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Central America/Mexico Migration News Brief for October 10, 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.

Journey for Justice bus
Source: The Progressive

•Civil Society Organizations Express Concern Over CBP Commissioner McAleenan’s Statements on Drivers of Central American Migration; Call for Recognition that Violence Continues to Propel Central Americans to Flee
October 9, 2018
En español
“On the occasion of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan’s trip to Central America last week, the undersigned organizations express grave concern over comments made by the Commissioner that completely disregard violence as a major push factor in driving forced migration from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, and as a reason to seek international protection. While acute poverty is also a significant concern in the Northern Triangle of Central America, it is inaccurate and dangerous to ignore the violence forcing so many to leave behind their homes in search of safety.”

U.S. Enforcement
•Migrant families overwhelm detention capacity in Arizona, prompting mass releases
Nick Miroff, Washington Post, October 9, 2018
“… the agency can no longer conduct basic reviews of migrants’ case files and travel plans without running the risk of exceeding court-imposed limits on how long children can be held in immigration jails. As a result, ICE has been dropping off busloads of families at church shelters and charities, some with ankle monitoring bracelets, others with little more than notices to appear in court.”

•AP Investigation: Deported Parents May Lose Kids to Adoption
Garance Burke and Martha Mendoza, Associated Press, October 9, 2018
“But an Associated Press investigation drawing on hundreds of court documents, immigration records and interviews in the U.S. and Central America identified holes in the system that allow state court judges to grant custody of migrant children to American families — without notifying their parents.”

•For Everyone’s Safety, Border Agents Must Use Body-Worn Cameras
Vicki B. Gaubeca, The Hill, October 9, 2018
“The increased militarization of the border has only heightened the atmosphere of violence and fear that border communities and migrants face. Body worn cameras are necessary for professional policing in the 21st century, and, as the nation’s largest police force, CBP and ICE should be required to utilize them.”

•Migrant Children in Search for Justice: A 2-Year-Old’s Day in Immigration Court
Vivian Yee and Miriam Jordan, New York Times, October 8, 2018
“All of which means there are more children showing up more often to federal immigration courtrooms like Judge Zagzoug’s, at hearings that could determine whether they will be deported, reunited with their parents, or granted the asylum that their parents desperately want for them. They often sit at counsel tables alone, unaccompanied by any family and sometimes without even a lawyer.”

•Ryan Promises ‘Big Fight’ on Border Wall Funding, Doesn’t Rule Out Partial Shutdown
Lindsey McPherson, Roll Call, October 8, 2018
“The primary bill Republicans and Democrats will be arguing over is the Department of Homeland Security, which is where wall funding and other immigration security and enforcement provisions would be debated. Congress appropriated $1.6 billion for border security fencing in fiscal 2018 and portions of an extended border barrier have been built already.”

•With Kavanaugh, Supreme Court to Decide Pending Cases Affecting More than 1 Million Immigrants
Alan Gomez, USA Today, October 8, 2018
“Kavanaugh’s first immigration case will come before the court on Wednesday, when the justices are scheduled to hear oral arguments in Nielsen v. Preap. That will decide which immigrants the federal government is legally allowed to detain without bond as they await their deportation hearings. Attorneys and advocates on both sides of the immigration debate will listen closely to get a sense of where Kavanaugh stands, because his record is brief and mixed.”

•Checkpoint Nation

Melissa del Bosque, The Texas Observer, October 8, 2018
“Instead of using its vast resources to protect America’s boundaries from illegal activity and terrorists, as officials so often claim the agency is doing, Border Patrol is stopping American citizens and legal residents far from the border… ‘There’s a real concern about how this turns into racial profiling.’”

•U.S. Campaign Against Migration Goes Unheard, or Unheeded, in Guatemala
Ron Nixon, New York Times, October 7, 2018
“Nine billboards in Guatemala’s western highlands area, paid for by the American government, warn potential migrants about the dangers of the trip north…few residents have seen or heard the warnings. Many of the people interviewed said they would not be persuaded to stay anyway.”

•Federal judge, citing Trump racial bias, says administration can’t strip legal status from 300,000 Haitians, Salvadorans and others — for now
Meagan Flynn, Washington Post, October 4, 2018
“The plaintiffs ‘have raised serious questions whether the action taken’ by Department of Homeland Security officials ‘was influenced by the White House and based on animus against nonwhite, non-European immigrants in violation of Equal Protection guaranteed by the Constitution,’ Chen wrote.”

•Inspector General Issues Scathing Report on Family Separation Policy
Alfonso Serrano, Color Lines, October 3, 2018
“Not only did Customs and Border Protection (CBP) hold immigrant children for extended periods of time in cells intended for short-term detention, but DHS struggled to identify, track and reunite separated families, according to the report.”

•Surprise Government Inspection Finds Nooses in ICE Detention Center, Doctors Refusing to Treat Immigrant Detainees
Melissa Cruz, Immigration Impact, October 3, 2018
“This abuse and neglect are highlighted in a new report by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) and show how Adelanto staff’s blatant disregard of federal detention standards created a dangerous environment for immigrant detainees.”

•Trump’s Family Separation Policy was Flawed From the Start, Watchdog Review Says
Nick Miroff, Maria Sacchetti, and Seung Min Kim, Washington Post, October 1, 2018
“The DHS Office of Inspector General’s review found at least 860 migrant children were left in Border Patrol holding cells longer than the 72-hour limit mandated by U.S. courts, with one minor confined for 12 days and another for 25.”

•Texas detention camp swells fivefold with migrant children

Edwin Delgado, The Guardian, October 3, 2018
“‘This has continued for too long and frankly, I don’t find the federal government to be reliable in terms of having a plan to close the facility. I wouldn’t be surprised if at the end of December they extend the contract again,’ [Texas state senator] Rodríguez said.”

•Hundreds of Children Rot in the Desert. End Trump’s Draconian Policies.

Editorial Board, New York Times, October 1, 2018
“Yet the crisis that has led federal immigration authorities to bus nearly 2,000 unaccompanied children (so far) from shelters around the country to a ‘tent city’ in the desert town of Tornillo, Tex., is almost entirely of the American government’s own making.”

•Migrant Children Describe Tent City As ‘Punishment,’ Experts Say
Angelina Chapin, Huffington Post, October 2, 2018
“But advocates are worried that kids are unnecessarily being kept in conditions that don’t meet basic child welfare standards and that the tent city is being used as a long-term solution rather than a short-term fix.”

•Trump’s incendiary attacks on MS-13 and immigrants are making it harder to fight crime
Chuck Rosenberg, USA Today, October 4, 2018
“The president’s focus on MS-13 is political and undermines efforts to counter it. Former MS-13 members have warned that his constant references to the gang have given it visibility and free advertising, enabling it to recruit and metastasize.”

Trump Ignores Latin America’s Biggest Challenges

Shannon K. O’Neil, Bloomberg, October 2, 2018
“The U.S.’s tough migration stance and pullback on anti-corruption, among other issues, are diminishing its standing throughout the hemisphere. Where just three years ago two out of every three Latin Americans held a favorable view of the United States, today fewer than half do.”

•Engel Decries Trump Administration Funding Deportations from Mexico
U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, October 2, 2018
“I’m outraged that the Trump Administration is disregarding Congress and plowing ahead with its senseless plan to fund deportations from Mexico. It’s apparently not enough for this Administration to rip children from their parents. Now, President Trump is attempting to use the State Department to force his deportation crusade on other countries.”

•USCIS Begins Implementing Plan to Issue More Deportation Notices
Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, Immigration Impact, October 2, 2018
“USCIS’s new policy will lead the agency to issue ‘Notices to Appear’ (NTAs), documents which formally initiate removal proceedings against a noncitizen, whenever the agency denies an applicant with no lawful immigration status a benefit which would have provided a path to remaining in the United States.”

•“Papá, I don’t think you should go to work today.” The dread and hope of migrant farmers and families

Diana Marcum, The California Sunday Magazine, October 3, 2018
“… both raids and rumors have caused lines at notario offices of parents wanting to name guardians for their children in case they are rounded up at work. About 12 percent of California schoolchildren have at least one undocumented parent, according to a 2014 Pew study.”

•Losing Legal Protections, Immigrants Facing Deportation Share Their Stories
James Goodman, The Progressive, October 2, 2018
“Both Granados and Canales have joined this resistance by becoming passengers on the Journey for Justice bus, which left Los Angeles on August 17. They’re on a twelve-week, cross-country mission to raise public awareness and prod Congress to provide permanent residency.”

•For Private Prisons, Detaining Immigrants is Big Business
Clyde Haberman, New York Times, October 1, 2018
“Private companies house about 9 percent of the nation’s total prison population. But they take care of a much higher share of immigrant detainees — 73 percent by some accounts. Alonzo Peña, a former deputy director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, acknowledges that the companies have all too often fallen short. ‘It wasn’t their priority to ensure that the highest standards were being met,’ Mr. Peña said.”

Mexican Enforcement
•MC propone iniciativa para crear una Secretaría del Migrante
Político.mx, 20 de septiembre de 2018
“… la nueva Secretaría deberá atender las demandas de los connacionales en el exterior, así como promover el respeto de sus derechos en el extranjero a través de tratados, organismos internacionales y convenios”.

•Documentan abusos de policías de Tijuana contra migrantes
La Jornada, 5 de octubre de 2018
“Los migrantes se han quejado de que los policías de Tijuana los detienen sin razón alguna, los tratan en forma discriminatoria e incluso han empleado la fuerza contra ellos sin que fuera necesario”.

•Se duplica cifra de migrantes cuyo destino es México: ONG
José Antonio Román, La Jornada, 9 de octubre de 2018
“… la Redodem evidencia que la política migratoria mexicana criminaliza, persigue y viola sistemáticamente los derechos humanos de la población migrante que transita por el territorio nacional”.

Root Causes
•Latin America’s murder rate is skyrocketing. The United States should help.
Editorial Board, Washington Post, September 30, 2018
“This is a crisis worthy of far more attention than it has received in the United States and beyond. Not only does rampant violence cause human suffering and economic disruption where it occurs, but it also has spillover effects, the most significant of which is migration.”

•As immigrants flow across the U.S. border, American guns go south
Lisa Marie Pane, Chicago Tribune, September 30, 2018
“On average, an estimated 253,000 firearms each year are purchased in the United States expressly to be sent to Mexico… Once in Mexico, the weapons end up in the hands of drug cartels or get shipped to gangs in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador — countries that are dealing with an epidemic of gun violence.”

•El Salvador is Trying to Stop Gang Violence. But the Trump Administration Keeps Pushing Failed ‘Iron Fist’ Policing
Danielle Mackey and Cora Currier, The Intercept, October 2, 2018
“‘The whole intention to focus more on the prevention side, on respectful law enforcement,’ was to correct the mistakes of the past, like ‘the use of incarceration as the main method of dealing with the problem.’ It is also meant to build ‘relationships of trust between communities and police, so people in communities actually report crime, and police know what’s happening by responding in a way that’s respectful of human rights.’”

•What’s Behind El Salvador’s Recent Drop in Homicides?
Parker Asmann, InSight Crime, October 3, 2018
“One explanation behind the drop in homicides could be an increased level of sophistication on the part of the country’s notoriously violent gangs as authorities have doubled down on extraordinary anti-gang measures, forcing them to venture into other criminal activities.”

•Cristosal reitera necesidad de ley para desplazados ante la CIDH
Stanley Lunas, Elsalvador.com, 4 de octubre de 2018
“Esto a partir de la admisión de un amparo que la Sala de lo Constitucional de la Corte admitió en julio a familias que habían sido desplazadas por las pandillas y la policía. En la resolución también ordenó al Órgano Legislativo crear una ley en seis meses”.

•Guatemala’s former vice-president jailed for 15 years on corruption charges
Nina Lakhani, The Guardian, October 9, 2018
“Public prosecutors backed by the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (Cicig) uncovered a criminal network run by Baldetti which conspired to award an $18m government contract to an Israeli company for a clean-up potion that turned out to be sea water.”

•UN: Guatemala and Guterres ‘Won’t Appoint CICIG Head Together’

Telesur, October 3, 2018
“The President of Guatemala Jimmy Morales said on Wednesday that he and U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres have agreed to appoint a new head for the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), which has been trying to investigate the president, but a U.N. spokeswoman denied the claim.”

•Guatemala: CICIG Warns of Gov’t Retaining Passport for 26 Workers
Telesur, October 2, 2018
“Ponce warned that by retaining CICIG workers’ passports the government is undermining their right to freedom of movement. ‘They see their right to free movement and circulation affected, and they don’t have their official IDs, in this case, their passports.’”

•Guatemala’s army breaks ranks with president over court ruling
Sandra Cuffe, Al Jazeera, October 1, 2018
“The Guatemalan army will obey a recent Constitutional Court ruling overturning the government’s decision to ban an international anti-corruption commissioner, a Ministry of Defense spokesman confirmed to Al Jazeera, signalling a blow to President Jimmy Morales, who rejected the ruling.”

•HRW: Lecciones de un sexenio perdido. La militarización de la seguridad pública

Daniel Wilkinson, El Universal, 2 de octubre de 2018
“Lamentablemente, es improbable que la Ley de Seguridad Interior que se aprobó responda a los objetivos que se habría propuesto. Por el contrario, otorga a las Fuerzas Armadas más libertad respecto de las autoridades civiles, y mayor potestad sobre ellas”.

•Gobierno deja en riesgo a defensores al no entregar recursos del mecanismo de protección

SIDIDH, 10 de octubre de 2018
“El Consejo Consultivo del Mecanismo de Protección para Personas Defensoras de los Derechos Humanos y Periodistas en México denunció que el saliente Gobierno federal dejará desprotegidas a las 727 personas que deben contar con medidas de protección al no entregar el ya de por sí reducido presupuesto de este organismo”.

•Murdered Honduran Activist Berta Cáceres Deserves Open Justice
Amanda Ghahremani, Huffington Post, October 2, 2018
“It is no surprise that live streaming is important to the victims in this case. Beyond a mere technical issue, diversified access to judicial proceedings lies at the heart of the concept of open justice — the idea that courts should be open, public, and accessible — and meaningful victim participation.”

•Nicaragua police arrest two suspects accused of killing protester
Agencia EFE, October 5, 2018
“Nicaragua’s police said Thursday that they arrested two suspects who are accused of killing Denis Madriz, an anti-government protester whose body was found with a shotgun wound five days after he disappeared. The police identified the two suspects as Israel Augusto Madrigal Vallecillo, 23, and Walter Jose Lopez Martinez, 36.”

Actions, Resources, and Reports
•Policy Brief | The U.S. Government’s Systemic Separation Of Immigrant Families
National Immigrant Justice Center, October 9, 2018
“Family separation is a central component of U.S. immigration policy—at the border, in our communities, and in the discriminatory policies that determine who can and cannot immigrate. This policy brief tells the stories of four families*, all clients of the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC), whose family unity was disrupted by U.S. immigration policies.”

•Special Review – Initial Observations Regarding Family Separation Issues Under the Zero Tolerance Policy
DHS Office of Inspector General, September 27, 2018
“The OIG’s observations indicate that DHS was not fully prepared to implement the Zero Tolerance Policy, or to deal with certain effects of the policy following implementation… CBP held alien children separated under the policy for long periods in facilities intended solely for short-term detention. The OIG team also observed that a lack of a fully integrated Federal immigration information technology system made it difficult for DHS to reliably track separated parents and children…”

•Management Alert – Issues Requiring Action at the Adelanto ICE Processing Center in Adelanto, California
DHS Office of Inspector General, September 27, 2018
“While at the center, we identified serious issues relating to safety, detainee rights, and medical care that require ICE’s immediate attention. These issues not only constitute violations of ICE detention standards but also represent significant threats to the safety, rights, and health of detainees.”

•TPS Injunction
U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, October 3, 2018
“… absent injunctive relief, TPS beneficiaries and their children indisputably will suffer irreparable harm and great hardship. TPS beneficiaries who have lived, worked, and raised families in the United States (many for more than a decade), will be subject to removal.”

•Stop Family Detention: Submit a Public Comment
“Now is your chance to stand up for immigrant children’s safety. Submit a comment from your perspective about why you oppose the Trump administration’s new regulations to indefinitely detain children, lower standards of care in immigration jails, and remove legal protections from minors seeking safety in the U.S.”

•Public Comment Mini-Toolkit: Fight the administration’s proposed Flores rule!
Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., October 5, 2018
“Use this toolkit to learn more about the public comment process and to organize your own public comment event! It’s easy to do and you can make a difference.”

•La violencia es una de las causas principales de la migración en Centroamérica
Asociación Pop No’j, 9 de octubre de 2018
“Organizaciones de sociedad civil de El Salvador, Honduras y Guatemala expresaron a
representantes de la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos – CIDH – su preocupación por el incremento del desplazamiento forzado de niños, niñas y adolescentes debido a la violencia generalizada y la indiferencia y ausencia de mecanismos integrales y de eficacia real para la atención y protección a este grupo especialmente vulnerabilizado por parte de los Estados de estos tres países”.


*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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