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Central America/Mexico Migration News Brief for July 25, 2017

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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.

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Photo by Emma Buckhout, LAWG


US House Appropriations for FY 2018

LAWG Strongly Opposes Increased Funding for Border Wall & Deportation Force
Latin America Working Group, July 18, 2017

“As the bill [FY18 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Appropriations] stands, it is one of the most inflated budgets for border militarization and ramped up migration enforcement… These proposals make no sense at a time of historic lows in border apprehension figures.”

House Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Bill Includes Funding for Border Wall, Security Build-Up Along U.S.-Mexico Border
Washington Office on Latin America, July 17, 2017
“The [House Appropriations] bill includes $1.6 billion for a border wall. An estimated 1,317 miles of the 2,000-mile border between the US and Mexico lack fencing. The request would fund 74 miles of fencing in FY2018—at the cost of $21.2 million per mile—bringing the total estimated cost of a barrier along the entire southern border to over $28 billion.”

Engineers Begin Preparatory Work for Border Wall Construction
Ron Nixon, New York Times, July 18, 2017

“The Department of Homeland Security has moved $20 million from other programs to pay for the construction of several border wall prototypes. Construction of the prototypes for a border wall is set to begin this summer in the San Diego area.”

U.S. Immigration Enforcement

Exclusive: U.S. Immigration Raids to Target Teenaged Suspected Gang Members
Julia Edwards Ainsley, Reuters, July 21, 2017

“U.S. immigration agents are planning nationwide raids next week to arrest, among others, teenagers who entered the country without guardians and are suspected gang members, in a widening of President Donald Trump’s crackdown on illegal immigrants… The raids represent a sharp departure from practices during the presidency of Barack Obama. Under Obama, minors could be targeted for deportation if they had been convicted of crimes, but were not arrested simply for suspected gang activity or membership.”

Deporting People Made Central America’s Gangs. More Deportation Won’t Help.
Daniel Denvir, Washington Post, July 20, 2017

“[Sessions’] insistence that an immigration crackdown will keep Americans safe is either a lie or an expression of ignorance. In reality, it is U.S. foreign policy and the very sort of deportation policies Sessions embraces that have created the ‘horrific violence’ and ‘lawlessness’ he expresses concern about, and there’s no reason to believe that continuing these policies will do anything other than cause more harm.”

In San Antonio Smuggling Case, a Fatal Journey in a Packed and Sweltering Truck
Manny Fernandez, Richard Pérez-Peña and David Montgomery, New York Times, July 24, 2017

“Even as President Trump has made it clear that he will not tolerate illegal immigration, the tragedy illustrated the extremes people will go to to sneak into the United States and opened a window into human smuggling at the border… Survivors who were interviewed by investigators said they had been loaded into the trailer from various locations in or near Laredo.”

A Broader Sweep
Jennifer Medina and Miriam Jordan, New York Times, July 21, 2017

“ I.C.E. is in some ways operating in enemy territory in California, home to more than two million undocumented immigrants and hostile to the idea of mass deportations. Because local law enforcement often will not turn over undocumented immigrants in their custody, I.C.E. must make most of their arrests at homes, at workplaces and out on the street, which is more complicated than simply picking people up from jails — and potentially more dangerous.”

Without Visas, Carnival Workers Are Trapped at Home in Mexico
Aulina Villegas and Victoria Burnett, New York Times, July 22, 2017

“The lack of [H-2B] visas has denied hundreds of families in the city an annual income that saves them from living hand-to-mouth and deepened the problems of a town struggling, like much of the state, with high crime rates. Of an estimated 4,600 to 6,000 residents who normally work the carnival season according to city officials and recruiters, about a third have been left behind.”

The Trump Administration at Six Months: A Sea Change in Immigration Enforcement
Muzaffar Chishti and Jessica Bolter, Migration Policy Institute, July 19, 2017

“During the final years of the Obama administration, just 13 percent of the estimated 11 million unauthorized immigrants were considered a priority for deportation because of a disqualifying criminal conviction, recent removal order, or recent illegal entry… The Trump administration expanded the pool dramatically with its executive order on interior enforcement, and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials have made clear that all unauthorized immigrants have broken the law and are, therefore, subject to removal.”

US: Homeland Security Needs Reform, Not Expansion
Human Rights Watch, July 19, 2017

“The Department of Homeland Security should not expand expedited removal from the United States for asylum seekers… Human Rights Watch has documented cases and gathered information that points to abusive treatment by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that violates the right to seek asylum.”

Former Diplomats Urge State Department to Keep Refugee Office
Carol Morello, Washington Post, July 17, 2017

“A group of prominent foreign policy experts on Monday called on Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to keep the office responsible for managing refu­gee inflows a part of the State Department instead of moving it to the Department of Homeland Security… a leaked memo showed the administration contemplating a relocation of the Bureau of Population Refugees and Migration. Such a change… would adversely shift the bureau’s focus from humanitarian and policy concerns to solely security issues.”

En los primeros 6 meses las deportaciones de Trump no superan a las de Obama, pero inmigrantes creen que lo peor está por venir
Jorge Cancino, Univisión, 20 de julio de 2017

“Los primeros seis meses del gobierno del presidente Donald Trump dejaron una profunda huella en la comunidad inmigrante. Transcurrido ese tiempo, los números pueden sorprender: Trump ha deportado un 13% menos indocumentados que su antecesor Barack Obama, aunque sí ha aumentado casi un 40% los arrestos”.

Casi 100,000 TPS hondureños, salvadoreños y haitianos están pagando hipotecas
Pilar Marrero, La Opinión, 20 de julio de 2017

“Al menos la mitad de los salvadoreños, haitianos y hondureños con Estatus Temporal de Protección (TPS) que viven en los Estados Unidos son dueños de vivienda y casi 100,000 hipotecas quedarían en el aire si el gobierno de Donald Trump decide no renovarles su situación legal”.

Trump’s Attack on One Class of Immigrants Won’t Make America Great
 Pablo Alvarado and Martha Arevalo, The Hill, July 20, 2017

“Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly recently gave 50,000 Haitians a mere six-month extension of their TPS, which was supposed to be enough time for them to settle their affairs and get ready to go home — to a country struggling with a cholera epidemic, political instability and chronic poverty laid upon the lingering effects of a catastrophic hurricane in 2016 and the devastating earthquake of 2010.”

20 Democratic Attorneys General Urge Trump to Keep DACA, Say It Has Boosted Economy
Maria Sacchetti, Washington Post, July 21, 2017

“Attorneys general from 19 states and the District of Columbia are urging President Trump to save an Obama-era program that protects nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants from deportation, and offering to help him defend it in court. Led by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, the group of Democrats is twice the size of the 10-state coalition of Republican officials that have threatened to sue the Trump administration if it does not start to phase out the program by Sept. 5.”

Este es el proyecto de ley para proteger a los dreamers presentado por un senador republicano y otro demócrata
Jorge Cancino, Univisión, 20 de julio de 2017

“Los senadores Richard Durbin (demócrata por Illinois) y Lindsey Graham (republicano por Carolina del Sur) presentaron este jueves el proyecto de ley Dream Act 2017, que incluye un camino para legalizar la permanencia de miles de jóvenes indocumentados que entraron siendo niños a Estados Unidos y se les conoce como dreamers. De ser aprobado, el proyecto de ley…otorgaría un estatus de residente condicional a los dreamers, y el secretario del Departamento de Seguridad Nacional cancelaría las órdenes de deportación que pesan sobre ellos”.

The Mothers Being Deported by Trump
Sarah Stillman, The New Yorker, July 22, 2017

“[Trump’s] Administration’s agents are targeting, in large numbers, individuals for whom public-safety justifications for removal don’t apply. This includes a considerable number of women who have no criminal records and who are either the primary caretakers of young children, or the primary family breadwinners, or both.”

Trump Refugee Restrictions Allowed for Now; Ban on Grandparents Is Rejected
Adam Liptak, New York Times, July 19, 2017

“The Supreme Court on Wednesday temporarily upheld broad restrictions against refugees entering the United States but allowed grandparents and other relatives of American residents to come while legal challenges to the Trump administration’s travel ban move forward.”

Deportan a mexicano luego de vivir 16 años en EU
Milenio, 18 de julio de 2017

“Un migrante indocumentado mexicano que había pasado sus últimos 16 años formando una familia en el estado de Ohio, y que nunca cometió un crimen, ni utilizó ningún beneficio del Estado, fue deportado a México…[Jesús] Lara López, de 37 años de edad, había permanecido en Estados Unidos en forma indocumentada desde 2001”.

A Defender of the Constitution, With No Legal Right to Live Here
Jennifer Medina, New York Times, July 17, 2017

“Last month, Ms. Mateo was officially sworn in as a lawyer, taking an oath to uphold the United States Constitution. After years of flaunting her status as undocumented and openly defying immigration law, she is now part of the legal system and hopes to represent clients who, like her, entered the United States illegally.”

Mexican Migration Enforcement

Centroamericanos optan por quedarse en Monterrey
Esther Herrera, El Financiero, 25 de julio de 2017
“La zona metropolitana de Monterrey (ZMM) se ha vuelto una ruta en el camino de los migrantes que buscan establecerse un tiempo antes de seguir su camino hacia el vecino país del norte, pero también se ha convertido en un receptor de retornados de Estados Unidos, tanto mexicanos como de otras nacionalidades”.

Se disparó número de menores migrantes hacia México y EU
Juan Carlos Miranda, La Jornada, 23 de domingo de 2017

“El número de menores de edad (niñas, niños y adolescentes) que migraron desde países centroamericanos hacia México, o de dichos países y de aquí hacia Estados Unidos, llegó a su máximo histórico en 2016, cuando más de 100 mil fueron aprehendidos por autoridades migratorias de ambos países, indica el anuario de migración y remesas México 2017 elaborado por la Fundación Bancomer y el Consejo Nacional de Población (Conapo)”.

Activistas alertan del aumento de las deportaciones de centroamericanos desde México
Univisión, 16 de julio de 2017

“Cientos de centroamericanos son deportados desde México en su intento por llegar a EEUU, una cifra que va progresivamente en aumento… Activistas se hicieron eco del informe más reciente publicado por el Consejo Nacional de Población, que señala que entre 2010 y 2015 la devolución de migrantes centroamericanos aumentó de 61,000 a 132,000, lo que supone un incremento del 116%”.

La deportación de inmigrantes hondureños disminuyó el 36,3 % al 14 de julio
EFE, 22 de julio de 2017

“La deportación de hondureños indocumentados entre enero y el pasado día 14 disminuyó en un 36,3 % en relación al mismo período de 2016, según cifras divulgadas hoy por el Observatorio Consular y Migratorio de Honduras… Del total de inmigrantes, 13.957 provenían de México, 11.019 de Estados Unidos y los 72 restantes de otros países, como Guatemala, El Salvador y Belice”.

Alejandro Solalinde: “Nicaragua traicionó a los migrantes”
Carlos Salinas Maldonado, Confidencial, 22 de julio de 2017

“El gobierno de México, se ha convertido, a través del Instituto Nacional de Migración, que yo digo el Instituto Criminal de Migración, en un azote para los migrantes. Ahora mismo tenemos una denuncia de un nicaragüense, Elvis Garay, que fue víctima de los abusos dentro de una estación migratoria. Llevamos tres o cuatro años en esto… Unos policías cobardes, asociados con agentes de Migración, lo golpearon, lo torturaron y lo violaron”.

Rescatan a 19 migrantes centroamericanos en Neza; 11 son menores
El Universal, 14 de julio de 2017

“Dos hombres fueron detenidos por presuntamente resguardar a 19 migrantes centroamericanos, 11 de ellos menores de edad, quienes estaban en un domicilio de la colonia El Sol, en Nezahualcóyotl… Los detenidos fueron presentados ante el Ministerio Público Federal, al igual que los 19 migrantes centroamericanos”.

Root Causes

The Canadian Company Mining Hills of Silver – and the People Dying to Stop It
Nina Lakhani, The Guardian, July 13, 2017

“The Escobal mine controversy is not an isolated incident. Across Latin America, Canadian-owned mines have been linked to at least 44 deaths and 400 injuries between 2000 and 2015… A quarter of the documented violence took place in Guatemala, where the embassy is accused of promoting business interests over human rights.”

Why the MS-13 is Not an Immigration Problem
Sarah Kinosian, Washington Office on Latin America, July 18, 2017

“The MS-13’s membership makes up less than one percent of all criminally active gang members in the United States and Puerto Rico, and there is no indication that the number of MS-13 members in the United States has increased in the past few years… There is no evidence that MS-13 leadership in El Salvador has widespread systematic connection or control over actions in the United States, including immigration.”

Maras mantienen sitiados a populosos barrios de San Pedro Sula
La Prensa, July 17, 2017

“La guerra entre las maras Salvatrucha, MS-13, Barrio 18 y otras bandas delictivas que se disputan el dominio en los sectores Rivera Hernández y Chamelecón, en la periferia de San Pedro Sula, ha dado origen a las ‘fronteras de la muerte’ en esos lugares”.

Are Central American Gangs Growing in Southern Mexico?
Parker Asmann, InSight Crime, July 19, 2017

“So far in 2017, authorities in Mexico’s southeastern state of Chiapas, which shares a border with Guatemala, have detained 148 gang members believed to be affiliated with Central American ‘maras’… Forty-four percent of those detained were Salvadoran, 36 percent were Mexican and 20 percent were Honduran.”

8 Killed in Gunbattle, Clashes in Southern Mexico City
Associated Press, July 20, 2017

“Mexican military forces killed a suspected gang leader and seven others in a bloody shootout Thursday in southern Mexico City, which has largely avoided such large-scale drug violence. The mid-day shootout and roadblocks of burning buses set up by gang members created a scene that is common in other Mexican cities in the grasp of drug cartels, but rare in the capital.”

The Paradox of Mexico’s Mass Graves
Ioan Grillo, New York Times, July 19, 2017

“The truth is that the conflict is neither just crime nor civil war, but a new hybrid type of organized violence. We will never understand its nature until Mexico truly investigates how these mass graves came about. And that investigation includes the role of the state itself.”

#GobiernoEspía: Spying and Violence Against Mexico’s Journalists and Rights Defenders
Caroline Kuritzkes, Latin America Working Group, July 24, 2017

“Over one month after the New York Times and two civil society reports unveiled that the Mexican government targeted journalists, anti-corruption activists, and human rights defenders with advanced spyware, Mexican authorities have met the allegations with blatant denial and unconvincing promises of fair and complete investigation. Once more, the Mexican government has failed to acknowledge the severity of attacks against activists and journalists… seeking answers about endemic organized crime-linked violence.”

Mexico Deploys Military Police on Streets but Fails to Control Violence
Elena Toledo, PanAm Post, July 17, 2017

“Since 2016, the presence of security forces in Mexico have reportedly increased by over 88 percent. Last year, 2,124 military officers were deployed in the states of Durango, Tamaulipas, Nuevo León and Michoacán. Around 4,000 officials were deployed in Sinaloa, Durango, Nuevo León, Veracruz, Puebla and Michoacán through May 2017.”

Mexico’s Police are Overworked, Underpaid and Understaffed: Report
Parker Asmann and Steven Dudley, InSight Crime, July 14, 2017

“According to a new breakdown of the country’s police from Mexico’s National Statistics and Geography Institute (Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía – INEGI), police officers in Mexico work on average 65.4 hours per week, with 70 percent of officers working more than 48 hours per week.”

Actions, Reports, and Resources

Tell Your Representative to #SaveTPS for Hondurans and Salvadorans
Latin America Working Group, July 18, 2017

“Over 250,000 Hondurans and Salvadorans receive protection from deportation and access to work in the United States under the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program. These are our classmates, coworkers, and neighbors. They have been living and working along side us for years. Many of them have U.S.-born children and make essential contributions to our country’s economy… Yet, the Trump Administration is too blind to see this.”

Protecting the DREAM: The Potential Impact of Different Legislative Scenarios for Unauthorized Youth
Jeanne Batalova, Ariel G. Ruiz Soto, and Michelle Mittelstadt, Migration Policy Institute, July 2017

“MPI researchers find 1.8 million people under the Senate bill…and slightly more than 1 million under the House bill… would be immediately eligible to earn conditional legal status because they already have the required high school education. Of these, a smaller subset—1.5 million under the Senate bill and 938,000 under the House legislation—would be likely to satisfy the college completion, military enlistment, or other professional criteria to get legal permanent residence (aka a green card).”

Dangerous Territory: Mexico Still Not Safe for Refugees
Human Rights First, July 2017

“Human Rights First has concluded that Mexico is far from a ‘safe third country’ for refugees… Migrants and refugees face acute risks of kidnapping, disappearance, sexual assault, trafficking, and other grave harms in Mexico… Deficiencies, barriers, and flaws in the Mexican asylum system leave many refugees unprotected.”

Defenders of the Earth: Global Killings of Land and Environmental Defenders in 2016
Global Witness, July 13, 2017

“Murder is just one of a range of tactics used to silence land and environmental defenders, including death threats, arrests, sexual assault and aggressive legal attacks… Honduras remains the most dangerous country per capita over the past decade. Nicaragua is beginning to rival that dubious record. An inter-oceanic canal is set to slice the country in two, threatening mass displacement, social unrest and the violent suppression of those who stand against it.”

U.S. Department of State Country Reports on Terrorism, 2016
U.S. Department of State, July 19, 2017

“Since 2014, Mexico’s border security enforcement capabilities have increased in focus and effectiveness along its southern border to address the surge of migrants from Central America. There has also been an increase in migrants from beyond the region attempting to enter Mexico through its southern border. Mexico’s border enforcement efforts are shared among Federal Police, military authorities, and customs and immigration agencies… Corruption sometimes hinders the effectiveness of enforcement efforts.”

IACHR Welcomes Important Progress Against Torture in Mexico
Leer en español: CIDH saluda avances importantes en materia de tortura en México
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, July 18, 2017
“The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) welcomes the entry into force in Mexico of the General Law to Prevent, Investigate and Punish Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. This important legislation brings to fruition the efforts of the Mexican State in its entirety to eliminate this practice, which violates human rights… The practice of torture in Mexico has been an issue of concern to the IACHR for years.”


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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