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Central America/Mexico Migration News Brief for October 1, 2018

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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. Read online here.

Letter from migrant mother describing her separation from children in ICE detention

Source: CNN, Immigration Justice Campaign


U.S. Enforcement
•Migrant Children Moved Under Cover of Darkness to a Texas Tent City
Caitlin Dickerson, The New York Times, September 30, 2018

“In order to avoid escape attempts, the moves are carried out late at night because children will be less likely to try to run away. For the same reason, children are generally given little advance warning that they will be moved.”

•Newly released memo reveals secretary of homeland security signed off on family separation policy
Open The Government, September 24, 2018

“The biggest revelation in the documents is a memo dated April 23, in which top Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials urged criminal prosecution of parents crossing the border with children—the policy that led to the crisis that continues today. The memo, first reported on by the Washington Post on April 26, but never previously published, provides evidence that Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen signed off on a policy of family separation despite her repeated claims denying that there was such a policy.”

•In the Face of a Shutdown, Trump and Congress Delay Border Wall Fight Until December
Joshua Breisblatt, Immigration Impact, September 27, 2018

“This continuing resolution sets up a potential major battle over immigration enforcement, border wall funding, and other immigration issues—which could all come to a head in the face of a December government shutdown.The outcome of the midterm elections could very well decide in which direction DHS funding goes.”

•HHS Plans to Strip Vital Programs of Funding to Hold More Immigrant Children in Custody
Leila Schochet and Tom Jawetz, Center for American Progress, September 28, 2018

“Funding intended to support early childhood education, cancer research, maternal and child health services, and health care for uninsured people living with HIV/AIDS will be used instead to pay for the prolonged federal custody of immigrant children.”

•Doctors With Criminal Records Examined Immigrants, Report Says
Sasha Ingber, NPR, September 25, 2018

“Some physicians who examined immigrants while working for the federal government had histories of diluting vaccinations, exploiting women and hiring a hit man to kill a dissatisfied patient, according to a scathing report released by the Department of Homeland Security’s internal watchdog.”

•Trump’s immigration policies have especially affected women and domestic violence victims

Tal Kopan, CNN, September 30, 2018

“A major factor is their lack of status or dependence on a partner for status. Abusers and traffickers often try to control their victims using the threat of deportation. Many of the women are survivors of abuse in their home countries, and studies have shown that abuse survivors are more likely than others to be victimized again.”

•Critics say new barriers on border bridge are meant to deter asylum-seekers
Hannah Wiley, Texas Tribune, October 1, 2018

“Jodi Goodwin, an immigration attorney in Harlingen, said she believes the new midpoint booth on the bridge is about more than ‘managing’ migrants; it serves to ‘prevent people from stepping onto American soil so that they could ask for asylum.’”

•Salvadoran asylum seeker’s case shows how ICE prolongs detention
Patrick Timmons, UPI, September 26, 2018

“‘It used to be the case that about 80 percent of asylum seekers received parole so they could fight their cases while free. Now it’s almost nobody,’ Spector said.”

•US Still Separating Families At Border When Children Are US Citizens
Jean Guerrero, KPBS, September 26, 2018

“Unlike foreign national minors who go into the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, U.S.-citizen children go into foster care unless Child Welfare Services can find them relatives in the U.S. who can take them in. If the child is put up for adoption, a biological parent could permanently lose custody of the child.”

•Sessions Limits Immigration Judges’ Ability to Dismiss Deportation Cases
Hilda Bonilla, Immigration Impact, September 26, 2018

“In his latest attempt to micromanage immigration judges and ensure a maximum number of deportations, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a decision last week restricting a judge’s ability to terminate cases. He made this decision despite the fact that these cases may be unnecessary to pursue and helpful to clear out as judges manage their overloaded dockets.”

•Which Immigration Cases Will the Supreme Court Hear This Term?
Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, Immigration Impact, September 28, 2018

“In addition, the Court will likely be asked to decide the fate of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative later this term. Appellate courts around the country are currently hearing government challenges to lower court decisions blocking the Trump administration from ending DACA.”

•7 Things to Know about the Flores Settlement Agreement
Luthern Immigration and Refugee Service, September 26, 2018

“By seeking to overturn Flores, the government hopes to eliminate protections and regulations that govern the way they are required to treat children and families in detention. As a result, children and families would lose standard rights within the immigration system…”

•Trump’s Deadline to Reunite Families Passed. Why Are So Many Terrified Children Still Alone?
Jess Morales Rocketto, Newsweek, September 26, 2018

“Faced with a Republican Congress that is doing more to enable the Trump administration’s inhumane policies than rein them in, it is clear that it now falls to the American people to hold the officials accountable who are profiting politically or financially from the suffering of children.”

•A ‘cuentagotas’ el gobierno reunifica las familias separadas forzosamente en la frontera
Jorge Cancino, Univision, 29 de septiembre de 2018

“ACLU ha denunciado que un a alta mayoría de padres deportados firmaron documentos autorizando las deportaciones sin conocer las consecuencias al haberlo hecho, que fueron engañados, y en muchos casos les hicieron firmar órdenes de salida voluntaria y no les explicaron detalladamente lo que eso significaba”.

•’I wouldn’t wish it even on my worst enemy’: Reunited immigrant moms write letters from detention
Tal Kopan, CNN, September 30, 2018

“‘We have suffered a lot. What the president did to us cannot be described,’ wrote a mother named as Camila. ‘What will he gain from making so many people suffer in this way?’”

•After family separation at border, Guatemalan teen’s mental health collapsed during 11-month detention
Rebecca Plevin, Desert Sun, September 26, 2018

“When Artemio and López were reunited in Southern California in June, López realized his son was a different young man. Artemio, who used to labor in his family’s fields and play soccer in the afternoons, had lost weight and paled, and had all but stopped speaking. He didn’t sleep well and wouldn’t eat or drink water.”

•Greyhound Is Still Failing to Protect Customers from Border Patrol Abuse

Chris Rickerd, ACLU, September 26, 2018

“If the company is sincere about doing ‘everything legally possible’ to protect its customers, particularly riders of color who become subject to detention and deportation, it must demand CBP agents uphold the Fourth Amendment by having a warrant or probable cause before boarding any of its buses.”

•Migrants Get a Second Chance at Asylum. But It’s Still an Uphill Battle
Hannah Wiley, Time, September 25, 2018

“Asylum denial rates are at a 12-year high. According to Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), a repository of federal immigration data, more than 61 percent of asylum claims were rejected last year. And fewer individuals are passing the ‘credible fear’ interview, one of the initial and most essential steps in the asylum process.”

•Undocumented Immigrant Faces a Choice: Become an Informant for ICE or Be Deported
Ryan Katz, The Intercept, September 24, 2018

“Soon, according to Carlos, he would be drawn against his will into a deal with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which asked him to snitch on other undocumented immigrants or face deportation. When he refused to comply, he faced retaliation.”

Mexican Enforcement
•Peña Nieto exhorta a enfrentar y canalizar el fenómeno global de la migración
La Jornada, 27 de septiembre de 2018

“Sobre todo, Peña Nieto exhortó a reconocer sus aportaciones al desarrollo en todos los órdenes, de los países de destino, tránsito y origen”.

Root Causes
•Faced with migration ‘crisis,’ U.S. border chief finds no easy fix in Central America
Nick Miroff, Washington Post, September 30, 2018

“But instead of quick solutions, his trip mostly highlighted the deep structural forces threatening to send even more migrants north: hunger, joblessness and the gravitational pull of the American economy. The Trump administration has already tried to stop them with one of the harshest measures in its tool kit — separating parents from their children — and the strategy failed.”

•Why Support for U.N.-backed Anti-Corruption Commission in Guatemala is Vital to U.S. Interests
Brittany Benowitz, Just Security, September 24, 2018

“The endemic corruption in the highest levels of the Guatemalan government, including the security ministries, makes it next to impossible for Guatemala to work effectively with the U.S. in combating transnational crime and illegal migration without the continuing work of the commission.”

•Rigoberta Menchú: “Si quieren volver a los años 80, están perdidos. La población no lo va a permitir”
Asier Vera, Nómada, 22 de septiembre de 2018

“Para Rigoberta Menchú, actualmente hay una ‘crisis de gobernabilidad’, que provoca una ‘expresión masiva’ de la ciudadanía de ‘inconformidad no solo por el tema de los derechos humanos, sino también por todas las libertades fundamentales y todo el abandono a la población’, sobre todo en el interior del país en donde ‘no hay trabajo’”.

•Morales eleva su pulso con la ONU y acusa a la misión contra la impunidad de causar más división que la guerra
Jacobo García, El País, 26 de septiembre de 2018

“Morales rompió el tradicional tedio diplomático de la jornada inaugural de la Asamblea y durante media hora atacó con dureza a la CICIG, a la que acusó de ser ‘una amenaza para la paz en Guatemala’”.

•Ayotzinapa: What Four Years of Impunity Say About Security In Mexico
Parker Asmann, InSight Crime, September 26, 2018

“Aside from showcasing the Mexican government’s inability, or unwillingness, to adequately investigate and handle crucial evidence in a high-profile investigation, the Ayotzinapa case also illustrates the depth of collusion between organized crime groups and security forces.”

•’A smell of death’: Mexico’s truck of corpses highlights drug war crisis
David Agren, The Guardian, September 25, 2018

“The macabre discovery came on the country’s national holiday, and seemed to offer a damning comment on the state of the nation: in the 12 years since Mexico launched its militarised war on drugs, more than 200,000 people have died and another 35,000 gone missing.”

•Violence, impunity and fear in the Mexican state of Veracruz
Elizabeth Melimopoulos, Al Jazeera, September 26, 2018

“Photographs of clothing items and various objects found at the site were made available online this week by the National Commission of Missing Persons, in the hope that it will allow people to identify missing loved ones.”

•Mexican gov’t agency says 1968 massacre was a ‘state crime’
Associated Press, September 25, 2018

“For the first time, a Mexican government body acknowledged on Monday that the massacre of student protesters at the capital’s Plaza of the Three Cultures on Oct. 2, 1968, was a ‘state crime.’ Jaime Rochin, head of the Executive Commission for Attention to Victims, said the government used ‘snipers who fired to create chaos, terror and an official narrative to criminalize’ anti-government demonstrations.”

•U.S. Weighed Penalizing El Salvador Over Support for China, Then Backed Off
Gardiner Harris, The New York Times, September 29, 2018

“The effort ultimately fizzled over concerns that the penalties — eliminating some foreign aid and imposing visa restrictions on certain individuals — would have made El Salvador unwilling to help stop the flow of illegal immigrants to the United States.”

•El Salvador el país peor evaluado en cuanto a mal manejo de fondos públicos
Mariana Belloso, La Prensa Gráfica, 25 de septiembre de 2018

“El Salvador es el país de Centroamérica con peor percepción en cuanto a la transparencia en el uso de los fondos públicos. El Foro Económico Mundial… mide esta variable en el Índice de Competitividad Global, a través del Índice de Desviación de Fondos Públicos. En el informe de 2018, el país obtuvo una puntuación de apenas 2.1, de un máximo de 7 posibles”.

•Médicos del Mundo presenta carta de apoyo a ley especial de desplazamiento forzado
Cristosal, 28 de septiembre de 2018

“El coordinador de Médicos del Mundo Francia, Simón Trichot, expresó la preocupación de esta organización por garantizar el acceso a la salud desde un enfoque de derechos humanos. Para realizarlo, se apoyan en una estrategia fundamentada en dos ejes estratégicos: … el segundo sobre migración y desplazamiento forzado. De ahí la necesidad de implementar acciones para mejorar el acceso a la salud y protección de los derechos de las personas afectadas por estos fenómenos”.

•Deported to Displacement in Central America
Noah Bullock, Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, September 2018

“In effect, deportation of Central Americans with protection needs condemns them to return to a condition of internal displacement… The most common means of escape from the displacement cycle is the acceptance on the part of displaced people of restrictions placed on their basic freedoms and personal security.”

Actions, Reports, and Resources
•What Drives Violence in Central America’s Northern Triangle?
United States Institute of Peace, September 25, 2018

“The U.S. Institute of Peace and the partners of the Conflict Prevention and Resolution Forum (CPRF) hosted a discussion on the issues facing Central America, and how the peacebuilding community can develop programming to prevent and mitigate violence, support community resilience and help stabilize the region.” LAWG’s Director, Lisa Haugaard, spoke on the panel.

•Handwritten Letters from Dilley
Immigration Justice Campaign, September 30, 2018

“Twenty-two of these mothers wrote letters to the public about being forcibly separated from their children by the government, and their continued detainment with no end in sight. We invite you to read their stories, share them using the hashtag #FreetheFamilies…”

•Understanding and Estimating Displacement in the Northern Triangle of Central America
Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, September 2018

“With increased attention to the violence, and associated factors such as poverty, inequality and weak governance, has come a growing awareness of the many ways in which gang violence forces people to abandon their homes in search of safety.”

*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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