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Central America/Mexico Migration News Brief for November 18, 2016

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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).

International Human Rights Observation Mission to Guatemala-Mexico Border

•   Emotivo encuentro de familiares de personas desaparecidas y organizaciones de la sociedad civil, con Observadoras/es de la MODH
Simón Antonio, Misión Internacional de Observación de Derechos Humanos en la Frontera Guatemala – México (MODH), 11 de noviembre de 2016
“El equipo de Observadoras/es, que recorre la Ruta Costa, escucharon y dialogaron con actores locales de los Departamento de Quetzaltenango y San Marcos quienes presentaron sus casos para denunciar el despojo de su territorio, el desplazamiento y la desaparición forzada, la explotación laboral, así como la criminalización de sus luchas.”

•   El Estado no tiene una política seria de asilo y refugio: Fray Tomas en la 72, Hogar Refugio para personas migrantes
Carmen García, Misión Internacional de Observación de Derechos Humanos en la Frontera Guatemala – México (MODH), 12 de noviembre de 2016
“En el tercer día de recorrido por la ruta dos de la Misión Internacional de Observación de Derechos Humanos, se visitó el hogar de Andrés Toribio que solidariamente comparte con migrantes que transitan por la frontera El Ceibo (cruce internacional formal entre México y Guatemala).”

•   Intenso el inicio del recorrido de comunidades y pueblos de México para las y los observadores de la Ruta 1 de la Misión Internacional de Observación de Derechos Humanos
Misión Internacional de Observación de Derechos Humanos en la Frontera Guatemala – México (MODH), 12 de noviembre de 2016
“Con música, abrazos y buenos deseos pobladores de la Mesilla, el último lugar visitado en Guatemala, despidieron a las y los Observadores de la Ruta Uno de la Misión Internacional de Observación de Derechos Humanos (MODH). En Nueva Linda, se entrevistaron con mujeres y hombres, quienes les compartieron sus testimonios como jornaleros indígenas migrantes en esta región, habitantes de la comunidad también manifestaron que son un pueblo solidario, que en cada temporada de cosecha abren sus puertas para dar alojamiento y ayuda humanitaria a las personas provenientes de Guatemala, que vienen a trabajar en los campos de la zona.”

•   “El tren se fue hace dos días, llegaron tarde”
Misión Internacional de Observación de Derechos Humanos en la Frontera Guatemala – México (MODH), 13 de noviembre de 2016
“Para conocer más sobre la realidad de esta región, caminaron sobre la ribera del río Suchiate, cuyo afluente delimita parte de la frontera del sur de México y el Norte de Guatemala; el cuadro que observaron se ha repetido a lo largo del tiempo en este punto transfronterizo, en donde todos los días por este paso informal, hay un importante intercambio comercial que sostiene la economía de las poblaciones locales.”

•   Rumbo al norte por la carretera de la costa chiapaneca, la Ruta 1 de la MODH, continúa su recorrido
Oriol Camacho, Misión Internacional de Observación de Derechos Humanos en la Frontera, 14 de noviembre de 2016
“El Frente Popular del Soconusco, 20 de junio, denunció ante las y los Observadores de la Ruta 1 de la Misión Internacional de Observación de Derechos Humanos, que las autoridades del municipio Acacoyagua, respaldan a los proyectos mineros con distintas acciones, como la realización de falsas campañas de salud, por parte de las autoridades locales con la finalidad de legitimar proyectos mineros.”

•   La gente viene caminando de El Ceibo a Tenosique y son 60 km, de Frontera Corozal hasta Palenque son más de 150 km entonces el camino es más largo
Carmen García, Misión Internacional de Observación de Derechos Humanos en la Frontera Guatemala – México (MODH), 14 de noviembre de 2016
“En la visita a las vías del tren, Fray Tomás explicó que las personas migrantes no sólo están en riesgo de sufrir daños físicos al viajar sobre los vagones del tren, sino que existen grupos a los alrededores que les exigen un pago por subir o que son detenidos con fines de trata laboral o sexual.”

Regional Reactions to U.S. Election

•   Exclusive: Central America to Seek Mexico’s Support after Trump Win
Sofia Menchu and Nelson Renteria, Reuters, November 16, 2016
“Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador have agreed to join forces and seek support from Mexico to forge a joint strategy in response to Donald Trump winning the U.S. presidency, El Salvador’s foreign minister told Reuters on Wednesday.”

•   Centroamérica analiza un frente común con México
Reuters, Excélsior, 17 de noviembre de 2016
“El Salvador, Guatemala y Honduras acordaron buscar una estrategia conjunta con México para enfrentar el inestable escenario que se abrirá en enero, cuando Donald Trump asuma la Presidencia de Estados Unidos, dijeron ayer dos fuentes conocedoras del plan. En su primera reunión tras la inesperada victoria de Trump, el presidente hondureño, Juan Orlando Hernández, el salvadoreño, Salvador Sánchez Cerén, y el guatemalteco, Jimmy Morales, dijeron que buscarán una posición conjunta ante las nuevas autoridades de Washington en temas de migración, empleo e inversiones.”

•   ‘Stay Calm,’ Mexican Officials Tell Fearful Immigrants in U.S.
Kirk Semple, The New York Times, November 16, 2016
“Mexico’s Foreign Ministry, apparently responding to promises by President-elect Donald J. Trump to step up deportations, announced a plan on Wednesday to provide more protection and support for Mexican immigrants in the United States and urged the Mexican population to ‘stay calm.’”

•   Mexico Steps Up Help for Citizens in U.S. After Trump Win
BBC, November 16, 2016
“Mexico has published a list of measures aimed at helping Mexicans living in the United States from becoming the victims of what it called abuse and fraud.
Under the title ‘we are with you,’ it issued a list of 11 immediate steps, including a hotline, and warns citizens ‘to avoid any conflict situation’.”

•   ¿Qué pasaría en Centroamérica si ocurre una ola de deportaciones?
Eswin Quiñónez y Antonio Barrios, Univision Noticias, 11 de noviembre de 2016
“Aferrarse al Plan Alianza para la Prosperidad es una estrategia en los países del Triángulo Norte para reducir un posible impacto en las políticas migratorias que cambiarían con el gobierno de Donald Trump. Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras y Nicaragua reúnen cerca del 8% de los 55.2 millones de personas de origen latino que vive en Estados Unidos y representan uno de las principales fuentes de ingresos económicos para Centroamérica a través de sus remesas. Por ello, la elección de Donald Trump supone una alarma en estos países.”

•   Guatemala tiembla ante la amenaza de deportaciones de Donald Trump
Enrique Naveda, Univision Noticias, 10 de noviembre de 2016
“Las promesas de campaña de Trump atraviesan como un escalofrío a los guatemaltecos en EEUU, a sus familias que se mantienen en el país, y a funcionarios, políticos y activistas. No tanto por la idea de construir un muro en la frontera sino por las acciones ejecutivas que pueda dictar y las reformas legislativas que pueda proponer.”

•   Immigrants Gave Their Info to Obama, Now Trump Could Use It to Deport Them
Betsy Woodruff, The Daily Beast, November 11, 2016
“Young undocumented immigrants trusted their government and offered up personal information to avoid deportation. The Trump administration may use that information to do just that.”

•   Yes, Trump Can Boost Deportations and Gut the Dreamer Program for Young Immigrants
Brian Bennett, The Los Angeles Times, November 10, 2016
“As president, Donald Trump can move swiftly to gut President Obama’s signature immigration policies by ramping up deportations and ending a program that has given temporary work permits to immigrants brought to the country illegally as children. Nearly a third of the 742,000 so-called Dreamers — those given protection under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — live in California and are potentially at risk of losing legal status.”

•   Now More Than Ever We Need Allies to Support the Immigrant Community
Juan Escalante, Medium, November 10, 2016
“Donald Trump’s election has thrown many of our families, mine included, into a level of uncertainty that we’ve never experience before. Fear is running rampant, as immigrants from all across the country wonder what will happen to them, whether President Obama’s 2012 DACA program will be terminated, and whether Trump’s deportation force will come knocking at our doors.”

•   Immigration Reform Advocates Look For A Way Forward Under A Donald Trump Presidency
Elise Foley, The Huffington Post, November 10, 2016
“Unlike in 2012, there have been next to no calls to push for reform in the wake of the election result. Trump proved that he could win either thanks to or in spite of ― possibly both ― his hardline anti-unauthorized immigrant stance. Now the questions are whether he will follow through with his promises to build a wall on the southern border and expand deportations, and supporters of immigration reform are left scrambling how to figure out what to do next.”

•   There Aren’t 2 To 3 Million Undocumented Immigrants With Criminal Records For Trump To Deport
Ben Casselman, FiveThirtyEight, November 14, 2016
“Donald Trump wants to immediately deport 2 million to 3 million undocumented immigrants with criminal records. One problem: There almost certainly aren’t that many people who fit those criteria.”

•   Sanctuary Mayors Revolt against Trump Immigration Reform
TruNews, November 11, 2016
“Officials in New York and Los Angeles on Thursday said they hoped President-elect Donald Trump would not follow through on a campaign promise to withhold federal funds from “sanctuary cities” that shield people who are in the country illegally.”

•   Trump’s Nafta Threats Would Severely Harm U.S., Mexican Chief Negotiator Says
Nina Lakhani, The Guardian, November 15, 2016
“Donald Trump’s pledge to rip up existing trade deals with Mexico would inflict substantial damage on the US economy and kill the region’s competitiveness on the world stage, according to the Mexican economist who led the country’s trade talks with the US.”

•   México se prepara para resistir ante la amenaza económica de Trump
Sonia Corona, El País, 15 de noviembre de 2016
“A México le ha llegado la hora de enfrentarse a Donald Trump. Los temores en torno a sus lemas de campaña a la presidencia de Estados Unidos están tomando forma tras las elecciones. El presidente electo confirmó el fin de semana en una entrevista que planea deportar hasta tres millones de personas indocumentadas de su país, la mayoría de origen mexicano. Y este martes un documento de su equipo de transición confirma las intenciones de Trump de negociar el Tratado de Libre Comercio de América del Norte (NAFTA, por sus siglas en inglés). Ante este panorama el Gobierno de México ha comenzado a planear su reacción ante el vendaval.”

•   Dreamers Told Feds Where They Live. Will Trump Deport Them?
Steven Nelson, US News, November 10, 2016
“Now, nearly 1 million young immigrants face a worrying situation. They gave federal authorities personal information, including a list of every address they have called home, in order to gain protected status, federal work permits and access to state driver’s licenses under a 2012 executive action called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, designed for young people living unlawfully in the U.S. as a result of their parents’ actions.”

•   California Democrats Ask Obama to Pardon Nearly 750,000 ‘Dreamers,’ But White House Says It Wouldn’t Work
Sarah D. Wire, The Los Angeles Times, November 17, 2016
“The members of Congress who persuaded President Obama to grant temporary legal status to hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought into the country illegally as children are now asking him to use a pardon to prevent those immigrants from being deported by President-elect Donald Trump. The White House, however, promptly batted down the idea.”

Root Causes, Country Conditions

•   Northern Triangle Deploys Tri-National Force to Combat Gangs
David Gagne, InSight Crime, November 15, 2016
“The Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras will launch a tri-national force aimed at disrupting the movements of street gangs that are increasingly crossing borders in order to coordinate criminal activities and flee security crackdowns.”

•   Central America Tackles Gangs With Joint Border Force
BBC News, November 16, 2016
“A joint security force has begun operations to fight gangs and organised crime in Central America’s Northern Triangle. The force comprises police, military, intelligence, and border officials. They will monitor cross-border crime along 600km (375 miles) of the frontier shared by El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.”

•   Berta Cáceres Murder: International Lawyers Launch New Investigation

Nina Lakhani, The Guardian, November 15, 2016
“A group of international legal experts has launched an independent inquiry into the murder of Honduran environmental activist Berta Cáceres amid widespread concerns over the official investigation. Five lawyers from the US, Guatemala and Colombia are in Honduras to try to uncover the intellectual authors behind the assassination of Cáceres and the attempted murder of her colleague the Mexican environmentalist Gustavo Castro.”

•   El contrataque de las redes criminales y la agenda norteamericana
Guatemala Activist Says Criminal Structures Remain Embedded in Govt [Edited English Translation]
Sebastián Escalón, Plaza Pública, 2 de noviembre de 2016
“Helen Mack analiza la situación, habla sobre una reorganizaciones de las redes ilegales, opina sobre el papel del sector privado y de la ciudadanía, y explica el papel activo y beligerante de la embajada de Estados Unidos.”

•   Guatemalan Activist’s Murder Sparks Alarm over Human Rights Crisis
TeleSur, November 16, 2016
“Jeremy Barrios worked for a prominent human rights and environmental activist who has survived at least one assassination attempt. The recent murder of a Guatemalan human rights defender has cast a sombre shadow over social movements, signaling the increasingly hostile and too often fatally dangerous environment faced by human rights workers in the Central American country, international organizations warned Wednesday.”

•   Torture Haunts Mexico Despite Laws Meant to Eliminate It
The Associated Press, The New York Times, November 17, 2016
“In the face of strong international condemnation, Mexico says it is taking steps to stop the use of torture by its security forces…However, there is still widespread impunity around the use of torture by security forces. From December 2006 through October 2014, the Attorney General’s Office registered 4,055 complaints of torture, nearly one-third of them against the military. Yet over almost the same period, only 13 police and soldiers were sentenced for torture.”

•   Amid Devastation of Hurricane Matthew, Haitians Urged to Go to the Polls
Ben Quinn, The Guardian, November 18, 2016
“It has been just over a month since Hurricane Matthew laid waste to the coastal city of Jérémie, killing more than 1,000 people in the region and destroying the flimsy homes of thousands of families, including scores who have taken refuge in the college and in other schools or public places.”

Mexico Enforcement

•   Helping Central American Migrants in Mexico with Bicycles
CCTV America, November 13, 2016
“Gangs and violence in Central America have forced young residents to migrate north. Mexico is one of the main transit countries for migrants who are often the victims of poverty, crime and extortion on their journey.Many make it to shelters in Mexico where they can remain for months…Quiquica is a bicycle shop in the south of the capital city. The shop brings together the sport of cycling with the needs of the migrants.”

•   CNDH acompaña a madres de migrantes centroamericanos desaparecidos
Noticieros Televisa, 17 de noviembre de 2016
“La Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos acompaña y brinda asesoría por México a la XII Caravana de Madres Migrantes Desaparecidos de Centroamérica, que realiza un recorrido por varios estados del país. A partir del día 15 de noviembre ingresó a territorio mexicano la XII Caravana de Madres de Migrantes Desaparecidos de Centroamérica: ‘Buscamos vida en caminos de muerte’.”

U.S. Enforcement

•   Temporary Migrant Processing Site Set for Tornillo
Aaron Martinez, Alamogordo Daily News, November 17, 2016
“A temporary processing center is being built in Tornillo by U.S. Customs and Border Protection to help with an influx of Central American migrants attempting to come to the United States, officials said Thursday.”

•   Fleeing Gangs, Central American Families Surge Toward U.S.
Kirk Semple, The New York Times, November 12, 2016
“Gang violence in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala has conspired with economic desperation to drive an unrelenting exodus of migrants, including entire families, seeking safety in other countries, mainly the United States.”

•   Scared by Trump, Some Migrants on Mexico Border Give Up American Dream
David Alire Garcia, Reuters, November 11, 2016
“For most poor Central Americans and Mexicans at travelers’ shelters in the desert town of Nogales, Trump’s threats to build a wall along the whole border and deport millions of illegal immigrants have not made them abandon their harrowing journeys and hopes of a better life in the north. But for some like Juan Alberto Lopez, the prospect of living in a country they believe will become more hostile to people like them no longer holds enough appeal to make the risky crossing across the desolate Arizona borderland.”

•   What Is DACA and Why Is It So Important to the Immigrant Community?
Juan Escalante, Medium, November 16, 2016
“For the past four years, I have received questions about my immigration status from friends and family, many of whom wonder how I can work and drive legally in the United States given my lack of legal status. The questions I have faced are by no means unique, as I am sure that many immigrant allies grapple to understand the complexities of our nation’s immigration system. That is why I have decided to answer some of the main questions that immigrant allies may have regarding President Barack Obama’s 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also known as DACA, and its importance to hundreds of thousands of immigrants like myself.”

•   Detaining Haitians Awaiting Deportation to Hurricane-Ravaged Homeland is Not Inexpensive
Kate Morrissey, San Diego Union-Tribune, November 11, 2016
“Detaining Haitians who have arrived at the San Diego border in large numbers in recent months in immigration holding facilities is costing American taxpayers an estimated $379,380 per day, and that number could grow as more Haitians arrive in Tijuana, asking to come in. That’s about $11.4 million per month.”

•   U.S. Border Patrol Sends More Agents to Texas as Apprehensions Rise
Reuters, November 12, 2016
“The United States Customs and Border Protection agency plans to send an additional 150 agents to the southern border region of Texas to combat a recent rise in apprehensions, mostly of children and families crossing illegally, it said on Saturday.”

•   Legisladores demócratas y republicanos se resisten a dar por muerta a la reforma migratoria
Jorge Cancino, Univision Noticias, 11 de noviembre de 2016
“Un grupo de legisladores republicanos y demócratas en el Senado y la Cámara de Representantes se ha reunido a puerta cerrada por meses para discutir una futura reforma migratoria, según confirmaron este viernes a Univision Noticias dos de esos congresistas.”

•   The Corrections Industry’s Larger Footprint: Migrant Detention
David Hernández, The North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA), November 14, 2016
“In August 2016, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it was rethinking its use of private contract prisons that incarcerate a segregated group of immigrants. The DOJ decided that it would permit the contracts to expire, eventually halting the use of for-profit jailers in this particular subset of the federal prison system. For persons concerned about prison privatization, this was welcome news, inspiring hope for a wider riddance of corrections corporations in the prison system. However, despite their notoriety and the great deal of agitation against them, private prisons are drops in the bucket of the sprawling U.S. penitentiary system. As well, the decision to cut back on for-profit prisons at the DOJ fails to address a much larger problem: the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) extensive migrant detention regime.”

•   We Must Defend Immigrants
La Opinión, 13 de noviembre de 2016
“Trump said on Sunday that he expected to deport between two and three million undocumented people, which, according to his estimates, is the number of “gang members, drug traffickers” and criminals living in the United States. At first glance, that seems to be similar to the idea Obama is currently implementing. However, citing such figures is worrisome because they look more like a goal number, and we can never depend on them only expelling dangerous people.”

Reports, Resources, Actions

•   Child and Family Migration: From its Roots in Central America, through Mexico and the Border, to the U.S. Response
Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), November 2016
“This series looks at the latest data on Central America migration, at why children and families are migrating in such large numbers, at the problems and abuse they encounter on their journey through Mexico, and at the treatment they receive in the United States. Each piece contains a series of policy recommendations, meant to address migration in more humane ways and to approach the underlying issues that are driving Central American migration. More than that, the series seeks to remind us all that the Central American children and families and other migrants arriving at our border are human beings facing difficult situations at home and in their journeys, and that they should command dignity and our compassion.”

•   A “Know Your Rights” Refresher for Immigrants
Joshua Breisblatt, American Immigration Council, November 10, 2016
“President-Elect Donald Trump has proposed immigration policies that are causing anxiety among immigrants and the immigrant rights community. Much remains unknown about how and when these changes will come but our system of checks and balances as well as pushback from the immigrant rights community will ensure that there will be limits on what the President-Elect can do.  Regardless, it is always important for immigrants to understand their rights.”

•   Action Alert to the Department of Homeland Security: Ensure the Well-being of Haitians Affected by Hurricane Matthew
“Hurricane Matthew devastated Haiti on October 4, 2016, killing hundreds and leaving 1.4 million people in need of urgent humanitarian assistance. Unfortunately, in response to Hurricane Matthew, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has failed to enact humane immigration policies that would allow arriving Haitians to temporarily remain in the U.S. and support themselves while Haiti is being rebuilt.”

 

 

 

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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.