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Central America/Mexico Migration News Brief for May 27, 2016

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Welcome to LAWG’s Migration News Brief (MNB), a compilation of this week’s top articles and reports related to issues of migration from Central America and Mexico (articles in English and Spanish). Please note, throughout the summer months, dependent on the capacity of LAWG, the MNB will be sent out either weekly or bi-weekly.

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Root Causes

•   Running for Their Lives: Fleeing Gangs, Central American Refugees Fight Deportation From the U.S.
Leighton Akio Woodhouse, The Intercept, May 18, 2016
“But these sanguine figures mask the gritty persistence of an ongoing humanitarian catastrophe. Most of the decline in the influx has resulted not from a decrease in violence in Central America, but from the Obama administration’s success in subcontracting its unwanted role in the drama to Mexico….Apprehensions in Mexico have gone up by 71 percent, without an accompanying expansion of screenings for legitimate asylum claims.”

•   Deadly Gang Extortion Rackets Drive Emigration from El Salvador
Anastasia Maloney, Thomas Reuters Foundation, May 16, 2016
“Salvadorans have always emigrated north in search of better paid jobs. But as the country struggles to contain ferocious gang violence, it is the threat of attack and the burden of extortion rackets that are pushing more of its citizens to flee, and their businesses to close.”

•   On the Mexico Border, a Surge of Migrants ahead of a Possible ‘Trump Wall’
Joshua Partlow, The Washington Post, May 25, 2016
“‘In my country, they’re going to kill me. And I can’t die right now. There are so many things I want to do,’ said Zavala, a 17-year-old who wants to be a chef and take singing classes.”

•   Body Count Points to a Mexican Military Out of Control
Azam Ahmed and Eric Schmitt, The New York Times, May 26, 2016
“The statistics, which the government stopped reporting in early 2014, offer a rare, unguarded glimpse into the role the Mexican military has assumed in the war against organized crime. In the last decade, as the nation’s soldiers and marines have been forced onto the front lines, human rights abuses surged.”

•   Women’s Murderers Evade Justice as Femicide Surges in Guatemala
TeleSUR, May 23, 2016
“According to Guatemala’s national forensic investigations body, 222 women have been the victims of violent killings in the first four months of 2016 alone.”

•   A Latin American Humanitarian Emergency Invisible to the World
Daniela Pastrana, IPS News, May 18, 2016
“‘This is a humanitarian crisis,’ said Bertha Zúñiga Cáceres, referring to the generalised violence in Mexico and in Honduras and other countries of Central America, which has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and is a product of transnational crime, but is invisible to the international community.”

•   New Honduras Anti-Corruption Body Drops Hints about Strategy
Mike LaSusa, InSight Crime, May 20,2016
“An internationally supported anti-corruption body inHonduras has just completed its first month of official activities, providing some early signs that it intends to take a follow-the-money approach to pursuing corrupt officials.”

•   The Gangs that Cost 16% of GDP
The Economist, May 21, 2016
“Salvadoreans pay $756m a year, about 3% of GDP, to gangs….The study estimates that the total cost of violence, including the amount households spend on extra security and the lost income of people deterred from working, is nearly 16% of GDP, the highest level in Central America.”

•   El Salvador Throws Out Gang Truce and Officials Who Put it in Place
Alberto Arce, The New York Times, May 20, 2016
“El Salvador’s attorney general has begun arresting law enforcement officials who helped carry out a truce between gangs that, until just a few years ago, was central to the nation’s strategy for taming its infamous violence.”

•   Mexican Journalist Shot Dead, the Sixth in 2016
Roy Greenslade, The Guardian, May 19, 2016
“Another reporter has been killed in Veracruz, a Mexican state regarded as one of the most dangerous for journalists in a country regarded as one of the most dangerous in the world for journalists.”

•   Police, Soldiers Swarm Mexico’s Acapulco, Killings Continue
The Associated Press, May 23, 2016
“Experts say Acapulco shows the limitations of the government’s security strategy. Federal police, almost none of whom are from the city, quickly get lost once they leave the coastal boulevard and ascend into twisting, hillside neighborhoods. Their heavy weapons are ill-suited to urban policing, and they’re hampered as well by Mexico’s unwieldy judicial system and a lack of investigative training.”

Mexican Enforcement

•   La extraña desaparición de Maximiliano Gordillo
Gardenia Mendoza, La Opinión, 19 de mayo de 2016
“Tiene 18 años, fue aparentemente detenido por uniformados, y lleva casi dos semanas desaparecido. La impunidad se viste de gala en México.”

•   Los menores migrantes deben recibir trato de refugiados en México: ONG
Carolina Gómez Mena, La Jornada, 15 de mayo de 2016
“A los menores de edad originarios de Centroamérica que transitan por México se les debe dar trato de refugiados, a fin de salvaguardar su derechos, ya que la mayoría huyen de la violencia y la pobreza que experimentan en sus países, señaló Leticia Gutiérrez Guadarrama, directora de la organización Scalabrinianas: Misión para Migrantes y Refugiados.”

•   Abandonados a su suerte: ¿por qué México casi no les da protección a los niños migrantes de Centroamérica?
Juan Paullier, BBC Mundo, 24 de mayo de 2016
“’No hay un interés en la protección correspondiente, aunque sabemos que muchos de estos niños, hasta la mitad, puedan tener buenos casos para ser refugiados’, le dice [el] asesor jurídico principal de la División de Derechos del Niño de HRW.”

•   Insuficiente, la respuesta de México a solicitantes de asilo, critica el Acnur
César Arellano García, La Jornada, 24 de mayo de 2016
“La respuesta de las autoridades mexicanas a la crisis de refugiados ha sido inadecuada, ya que no les han brindado la información necesaria para solicitar asilo, aseveró Mark Manly, representante del Alto Comisionado de las Naciones Unidas para los Refugiados (Acnur).”

U.S. Enforcement: Raids and Deportations

•   What’s in a Name? Migrant vs. Refugee vs. Illegal Immigrant
Amanda Sakuma, MSNBC, May 19, 2016
“The administration has forged ahead in efforts to deter migration and send a clear message that the U.S. border was not open. But experts caution that the administration’s strong stance is not having the desired effect.”

•   #DHSinCentAm shows DHS is changing the definition of The American Dream
National Latina Institute, Medium, May 25, 2016
“Mass deportations have left more families separated, and our increasingly punitive and aggressive enforcement has pushed vulnerable migrants, mainly women and children, into more perilous and dangerous journeys as they attempt to seek safety and refuge.”

•   Federal Government Steps Up Efforts to Deport Central American Mothers and Children without Due Process
CARA Family Detention Pro-Bono Project, AILA Doc No. 16052511, May 25, 2016
“Since news broke two weeks ago of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) renewed targeting of families and unaccompanied children fleeing violence in Central America, attorneys with the CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project at the South Texas Family Residential Center (STFRC) and the Karnes County Residential Center in Texas, have already seen 16 such families.”

•   Here’s Why Atlanta Is One of the Worst Places to Be an Undocumented Immigrant
Elise Foley, Huffington Post, May 25, 2016
“Attorneys who have experience in multiple courts said the judges in Atlanta seem particularly reticent to grant relief, especially asylum, and are often aggressive in their questioning of people who say they’ve experienced trauma.”

•   Deportation Raids Aren’t Deterring Central American Families From Coming to the US
Meredith Hoffman, Vice News, May 19, 2016
“VICE News interviewed multiple migrant families who said that detention, raids, and other disincentives would not affect their resolve to come to the US because they left their homes in order to save their lives.”

•   A Refugee Situation Calls for Solutions, Not More Deportations
David Leopold, Medium, May 19, 2016
“Earnest’s use of its immigration enforcement priorities to justify the administration’s deportation of families to the undisputed cauldron of violence in Central America is wrong on its face….Clearly, the majority of women and children who’ve endured the treacherous journey north to escape the violent, gang infested, crime ridden situation in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador should not be targeted as removal priorities.”

•   “Si me deportan me van a matar”
Silvia Ayuso, El País, 23 de mayo de 2016
“A mi regreso imagino que cumplirían con su amenaza. A una vecina le cumplieron, ella denunció que le habían robado y en tres días la mandaron matar. Ese es el temor mío”

•   Siguen arrestos de jóvenes que buscan refugio, tras cumplir 18 años
Pilar Marrero, La Opinión, 26 de mayo de 2016
“Maestros y compañeros de tres jóvenes centroamericanos arrestados recientemente en Carolina del Norte por las autoridades de inmigración cuando iban a la escuela o trabajo, imploraron hoy a congresistas, autoridades y público en general por la liberación de los muchachos.”

•   Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson Takes High-School Detention to a New Level
Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan, Democracy Now, May 26, 2016
“Wildin was arrested in part of a series of immigration raids, dubbed “Operation Border Guardian.” Many believe its intent was to create fear among those still in Central America who might consider taking the perilous journey north to the U.S.”

•   Refugees Go Home: US Deports 3,100 Central Americans a Month
TeleSur, May 23, 2016
“A mere 1,100 people have been legally allowed into the United States through the new Central American Minors Program. About 22,000 migrants from Honduras and El Salvador were deported from the United States in the past seven months, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson confirmed after a visit to Central America.”

•   ICE arresta a madre centroamericana con sus dos hijos en el corazón de la comunidad latina de Charlotte
Qué Pasa Mi Gente, 25 de mayo de 2016
“La captura de la madre y los dos menores, constituiría la primera detención confirmada en el marco de las redadas contra madres centroamericanas con niños, anunciadas por la agencia de deportaciones a principios del mes”

•   ICE arresta a joven guatemalteco en Charlotte
Qué Pasa Mi Gente, 25 de mayo de 2016
“A las 8 de la mañana fue detenido el guatemalteco, Luis Alfredo Chicaj Orozco, de 18 años de edad, que llegó al país en el verano de 2015, y fue alumno de la Escuela Secundaria Garinger.”

•   Faith Groups Create Emergency Hotline for Immigrants to Call During a Deportation Raid
Jack Jenkins, Think Progress, May 25, 2016
“Nineteen faith groups in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania are setting up an emergency hotline to help undocumented immigrants who need help during a deportation raid, hoping to shed light on the federal government’s renewed effort to forcibly remove people from the country.”

U.S. Enforcement: Border, Detention, and Legal Process

•   Immigrant Families Aren’t Getting Their Day In Court
Esther Yu-Hsi Lee, Think Progress, May 20, 2016
“A group of 64 Central American women and children are arguing that their evaluation processes — the first step in mounting a successful asylum case — were “inadequate,” resulting in their applications being unfairly denied. Those families are now serving as petitioners of a case to test whether the Obama administration is going too far to deport immigrants without allowing them to fully represent their cases in federal court.”

•   EEUU prepara más albergues ante temida “oleada” de niños no acompañados
María Peña, La Opinión/Impremedia, 25 de mayo de 2016
“Si en 2014 y 2015 las agencias del gobierno trataron de controlar el daño por el pobre manejo de la llegada de 68,541 niños no acompañados, su meta ahora, si surge la temida “oleada”, es estar preparadas.”

•   U.S. Border Authorities Accused Of Excessive Force And Coercion
Adolfo Flores, BuzzFeed, May 17, 2016
“A complaint filed Tuesday against U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) accuses officers of falsely calling residents prostitutes, excessive force, and coercing them into agreeing to being deported.”

•   Immigration Officials to Start Sending Transgender Women to the Middle of Texas
Jorge Rivas, Fusion, May 23, 2016
“The new facility addresses a number of issues to better protect trans women, but immigrant rights leaders say any new detention center is a step in the wrong direction. The advocates want ICE to instead work more closely with community groups that could house trans women.”

•   Detrás del sueño americano
Eileen Truax. Este trabajo forma parte del proyecto En el Camino, realizado por la Red de Periodistas de a Pie con el apoyo de Open Society Foundations. Conoce más del proyecto aquí: enelcamino.periodistasdeapie.org.mx
“En la última década han entrado a Estados Unidos cinco millones de migrantes indocumentados; pero después de librar la muerte en el camino y cruzar la frontera, la historia aún está lejos de tener un final feliz.”

•   Border Patrol Agents Prepare for Summer Heat Rescues
Analise Ortiz, VallyCentral.com, May 25, 2016
“Border Patrol agents stationed in Falfurrias, Texas are preparing for the potential of more rescue situations as the summer months approach.”

•   A Federal Judge Just Ordered a Dox Attack against 100,000 Innocent People
Ian Millhiser, Think Progress, May 20, 2016
“A federal judge with a history of anti-immigrant sentiment ordered the federal government to turn over the names, addresses and “all available contact information” of over 100,000 immigrants living within the United States.”

New Reports and Resources

•   Detained, Deceived, and Deported: Experiences of Recently Deported Central American Families
Guillermo Cantor and Tory Johnson, American Immigration Council, May 2016
“First-hand accounts from Central American women and their family members interviewed for this project reveal the dangerous and bleak circumstances of life these women and their children faced upon return to their home countries, as well as serious problems in the deportation process.”

•   Statement by Secretary Jeh C. Johnson Following His Trip to El Salvador and Honduras
DHS Press, May 22, 2016
“My message in both countries:  our borders are not open to illegal or “irregular” migration…Accordingly, in both El Salvador and Honduras, we continue to send migrants who have been ordered deported home at a rate of around 6 flights a week each.”

•   This Is My American Story
First Focus, May 2016
”This is My American Story seeks to raise awareness about the harmful impact of U.S. immigration policies on children and promote policy change to ensure that all children in America are able to grow up healthy and fulfill their full potential.”

•   Report on Human Rights Conditions of Transgender Women in Mexico
Transgender Law Center and Cornell University Law School LGBT Clinic, May 2016
“This report examines whether recent legal reforms in Mexico have
improved conditions for transgender women.1 It finds that transgender women in
Mexico still face pervasive discrimination, hatred, violence, police abuse, rape,
torture, and vicious murder.”

•   Acción Urgente: Desaparición Forzada de Maximiliano Gordillo Martínez por agentes del INM
Voces Mesoamericanas, Acción con Pueblos Migrantes A.C; Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas, (Frayba); y La 72 Hogar Refugio para Personas Migrantes. 18 de mayo de 2016
“Denunciamos la desaparición forzada del joven Maximiliano Gordillo Martínez (Maximiliano), de 18 años de edad, originario de la comunidad Tzinil, municipio de Socoltenango, Chiapas, México, cometida por parte de agentes del Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM) y elementos policiacos sin identificar….”

•   Petition: Release Henry and Offer TPS Protection to Central Americans Fleeing Violence
UndocuMedia, MoveOn.org, mayo 2016
“Less than 24 hours after lending his voice and sharing his story to act against the deportations of Central American immigrants in Los Angeles, the young Guatemalan Henry Sanchez Carias, 18, was arrested by [ICE] agents. His arrest has prompted a campaign for his release.”

•   Global Report on Internal Displacement
Internal Displacement Monitoring Center, May 2016
There were 40.8 million people internally displaced worldwide as a result of conflict and violence at the end of 2015.

•   What is Mexico Doing to Protect Human Rights Defenders and Journalists? New WOLA-PBI Report Finds that Government Protection Efforts Fall Short
WOLA, PBI, May 26, 2016
“Mexico continues to be one of the most dangerous countries in the world to defend human rights and practice journalism. Attacks on defenders and journalists occur regularly, creating a worrisome environment of self-censorship and intimidation.”

•   Presentación Situación Migración México Primer Semestre 2016
Carlos Serrano, BBVA Research, 23 de mayo de 2016
“En 2016 habrá elecciones en Estados Unidos. El resultado definirá no solo el futuro de DACA sino el destino de una posible reforma migratoria integral para los migrantes no documentados. En 2015 residían 12.2 millones de migrantes mexicanos en Estados Unidos, llegando a un máximo histórico: ¿Habrá acabado el periodo de migración neta cero?”

*The Central America/Mexico Migrant News Brief is a selection of relevant news articles, all of which do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Latin America Working Group.