum in the US.”

•Judge bars separation of immigrants from children, orders reunification
Reuters, June 27, 2018

“A federal judge on Tuesday ruled that U.S. immigration agents could no longer separate immigrant parents and children caught crossing the border from Mexico illegally, and must work to reunite those families that had been split up in custody.”

•Trump’s Executive Order Rewards Private Prison Campaign Donors
Sharita Gruberg, Center for American Progress, June 28, 2018

“Imprisoning entire families is not an appropriate or a viable solution; it is inhumane, ineffective, and unnecessary. Yet the administration has proposed giving billions of federal taxpayer dollars to for-profit companies to implement this immoral policy.”

•One Family’s Story of Separation: A Cartoon Account
Mark Fiore, KQED News, June 26, 2018

“Nazario sat in a cell in a private prison in San Diego, weeping. His 5-year-old daughter had been taken away by U.S. border agents. Filemona had been by his side almost every day of her life. Now he had no idea where she was, whether she was all right, and when he would see her again.”

•’All I hear is my daughter, crying’: a Salvadoran father’s plight after separation at border
Sarah Kinosian, The Guardian, June 24, 2018

“Though he knows it’s a lie, he tells her that she can’t return to El Salvador because the US government’s plane is broken; the truth is that he has no idea what will become of her.”

•México presentará una resolución en la OEA contra la separación de los migrantes en EE UU
Antonia Laborde, El Pais, June 26, 2018

“El vecino de Estados Unidos llevará el viernes al Consejo Permanente de la Organización de Estados Americanos (OEA) una resolución para condenar la ‘cruel, inhumana e injustificada’ separación de familias inmigrantes en la frontera, la mayoría de ellas centroamericanas”.

•Flores agreement: Trump’s executive order to end family separation might run afoul of a 1997 court ruling
Dara Lind and Dylan Scott, Vox News, June 20, 2018

“The solution to the crisis of family separation at the US-Mexico border, the Trump administration has decided, is to get rid of a 1997 federal court decision that strictly limits the government’s ability to keep children in immigration detention.”

•UNHCR urges family unity at southern US border
UNHCR, June 18, 2018

“‘There are effective ways to ensure border control without putting families through the lasting psychological trauma of child-parent separation,’ UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said.”

•The Trump administration separated 2,000 kids from their parents in just 6 weeks
Zack Beauchamp, Vox News, June 15, 2018

“The AP acquired internal Department of Homeland Security data on the program, covering the period of April 19 to May 31. Over that time span, 1,995 children were taken from their migrant parents at the border. That’s an average of roughly 48 kids separated from their families per day.”

•US military plans migrant tent camps amid Trump crackdown
CNN, June 23, 2018

“A draft memo obtained by Time magazine outlines plans to build ‘austere’ tent camps to house 25,000 migrants.”

•Pence’s message to Central American people: Come legally or don’t come
Franco Ordoñez, McClatchy DC Bureau, June 28, 2018

“‘I have a message for the people of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, straight from my heart, and from the heart of the American people,’ Pence said. ‘If you want to come to the United States, come legally, or don’t come at all.’”

•Customs And Border Agency Halts Many ‘Zero Tolerance’ Detentions, Citing Workload
Bill Chappell, NPR, June 26, 2018

“Despite pressure from President Trump for the U.S. to arrest and prosecute anyone caught crossing the border illegally, U.S. Customs and Border Protection says its agents will temporarily suspend the practice of detaining adults who arrive with children — something that had been a tenet of Trump’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy.”

•Scenes From a Migration Crisis—On Both Sides of the Border
Alice Driver, National Geographic, June 29, 2018

“Though these numbers were similar to those in 2016, asylum seekers have reported a slow response by officials, claiming only five or ten people are seen each day in some locations, including the Gateway to the Americas International Bridge.”

•Today’s US-Mexico ‘border crisis’ in 6 charts
Douglas Massey, The Conversation, June 27, 2018

“Given President Trump’s demand for the construction of a border wall, many people may no doubt be surprised to learn that net undocumented migration to the U.S. has been zero or negative for a decade.”

•MSF Condemns Trump Administration policies that criminalize asylum seekers and harm children
Medecins Sans Frontieres, June 20, 2018

“New asylum rules and policies imposed by the United States government are cruel and inhumane, and deny safety to thousands of Central Americans fleeing extreme violence, said the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) on Wednesday.”

•’If we go back they will kill us all’: impossible choices at US border
Nina Lakhani, The Guardian, June 20, 2018

“Ramírez had come prepared with a police report, which she believed would persuade US immigration authorities to grant asylum. ‘I have proof, if we go back, they will take my son or kill us all, I’m trying to keep my family together … I’m seeking asylum, I wouldn’t enter illegally.’”

•’Every day here we are waiting to die’: Mexican journalist detained in U.S. fears for life
Carmen Merrifield, CBC News, June 29, 2018

“‘I’ve been thinking it’s better to face death in Mexico than to continue in this place,’ says Mexican journalist Emilio Gutiérrez-Soto who, with his son Oscar, is being held in immigration detention in Texas.”

•Cages Are Cruel. The Desert Is, Too.
Francisco Cantú, The New York Times, June 30, 2018

“It is important to understand that the crisis of separation manufactured by the Trump administration is only the most visibly abhorrent manifestation of a decades-long project to create a “state of exception” along our southern border.”

•MS-13 Isn’t the Problem Trump Says It Is
Sahil Chinoy, Jessia Ma, and Stuart A. Thompson, The New York Times, June 27, 2018

“In reality, MS-13 members make up a fraction of Border Patrol arrests and a small part of gang activity in the United States. While the group has committed brutal murders on Long Island, there is no evidence that the gang is increasingly sending members into the country.”

•“Actually, we do care, Melania”
John D. Feeley and James D. Nealon, Univision, June 25, 2018

“A bill presented in Congress seeks to refocus U.S. efforts by helping the source countries of Central American migration create the conditions that make their citizens want to stay at home.”

•Ronal Francisco Romero Died in Agony in ICE Custody. Now His Family Is Preparing to Sue.
Betsy Woodruff, The Daily Beast, June 7, 2018

“The mother of a man who died in agony in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody is preparing to sue the United States government for his death.”

Mexican Enforcement

•Migrants Are Stuck In Mexico With Violence Back Home And ‘Zero Tolerance’ In The U.S.
Lulu Garcia-Navarro, NPR, June 24, 2018

“She brought her two children along Mexico’s terrifying migrant trail by herself, months into her third pregnancy. She is due in August. But this tremendous risk was worth it because all her attempts to find safety in Honduras failed.”

•At a Mexican shelter, migrants who fled death threats prepare for ‘zero tolerance’ at the border
Eléonore Hamelin and Laura More, Tampa Bay Times, June 22, 2018

“They worry most about fleeing, not about what comes next and what’s happening in America.”

•Mexico: An unsafe country for thousands of refugees fleeing violence in Central America
Medecins Sans Frontieres, June 20, 2018

“Mexico is effectively becoming a final destination for thousands of vulnerable refugees and migrants, left exposed to further violence by criminal gangs who prey on them.”

•Mexico seeks to become ‘country of refuge’ as US cracks down on migrants
Luis Gómez Romero, The Conversation, June 15, 2018

“From restrictions on asylum claims to mass deportations, the Trump administration’s draconian immigration policies may actually push Mexico closer to becoming the ‘refuge country’ it claims to be.”

•Mexico Deported More Central American Migrants Than US in FY 2012-2017 – Think Tank
Mark Browne, CNS News, June 27, 2018

“651,063 individuals (55 percent of the total) were deported by Mexico compared to 539,467 deported by the U.S., the MPI figures show.”

•Migra mexicana también separa familias como en Estados Unidos, señalan
Fabiola, Regeneración, June 21, 2018

“Niños migrantes, acompañados de sus padres, también son separados en México, indicaron expertos, luego de la difusión de la política estadounidense que indignó al mundo”.

•Mexico’s crackdown on Central American migrants may fade after election
Jeremy Schwartz, My Statesman, June 20, 2018

“In reality, Mexico has ramped up its immigration enforcement activity in ways that would surprise most Americans.”

Root Causes

•Addressing the Root Causes of the Immigration Crisis
Elizabeth Kennedy, Background Briefing with Ian Masters, June 27, 2018

“It’s definitely important to address the conditions in Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras so that those who are born here, and have their families and homes here, can stay.”

•Violence keeps Central Americans coming to US despite Trump
Marcos Aleman and Joshua Goodman, AP News, June 21, 2018

“‘This isn’t about immigrants chasing the American dream anymore,’ said Sofia Martinez… ‘It’s about escaping a death sentence.’”

•Matan a tres mujeres en las últimas horas
Aurora Cáceres and Ezequiel Barrera, La Prensa Gráfica, June 29, 2018

“Dos hermanas fueron asesinadas en Apopa y la otra víctima, en Quezaltepeque. La Policía confirmó que este año hay un incremento de asesinatos de mujeres”.

•El Salvador Police Convictions Fall Short in Curbing Abuses
Victoria Dittmar, Insight Crime, June 26, 2018

“The recent convictions of police officers for extrajudicial executions are undeniably significant, positive steps and could be a message from Salvadoran judicial authorities to the national and international public that they are indeed addressing the problem. However, the effect these convictions will have on ending police violence remains to be seen, especially given that it is rooted in a standard government practice of using ‘mano dura,’ or zero-tolerance measures to combat gangs.”

•¿Ha aumentado el envío de remesas a El Salvador?
Edwin Teos, La Prensa Gráfica, June 26, 2018

“El Salvador recibió $2,227.6 millones en remesas familiares a mayo de 2018. Esto significa que registró un crecimiento de 8.9 % en relación con lo recibido en el mismo período del año pasado”.

•Gangs in El Salvador are using women’s bodies for ‘revenge and control’
Nick Paton Walsh, Barbara Arvintidis, and Julia Gavarrete, CNN, June 14, 2018

“In this tiny Latin American country, women bear the brunt of a brutal gang culture.”

•La crisis fuerza la salida de los nicaragüenses
Carlos Salinas, El Pais, June 21, 2018

“Desde hace tres semanas miles de nicaragüenses se aglomeran a las afueras de la sede de Migración”.

•Violence in Nicaragua Undermines Peace Talks 2 Months Into Uprising
Elisabeth Malkin, The New York Times, June 20, 2018

“What is emerging instead is a campaign of terror by government-backed paramilitary forces, often accompanied by anti-riot police, that appears to be calculated to cow citizens into resignation. At the same time, the government is engaged in halting negotiations with an unwieldy alliance of opposing groups.”

•Terror in Guatemala
Simon Granovsky-Larsen, NACLA, June 21, 2018

“Between May 9 and June 8, seven Guatemalan campesino-Indigenous activists were killed.”

•Juicio oral y público de los autores materiales del crimen de Berta Cáceres será en septiembre
Criterio.hn, June 19, 2018

“El Tribunal de Sentencia con Jurisdicción Nacional ha reservado en su agenda del 10 al 28 de septiembre próximo, para realizar el juicio oral y público en la causa de los ocho supuestos autores materiales del crimen de la lideresa indígena y ambientalista, Berta Cáceres”.

•Mexico sent in the army to fight the drug war. Many question the toll on society and the army itself
Steve Fisher and Patrick J. McDonnell, Los Angeles Times, June 18, 2018

“Critics say the military — trained in tactics of war — is ill suited for police tasks, and that its deployment is undercutting trust in the military, long among the nation’s most respected institutions.”

Actions, Reports, and Resources

•Trump’s Executive Order and the Flores Settlement Explained
Refugees International, June 28, 2018

“At the heart of this issue is the Flores Settlement, which regulates the detention, release, and treatment of children in the custody of federal immigration authorities.”

•The Flores Settlement and Family Separation at the Border
Women’s Refugee Commission, June 15, 2018

“WRC has developed this backgrounder to clarify how Flores relates to the practice of family detention and family separation in U.S. immigration history. First and foremost, Flores DOES NOT require the family separation policies we’re seeing today and is NOT a loophole.”

•What’s Happening to Families at the Border 101
Human Rights First, June 19, 2018

“So you want to know what’s happening to children at the border and aren’t sure where to start? No problem! It’s complicated. Here we’ve answered some frequently asked questions about the Trump Administration’s cruel zero-tolerance policy that is ripping apart families seeking protection in the United States.”

•US: Poor Medical Care, Deaths, in Immigrant Detention
Human Rights Watch, June 20, 2018

“Poor medical treatment contributed to more than half the deaths reported by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) during a 16-month period, Human Rights Watch, the American Civil Liberties Union, Detention Watch Network, and National Immigrant Justice Center said in a report released today.”

•Human Consequences of the Interior Immigration Enforcement Executive Orders

“A small sample of the people who have been arrested, jailed, are in immigration proceedings, or are facing deportation as a result of the January 25th, 2017 Executive Orders, and subsequent policies.”

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