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Central America/Mexico Migration News Brief for October 22, 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.

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Press Release: LAWG: Migrant Caravan a Reflection of Insecurity, Corruption, & Impunity in Honduras; U.S. & Mexican Authorities Should Respect Human Rights of Individuals
Latin America Working Group, October 17, 2018

“The Latin America Working Group (LAWG) urges U.S., Mexican and Central American authorities to respect the human rights of the individuals forming a part of the migrant caravan from Honduras. The caravan is a reflection of the conditions of insecurity, corruption, and impunity in Honduras that we have documented in our report, Between a Wall and a Dangerous Place. In addition, the repression of Honduran citizens by security forces following fraudulent elections last year, has likely fueled forced displacement and migration of its citizens.”

Infographic: The Migrant Caravan: Just the Facts
Latin America Working Group, October 22, 2018

“Hondurans are fleeing violence and instability. It is not illegal to seek asylum. The U.S. and Mexico must respect migrants’ rights.”

ACTION: Stop family detention!
Latin America Working Group, October 11, 2018
“Speak up to oppose the indefinite detention and mistreatment of migrant children!”

U.S. Enforcement
Trump on Asylum Seekers: Hysterical, Shortsighted, Wrong
Bill Frelick, Human Rights Watch, October 21, 2018

“The people in the Central American caravan making their way to the US border with Mexico are facing real life-and-death issues that need to be addressed. What they don’t need is to be overshadowed by posturing and threats, particularly from the President of the United States.”

Honduran women find safety in numbers in migrant caravan

Sandra Cuffe, Al Jazeera, October 21, 2018

“The word ‘encostalado’, which roughly translates as ‘in a sack,’ has become part of the
Honduran national vocabulary. It refers to dismembered corpses found stuffed in large sacks, often at the side of roads and highways. Both men and women are sometimes killed in this manner. ‘A woman’s life is worth nothing [in Honduras]. They are found in sacks,’ said Madrid. ‘Nothing is done.’”

Voices From the Caravan: Why These Honduran Migrants Are Heading North
Daniele Volpe and Kirk Semple, New York Times, Oct. 18, 2018

“The caravan’s participants are making the journey for several reasons. Some say they are fleeing gangs that terrorize their neighborhoods and are seeking sanctuary in Mexico or the United States. Others are in search of work and more stability for their families.”

‘No alternatives’: Thousands flee Honduras in US-bound caravan
Sandra Cuffe, Al Jazeera, October 16, 2018

“The family was living in fear of criminal gang activity in their neighbourhood. Gang members tried to recruit the two boys but it was the threat to Pena’s 14-year-old granddaughter from gang members that prompted her to leave Honduras and travel north.”

Migrant caravan activists: Trump to blame for Honduras situation
Sandra Cuffe, Al Jazeera, October 16, 2018

“‘Now they threaten not to give money to Honduras, but the truth is that does not alarm the people who are fleeing because that aid never makes it way into their hands,’ [activist Dunia Montoya] said.”

What Trump Doesn’t Understand About the Central American Caravan
Priscilla Alvarez, The Atlantic, October 16, 2018

“‘The analogy I’ve heard most often is: If the choice is sudden death or imminent certain death in your country, or going somewhere else with the possibility you might be detained or separated, you take the lesser of the two evils.’”

Honduras, Guatemala move to stop migrant caravan after Trump threats
Doina Chiacu and Jorge Cabrera, Reuters, October 16, 2018

“‘What Trump says doesn’t interest us,’ organizer Fuentes said in an interview shortly before his arrest. ‘These people are fleeing. These people are not tourists.’”

The High Costs of the Proposed Flores Regulation

Philip E. Wolgin, Center for American Progress, October 19, 2018

“Using the government’s own data, the Center for American Progress estimates that, over a decade, the proposed rule would cost DHS slightly more than $2 billion at the low end, and as much as $12.9 billion at the high end.”

New documents bolster case that Border Patrol retaliated against humanitarian group
Ryan Devereaux, The Intercept, October 18, 2018

“What’s more, the possibility that the Border Patrol might make an arrest in response to criticism it has received carries plainly chilling implications for border residents who question or challenge the agency’s actions.”

A New Surge at the Border Is Forcing Migrant Families Into Motel Rooms

Miriam Jordan, New York Times, October 18, 2018

“Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers dropped off more than 140 migrants at a budget motel in southern Tucson on Tuesday and Wednesday, after coordinating with Catholic Community Services, a local organization that houses, feeds and clothes migrants who pass through the city on their way to final destinations elsewhere.”

New deal keeps open facility that detains immigrant families
Nomaan Merchant, Washington Post, October 17, 2018

“The U.S. government has quietly reached a new agreement to keep open a 2,400-bed detention facility used to detain immigrant mothers and children, in a lucrative arrangement for a private prison company and the tiny South Texas town where it’s located.”

How zero tolerance forces undocumented victims into the shadows
Margaret Katcher, The Guardian, October 16, 2018

“The result, advocates say, is that a program designed to hold violent criminals accountable by offering a modicum of security to undocumented victims has been warped into a system where victims must increase their risk of deportation in exchange for a slim chance of justice.”

On a bridge between borders, asylum seekers linger in painful limbo
Patrick Timmons, The Guardian, October 16, 2018

“The result is a catch-22 for 21st-century refugees who reach the doorstep of America and are faced with two bad choices: get stuck in no man’s land trying to enter the US legally, or risk being criminalized trying to set foot on US territory.”

Did a 2015 Flores Court Ruling Increase the Number of Families Arriving at the Southwest Border?
Tom K. Wong, Center for American Progress, October 16, 2018

“Despite the administration’s claims, there is no evidence that the 2015 Flores ruling had an effect on the number of families arriving at the border.”

Immigrants face hurdles to prove abuse by US agents
Nomaan Merchant and Claudia Lauer, ABC News, October 14, 2018

“Advocates say the case — outlined in a report compiled by internal investigators — shows the kinds of hurdles detained immigrants face when they make claims of misconduct, even when they come forward immediately, as the sisters did.”

Mexican Enforcement
Mexico sends federal forces to its southern border as migrant caravan heads north
Kate Linthicum, Los Angeles Times, October 17, 2018

“Mexico’s federal police released images of two planes arriving in Tapachula, a Mexican city on the border with Guatemala that is a popular crossing point for migrants heading north. News reports showed hundreds of agents disembarking from the planes, some carrying riot gear.”

Why this mom was hanging on a ladder under a bridge between Guatemala and Mexico
Bill Weir, CNN, October 22, 2018

“The migrant trail through Mexico will have people walking through jungles and across deserts, hopping freight trains and dodging brutal gangs… The eventual success of the ‘caravana migrantes’ may rest in the hands of politicians in Washington and Mexico City, but no one should doubt the grit and determination shown by Rosalin Guillermo and the Central Americans heading north.”

Caravana de migrantes: por qué acusan a México de haberse convertido en la policía migratoria de Estados Unidos
BBC News Mundo, 22 de octubre de 2018

“‘En materia de drogas hemos hecho el trabajo sucio de EE.UU. ¿También lo haremos en materia migratoria?’, cuestionó el analista José Antonio Crespo al referirse al agradecimiento de Trump a México”.

Desperate Central American refugees cross into Mexico from river
The Guardian, October 21, 2018

“The decision to reassemble the refugee caravan capped a day in which Mexican authorities again refused mass entry to migrants on the bridge, instead accepting small groups for asylum processing and giving out 45-day visitor permits to some.”

Caravana llega a Tapachula; migrantes rechazan albergue y transporte ofrecido por autoridades, temen ser deportados
Animal Político, 21 de octubre de 2018

“‘Estamos cansados, pero no nos vamos a subir a los camiones. Lo que tememos es que nos mientan y nos lleven a una estación migratoria o nos deporten’, dijo Marco Antonio Vásquez, un agricultor hondureño de 33 años”.

Actualización sobre denuncia de hechos durante el éxodo migrante en la frontera sur de México
Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Matías de Córdova, 21 de octubre de 2018

“Hemos observado y documentado diversas violaciones a derechos humanos, cometidas por parte de autoridades mexicanas en contra de las personas que han estado arribando a México con necesidad de protección internacional”.

Comunicado: En respuesta a la llegada de la caravana de Honduras a Tapachula, Chiapas
Radio Progreso, 18 de octubre de 2018

“Un conjunto de organizaciones de la sociedad civil ubicados en Tapachula, Chiapas que trabajamos en la defensa y promoción de los derechos de las personas migrantes y refugiadas expresamos nuestra solidaridad a la Caravana Migrante que ha anunciado su próxima llegada a la frontera entre México y Guatemala y exigimos a las autoridades mexicanas proteger y respetar los derechos humanos de la Caravana integrada por más de 3,000 personas, incluidas niñas, niños y adolescentes”.

México debe respetar a migrantes centroamericanos: CNDH
Televisa, 17 de octubre de 2018

“‘México tiene que responder en términos de derechos humanos dando información sobre los derechos que asisten a las personas migrantes, analizando cuáles son las situaciones en donde proceda la protección internacional y desde luego que haya la asistencia humanitaria en temas de salud’”.

Migrants seeking safe harbor in the U.S. must first survive shootouts and shakedowns in Mexico
Jay Root, Texas Tribune, October 17, 2018

“It’s a cruel irony that Central American asylum-seekers face every day in Mexico. They flee the frying pan of violence and extortion in their home countries only to land in the fire that is Mexico, where robbery, shakedowns by dirty cops and price-gouging by profiteering merchants leave them desperate and broke by the time they reach the U.S. border.”

Root Causes
Trial of eight accused of murdering Honduran activist in chaos
Nina Lakhani, The Guardian, October 21, 2018

“Then, in a highly unusual move, after protests from the public prosecutors and defence lawyers, they ruled that the trial would open this weekend without legal representation for the victims. The judges claimed the victims’ lawyers, who presented the appeal in writing not person, had abandoned the trial.”

¿Por qué el primer juicio en la causa Berta Cáceres no debe iniciar en estas condiciones?

COPINH, 18 de octubre de 2018

“Existe mucha información que el Ministerio Público no ha entregado y otra que ni siquiera ha analizado, aquí les dejamos un resumen de lo que por negligencia del poder judicial, la acusación privada que representa al COPINH y la familia de Berta no ha tenido acceso”.

UN anti-graft body in Guatemala says visas denied, revoked
Sonia Perez D. and Sonny Figueroa, Associated Press, October 16, 2018

“A U.N. commission investigating corruption in Guatemala said Tuesday that President Jimmy Morales’ government has denied or revoked visas for about a dozen of its personnel including staffers probing the president, his relatives and the ruling party.”

418 niños sufrieron desplazamiento forzado en El Salvador en los últimos 3 años
Ezequiel Barrera, La Prensa Gráfica, 19 de octubre de 2018

“Las cinco principales razones por las que los niños tuvieron que desplazarse, según los datos de Cristosal, son amenazas directas o en contra de un miembro de su familia, asesinato de uno de sus familiares cercanos, intento de homicidio, extorsiones y lesiones directas o en contra de un familiar.”

Fosdeh: “Entre 200 y 250 hondureños migran diariamente de Honduras”

Eduin Funez, Tiempo Digital, 15 de octubre de 2018

“Las caravanas de migrantes solamente es una nueva modalidad para migrar de Honduras, consideran analistas del Foro Social de la Deuda Externa y Desarrollo de Honduras (Fosdeh). Según el Fosdeh a diario salen desde Honduras entre 200 y 250 personas en busca del sueño

La Red Jesuita con Migrantes Centroamérica y Norteamérica (RJM CA&NA) hace un llamado urgente: El respeto a la dignidad humana está en crisis
La Red Jesuita con Migrantes Centroamérica y Norteamérica, 17 de octubre de 2018

“El desplazamiento forzado de miles personas en nuestro continente requiere acciones urgentes y duraderas. Las personas que huyen de la miseria y la violencia siguen siendo criminalizadas, agredidas o asesinadas en las rutas. Quienes han sobrevivido a abusos de toda índole, no pueden mantenerse abriendo trechos al margen del respecto a sus derechos humanos”.

Honduran activists welcome Trump’s threats to cut US aid

Sandra Cuffe, Al Jazeera, October 18, 2018

“Many human rights activists in Honduras and in the US have expressed concern over the way the Hernandez government has addressed insecurity. They’ve advocated for years for initiatives that would cut, freeze, or condition US security aid to Honduras.”

Migrantes no son criminales, migran porque buscan la vida y el bienestar
Criterio, 16 de octubre de 2018

“El que más de 4000 personas, entre hombres, mujeres, familias con niños, niñas y adolescentes y personas de la tercera edad, tomen sus pocas pertenencias en mano y huyan de su país hacia una ruta larga y peligrosa, nos interpela como seres humanos, gobiernos, organismos internacionales y como región, porque no dejan de ser el rostro de las múltiples crisis que acechan la región”.

Comunicado de Prensa
Pastoral de Movilidad Humana, 14 de octubre del 2018

“Ante la situación de la caravana de personas llegando hoy desde Honduras a Guatemala por frontera Agua Caliente, independientemente si hay temas políticos o la caravana está organizada por políticos, como se ha sospechado, lo que encontramos a nuestras puertas son personas con necesidad de atención y cuidado”.

Nicaragua must allow access to human rights investigators: OAS
Al Jazeera, October 19, 2018

“The Organization of American States (OAS) has denounced a “criminal cocktail” of human rights abuses allegedly perpetrated by Nicaraguan authorities during months of anti-government protests and called for its human rights body to be allowed to investigate.”

Nicaragua: Authorities stepped up strategy for repression, committing grave human rights violations during ‘clean-up operation’
Amnesty International, October 18, 2018

“‘Not only did President Ortega deploy police to arbitrarily arrest and torture demonstrators, he also used heavily armed pro-government groups to kill, wound and intimidate all those brave enough to stand up to his repressive strategy,’ said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.”

Mexico Murder: One Journalist’s Fearless Investigation Into a Massacre That Still Grips the Country
Robert Valencia, Newsweek, October 18, 2018

“We can’t return to Mexico to live. I went back in August 2016 for the investigation and to publish my book. At that time, I was told that I was being followed and was forced to leave again… Criminals inside and outside of the government managed to get me out of my homeland, but they won’t silence me.”

Actions, Resources, and Reports
LIRS and USCCB release report on serving separated and reunited families
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services, October 17, 2018

“In July 2018, LIRS and USCCB/MRS assisted over 1200 families who were reunified after being separated under the Administration’s ‘Zero Tolerance’ policy. The report highlights the work that was undertaken by Lutheran and Catholic partners on the ground, and gives a unique data point regarding the separated and reunited families.”

What Would You Do?
Doctors without Borders, October 17, 2018

“Pedro (not his real name) was an asylum-seeker that MSF treated in a shelter in Tenosique, Mexico. He still had bullets in his body from an attack by armed gang members in Honduras. He and his family were trying to get as far away from that gang – which is more like a transnational criminal organization – as possible.”

Desperate journey: Fleeing invisible wars in Central America

Doctors without Borders, October 16, 2018

“Many people fleeing Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador have been victims of both physical and psychological abuse in their native lands. They endure levels of violence comparable to what MSF teams see in the world’s worst conflict zones. They need comprehensive medical care, including supportive psychological counseling—not family separation and detention.”


*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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