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Central America/Mexico Migration News Brief for November 21, 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.

Source: The New York Times



Spotlight: Between a Wall and a Dangerous Place

El Salvador: Gang Violence and Growing Abuses by State Security Forces
Lisa Haugaard, LAWG, November 13, 2017
“The reaction to the breakdown of the gang truce and the subsequent spike in homicides in 2015 led to a doubling down on hardline strategies… Inadequate budget and attention is given to victims, as well as to prevention and rehabilitation. Most concerning of all, extrajudicial executions and other abuses by Salvador’s public security forces, especially the police, are escalating.”

U.S. Enforcement

Trump Administration Ends Temporary Protection for Haitians
Miriam Jordan, The New York Times, November 20, 2017
“The Trump administration is ending a humanitarian program that has allowed some 59,000 Haitians to live and work in the United States since an earthquake ravaged their country in 2010, Homeland Security officials said on Monday. Haitians with what is known as Temporary Protected Status will be expected to leave the United States by July 2019 or face deportation.”

Let the Haitians Stay
Editorial Board, The New York Times, November 19, 2017
“Ms. Duke was right to resist the White House, and she was right to include in her decision a call on Congress “to enact a permanent solution for this inherently temporary program,” one that would make it possible for people under temporary protection to seek a more stable and permanent stay in America. And on Thanksgiving Day, the only right decision is to extend our welcome to the Haitians.”
Save TPS for Central Americans and Haitians!
Rachael De La Cruz, Upside Down World, November 15, 2017
“What is particularly cruel is the fact that Washington bears responsibility for helping create unlivable conditions in the countries that these immigrants are fleeing. Is the Trump administration using Sundanese and Nicaraguan people as a test to see what immigrant protections can be undone quickly and quietly? Considering that John Kelly pressured the acting secretary of DHS to end TPS for Hondurans, the possibilities are frightening and dangerous if this is the case.”

Seeking a Permanent Protected Status
Miranda Cady Hallett and Leisy J. Abrego, NACLA, November 16, 2017
“Decades after the establishment of the program, most immigrants with TPS are long-term residents who have fully adapted to their new country and established deep social ties… Few TPS holders have traveled to their home countries, meaning they are often unable to maintain ties with their relatives and communities back home—while deepening their roots in the U.S.”

Black immigrants call on Congress to extend Temporary Protected Status
Esther Yu Hsi Lee, Think Progress, November 16, 2017
“Tometi said her group had a thoughtful and ‘surprisingly good’ visit with about 15 lawmakers who understood the significance of TPS for Black immigrants and Americans. ‘There’s an imperative to find a solution that’s viable and respects the dignity of all people,’ Tometi said. ‘[Lawmakers] began to see the picture a little more clearly when we were in their offices so we’re going to follow up with them.’”

Canada fears a huge rush of asylum seekers if their U.S. protected status is lifted
Alan Freeman, The Washington Post, November 13, 2017
“In addition to the new signs on the border, the Canadian government said it is increasing its outreach in communities in the United States that are likely to be affected. It also plans to send Spanish- and Creole-speaking members of Parliament to Los Angeles and Miami to meet community leaders and explain Canadian asylum rules. Canada’s 12 consulates in the United States have also been recruited to spread the message that asylum is not automatic.”

U.S. Illegally Denying Immigrants Their Right to Seek Asylum at the Mexican Border, According to Lawsuit
Ryan Devereaux, The Intercept, November 16, 2017
“The Trump Administration may be engaged in widespread violations of U.S. and international law at the southern U.S. border, according to new filings in a California lawsuit. The filings offer the latest piece of evidence of a systematic campaign aimed at turning away asylum-seekers, actions linked to the embrace of hard-line immigration enforcement policies at the heart of the president’s rise to power.”

Asylum-seeking children need alternative to dangerous border crossing
Nolan Rappaport, The Hill, November 20, 2017
“The children are vulnerable to human traffickers.  Many of the girls reportedly end up being forced into prostitution.  Many are victims of sexual violence.  Estimates of the number of kidnappings vary from hundreds to thousands a year.  And hundreds of migrants die each when they reach the harsh environment along the Mexico-U.S. border.”

Central American Migrants Demand Asylum at Mexico-US Border
teleSUR, November 13, 2017
“Some 44 Central Americans, including 14 minors, stood at the border, the final count of 150 asylum seekers who set out for Mexico to demand their immigration rights on Oct. 9… ‘Migrating is not a crime, we demand the right to asylum, many of us have fled from our countries,’ Maria Leticia Rubio, a Honduran traveling with her three children, told the press.”

US bishops to issue statement on need for immigration reform
Carl Bunderson, Catholic News Agency, November 13, 2017
“‘Along with the right choices on refugee resettlement, DACA, and TPS, we also need comprehensive immigration reform,’ he added, saying there is a need for a path to legalization and citizenship, acknowledging at the same time that ‘our country also has the right, and the responsibility, to secure its borders.’”

Trump’s Homeland Security pick is caught up in a conflict of interest complaint
Nick Miroff, The Washington Post, November 16, 2017
“President Trump’s nominee to lead the Department of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, has been guided through her Senate confirmation process by a private consultant who represents companies seeking millions in DHS contracts, an arrangement that creates conflicts of interest, according to a government-ethics watchdog group as well as current and former national security officials.”

Trump taps acting immigration director to serve permanently
Zeke Miller, Associated Press, November 14, 2017
“The White House says Thomas Homan’s nomination will be sent to the Senate on Tuesday. The Senate must approve the nomination by a majority vote. Homan is an outspoken proponent of Trump’s immigration policies, making several appearances in the White House press briefing room to highlight the administration’s efforts to deport people in the U.S. illegally and to prevent unauthorized border crossings.”

Our Anti-Immigrant President
Jorge Ramos, Splinter, November 14, 2017
“When Trump speaks against “chain migration” he’s using coded language. What the president really means is that he doesn’t want any more immigrants from Asia or Latin America coming to this country and staying. His message seems to be: You can stay, but your siblings and parents cannot.”

The myth of the ‘acceptable immigrant’ is tearing families apart.
Jose Antonio Vargas, NBC News, November 16, 2017
“To be eligible, we ask DACA recipients not just to go to school or to be enlisted in the U.S. military. We also ask them to point a finger at their parents, who risked everything to bring or send them to America, so that they might be safe… The reality is that, for many of the parents who brought or sent their children to America without going through proper bureaucratic channels, America meant (and means) survival.”

In Reversal, Immigration Agency Will Consider Delayed DACA Requests
Liz Robbins, The New York Times, November 15, 2017
“The Department of Homeland Security’s acting director, Elaine C. Duke, told the immigration agency to allow applicants to resubmit their paperwork if they have proof that they mailed their renewal in a timely manner and that the reason it missed the Oct. 5 deadline was because of Postal Service mail delays. Homeland Security issued the guideline in a statement Wednesday night.”

Court won’t halt judge’s demand for details on DACA cancellation decision
Josh Gerstein, Politico, November 16, 2017
“A panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals voted, 2-1, to rebuff the Justice Department’s attempt to halt U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup’s order that the administration turn over emails, letters, memos and legal opinions considered in the course of the decision announced in September to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program created in 2012 under President Barack Obama.”

Ryan: DACA fix will be separate from spending bill
Max Greenwood, The Hill, November 14, 2017
“Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Tuesday that lawmakers are not planning on wrapping legislative relief for young undocumented immigrants into an end-of-year spending bill. Asked by Fox News’ Bret Baier in a town hall-style interview whether the spending bill would include measures to codify protections for beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, Ryan said lawmakers plan to consider the matters separately.”

Trump Administration Detaining DACA Recipient With Disability
Elise Foley, Huffington Post, November 13, 2017
“Felipe Abonza-Lopez and his advocates say he was picked up in spite of a clean criminal record when he was riding in a car with undocumented family members. Customs and Border Protection confirmed arresting a DACA recipient, and said it was “in the course of a human smuggling investigation.” The recipient’s “status will be reviewed at an immigration hearing,” Border Patrol Chief Patrol Agent Felix Chavez said in a statement.”

Our immigration courts are drowning, expedited removal can bring relief
Nolan Rappaport, The Hill, November 13, 2017
“[Trump’s] only viable alternative is to reduce the size of the immigration court’s docket, which he can do by promulgating regulations making IJ hearings unavailable to aliens whose cases can be handled in expedited removal proceedings. He seems to have had this in mind when he directed DHS to use expedited removal proceedings to the full extent authorized by law, which would include most of the undocumented aliens in the United States who were not lawfully admitted, unless they can establish that they have been here for two years.”

Despite Health Risks and Exploitation, Undocumented Immigrants Clean Up Houston
Ramon Taylor, Voice of America, November 17, 2017
“‘[Undocumented workers] have rights.’ Iglesias labors this point repeatedly. ‘Post-Harvey, [exploitation] has gotten even worse because there are a lot more people working under these conditions, and their health is at risk,’ Iglesias told VOA. ‘Some of them are willing to take the risk because they need to bring money to families and need a roof over their heads.’”

Hundreds arrested in MS-13 crackdown: report
Mallory Shelbourne, The Hill, November 16, 2017
“The update comes several months after President Trump gave a speech in Long Island meant to detail the administration’s plan to crack down on MS-13, also known as Mara Salvatrucha. Speaking in a town where MS-13 has launched attacks, Trump linked the gang violence to soft immigration enforcement. ‘It is the policy of this administration to dismantle, decimate and eradicate MS-13,’ Trump said at the time.”

Mexican Enforcement

Ecuador y México colaborarán en temas de migración irregular
Ecuador Inmediato, 16 de noviembre de 2017
“Ecuador y México trabajarán en conjunto para garantizar retorno seguro, digno y con respeto a los derechos de migrantes que intentan llegar de manera irregular a Estados Unidos, lo cual constituye hoy un logro en movilidad humana…El convenio comprende el compromiso de no retener lo pasaportes y establece que cada país asumirá el costo de alimentación y transporte de los migrantes, garantizará el derecho a la preservación de la unidad familiar, facilitará asistencia consular en todo momento y ofrecerá la posibilidad de comunicación telefónica con quien soliciten”.

2 Central American migrants shot to death in southern Mexico
Associated Press, November 13, 2017
“The immigration agency says a group of about 40 migrants was travelling on a rural road when attackers in a vehicle tried to stop them.Officials say that when the pursuers failed to catch the migrants, they opened fire, killing a 10-year-old and an adult. The agency said Monday that a woman suffered three gunshot wounds and was being treated at a hospital.”

FILO 2017/ Reflexionan sobre la violencia contra migrantes en México
Periodismo de Paz, 11 de noviembre de 2017
“‘Los migrantes son las víctimas perfectas, porque no denuncian, viajan ocultándose y no se quedan’, indicó Martínez sobre la violencia de la que son objetos los centroamericanos a su paso por México, y la forma en que esto se agrava por el miedo a recurrir a las autoridades y ser víctimas también de ellos o deportados”.

Alleged ringleader of 2010 migrant massacre in Mexico arrested
Reuters, November 14, 2017
“Mexican security authorities said in a statement that the suspect whom they named only as Martiniano de Jesus ‘N’ allegedly coordinated the massacre of 72 migrants in the town of San Fernando in northern Tamaulipas state in August 2010.”

Nueva trinchera para la inagotable agenda migratoria
Luciana Gandini, El Universal, 14 de noviembre de 2017
“La llegada de este espacio académico no podría ser más oportuna para enfrentar una coyuntura intensamente desafiante que reclama de reflexiones y acciones urgentes… Con la actual presidencia de Estados Unidos se han exacerbado aquellas tendencias relacionadas con la securitización, criminalización y estigmatización de las personas migrantes que ya venían caracterizando el terreno migratorio, al tiempo que inauguran otras nutridas de xenofobia, racismo y discriminación. Se trata de un embate a la movilidad y los derechos humanos”.

Un día en el ‘comedor de los deportados’, el lugar al que llegan los repatriados de la frontera de Arizona
Paula Diaz, Univision, 15 de noviembre de 2017
“Del 1 de enero al 30 de septiembre sirvieron 28,477 platos de comida. Aunque el arresto de inmigrantes por Arizona tuvo un descenso drástico en los primeros meses del año y esto se reflejó en el comedor, los voluntarios dijeron que el número de deportados se ha incrementado en las últimas semanas y se puede constatar en el comedor donde están sirviendo un promedio de 70 comidas por día. ‘Estamos viendo más personas deportadas que han vivido por años en Estados Unidos’, comentó Carroll”.

Root Causes

¿En qué países de AL están los mejores trabajos?
Zayra Judith Caballero, La Prensa, 13 de noviembre de 2017
“¿Y los que presentan las peores condiciones? El Salvador, Honduras y Guatemala, los tres países centroamericanos ocupan los tres últimos puestos de un ranking que mide el Índice de los Mejores Trabajos en América Latina… La dimensión de calidad mide cuánto del trabajo que se genera en los países está registrado en la seguridad social (formalidad) y cuántos trabajadores reciben salarios que son suficientes para superar la pobreza”.

Could Upcoming Honduras Election Set Back Police Reform Progress?
Angelika Albaladejo, InSight Crime, November 16, 2017
“Although this latest police reform effort has been more successful than previous attempts, observers have pointed out that authorities have struggled to prosecute officers removed for alleged criminal activity. And as InSight Crime has previously reported, the goal set by Honduran authorities to double the current size of the police force to 26,000 officers by 2022 will be constrained by limited resources and persistent weaknesses in the country’s institutions.”

Left-Right Electoral Alliance Might Leave Honduras Opposition in the Middle of Nowhere
Heather Gies, Upside Down World, November 10, 2017
“Weeks ahead of the vote, the opposition alliance has vocally exposed an alleged sophisticated government fraud plot to steal the election in Hernández favor… President Hernández, elected with the National Party in 2013, is the first sitting or former president in the democratic history of the country to run for a second term in office. The move, enabled by a 2015 Supreme Court ruling and slammed by opponents as illegal, epitomizes right-wing hypocrisy after elites justified the coup on bogus allegations that then-President Manuel Zelaya aspired to seek re-election.”

Con separo de 200 policías se despedirán depuradores
La Tribuna, 12 de noviembre de 2017
“De estos 4 mil 445 oficiales, agentes y personal auxiliar, cancelados: 2,997 fueron por reestructuración, 252 por abandono de cargo, 98 por despido, 58 por sentencia condenatoria firme, 68 por muerte, 29 por retiro obligatorio (cumplimiento de período de disponibilidad), 889 por retiro voluntario y 54 por discapacidad total y permanente (pensión)”.

A New Report Sheds Light on the Plot to Murder Honduran Activist Berta Cáceres
Lauren Carasik, The Nation, November 14, 2017
“Several of the experts were in Washington on November 2 to present their findings to the media and sound an alarm: If Honduran authorities don’t preserve evidence and pursue unexplored lines of inquiry soon, the case will be permanently stalled, enshrining impunity for the crime’s masterminds and emboldening the corrupted Honduran institutions that protect them. That outcome would further imperil other vulnerable human-rights defenders.”

Human rights group accuses Guatemalan courts of delays
Sonia Perez D., Associated Press, November 12, 2017
“Human Rights Watch analyzed eight major cases that have bogged down and concluded the courts are undermining the anticorruption work by taking too long to process appeals and pretrial motions. In a report released Sunday, the group accuses the courts of trying to run out the clock on prosecutions by keeping defendants from ever making it to trial.”

Guatemalans March to Demand President Step Down
Latin American Herald Tribune
“Thousands of Guatemalans poured into the streets of this capital on Thursday to demand the resignations of President Jimmy Morales and more than two-thirds of the members of Congress. The peaceful protest brought together a broad cross-section of Guatemalan society: from college students and their professors to labor activists and indigenous peasants.”

Declaraciones del Alto Comisionado de las Naciones Unidas para los Derechos Humanos Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein al final de su misión en El Salvador
OACNUDH, 17 de noviembre de 2017
“El nivel de violencia en El Salvador permanece escandalosamente alto. Según los grupos de la sociedad civil, desde enero de 2015 a febrero de 2017, más de mil civiles y 45 agentes policiales han perdido la vida en enfrentamientos armados entre la policía y supuestos miembros de pandillas. También hay informes alarmantes de asesinatos extrajudiciales y el retorno de los escuadrones de la muerte”.

Llamadas revelan nuevo pacto GOES-MS13
Gabriel García, La Prensa Gráfica, 17 de noviembre de 2017
“La MS-13 inició una negociación con el Gobierno en enero de 2016, según lo revelan audios de llamadas intervenidas por la Fiscalía General de la República (FGR) en el marco de la investigación denominada Operación Jaque. Las llamadas evidencian negociaciones de movimientos en centros penales, mientras personas no identificadas llegaron al penal de Zacatecoluca, La Paz, para fraguar una división en la pandilla”.

El Salvador Citizens Say Gangs, Not Government ‘Rule’ the Country
Parker Asmann, InSight Crime, November 8, 2017
“For most of El Salvador’s gangs, including the MS13 and Barrio 18, controlling territory is a fundamental aspect of their criminal enterprises. In addition to obtaining and maintaining this control through violence, a recent InSight Crime investigation uncovered how gangs also infiltrate local governments to gain power.”

Salvadoran President Seeks Permanent Solution for TPS Emigrants in US
teleSUR, November 12, 2017
“The Salvadoran federal government, along with congress, have opened up a dialogue with U.S. federal and local officials to discuss options that would enable Salvadorans living in the United States to remain in the country and continue working. Ceren has affirmed that his country has a specific plan in mind and has contracted lawyers to guarantee the rights of his compatriots living and working in the United States and who “aspire to obtain their citizenship.”. He also stressed that organizations that defend the rights of migrants have also been consulted in order to assist his government’s efforts.”

Not Dead. Not Alive. Just Gone.
Azam Ahmed, The New York Times, November 20, 2017
“Officially, the Mexican government acknowledges the disappearances of more than 30,000 people — men, women and children trapped in a liminal abyss — neither dead nor alive, silent victims of the drug war. But the truth is no one knows how many people are missing in Mexico.”

Familiares de víctimas y activistas denuncian errores en el registro oficial de desaparecidos
Ernesto Aroche Aguilar, Animal Político, 16 de noviembre de 2017
“Los errores de la base no terminan ahí. Michael Chamberlain, integrante del Centro Fray Juan de Larios, señaló que en los casos de desaparición que ellos han acompañado y que si están en el RNPED, al menos el 70% tiene inconsistencias, ‘en algunos está equivocado el apellido, o está mal la fecha o el lugar de desaparición, incluso el estado, entre otros’”.

Peña Nieto promulgará este jueves la Ley de Desaparición Forzada
Miguel Angel Bravo, Publimetro, 16 de noviembre de 2017
“Tras un largo camino legislativo, este jueves el presidente Enrique Peña Nieto promulgará la Ley General en materia de Desaparición Forzada de Personas, Desaparición Cometida por Particulares y del Sistema Nacional de Búsqueda de Personas”.

Alerta de Género en Edomex, mecanismo de papel sin resultados, denuncian activistas
Andrea Vega, Animal Político, 20 de noviembre de 2017
“La Alerta, sin embargo, no ha logrado bajar la tasa de violencia contra las mujeres en el Edomex, la primera entidad en declararla. De acuerdo a cifras del Observatorio Ciudadano Nacional del Feminicio (OCNF), de 2015 a 2016 fueron asesinadas 626 mujeres en el Estado de México, pero solo en el 47 % de los casos (296) se inició una investigación por feminicidio. De estos sólo el 10 % tiene una sentencia”.

Ser policía en México, sinónimo de bajos salarios, abuso sexual y corrupción
Arturo Ángel, Animal Político, 14 de noviembre de 2017
“El sistema de desarrollo policial en México es inexistente en los hechos. Los policías trabajan con salarios precarios y casi la mitad de ellos no ganan ni 10 mil pesos. El 70 % nunca ha recibido un ascenso, 16 % ha sido víctima de abuso sexual y, por si fuera poco, varios son obligados a hacer labores que nada tiene que ver su trabajo, como recoger basura o hasta ir a votar por un candidato”.

Zetas-Gulf Cartel Conflict Continues to Rock Mexico’s Northeast
Patrick Corcoran, InSight Crime, November 14, 2017
“The government offensive, combined with other factors, has left a tangle of different cells aligned with the two groups scattered around Tamaulipas, which includes two of the largest border crossings in Mexico, Reynosa and Nuevo Laredo. According to a May report from Milenio, seven cells of the Gulf Cartel are fighting three Zetas cells for dominance in the state.”

Morgues shut doors as ultra-violent Mexican state is overwhelmed by bodies
David Agren, The Guardian, November 15, 2017
“Now it has shut down the state’s overcrowded morgues as workers walked off the job, saying the stench of hundreds of decomposing bodies had become unbearable. Bodies have arrived in such numbers that morgues in the state have neither the space to store them nor the personnel to carry out autopsies, workers told local media.”

Actions, Reports, and Resources

Running out the Clock: How Guatemala’s Courts Could Doom the Fight against Impunity
Español: Carrera contra el tiempo: Cómo el poder judicial de Guatemala pone en riesgo la lucha contra la impunidad
Human Rights Watch, November 13, 2017
“Human Rights Watch conducted an extensive review of these eight cases to determine the causes of the delays. A close examination of the judicial proceedings, as well as interviews with judges, prosecutors, lawyers and CICIG investigators, revealed a consistent pattern in which defense lawyers are easily able to trigger prolonged delays in criminal proceedings by filing repeated—and often unfounded—motions challenging court rulings or seeking the recusal of judges hearing their cases.”

Temporary Protected Status: State-by-State Fact Sheets
CAP Immigration Team, Center for American Progress, October 20, 2017
“Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a temporary legal status granted to people in the United States from designated countries facing extreme conflict, disaster, or other critical situations. The three countries with the largest TPS populations in the United States are El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti—totaling more than 300,000 TPS recipients. Over time, these individuals have become integral members of American society. They contribute to the local and national economy, have hundreds of thousands of U.S.-born children, and are civically engaged in their communities.”

*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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