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Central America/Mexico Migration News Brief for November 27, 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 Washington Post


U.S. Enforcement

Being Deported From Home for the Holidays
David Gonzalez, The New York Times, November 26, 2017
“Maria said her family arrived with valid visas in 2001 and immediately sought political asylum. However, she said, their lawyer at the time stressed the family’s social class — rather than political affiliation — as the reason they were targeted by rebels. Although their application was denied, they obtained stays of removal every year.”

How Trump is building a border wall that no one can see
Maria Sacchetti and Nick Miroff, The Washington Post, November 21, 2017
“Across agencies and programs, federal officials are wielding executive authority to assemble a bureaucratic wall that could be more effective than any concrete and metal one. While some actions have drawn widespread attention, others have been put in place more quietly… ‘He’s building a virtual wall by his actions and his rhetoric,’ said Kevin Appleby, migration policy director for the Center for Migration Studies, a nonprofit think tank.”

Congress barreling toward explosive immigration fight
Mike Lillis, The Hill, November 21, 2017
“Behind Trump, GOP leaders are opposed to attaching any DACA provisions to legislation extending government funding, which expires Dec. 8. But Democratic leaders, pressured by their activist base and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, are insisting that the DACA protections be finalized before year’s end. Many Democrats are threatening to withhold support for an omnibus spending bill if the immigration language isn’t included.”

Artistas y activistas proyectan imágenes criticando los prototipos del muro de Trump
Kate Morrissey, San Diego Union Tribune, November 25, 2017
“Utilizando tres camiones estacionados en el lado mexicano de la frontera, el grupo, que incluye miembros de la Brigada ligera Overpass San Diego, People Over Profits San Diego y un grupo de estudiantes graduados de UC San Diego dirigidos por Andrew Sturm, proyectaron imágenes en los prototipos del muro usando una luz de teatro”.

La relación entre MS-13 y las zonas con más indocumentados
Jesús García, La Opinión, November 20, 2017
“El mayor porcentaje de las detenciones de miembros de La Mara Salvatrucha durante el último operativo de los agentes de Servicios de Inmigración y Aduanas (ICE, por sus siglas en inglés) ocurrió en tres de las zonas metropolitanas con mayor número de indocumentados… De los 267 detenidos, el 37%, es decir 101 miembros de esa organización criminal, fue de capturado en las zonas metropolitanas de Nueva York-Newark-Ciudad de Nueva Jersey, Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington y Boston-Cambridge-Newton, que están en lista de las 20 regiones con mayor número de indocumentados en los Estados Unidos, según el Pew”.

ICE’s Courthouse Arrests Undercut Democracy
César Cuatuhtémoc García Hernández, The New York Times, November 26, 2017
“This is a deeply worrisome trend because arrests at courthouses don’t just derail the lives of the unsuspecting people who are detained, they threaten the very operation of our judicial system. Such arrests scare people away from the courts, keeping them, for example, from testifying at trials or seeking orders of protection. By using this tactic, the nation’s lead immigration law enforcement agency is undermining a pillar of our democracy.”

Deputizing More Local Cops to Target Immigrants Will Erode Public Safety
Joshua Breisblatt, Immigration Impact, November 16, 2017
“A March 2010 report by the DHS Office of Inspector General further concluded, among other findings, that ICE and its local law-enforcement partners had not complied with the terms of their 287(g) agreements; that the evaluation parameters for deputized officers contradicted the stated objectives of the program; and that the program was poorly supervised by ICE and in need of additional oversight.”

A vote to pass year-end budget is a vote to deport Dreamers
David Leopold, The Hill, November 26, 2017
“In ending DACA, Sessions and Trump abruptly changed the renewal deadline for many to October 2017, and they did not take the minimum step of sending letters to those affected about the sudden change. Around 22,000 DACA recipients missed this accelerated renewal deadline and are losing protections at a rate of 122 per day.”

Graham on government shutdown over DACA fix: ‘Anything is possible’
Brett Samuels, The Hill, November 26, 2017
“Graham’s comments differ from the view of the Trump administration and other Senate Republicans, who have said they would not include a DACA fix in a year-end spending bill to keep the government open. Asked if he thinks a government shutdown is possible over the issue, Graham quipped ‘In Congress, anything is possible.’”

‘Please, God, Don’t Let Me Get Stopped’: Around Atlanta, No Sanctuary for Immigrants
Vivian Yee, The New York Times, November 25, 2017
“Few places in the United States have simultaneously beckoned undocumented immigrants and penalized them for coming like metropolitan Atlanta, a boomtown of construction and service jobs where conservative politics and new national policies have turned every waking day into a gamble. President Trump has declared anyone living in the country illegally a target for arrest and deportation, driving up the number of immigration arrests by more than 40 percent this year.”

Big Money As Private Immigrant Jails Boom
John Burnett, National Public Radio, November 21, 2017
“But these are just the latest grievances against the business of immigrant incarceration. Human rights groups, including Human Rights First, Human Rights Watch, Detention Watch Network and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights have compiled reports of medical neglect and deaths in custody. They claim corporations skimp on detainee care in order to maximize profits.”

Trump moves to end ‘catch and release’, prosecuting parents and removing children who cross border
Lomi Kriel, Houston Chronicle, November 25, 2017
“The White House threatened earlier this year to separate parents and children at the border, but backed off amid outrage. Then, in April, Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered federal prosecutors to ramp up criminal charges for immigration offenses such as crossing the border without authorization. The effect, advocates say, was tantamount to a de-facto policy of family separation.”

Extreme Digital Vetting of Visitors to the U.S. Moves Forward Under a New Name
George Joseph, ProPublica, November 22, 2017
“Privacy advocates take a darker view. ‘ICE is building a dangerously broad tool that could be used to justify excluding, or deporting, almost anyone,’ said Alvaro Bedoya, executive director of Georgetown Law’s Center on Privacy & Technology. ‘They are talking about this as a targeted tool, but the numbers tell a different story.’”

Mexican Enforcement

How the US outsourced border security to Mexico
Johnny Harris and Tian Wang, Vox, November 21, 2017
“What this chart doesn’t show is America’s vested interest in Mexico’s border security: many of the migrants are passing through Mexico en route to the US. In fact, Mexico’s crackdown was implemented under pressure from the US government after a record number of unaccompanied minors arrived at the US border in 2014. The Obama administration sent Mexico resources for training and equipment.”

ONGs exigen congruencia de México frente a su compromiso de asilo
Americas Comms, International Detention Coalition, November 21, 2017
“Más de 100 organizaciones de la sociedad civil han externado su preocupación por el reciente anuncio del gobierno mexicano de suspender los plazos para emitir decisiones sobre solicitudes de protección internacional en la Ciudad de México. Estas organizaciones y  otros defensores de derechos humanos firmaron el comunicado de prensa emitido el 10 de noviembre de 2017, donde destacaron que el anuncio es parte de la preocupante incongruencia del gobierno mexicano frente a su tradición de asilo…”

Mexico/Central America: Authorities turning their backs on LGBTI refugees
Amnesty International, November 27, 2017
“It also accuses Mexican authorities of failing to protect [gay men and trans women] from violations and abuses while travelling through the country, and highlights unbearable experiences during prolonged and systematic immigration detention in the USA.”

Root Causes

October Was Mexico’s Deadliest Month On Record
Jesselyn Cook, Huffington Post, November 22, 2017
“An average of 69 people were killed each day in Mexico in 2017, Reuters reported Tuesday, as the country grapples with widespread drug trafficking, cartel violence and high-level corruption. Well over 20,000 people have been slain so far this year, government data reveals.”

No solo son los homicidios: los robos con violencia aumentaron 38% en un año
Arturo Angel, Animal Político, 23 de noviembre de 2017
“El homicidio doloso no es el único crimen al alza en México. Otros delitos violentos y de alto impacto presentan un incremento significativo este año. Entre ellos están los robos con violencia, que tan solo en un año han crecido en más de 50 mil casos, o los atentados con armas de fuego, que registran un alza de casi 2 mil casos respecto a lo registrado el año pasado”.

Pugna entre criminales, droga y un gobierno ineficaz ubican a BCS como el tercer estado más violento
Eréndira Aquino, Animal Político, 24 de noviembre de 2017
“En cuatro años, en Baja California Sur se registró un aumento del 426.96% de homicidios, pasando de 89 en 2013  a 469 en el periodo de enero a octubre de 2017… El aumento en el número de homicidios, y de la violencia de los mismos, explicó Armando Rodríguez, especialista del Colectivo de Análisis de la Seguridad con Democracia (Casede), se debe a que el Cártel de Sinaloa y el de Jalisco Nueva Generación ‘han tratado de establecer una nueva ruta de trasiego de drogas, utilizando principalmente el Pacífico y el Mar de Cortés’”.

Mexico: Baja California Sur Human Rights Commissioner Gunned Down
teleSUR, November 21, 2017
“The minister was reportedly driving with his wife and two children in La Paz when a vehicle pulled alongside the family and gunmen began firing at the car. De la Toba, who died almost immediately, lost control of the car and crashed it into a nearby business, the Attorney General’s Office said.”

Top U.S.-Backed Honduran Security Minister is Running Drugs, According to Court Testimony
Jake Johnston, The Intercept, November 26, 2017
“Today, Pacheco remains the minister of security, in charge of the entire Honduran national police force. With hundreds of millions of dollars of U.S. assistance pouring into Honduras’s security forces, Pacheco is one of the most important players in the country’s security and counternarcotics cooperation with the United States.”

Competencia limpia, elecciones limpias: ¿Aquí en Honduras?
Leticia Salomón, Criterio, 18 de noviembre de 2017
“…las actuales elecciones se producen con escasa garantía de limpieza, sin nada que garantice que será una contienda limpia y con tantas irregularidades que da pie para creer que los resultados serán manipulados para que gane uno de ellos, el que tiene el poder, el presidente de la república que se convirtió en candidato de forma ilegal, violando la Constitución de la República, y quien controla a los demás poderes del Estado, al Tribunal Supremo Electoral, al Ministerio Público, a las fuerzas armadas y a la policía militar y militarizada”.

On election eve, what hope for media freedom in Honduras?
RSF, Reporters Without Borders, November 24, 2017
“The Hernández administration has used all possible means to try to control reporting and gag critics. The community media and opposition press have in particular been subjected to measures that include restrictions on access to public information, difficulty getting accreditation, procedural harassment and threats. Journalists who investigate violence, human rights violations, corruption, organized crime and organized crime’s infiltration of the state are the most likely to be the targets of reprisals.”

Will elections in Honduras be a step forward or another step backward?
Alexander Main, The Hill, November 25, 2017
“But beneath this veneer of hopeful progress and unsubstantiated claims lies a deepening nightmare. Whatever the homicide rate may be, and many consider the government’s numbers to be dubious, Honduras remains among the most dangerous countries for those who dare challenge power. In the years since the coup, hundreds of activists have been murdered while police and judicial authorities have largely failed to take action.”

Hondurans vote in controversial presidential election
Heather Gies, Al Jazeera, November 27, 2017
“Official results have been delayed, but President Juan Orlando Hernandez of the conservative National Party claimed victory as Salvador Nasralla of the Opposition Alliance Against Dictatorship also claimed to be ‘winning.’ Despite a constitutional ban on re-election, Hernandez is running for a second term based on a contentious 2015 Supreme Court ruling that overturned the article prohibiting re-election. His opponents argue that only the Honduran people hold the power to change the constitution, making Hernandez’s candidacy ‘illegal.’”  

Liberal Party Activist Murdered Ahead of Honduras Elections
teleSUR, November 21, 2017
“The crime is part of a series of attacks against political leaders in the country ahead of presidential elections, as right-wing President Juan Orlando Hernandez runs for reelection… On Nov. 7, National Party activist Mario Reinieri Gonzales was murdered by unknown persons in his house, in front of his two sons. A note was left saying ‘this is an example for those who support JOH (Juan Orlando Hernandez).’”

Distaste for Honduran Leaders Who Linger Fuels Distrust in Election
Elisabeth Malkin, The New York Times, November 25, 2017
“Although many Latin American countries now allow re-election, a deep distrust of leaders who maneuver to stay in power persists, a legacy of the region’s history of dictatorship. That suspicion is at the heart of this election campaign, in which the opposition argues that Mr. Hernández’s place on the ballot is illegitimate.”

‘Screaming in terror’: teen survivor relives ordeal of Guatemala children’s shelter fire
Liz Ford, The Guardian, November 22, 2017
“It emerged that 56 girls had been locked inside a room measuring 6.8 metres by 7 metres as punishment for organising a protest the day before against cramped conditions and abuse by staff. More than 700 children lived at the home, which had capacity for 400-500.”

Actions, Reports, and Resources

Between a Wall and a Dangerous Place
LAWG, October and November, 2017
“The Latin America Working Group’s (LAWG) weekly series, “Between a Wall and a Dangerous Place,” discusses the intersection of human rights, migration, corruption, and public security in Honduras and El Salvador. The series shows how the dangers that propel children, teenagers, women, and men from those countries to seek refuge in the United States, Mexico, and elsewhere have not ended. The blogs are based on interviews with activists, government officials, journalists, humanitarian workers, diplomats, and academics, and aim to present a more nuanced understanding of the root causes of emigration.”

Familias centroamericanas migrantes en México
Gabriela Díaz Prieto, Instituto para las Mujeres en la Migración, octubre de 2017
“El ACNUR estima que para el 30 de junio de 2016 había 137 mil 600 refugiados y solicitantes de asilo de los países del Triángulo Norte de Centroamérica (TNC) en la región (Estados Unidos, México y Centroamérica). Este artículo centra su atención tanto en el papel que desempeñan las familias centroamericanas en los flujos recientes de personas que huyen de la violencia y la dilución del Estado en los países del TNC, como en sus necesidades de protección en México.”

Extending Temporary Protected Status for Honduras: Country Conditions and U.S. Legal Requirements
CLALS, ICEFI, WCL, November 2017
“This report provides a background on TPS, and also undertakes a detailed examination of the justifications offered over the years for extending TPS for Honduras. Each of these past extension decisions concluded, as required by the TPS statute, that Honduras is not able to adequately handle the return of its nationals who are residing in the U.S. with TPS. Our analysis reveals that the U.S. government has premised these past extension decisions on six categories of factors: climate and environment; economy; infrastructure; public health; safety and security; and governance.”

*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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