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Central America/Mexico Migration News Brief for May 25, 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: Loren Elliott/Reuters


•LAWGEF at Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission: Protect the Space for Honduran Citizens to Defend their Rights
Lisa Haugaard, Latin America Working Group Education Fund, May 18, 2018

“The core of what the international community most needs to accomplish in Honduras is to protect the space for them and so many others to do their job defending rights, reporting truth, and organizing for a Honduras that better meets the needs and aspirations of its citizens.”

U.S. Enforcement

•Border Patrol agent fatally shoots female migrant, official says
Molly Hennessy-Fiske, Los Angeles Times, May 23, 2018

“‘They shot her in the head for running,’ she says. ‘They killed her.’”

•Two Americans were detained by a Border Patrol agent after he heard them speaking Spanish
Amy B. Wang, Washington Post, May 21, 2018

“‘We were just talking, and then I was going to pay,’ Suda told The Washington Post. ‘I looked up [and saw the agent], and then after that, he just requested my ID.”

•National Guard Has Eyes on the Border. But They’re Not Watching Mexico.
Manny Fernandez, New York Times, May 15, 2018

“The troops operating and monitoring high-tech surveillance equipment along the border have been told they are prohibited from using it to look into Mexico.”

•Immigrant families separated at border struggle to find each other
Lomi Kriel, Houston Chronicle, May 24, 2018

“But once immigrant families, many asylum seekers from Central America, are separated at the border, they struggle to find each other among the three behemoth federal agencies in charge of their care. Advocates say few procedures are in place to ensure they reunify.”

•More than 450 caravan migrants made it into U.S.
Stephen Dinan, Washington Times, May 22, 2018

“More than 450 people from the illegal-immigrant caravan managed to make it into the U.S., officials told Congress on Tuesday. Of those just 122 were arrested for jumping the border, while more than 330 others showed up at official ports of entry and demanded asylum.”

•For families of vanished migrants, unidentified remains mean answers never come
Bob Ortega, CNN, May 15, 2018
“But if the United States does not know how many migrants die in aggregate, it knows even less about who died in particular. There is no centralized, federal system to identify migrant remains, only a patchwork of state, local and volunteer efforts. So, when a would-be crosser doesn’t survive, his or her family is often left in limbo.”

•Crackdown on immigrants takes a toll on federal judge: ‘I have presided over a process that destroys families’
Lauren Villagran, Los Angeles Times, May 24, 2018

“‘See, I have presided over a process that destroys families for a long time, and I am weary of it,’ said Brack one day in his chambers in Las Cruces. ‘And I think we as a country are better than this.’”

•House members are demanding a vote on immigration — and leadership may not be able to stop them
Tara Golshan, Vox, May 18, 2018

“Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA) has been leading a move to get a majority of House members to sign on to a discharge petition that would put forward floor votes on immigration, despite Speaker Paul Ryan’s opposition.”

•DHS Officials Sought Negative Information on Haitians Before Ending Vital Humanitarian Program
Jorge Rivas, Splinter News, May 15, 2018

“On November 20, 2017, the Trump administration announced it would end Temporary Protected Status for Haitians. At the time, the administration said it was revoking the status because there was no longer a humanitarian need for it. But internal emails made public today show that in the months before the announcement, a top official at United States Citizenship and Immigration Services sought seemingly negative details about Haitian TPS holders.”

•Officials resigned reportedly after pressure to cancel temporary protected status for immigrants
Lorelei Laird, ABA Journal, May 14, 2018

“President Donald Trump’s administration ignored advice from its own diplomatic experts when it pressured reluctant Department of Homeland Security officials to end Temporary Protected Status for Honduran nationals, the Washington Post reported.”

Mexican Enforcement

•Mexico holds presidential debate addressing issues of border security and trade
Franc Contreras, CGTN, May 22, 2018

“Mexico’s four presidential candidates faced off on issues of border security and commercial trade – focusing on the North American Free Trade Agreement and on questions of how Mexico should treat undocumented immigrants from Central America.”

•Las mentiras y verdades sobre migración y frontera en el segundo debate presidencial
Animal Politico, May 21, 2018

“Los cuatro candidatos presidenciales se encontraron en Tijuana; esto es lo que Verificado 2018 encontró en sus dichos sobre temas fronterizos.”

•EU pretende convertir a México en “filtro” para solicitantes de asilo y centro de detención migratorio
J. Jesús Esquivel, Proceso, May 17, 2018

“El pacto que pretende concretar el gobierno de Trump con el de Peña Nieto, transformaría a México en un centro de procesamiento de inmigrantes extranjeros que antes de llegar a la frontera con Estados Unidos serían sometidos a un riguroso escrutinio por parte de agentes migratorios mexicanos para determinar si cumplen con los requisitos para recibir asilo político o humanitario.”

•Migrant shelters in Mexico facing new challenges with fewer resources
EFE, Al Día, May 15, 2018

“Shelters for Central American migrants in Mexico are facing enormous challenges because of the lack of resources, overcrowding and the rise in crime.”

Root Causes

•There is only one gun store in all of Mexico. So why is gun violence soaring?
Kate Linthicum, Los Angeles Times, May 24, 2018

“Yet on this issue, like so many aspects of life in Mexico, the influence of its powerful neighbor to the north is keenly felt: Each day the army gun store sells on average just 38 firearms to civilians, while an estimated 580 weapons are smuggled into Mexico from the United States.”

•Honduran refugee risks all riding the ‘beast’ in Mexico
Francesca Fontanini , The UN Refugee Agency, May 22, 2018

“‘Every day it was a challenge to go to work, I did not know if I would return to my house. But I had no other choice – I needed money to live and support my sister and my mother, with whom I lived,’ says Armando.”

•Human Rights Defenders Killed in Guatemala
Lisa Schlein, VOA, May 20, 2018

“The U.N. human rights office reports the recent killing of several human rights defenders in Guatemala shows an alarming deterioration in the rule of law as threats increase against those working on behalf of indigenous and minority rights.”

•Abril 2018 La insurrección de la conciencia
Revista Envío, May 2018

“En este histórico abril, cuando empezó a correr la sangre en Managua y después en todo el país y durante varios días, fuimos noticia. Parece dirigido, planificado, organizado, pero fue espontáneo, real, inesperado. Por sus dimensiones y consecuencias, el estallido de abril sorprendió a todo el país y a los mismos jóvenes que lo iniciaron. El régimen Ortega-Murillo fue el principal sorprendido.”

Actions, Reports, and Resources

•A Timeline: How the Trump Administration is Rolling Back Protections for Children
KIND, May 22, 2018

•NGO Statement Opposing Mexico as a ‘Safe’ Third Country

May 22, 2018
“Denying access to protection in the United States and forcing migrants to seek protection in Mexico would be devastating for those fleeing violence in their own countries, as Mexico has repeatedly failed to protect the most vulnerable.”

•Corruption that Kills: Why Mexico needs an International Mechanism to Combat Impunity
Open Society Justice Initiative, May 2018

“For all of the crimes that have been committed in Mexico, criminal accountability remains virtually absent. Indeed, impunity has been a deliberate part of the Mexican government’s policy: atrocity crimes have flourished, in part, because of the failure to effectively investigate and prosecute the perpetrators, especially when the perpetrators are thought to be public officials.”

*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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