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Central America/Mexico Migration News Brief for November 11, 2016

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A compilation of the last two weeks’ top articles and reports related to issues of migration from Central America and Mexico (articles in English and Spanish).

U.S. Enforcement

•   The Wall and the Beast: Trump’s Triumph from the Mexican Side of the Border
Luis Gómez Romero, The Conversation, November 10, 2016
“Donald Trump is the president-elect of the United States, even though political pundits predicted that he would not even win the Republican presidential nomination. In the end, more 59 million Americans voted for him. On inauguration day in January, many of Trump’s voters will be looking forward – among other campaign promises – to the construction of a wall along the Mexican border. This means a physical barrier over 3,000 kilometres in length, on a border that one million people legally cross on a daily basis, producing half a trillion dollars in annual trade.”

•   Change Ahead: Shifts on Immigration, Climate, Health and Taxes
Jonathan Weisman, The New York Times, November 9, 2016
“On immigration, the changes Mr. Trump will bring will be swift and sweeping. While Mr. Obama had been moving to create openings for undocumented immigrants to attain legal status and increase the number of refugees, Mr. Trump said he would sharply curtail the refugee flow and start a nationwide crackdown on illegal immigration. He will bring a nativist vision to the White House, regarding immigrants warily as competitors for American workers and treating refugees as potential terrorists.”

•   ‘I Don’t Feel Safe’: Undocumented Immigrants Fear What Trump Will Do As President
Michael E. Miller, The Washington Post, November 9, 2016
“‘But now that Donald Trump has been elected president, I don’t feel safe,’ she said, again on the verge of tears. ‘I can be deported. Even my mother can be deported.’ More than 11 million undocumented immigrants woke up to the same reality Wednesday morning: a newly elected president who has vowed to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico. A president who has described some Latinos as rapists, killers and drug dealers. A president who has vowed to begin deportations within his first hour in office.”

•   “Dreamers” Fear Trump Will Immediately Overturn DACA, as He Promised
Latin American Herald Tribune
“Thousands of “Dreamers” fear that their dream of obtaining legal residency under the so-called DACA measure will vanish on Day 1 of Republican Donald Trump’s presidency, after he promised during his campaign to overturn the 2012 executive order establishing it signed by President Barack Obama.”

•   Letters to the Editor: The Obama Administration’s Response to Central American Refugees Is Wrong
Michelle Brané, The Washington Post, November 1, 2016
“The arrival of families, women and children from Central America seeking asylum is not related to a broken immigration system, and it is not just about destitution. It is, as pointed out in the Oct. 27 editorial “A border crisis returns,” directly related to horrific levels of violence in the region.”

•   U.S. Congresswoman Calls on Obama Administration to Halt Deportation of Haitians
Jamaica Observer, November 10, 2016
“U.S. Congresswoman Yvette D Clarke has urged the Obama administration to immediately halt the deportation of undocumented Haitians.”

•   Immigration Advocates Challenge Obama’s ‘Felons Not Families’ Policy
Adrian Florido, NPR, November 1, 2016
“Immigration advocates are trying to change the narrative about which immigrants living in the U.S. illegally deserve to stay. It’s a challenge to the Obama administration’s policy of deporting ‘felons, not families.’ Grassroots advocates are championing the case of Jose Alvarez — a convicted felon who’s also a family man.”

•   Valley Woman Questions Border Wall’s Effectiveness
KRGV, November 3, 2016
“A Rio Grande Valley woman living along the U.S.-Mexico border said the wall impacts her life every day. Pamela Taylor’s home sits behind the border wall. Her backyard ends at the Rio Grande, an area referred to as no man’s land.”

•   Family Detention Centers Under Fire as More Immigrants Cross the US Border
Claudia Morales, CNN, November 2, 2016
“Yanira Lopez thought she and her three children had finally left the worst behind: the fear and uncertainty of a perilous journey from their native Guatemala to the United States border; the harrowing day she lost her children for five hours somewhere in an unknown land.”

•   Call Them Refugees
Melissa Del Bosque, The Texas Observer, October 28, 2016
“As political leaders argue over the crisis at the Texas-Mexico border, local communities and nonprofits carry the weight.”

•   Bipartisan Immigration Imprisonment
César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández, The North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA), October 26, 2016
“The number of migrants in detention has risen exponentially in the past two decades, under both Republican and Democratic administrations.”

•   Man’s Death Hints at Wretched Medical Care in Private Immigration Prisons
Oliver Laughland, The Guardian, November 1, 2016
“Jose Jaramillo suffered a catastrophic illness due to inadequate care at Cibola County correctional center. The justice department had ended its contract with the facility – but in a stunning reversal another agency has reopened it.”

•   Dozens of Haitian Men Held at Otero County Detention Center
Julio Chavez, KVIA, October 28, 2016
“More than 100 undocumented Haitian men are being held at the Otero County Prison Facility, according to volunteers who worked with the immigrants.”

•   In Midst Of Overhaul, Customs And Border Protection Commissioner Talks Transparency
NPR, October 30, 2016
“When Gil Kerlikowske started his tenure more than two years ago, border agents were under scrutiny for corruption and unnecessary use of force. Rachel Martin asks him what he’s been able to change.”

•   Undocumented Migrants, Free Now to Visit Mexico, Face Iffy Future
Kirk Semple, The New York Times, November 5, 2016
“The young Mexican couple packed their possessions in boxes and garbage bags 20 years ago, locked them in a room of their half-built house in Mexico City and then migrated illegally to the United States with their 3-year-old daughter in search of work, taking only what they could carry.”

•   In Victory for Immigrants’ Rights Activists, Sheriff Joe Arpaio Loses Re-election in Arizona
Democracy Now!, November 9, 2016
“Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio lost his bid for a seventh term. Arpaio faces the possibility of jail time, after federal prosecutors announced they are charging him with criminal contempt of court over his refusal to end unconstitutional immigration patrols in Arizona….His policies have included racial profiling and detaining immigrants in a scorching outdoor tent city jail, which Arpaio once referred to as his own ‘concentration camp.’”

Root Causes, Country Conditions

•   ‘What We Have Now Is a Civil War’
Joshua Partlow, The Washington Post, October 28, 2016
“El Salvador’s hostilities appear to be taking on a dangerous new dimension. Once predominantly a street fight between rival gangs, the conflict has shifted to a war between the gangs and the state. Soldiers and police are being linked to human rights abuses and assassinations, an echo of the civil war between leftist guerrillas and the U.S.-backed government fought a quarter-century ago.”

•   Toward Real Prosperity
Quintijn Kat, The North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA), November 7, 2016
“A year after U.S. Congress approved the ‘Alliance for Prosperity,’ U.S. funding continues militarized, neoliberal policies that won’t stop violence in the Northern Triangle.”

•   El Salvador’s Security Forces Are Now Involved in More Shootouts Than Mexico’s
Joshua Partlow, The Washington Post, October 31, 2016
“Nearly every day in El Salvador, police have what they call “enfrentamientos” — or confrontations — with the powerful street gangs that blanket the country. Another word for this is ‘shootout.’”

•   El Salvador Raises Alert for Security Forces After 2 Killed
The Associated Press, The New York Times, November 8, 2016
“Authorities in El Salvador have increased their vigilance in an effort to protect their own against gang attacks.”

•   Homicides Down in El Salvador, But Police-Gang Clashes Continue
Tristan Clavel, InSight Crime, November 10, 2016
“Government figures indicate a significant decrease in El Salvador’s homicide rate this year, but the conflict between gangs and security forces appears to be intensifying.”

•   New El Salvador Gang Strategy Targets Public Officials
Mimi Yagoub, InSight Crime, November 8, 2016
“El Salvador’s three main gangs have reportedly joined forces to carry out strategic assassinations against public officials, which if true would mark a troubling development in the gangs’ conflict with the state.”

•   Culpan a El Salvador de retraso en despliegue de Fuerza Trinacional contra Pandillas
La Prensa Gráfica, 2 de noviembre de 2016
“Los presidentes de Honduras y Guatemala afirmaron que esta no se lanzó en octubre, como estaba previsto, por retrasos en el Gobierno de Sánchez Cerén. El ministro de Justicia y Seguridad del país, Mauricio Ramírez Landaverde, dice por su parte que a ambos mandatarios ya se les plateó el 15 de noviembre como fecha para el despliegue, pero que aún no se ha obtenido respuesta.”

•   El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras to Launch Anti-Gang Force
Associated Press, Daily Mail, November 3, 2016
“El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala are planning to launch their joint anti-gang forces on Nov. 15.”

•   El Salvador: Maria Teresa Rivera Jailed and Freed
Nina Lakhani, Al Jazeera,October 28, 2016
“Rivera is among dozens of women to be prosecuted in El Salvador since abortion was completely banned in all cases in 1998. The tiny Central American country is one of five countries where there are no exceptions to abortion – even in instances of rape, when the mother’s life is at risk, or if the foetus suffers a deformity.”

•   Videos Show FMLN Leaders Offering El Salvador Gangs $10 Mn in Micro-credit
Juan José Martínez d’Aubuisson and Carlos Martínez, InSight Crime, October 29, 2016
“Two videos reveal another layer of secret negotiations between El Salvador’s ruling party, the FMLN, and leaders of the three main gangs in El Salvador. One involves the former Minister of Public Security, Benito Lara, and another is with current Interior Minister Aristides Valencia, in which the latter offers the gang leaders up to $10 million in micro-credit.”

•   How US Policy in Honduras Set the Stage for Today’s Mass Migration
Joseph Nevins, The Conversation, October 31, 2016
“The mainstream narrative often reduces the causes of migration to factors unfolding in migrants’ home countries. In reality, migration is often a manifestation of a profoundly unequal and exploitative relationship between migrant-sending countries and countries of destination. Understanding this is vital to making immigration policy more effective and ethical.”

•   Son of Honduran Human Rights and Resistance Activist Murdered
TeleSur, October 31, 2016
“Human rights organizations are raising alarm after yet another assassination in Honduras, this time of the son of a prominent resistance activist, human rights defender, and aspiring progressive candidate for local political office with the left-wing Libre party.”

•   Honduras Police Purge Turns to Lawyers Who Wiped Records
James Bargent, InSight Crime, November 4, 2016
“Authorities in Honduras are investigating legal officials who allegedly accepted bribes to wipe clean the records of officers removed from their posts in a police purge, exposing a new layer of corruption in Honduran institutions.”

•   Honduran President Ignores Constitution, Mulls Running Again
TeleSur, November 7, 2016
“The left-wing Libre party has rejected potential presidential re-election, arguing such a constitutional change can only be made by the Honduran people.”

•   JOH buscará la reelección sólo por un único período de Gobierno más
La Prensa, 9 de noviembre de 2016
“El presidente Juan Orlando Hernández confirmó ayer que buscará la reelección a la primera magistratura de la nación por medio de dos emergentes movimientos internos del Partido Nacional; sin embargo, se comprometió a aspirar únicamente para un período mas.”

•   Honduras to Refurbish Fixed- and Rotary-Wing Aircraft Fleets
Santiago Rivas, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, November 7, 2016
“The Honduran National Congress has approved an agreement signed between the Honduran and Israeli governments for the refurbishment of part of the Honduran Air Force’s (Fuerza Aérea Hondureña: FAH’s) fleet of combat aircraft and helicopters.”

•   “Frente al despojo y la persecución la defensa de los bienes naturales y de nuestras propias vidas”
Carmen García, Misión Internacional de Observación de Derechos Humanos en la Frontera Guatemala – México (MODH), 11 de noviembre de 2016
“En el primer día de la Misión Internacional de Observación de Derechos Humanos en la Frontera Guatemala-México (MODH), las comunidades en resistencia contra megaproyectos del Río Cahabón, del Valle de Polochic e Ixcán, compartieron la situación de persecución que sufren por parte de empresas hidroeléctricas, proyectos extractivos y monocultivos como caña de azúcar y palma africana.”

•   A Month After Hurricane Matthew, 800,000 Haitians Urgently Need Food
Nick Miroff, The Washington Post, November 3, 2016
“There is no food, so along the road through the mountains there are children begging for something to eat. Most of the trucks rumble past with donations for somewhere else. But one stopped here the other day with sacks of rice, beans and dried herring, setting off a stampede.”

•   As The World Looks Elsewhere, Haiti’s Disaster Is Just Beginning
Mark Schuller, The Huffington Post, November 7, 2016
“This lack of urgency is deadly. The real disaster — chronic hunger, food insecurity, and dependency — is yet to come.”

•   Getting Away with Murder in Mexico
Belen Fernandez, Al Jazeera, November 2, 2016
“In a recent investigative piece for The Nation, Dawn Paley details the ‘spectacular violence’ that has accompanied the drug war project. ‘In 2014, Mexico ranked as the country with the third-most civilians killed in internal conflict, after Syria and Iraq. Bodies have been buried, burned, displayed in public places, hung from bridges and overpasses or beheaded and left at city hall.’”

Mexican Enforcement

•   Press Release: LAWG Joins International Human Rights Observation Mission to the Mexico-Guatemala Border
November 10, 2016
“The Latin America Working Group (LAWG) is joining more than twenty civil society, religious, academic, governmental and international organizations from Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Spain, United States, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico on the International Human Rights Observation Mission to the Guatemala-Mexico Border (Misión Internacional de Observación de Derechos Humanos en la Frontera Guatemala – México or MODH by its Spanish acronym) from November 10-16, 2016.”

•   Comunicado: Se mantienen en detención arbitraria a dos niñas y un niño salvadoreños debido a la descoordinación entre las instituciones responsables
Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Matías de Córdova, 31 de octubre de 2016
“El Instituto Nacional de Migración mantiene privados de libertad en el centro de detención “Estación Migratoria Siglo XXI” de Tapachula a tres hermanos, dos niñas y un niño, de origen salvadoreño y solicitantes de la condición de refugiados.”

•   From One River to the Next
Alexa Ura, Martin Do Nascimento and Ryan Murphy, Texas Tribune, October 31, 2016
“The families, young men, pregnant women and unaccompanied children who cross the Suchiate and head north will largely place their fates in the hands of strangers. Strangers will guide, feed and shelter many along the way. Strangers will rob, beat, rape and arrest others. People fleeing for their lives are willing to accept those terms.”

•   Mexico’s Immigration Program Has A Human Rights Problem
Karla Zabludovsky, Buzzfeed, October 29, 2016
“As the US stands on the verge of an election whose results mean widely differing outcomes for immigration policy, it has also become a time to examine Barack Obama’s legacy. He has deported people in record numbers. And, analysts say, his administration has pressured Mexico to intercept undocumented migrants before they reach the US. That has led to mass detentions in Mexico, at times in deplorable conditions and of people who, analysts argue, could be recognized as refugees. And because the US still sends funds to Mexico to combat crime and strengthen the rule of law, activists say it remains to some extent accountable.”

•   Madres de migrantes desaparecidos anuncian caravana en México
Desinformémonos, 3 de noviembre de 2016
“Decenas de madres de migrantes centroamericanos llevarán a cabo la caravana anual a través de los estados mexicanos en busca de sus hijos, quienes emprendieron el viaje para llegar hasta Estados Unidos y fueron víctimas de la violencia y la desaparición. El recorrido iniciará el próximo 15 de noviembre y terminará el 3 de diciembre. Durante éste, las madres atravesarán la zona boscosa de Chiapas, con el comienzo en La Mesilla, frontera con Comalapa, para seguir los mismos pasos que dieron sus hijos.”

•   Albergue para niñas, niños y adolescentes se inaugura en Tabasco
La Agencia de la ONU para los Refugiados, 28 de octubre de 2016
“Abre sus puertas en Villahermosa el primer albergue del Sistema de Desarrollo Integral de la Familia del Estado de Tabasco para niñas, niños y adolescentes solicitantes de la condición de refugiado, que promueve su integración en la comunidad local.”

•   Es octubre el más violento en 3 años
El Diario, 1 de noviembre de 2016
“Octubre se convirtió en el mes más violento de los tres últimos años, refieren estadísticas de la Fiscalía General del Estado (FGE). El fiscal en la Zona Norte, Jorge Nava López, informó que el mes pasado concluyó con 96 asesinatos en Ciudad Juárez y siete más en el Valle. Entre las víctimas hay seis mujeres.”

•   Seven Men Allegedly Shot During Protest at a Canadian-Owned Mine in Guatemala Appeal Stay Ruling
Keith Fraser, Vancouver Sun, November 1, 2016
“Lawyers for seven men allegedly shot during a protest against a Canadian-owned mine in Guatemala were in court Tuesday attempting to overturn a decision staying their lawsuit in B.C.”

•   Entre enero y septiembre el número de migrantes africanos llegó a 12 mil 254
Fabiola Martínez, La Jornada, 3 de noviembre 2016
“El número de africanos en México en situación migratoria irregular llegó a niveles sin precedente desde el levantamiento de la estadística oficial en la materia, iniciada en 2002. Hace 14 años, los africanos ni siquiera figuraban como clasificación independiente; eran parte de la minoría que, en conjunto, representaba 0.6 por ciento de los aseguramientos.”

Reports, Resources, Actions

•   Inicia el recorrido de la MODH
Misión Internacional de Observación de Derechos Humanos en la Frontera Guatemala – México (MODH), 10 de noviembre de 2016
“Con conferencia de prensa en la Ciudad de Guatemala, dio inicio el recorrido del equipo de Observadoras y Observadores de la Misión Internacional Guatemala- México, que tendrá lugar del 10 al 16 de noviembre de 2016. Desde la Ciudad de Guatemala se abren dos rutas de observación de alrededor de mil kilómetros de trayecto en cada una, por las que recorrerán diálogos, selvas, montañas y costas de los departamentos fronterizos de Guatemala, y los corredores migratorios del sur de México en Chiapas y Tabasco.”

•   The Risks of Defending Human Rights
Oxfam, October 2016
“Oxfam is deeply concerned about the worsening levels of violence, murders and repression against the men and women defending human rights in Latin America. This situation is linked to an economic model that fosters extreme inequality and impacts negatively on the fundamental rights of the people. It is the result of harassment entrenched in a patriarchal culture and governments’ failure to fulfil their human rights obligations – and the influence of powerful groups on governments that limits their role as guarantors of human rights for their citizens.”

•   Statement by Secretary Johnson On Southwest Border Security
U.S. Department of Homeland Security, November 10, 2016
“Our borders cannot be open to illegal migration.  We must, therefore, enforce the immigration laws consistent with our priorities.  Those priorities are public safety and border security.  Specifically, we prioritize the deportation of undocumented immigrants who are convicted of serious crimes and those apprehended at the border attempting to enter the country illegally.  Recently, I have reiterated to our Enforcement and Removal personnel that they must continue to pursue these enforcement activities.”

•   Along Racial Lines: The Genesis of Arizona’s SB 1070 Is a Cautionary Tale of Race-based Immigration Policy
National Immigration Law Firm, October 2016
“For the authors and supporters of Arizona’s most notorious anti-immigrant law, SB 1070, the existence of the United States as a nation was being threatened by unauthorized immigration. Specifically, this threat was understood to come from immigrants entering the U.S. from Mexico. Their argument claimed that the nation could be saved from this threat only through the strict and punitive enforcement of the country’s immigration laws, even by way of flagrant racial profiling. Using the words of the very individuals who authored SB 1070—and of those who share that worldview—this report unmasks the underlying racism that motivated such an egregious law.”

•   Human Rights of Migrants, Refugees, Stateless Persons, Victims of Human Trafficking and Internally Displaced Persons: Norms and Standards of the Inter-American Human Rights System [ENGLISH]
Derechos humanos de migrantes, refugiados, apátridas, víctimas de trata de personas y desplazados internos: Normas y Estándares del Sistema Interamericano de Derechos Humanos [ESPAÑOL]
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, December 31, 2015
“The report examines the main dynamics and causes of migration in the hemisphere. Among the major factors that spur migration in the region are growing socioeconomic disparities, particularly in terms of inequality, poverty, and unmet basic needs; the impact of armed conflict and criminal violence in some countries; the deteriorating economic, social, and political situation in various countries; the need for family reunification; the impact of the actions of national and transnational corporations; and climate change and natural disasters.”

•   URGENT: Tell DHS Secretary Johnson to Protect Haitians
Interfaith Immigration Coalition
“The ongoing cholera outbreak in Haiti is the worst epidemic of cholera in the world, and political instability and lack of infrastructure persist. Since Hurricane Matthew, country conditions have significantly worsened….Tell Secretary Johnson to expand protections for Haitians, including through Temporary Protected Status.”

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*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