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Central America/Mexico Migration News Brief for October 21, 2016

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A compilation of this week’s top articles and reports related to issues of migration from Central America and Mexico (articles in English and Spanish).

Root Causes, Country Conditions

•   Ojalá fuera cierto que los homicidios han bajado un 70 % en San Salvador [ESPAÑOL]
If Only It Were True That Homicides Are Down 70% in San Salvador [ENGLISH]
Roberto Valencia, El Faro, 11 de octubre de 2016

“La Policía Nacional Civil (PNC) registró en el municipio de San Salvador 323 asesinatos desde el 1 de enero hasta el 31 de agosto de 2016.”

•   Matan al presidente del MUCA y a un compañero
La Tribuna, 18 de octubre de 2016

“El presidente del Movimiento Unificado Campesino del Aguán (MUCA), José Ángel Flores, fue ultimado la noche de este martes en la comunidad de La Confianza, en Tocoa, Colón.”

•   State Institutions: The Forgotten Actor Driving LatAm Violence
David Gagne, InSight Crime, October 17, 2016

“A recent academic study argues that state institutions directly contribute to Latin America’s high levels of violence to a much greater extent than contemporary scholarship has suggested, potentially providing a new perspective on the best way to reduce homicides in the region.”

•   Mas familias abandonan sus hogares por padillas
Gabriela Cáceres, La Prensa Gráfica, 18 de octubre de 2016

“Diez familias decidieron abandonar su hogar por amenazas, en un condominio de San Jacinto. La semana pasada pandilleros colocaron una granada en un chalet como advertencia.”

•   Pandilla desalojó a familias de Colón por no pagar $50 mensuales
Ezequiel Barrera, La Prensa Gráfica, 21 de octubre de 2016

“Familias que no pudieron pagar por terrenos en Tierra de Gosén a un exdirectivo, con supuestos vínculos con la pandilla de la zona, tuvieron que huir en los últimos seis meses. PNC dice que no tiene denuncias de éxodo.

•   Se disparan homicidios a nivel de 2013
Francisco Chávez, El Diario, 18 de octubre de 2016

La cantidad de homicidios dolosos en la ciudad se disparó a niveles de hace tres años, cuando se contaban entre 50 y 60 muertes violentas por mes, señala un conteo de la Fiscalía General del Estado (FGE).”

•   365 El Salvador Gang Members Arrested This Year in Guatemala: Police
Luis Fernando Alonso, InSight Crime, October 20, 2016

“Authorities in Guatemala say they have arrested 365 alleged Salvadoran gang members this year, a strikingly high number that may be due to more than just repressive security policies pushing gang members out of El Salvador and into neighboring countries.”

•   Cholera Deepens Haiti’s Misery After Hurricane
Azam Ahmed, The New York Times, October 15, 2016

“The disease is stalking the areas gutted by Hurricane Matthew on a remote stretch of the country’s southern peninsula.”

•   U.S. Announces $12 Million in Aid for Haiti Storm Recovery
Daniel Chang, The Miami Herald, October 13, 2016

“With food crops destroyed, water supplies contaminated, and farmers and fishermen unable to recover their livelihoods after Hurricane Matthew, Haiti will receive an extra dose of help from the U.S. Agency for International Development, which on Thursday announced $12 million in additional humanitarian aid for the hardest hit areas in the country’s southwestern peninsula.”

•   Honduras Willingly Accepting 100s of U.S. Deportees in Hopes of Greater Cooperation
Franco Ordoñez, The Miami Herald, October 17, 2016

“The U.S. Department of Homeland Security returns up to 200 Honduran nationals a day to the Central American nation, according to a top Honduran diplomat.”

•   US OKs Aid to Honduras Despite Rights Concerns
Matthew Lee, The Associated Press, October 14, 2016

“The Obama administration has certified that Honduras has taken “effective steps” to improve human rights conditions and reduce corruption despite ongoing concerns of abuse. The move frees up millions of dollars in U.S. aid to the Central American country.”

•   A Federal Judge Who Ruled on Some of Mexico’s Highest Profile Criminal Cases Was Gunned Down in Broad Daylight
Patrick J. McDonnell, The Los Angeles Times, October 18, 2016
“Even in a country that has become synonymous with violence, the shooting of a federal judge in daylight is a stunning occurrence. The assault drew broad condemnation and official vows to find whoever was responsible.”

•   Why Is Mexico Lagging So Badly on Human Rights?
Alejandro Anaya Muñoz, The Conversation, October 13, 2016

“The difference between a commitment to human rights and practical compliance is evident in the case of Mexico. Since the early 1990s, the human rights situation in the country has been closely scrutinised from abroad.”

•   Honduran Official Detained in Connection to Murder of Activist
TeleSur, October 16, 2016
“A former Honduran vice-minister was arrested for approving a controversial dam project despite failing to consult the local community.”

•   Blood Thicker Than Water? US Accusations Put Honduras President in Difficult Spot
Steven Dudley, InSight Crime, October 17, 2016
“The US government’s recent accusations against several alleged drug traffickers, among them military officials, have placed Honduras’ President Juan Orlando Hernández in an impossible position: between some of his staunchest local allies, including his own family, and his most important international backer.”

•   World Bank Tribunal Dismisses Mining Firm’s $250M Claim against El Salvador
Claire Provost and Matt Kennard, The Guardian, October 14, 2016

“An international tribunal has dismissed a multinational mining company’s demand that the government of El Salvador pay $250m (£205m) in compensation for refusing to allow it to dig for gold in the tiny Central American country where the slogan, ‘No to mining, yes to life’ has become a national rallying cry.”

•   Nicaragua Dispute Over Indigenous Land Erupts in Wave of Killings [ENGLISH]
Una disputa por tierras indígenas provoca una ola de homicidios en Nicaragua [ESPAÑOL]
Frances Robles, The New York Times, October 16, 2016

“Indigenous communities all over Nicaragua’s Caribbean coast say they are under attack by settlers who have taken over their ancestral lands.”

Mexican Enforcement

•   21 Mexico Police Arrested for Kidnapping, Extortion of Migrants
Tristan Clavel, InSight Crime, October 17, 2016

“Nearly two dozen municipal police officers were arrested on suspicion of kidnapping and extortion of migrants in Mexico’s Chiapas state, highlighting the rise of police violence against migrants along this key transit route.”

•   Amnesty: Deported Central Americans Face Violence Back Home
Maria Verza, The Associated Press, The Washington Post, October 14, 2016

“Countries including Mexico and the United States are deporting Central American immigrants back to violent homelands that don’t protect them, Amnesty International said Friday.”

•   El INM anuncia que pondrá en marcha programa de regularización migratoria
La Jornada, 18 de octubre de 2016
“El Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM) informó ayer que, a partir del 9 de enero próximo, pondrá en marcha el Programa Temporal de Regularización Migratoria (PTRM) para apoyar a todos los extranjeros en situación irregular que se encuentren en el país y que han hecho de México su lugar de residencia permanente para el bienestar de su familia.”

•   Sube paso de migrantes centroamericanos por NL; Buscan el llamado ‘sueño americano’
Agencia NTX, El Mañana, 16 de octubre de 2016

“Debido a la búsqueda del llamado ‘sueño americano’, en los últimos años ha aumentado el flujo de migrantes en Nuevo León, donde existen casas que ayudan a este grupo de personas, quienes además han encontrado en esta entidad una forma de vivir.”

•   Fiscalía de México indaga desaparición de 19 migrantes hondureños
América Economía, 16 de octubre de 2016
“La jefa de la Unidad de Investigación de Delitos para Personas Migrantes de la PGR, Leonor Figueroa, señaló en un comunicado que personal de la fiscalía recabó las declaraciones de las familias en la embajada de México en Honduras, luego de que presentaron las denuncias correspondientes.”

•   Detienen en Tabasco trailer con 121 migrantes, 55 son menores de edad.
Movimiento Migrante Mesoamericano, 21 de octubre de 2016
“La madrugada de este miércoles agentes de la Policía Federal apoyados por policías locales detuvieron a un trailer donde era traficados 121 migrantes centroamericanos entre ellos menores de edad, esto sucedió a la altura del entronque a La Isla, en la carretera Villahermosa – Coatzacoalcos, en el lugar se detuvieron al chofer y a su acompañante.”

•   Far From Hurricane Matthew, a Haitian Crisis Flares in Tijuana
Reuters, The New York Times, October 16, 2016
“The havoc wreaked by Hurricane Matthew has strengthened the resolve of thousands of Haitians stuck on the U.S.-Mexico border to make it to the United States even though new rules mean they will likely be deported to their shattered homeland.”

•   Mexico Stops Truck With 121 Central American Migrants Bound for U.S.
Reuters, The New York Times, October 20, 2016
“Immigration authorities in southern Mexico stopped a truck carrying 121 Central American migrants with signs of asphyxiation and dehydration, the National Migration Institute said in a statement on Thursday.”

U.S. Enforcement

•   Record Immigrant Numbers Force Homeland Security to Search for New Jail Space
Devlin Barrett, The Wall Street Journal, October 21, 2016
“U.S. officials expect number of undocumented immigrants awaiting deportation to reach 45,000 in the coming months. Homeland Security officials are quietly scrambling to find 5,000 more prison and jail beds to handle a record number of undocumented immigrants being detained in the U.S., according to officials familiar with the discussions.”

•   Don’t Forget About Immigrants in Detention
José Serrano, The Hill, October 19, 2016

“Last month, the Department of Justice filed a motion in court contending that bail-setting processes that fail to consider a defendant’s ability to pay violate the Constitution. This is an important step in reforming our criminal justice system. But just down the hall at our nation’s premier law enforcement authority — in the agency that oversees our nation’s immigration courts — another bail problem is growing. Unfortunately, this problem has not received the same level of attention from the attorney general or the public.”

•   Is it the End of Prison for Profit in the US?
Samuel Gilbert, Al Jazeera, October 16, 2016
“Last August the US Department of Justice released a statement that they would begin the process of phasing out private prison contracts in federal prisons, some 30 years after the Bureau of Prisons began its experiment contracting beds to for-profit facilities.”

•   Central American Migrants Showing Record Levels of Mental Health Problems
Nina Lakhani, The Guardian, October 21, 2016
“Central American migrants are suffering from record levels of mental health problems, amid a rise in violent attacks after a US-sponsored immigration crackdown forced them to use more perilous routes through Mexico.”

•   Concrete Divisions: A New Age of Walls – Episode 3
Samuel Granados, Zoeann Murphy and Kevin Schaul, The Washington Post, October 17, 2016

“A debate over extending the wall on the U.S.-Mexico border has been a noisy centerpiece  of this year’s presidential election. A journey from San Diego to Brownsville, Tex., offers an up-close view into what it would take to complete a barrier along the Rio Grande — and at the lives of those already divided.”

•   ‘The Wall Is a Fantasy’: A Week in the Borderlands with Migrants and Guards.
Declan Walsh, The New York Times, October 14, 2016
“America, the land of migrants, never seemed to need walls. It had water — vast oceans, east and west — and, since 2001, a formidable visa program. And yet this year, the dream of a grand protective barrier across the 2,000-mile frontier with Mexico catapulted Mr. Trump’s presidential bid into stunning viability. ‘Build that wall!’ chanted candidate and crowd in unison at rallies this year.”

•   Central America Families Cross U.S. Border in Record Numbers
Lauren Etter, Bloomberg, October 17, 2016

“A record number of Central American families fleeing violence crossed the U.S.-Mexico border in the most recent fiscal year and total apprehensions were up, according to figures released by the U.S. government.”

•   “Obama Built the Structures for Trump”: A Terrifying Legacy of Mass Deportation
Alex Shams, Truthout, October 16, 2016

“Obama will go down in history as the US president under whom the highest number of deportations has occurred — more than under all of the presidents in the century before him, combined.”

•   Policies of Exclusion Challenged Across the Board and Across the Border
Buddy Bell, Common Dreams, October 14, 2016

“On the morning of Oct. 8, a group of US veterans who were deported to Mexico, in some cases after having fought in U.S. wars, congregated in Plaza Ochoa, Nogales, Sonora. They were joined by members of Dreamer Moms International, which advocates for women deported while their children stayed in the U.S., by the Mesoamerica Migrants’ Movement, and by other solidarity activists from both sides of the border.”

•   An Agent Shot a Boy Across the U.S. Border. Can His Parents Sue?
Adam Liptak, The New York Times, October 17, 2016

“Last week, the Supreme Court agreed to decide whether Sergio’s parents may sue Mr. Mesa for violating the Constitution by using excessive force. If not, lawyers for the parents argue, then Sergio died in ‘a unique no-man’s land — a law-free zone in which U.S. agents can kill innocent civilians with impunity.’”

•   Immigrants In The U.S. Illegally Say ‘We’re Not Hypothetical’
Meg Anderson, NPR, October 14, 2016

“About half of the people in the U.S. without legal documentation come from Mexico, according to the Pew Hispanic Center. The rest are from all over: El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, the Philippines, India, Korea and a mix of other countries, according to DHS.”

•   How a Clinton-Era Law Is Still Criminalizing Immigrants Today
Aviva Stahl, VICE, October 17, 2016

“But there was also another crucial bill passed during the 1990s—the one responsible for Jose Alvarez’s deportation. Twenty years ago this September, President Bill Clinton signed the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibly Act (IIRIRA) into law. Now immigrant activists are campaigning to bring Jose Alvarez back home, and to raise awareness about the impact of IIRIRA on thousands of families across the country.”

•   U.S. Spent $37M Removing Migrants Since 2008
Kristian Hernandez, Brownsville Herald, October 15, 2016
“So far this fiscal year, the U.S. government has spent more than $2.5 million to send immigration law violators back to their home countries, according to officials.”

•   Sensible Immigration Policies Enhance U.S. National Security
Walter Ewing, American Immigration Council, October 13, 2016

“Putting down a welcome mat for immigrants—rather than building a wall—ultimately makes the United States a more secure nation. Of course, measures that ensure we keep those out who represent a risk to public safety or national security are important. But trying to keep everybody out—be it foreigners in general or all foreigners of particular nationalities—will only backfire in the end.”

•   As U.S. Watches Mexico, Traffickers Slip In From Canada
Ron Nixon, The New York Times, October 16, 2016
“While the Southern border with Mexico, about 2,000 miles, attracts much more attention, the 5,500-mile Northern border with Canada offers more opportunity for illegal crossing.”

•   Immigrants Fuel Innovation. Let’s Not Waste Their Potential
Lauren Powell Jobs, Wired, October 16, 2016

“A much larger group of immi­grants—the struggling and maligned 11 million, more than two-thirds of whom have lived here for more than 10 years—remain trapped in an agonizing state of limbo. The result is that some of our nation’s most industrious indi­viduals are barred from employment in the formal economy. And their talents, creative energies, and ideas are often trapped with them. These are the people who, in this ugly and alarming political season, have been demonized when they should be welcomed.”

•   Louisiana’s Heartless Marriage Law
The Editorial Board, The New York Times, October 18, 2016
“Last year, Louisiana lawmakers considered a handful of bills that sought to make the state as inhospitable as possible to new immigrants. Local law enforcement officials helped defeat one that would have penalized cities like New Orleans and Lafayette for their policies that limit cooperation between local police departments and federal immigration authorities.”

•   El problema de dejar entrar solo a los ‘buenos’ inmigrantes
Alexia Fernández Campbell, Univision Noticias, 17 de octubre de 2016
“Aunque la retórica ha evolucionado a través de los siglos, el debate sobre la inmigración hacia Estados Unidos a menudo se ha reducido a esto: un lado habla de cómo la inmigración beneficia a todos, mientras que el otro pone el acento en cómo esta perjudica a los trabajadores estadounidenses y a los contribuyentes. Se puede decir que encontrar a alguien cuya opinión no se adscriba a uno de estos bandos es harto difícil.”

•   Indocumentados con hijos menores, víctimas del crimen, califican para visa U
Araceli Martínez Ortega, La Opinión, 17 de octubre de 2016
“Consigue la Visa U tras ser deportado a México hace tres años y medio, ahora trata de reiniciar su vida, aunque ya sin quien había sido su compañera.”

Reports, Resources, Actions

•   Central American Families & Children Arriving at U.S.-Mexico Border Demonstrate Need for Urgent Protection Mechanisms
Latin America Working Group, October 19, 2016
“These increases should come as no surprise as the violence, corruption, and impunity driving internal displacement and migration from the Northern Triangle countries of Central America (Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador) remains unabated in 2016. ‘Families and children from Central America fleeing for their lives will not be stopped by tougher border enforcement. The United States and other governments in the region need to respond from a protection, not security, lens.’”

•   Statement by Secretary Johnson on Southwest Border Security
United States Department of Homeland Security, October 17, 2016

“In Fiscal Year 2016, total apprehensions by the Border Patrol on our southwest border, between ports of entry, numbered 408,870.  This represents an increase over FY15, but was lower than FY14 and FY13, and a fraction of the number of apprehensions routinely observed from the 1980s through 2008.”

•   Immigrants in Rural Areas — a Growing Group — Face Unique Challenges
Annie E. Casey Foundation, October 17, 2016
“Immigrants and refugees now make up 31% of new residents in rural communities, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. This changing face of rural America is compelling community leaders to learn more about who these immigrants are — and what challenges they face — in order to ensure that they can thrive.”

•   Migrantes en México: Vulnerabilidad y Riesgo
María Dolores París Pombo, Melissa Ley Cervantes y Jesús Peña Muñoz, Organización Internacional para las Migraciones, 2016

“El objetivo central es analizar la vulnerabilidad de los migrantes ante la violencia y violaciones a derechos humanos, así como ante emergencias de origen natural causadas por fenómenos hidrometeorológicos. Se describirán también las estructuras nacionales para responder a situaciones de emergencia.”

•   Urgent Petition: This Two Year Old Has Been Held in Three Different Detention Centers, Sign to Free Her and Her Mom
“Immediately stop the deportation of domestic violence survivor Sarai (name changed to protect her identity) and her two year-old daughter and release them to pursue their immigration claims outside of detention!”

•   Informe del mecanismo de prevención de la tortura sobre estaciones migratorias y estancias provisionales en los estados de Guerrero, Michoacán, Nuevo León, Quintana Roo, Sonora y Veracruz
Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos, 29 de septiembre de 2016
“Se mencionan los hechos detectados por los visitadores en los centros supervisados, así como un análisis de las situaciones que constituyen factores de riesgo en materia de tortura o maltrato y las propuestas para solventarlas.”

•   Honduras Certification Pursuant to 2016 Budget Appropriations Act
The United States Department of State, October 14, 2016
“On September 30, 2016, the Department of State certified to the U.S. Congress that Honduras has taken effective steps to meet the criteria specified in the Fiscal Year 2016 appropriation legislation. Still, serious challenges remain that require sustained effort and political will by the Honduran government. Impunity and corruption pose significant challenges to the country’s institutions.”

*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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