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Central America/Mexico Migration News Brief for November 3, 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: NY Daily News


U.S. Enforcement
 
Perla Canales, New York Daily News, November 3, 2017
“TPS is an example of America’s best values — protecting people from danger and injustice. But the Department of Homeland Security and President Trump have indicated they want to end the program. That would be cruel and it would hurt not just families like mine, but many communities across the country where TPS holders have settled for decades, where they own homes and businesses and have raised their kids.”
Vick Gass, Oxfam America, October 31, 2017
“…these countries continue to be plagued by endemic poverty, corruption and impunity, and extreme weather events such as the hurricane that forced people like José to the US in the first place. In a couple of weeks, DHS Secretary will determine the fate of José and tens of thousands of people like him.  We have to ask, though: is it really best for the United States to tear families apart, shutter businesses and gut communities in order to send us, our neighbors, and our friends into life-threatening conditions?”
Voice of America News, October 31, 2017
“‘None of the countries that currently have TPS in this hemisphere are ready to receive all of the people that might be returned,’ Green said. ‘They don’t have the resources. They don’t have the employment. They don’t have the housing. They don’t have medical facilities. They don’t have educational facilities.’”
Carlos Guevara and Sabrina Terry, Unidos US, October 27, 2017
“Ending TPS would have negative consequences for many communities. But the effect could be most dire in Texas and South Florida, which have been significantly impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. It’s estimated that these natural disasters have caused $200 billion worth of property damage, and the recovery process for these regions could take years. In Texas, nearly 21% of Salvadoran and 24% of Honduran TPS holders work in construction, while in Florida it’s 23% and 29%, respectively.”
Zeke Miller and Rachel Lardner, Houston Chronicle, November 1, 2017
“Vowing to ‘stop this craziness,’ President Donald Trump on Wednesday urged tougher immigration measures based on ‘merit’ after the deadly truck attack in New York City. Trump said on Twitter that the driver in Tuesday’s attack ‘came into our country through what is called the “Diversity Visa Lottery Program,” a Chuck Schumer beauty’ — a reference to the Senate’s Democratic leader. Schumer fired back from the Senate floor, accusing Trump of “politicizing” the tragedy.”
EFE, Al Día News, November 3, 2017
“‘The president made it very clear that he doesn’t want to see any DACA legislation as part of a year-end package,’ said Georgia Republican Sen. David Perdue, who was at the meeting, referring to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.”
Redacción, La Opinión, 2 de noviembre de 2017
“En medio de la polémica de la oficina de Inmigración y Control de Aduanas (ICE), que obtuvo la aprobación preliminar para destruir los registros de los detenidos, incluida la evidencia que se relaciona con las muertes en custodia y los casos de agresión sexual después de un período de 20 años, las defunciones de detenidos alertan a los activistas”.
teleSUR, October 31, 2017
“Last week, Hernandez’s ambulance was searched at a U.S. Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) patrol checkpoint near Laredo as she was being rushed to a local hospital for emergency gallbladder surgery, a complication of Hernandez’s cerebral palsy… ICE agents then kept watch outside of the child’s hospital room. As soon as she was medically released on Oct. 25, they transported her several hours away to a detention center in San Antonio. Rosa has not been able to see or talk to her parents since.”
Kate Morrissey, San Diego Union Tribune, October 30, 2017
“The Inside Out/Dreamers project hopes the community-created public art will catch the attention of Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, and convince him to support the DREAM Act, which would give green cards to unauthorized immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. Photo booth trucks from the project are traveling to more than 30 strategically-selected cities around the U.S. to target members of Congress the group hopes to sway in favor of the DREAM Act.”

Mexican Enforcement
Sputnik Mundo, 2 de noviembre de 2017
“El monto de remesas familiares enviadas por migrantes a México, en su gran mayoría desde EEUU, alcanzó en un nuevo récord en nueve meses de este año 2017, y superó los ingresos por exportación de petróleo crudo, informó el Banco de México (Banxico, central)”.


Al Calor Politico, 1 de noviembre de 2017
“Lamentó la pobreza y marginación de las familias centroamericanas que tiene algún desaparecido en México, así como que la desconfianza en las autoridades favorezca que no se denuncien los hechos y no existan estadísticas actuales de la problemática”.

Gardenia Mendoza, La Opinión, 1 de noviembre de 2017
“Para la caravana fue importante visibilizar que en los casos de persecución de las pandillas en sus países  el asilo en México no es la mejor opción. ‘Puede ser una condena a muerte tan manifiesta como en Honduras, El Salvador o Guatemala pues la persecución de grupos criminales  se extiende al territorio mexicana’’’.
Lucina Melesio and John Holman, Al Jazeera, October 30, 2017
“He works for a local cartel, guiding undocumented immigrants from Ciudad Juarez across the desert, and into Texas and New Mexico. The cartel uses him as a people smuggler because, as a minor, he’ll most likely get a ride back to Mexico if caught by the US border patrol. From there he can make the trip again, and again. Jose is not the only one. Organised crime leaders are using numbers of children and adolescents to cross migrants all along the Mexico-US border, researchers tell Al Jazeera.”

Root Causes

Nowhere to Call Home: Internally Displaced in Honduras and El Salvador

Daniella Burgi-Palomino, LAWG, October 31, 2017
“In mid-2017, LAWG heard that the levels of internal displacement due to violence were substantial and ongoing in both countries. In this blog, we unpack recent statistics and explain what continues to drive this forced displacement of people, what it means to live a life in hiding in particular for women and children, and the lack of government policies to respond to internally displaced persons (IDPs) in El Salvador and Honduras.”

De cada 100 migrantes centroamericanos, 96 han intentado entre una y cinco veces atravesar México

Jaime Septien, Aleteia, 3 de noviembre de 2017
“Esto se produce porque han aumentado significativamente las detenciones y deportaciones de México hacia los países centroamericanos, superando, incluso, las deportaciones de Estados Unidos. También por las restricciones a viajar en ‘La Bestia’ y por la necesidad que han tenido los migrantes de encontrar nuevas rutas en tránsito hacia el norte”.
Natalie Gallón, CNN, November 2, 2017
“A report made public this week concluded that a plan to assassinate Cáceres had been months in the making, was not an “isolated incident,” and was the result of a conspiracy involving financial institutions, current and former power company executives and employees and members of the Honduran state security agency.”
Elisabeth Malkin, The New York Times, October 28, 2017
“Now, 20 months after the killing, a team of five international lawyers has warned that the people who ordered it may never face justice. The evidence, the lawyers said, points to a plot against Ms. Cáceres that was months in the making and reached up to senior executives of Desarrollos Energéticos, known as Desa, the Honduran company holding the dam concession.”
ACAN-EFE, La Prensa Gráfica, 2 de noviembre de 2017 
“El Salvador es considerado uno de los países más violentos del mundo por sus tasas de asesinatos por cada 100,000 habitantes de 103 y 81.7 en 2015 y 2016, respectivamente, superiores a los índices considerados como epidemia a nivel internacional y atribuidas principalmente a las pandillas. La nación centroamericana es asediada por las pandillas que poseen más de 600 células”.
Tristan Clavel, InSight Crime, November 1, 2017
“The official explained that gangs offer municipal candidates votes or reductions in violence in exchange for municipal jobs or other benefits for their members. According to Cotto, periods of spiking homicides this year are the result of gangs setting the stage for negotiations with candidates. Once the elections have passed and friendly candidates occupy city hall, the gangs have leverage over these officials.”
Geoff Thale, Washington Office on Latin America, October 27, 2017
“In recent weeks El Salvador has witnessed a sharp upturn in homicides. In just the first 15 days of October, officials estimated that an average of 14 people were murdered each day. Sadly, the spike in violence is not unfamiliar in El Salvador, and the high numbers of homicides are a chilling reminder of the challenges the country faces. Difficulties in managing the problem of insecurity and violence are compounded by a weak criminal justice system unable to hold perpetrators accountable. At the same time, deeply polarized politics have made it difficult to agree on solutions and measures to effectively address the country’s challenges.”
Nazaret Castro, Equal Times, October 30, 2017
“Similarly, the sugar cane that has been taking over the south coast of Guatemala for decades has diverted rivers and led to a severe water crisis, as well as polluting the air, water and land. More recently, sugar cane has been gaining new ground, alongside oil palms, in the Valle del Polochic region. In 2011, 74 families were violently evicted by state and private armed groups. The Inter-American Commission on Human rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States (OAS) condemned the evictions, but there has been no reparation for the Mayan Q’eqchí community affected.”
Tristan Clavel, InSight Crime, October 27, 2017
“Authorities believe that several municipalities repeatedly fixed the attribution process of local government contracts to favor a particular construction company owned by Héctor Leonel Castillo Gómez. In return, Gómez allegedly gave everyone, from mayors and municipal treasurers to unionists and municipal employees, kickbacks.”
Nacha Cattan, Bloomberg, November 1, 2017
“When Galvez was running for governor of Hidalgo state in 2010, she says, a media conglomerate offered to interview her and cover her events for 22 million pesos ($1.1 million) — cash only, because Mexican law bars individual candidates from paying for radio and TV publicity. During the borough campaign, she said, a national newspaper offered to publish a poll that would show her catching up with the front-runner. The price quoted was 1.5 million pesos. ‘As long as money is what allows politicians to win, we are condemned to having idiotic and corrupt politicians,’ Galvez said. She said she always turned down such offers, and asked that the media outlets not be identified, for fear of retaliation.”
Parker Asmann, InSight Crime, October 30, 2017
“Since a devastating earthquake rocked Mexico City on September 19, 14 trailers carrying multi-ton frozen octopus shipments have been robbed on federal highways leading from the Caribbean state of Yucatán to other parts of the country, El Diario de Yucatán reported. According to the local publication, each trailer carried 25 tons of octopus, an amount worth some $3 million. It’s estimated that the total losses accumulated from the robberies have now totaled more than $40 million.”
Parker Asmann, InSight Crime, October 27, 2017
“Mexico President Enrique Peña Nieto is just the latest high-ranking Latin American official to be wrapped up in the multimillion-dollar Odebrecht scandal, although it’s very unlikely he’ll suffer any consequences. Indeed, in Peru, former President Alejandro Toledo, former President Ollanta Humala, and former presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori have been accused of accepting bribes from the Brazilian construction firm. In Ecuador, Vice President Jorge Glas was detained as investigations continue to probe whether or not he also took bribes. None have been convicted as of yet.”
Max Fisher and Amanda Taub, The New York Times, October 28, 2017
“First, Colombia defeated its major drug cartels in the 1990s, driving the center of the drug trade from the country into Mexico. Then, in 2000, Mexico transitioned to a multiparty democracy. This meant that the drug trade moved to Mexico just as its politics and institutions were in flux, leaving them unable to address a problem they have often made worse.”

Actions, Reports, and Resources

Between a Wall and a Dangerous Place

LAWG, October/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.”
English: Executive Summary
GAIPE, noviembre de 2017
“A partir del análisis realizado, el GAIPE establece la negligencia deliberada por parte de instituciones financieras… Dichas entidades tenían conocimiento previo de las estrategias empleadas por DESA, a través de reiteradas denuncias y estudios de consultores internacionales. Pese a ello, no adoptaron medidas idóneas, eficaces y oportunas para garantizar el respeto a los derechos humanos de las comunidades indígenas impactadas por la represa Agua Zarca, ni mucho menos para proteger la vida e integridad de Berta Isabel Cáceres Flores. Tampoco realizaron suficientes esfuerzos para exigir las investigaciones penales correspondientes”.
Lisa Haugaard, LAWG, November 2, 2017
“Honduras and El Salvador remain two of the most dangerous countries on earth not at war. El Salvador led the world in homicides per capita in 2015 and 2016, wresting this infamous title from Honduras which held it the previous year. The Honduran cities of Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula, to which Hondurans losing TPS or DACA status would be deported, remain among the most dangerous in the world.”
Robert Warren and Donald Kerwin, Journal on Migration and Human Security
“This report presents detailed statistical information on the US Temporary Protected Status (TPS)  populations from El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti. TPS can be granted to noncitizens from designated nations who are unable to return to their countries because of armed conflict, environmental disaster, or other extraordinary and temporary conditions. In January 2017, an estimated 325,000 migrants from 13 TPS-designated countries resided in the United States. This statistical portrait of TPS beneficiaries from El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti reveals hardworking populations with strong family and other ties to the United States.”
American Friends Service Committee
Action: Call and email your representatives telling them to save Temporary Protected Status for hundreds of thousands of immigrants.
Jeanne Batalova, Ariel G. Ruiz Soto, Sarah Pierce, and Randy Capps, Migration Policy Institute, October 2017
“This fact sheet offers estimates of the populations that could potentially benefit under five legislative proposals: the Recognizing America’s Children Act (RAC Act), the DREAM Act of 2017, the American Hope Act, the SUCCEED Act, and the Border Security and Deferred Action Recipient Relief Act.”
The Essential Worker Immigration Coalition, October 11, 2017
“At the forefront of the immigration policy debate is the plight of those hundreds of thousands of immigrants in Temporary Protected Status (TPS). These immigrants are hardworking individuals who are contributing to our economy, our communities and our industries. Regardless of policy, many of these TPS workers have become beyond temporary and are permanent, productive members of the U.S. workforce.  A going-forward policy that recognizes their contribution to U.S. employers and the economy is needed.”
 

*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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