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Central America/Mexico Migration News Brief for October 23, 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: The Nation

U.S. Enforcement

300,000 immigrants from Haiti, Central America could lose protected status in U.S.
Nick Miroff, Chicago Tribune, October 20, 2017
“Democratic lawmakers and advocacy groups are urging the administration to extend the TPS protections, warning that the humanitarian and economic costs of expelling so many long-term U.S. residents would be steep. Moreover, they say, the countries remain crippled by violence, disease and poverty, and the abrupt loss of the cash remittance payments the immigrants send from the United States would deal a heavy blow to those nations’ feeble economies.”

How US Foreign Policy Helped Create the Immigration Crisis
Jeff Faux, The Nation, October 18, 2017
“Democrats, thinking Latinos will vote for them, want the newcomers to stay. Republicans, fearing Democrats are right, want them sent back. Employers want their cheap labor. Workers fear their wage competition. The clash of these agendas further inflames simmering social tensions over racism, police tactics, and cultural identity, which in turn feed Trump’s reactionary base. Lost in these US-centric arguments is the role of our foreign policy in creating the conditions that push people in Central America and Mexico to make the long, arduous, and frequently fatal trek north.”

Democrats are taking a hard line on immigration — from the left
Dara Lind, Vox, October 18, 2017
“For Democrats, it’s been a simple calculus. Democrats’ attempts at ‘tough love’ centrism didn’t win them any credit across the aisle, while an increasingly empowered immigrant-rights movement started calling them to task for the adverse consequences of enforcement policies. Democrats learned to ignore the critics on the right they couldn’t please, and embrace the critics on the left who they could.”

Exclusive: Tech companies to lobby for immigrant ‘Dreamers’ to remain in U.S.
Salvador Rodriguez and Jeffrey Dastin, Reuters, October 19, 2017
“Some 800 companies signed a letter to Congressional leaders after Trump’s decision, calling for legislation protecting Dreamers. That effort was spearheaded by a pro-immigration reform group Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg co-founded in 2013 called FWD.us.
Many of the companies that endorsed that letter are named as joining the new coalition.”

Repealing DACA is pretty costly for the hometowns of the most anti-immigrant politicians
Esther Yu Hsi Lee, Think Progress, October 17, 2017
“Dismantling the program could lead to serious gross domestic product (GDP) losses in congressional districts nationwide, according to the USC Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration and Center for American Progress (CAP) calculations. A July 2017 CAP report already shows that taking away all DACA recipients, or an estimated 685,000 workers from the economy would lead to a $460.3 billion drop in GDP over the next ten years.”

Trump plans massive increase in federal immigration jails
Alan Gomez, USA Today, October 17, 2017
“In recent weeks, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency has put out requests to identify privately-run jail sites in Chicago, Detroit, St. Paul, Salt Lake City and southern Texas, according to notices published on a federal contracting website. It did not publicly announce its plans to house 4,000 more detainees at the facilities.”

Mexican Nationals and Detained Individuals Are Uniquely Disadvantaged in Immigration Court, Data Finds
Katie Shepherd, Immigration Impact, October 20, 2017
“According to TRAC, the likelihood a detained individual was represented depended on the particular court and hearing location, the nationality of the immigrant, whether or not she is detained, and the length of time the immigrant has resided in the United States… More than anything, the recent TRAC numbers emphasize the dire need for increased access to counsel for all immigrants facing deportation, particularly those who are detained.”

They fled danger at home to make a high-stakes bet on U.S. immigration courts
Mica Rosenberg, Reade Levinson, and Ryan McNeill, Reuters, October 17, 2017
“Threatened by gangs in Honduras, two women sought asylum in the United States. Their stories illustrate what a Reuters analysis of thousands of court decisions found: The difference between residency and deportation depends largely on who hears the case, and where.”

ICE y CBP inician mañana revisión de redes sociales a viajeros e inmigrantes de EEUU
Agencia Reforma, La Opinión, 17 de octubre de 2017
“Desde septiembre, el HSI anunció que la medida entraría en vigor el 18 de octubre. Los agentes solicitarán abrir en sus computadoras todas sus cuentas de Facebook, Twitter, Instagram y otras redes sociales con la finalidad de ver sus contenidos y cerciorarse de que no existe ningún riesgo para la seguridad de Estados Unidos en ellos”.

Top Trump official John Kelly ordered ICE to portray immigrants as criminals to justify raids
Alice Speri, The Intercept, October 16, 2017
“The redacted emails, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by students at Vanderbilt University Law School, show that while hundreds of undocumented immigrants were rounded up across the country, DHS officials tried — and largely failed — to engineer a narrative that would substantiate the administration’s claims that the raids were motivated by public safety concerns. In the emails, local ICE officials are ordered to come up with ‘three egregious cases’ of apprehended criminals to highlight to the media.”

Mexicans see models of Trump’s ‘impenetrable’ wall, and they’re not impressed
Joshua Partlow, Washington Post, October 16, 2017
“One irony of building these brawny prototypes at this location is that San Diego has long demonstrated the weakness of walls. Nowhere is more famous for its sophisticated border tunnels than this industrial sprawl near the Otay Mesa border crossing. The drug lord Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán, now imprisoned in New York, disrupted the narcotics trade by building ‘super-tunnels’ here that were dozens of feet deep, equipped with elevators and ventilation and lighting, to move vast amounts of cocaine into California.”

Federal judge blocks Trump’s third travel ban
Matt Zapotosky, Washington Post, October 17, 2017
“The state of Hawaii, the International Refugee Assistance Project and others who sued over the March travel ban asked judges to block the new one in federal courts in Hawaii, Washington state and Maryland. They argued that Trump had exceeded his legal authority to set immigration policy and that the latest measure — like the last two — fulfilled his unconstitutional campaign promise to implement a Muslim ban.”

Mexican Enforcement

Mexico jumps into battle over Texas ‘sanctuary city’ law
Franco Ordoñez, McClatchy DC Bureau, October 20, 2017
“The government of Mexico has aligned itself with municipalities suing the state of Texas over a new law that, if implemented, would crack down on sanctuary cities, arguing that the state’s action hurts Mexico’s relationship with Washington. Lawyers for the Mexican government argue that Texas Senate Bill 4 creates unnecessary tension in relations between Mexico and the United States. It forces Mexico to treat Texas differently than other states and interferes with diplomatic interests and ongoing negotiations on a range of bilateral matters, from trade to security.”

Inside a Terrifying Stop for Migrants Heading to the US
Daniel Ojeda, Vice, October 20, 2017
“Today, the area is comprised of several structures used by an organized crime syndicate to detain men, women, and children on their way north. Hundreds—and perhaps thousands—of immigrant travelers have spent hours and days there in fear and anguish. The area is said to be controlled by the Sinaloa Cartel, which includes multiple gangs of human traffickers and (allegedly) plenty of cops with questionable morals. The Cartel is believed to allow polleros (people smugglers) or coyotes and bajadores—gunmen who assault the polleros in order to seize their migrants and extort their families—to operate with impunity.”

Recomendación de CNDH reconoce que COMAR e INM violan derechos humanos de solicitantes de asilo
Comisión Mexicana de Defensa y Promoción de Derechos Humanos, 20 de octubre de 2017
“Es importante destacar que la legislación mexicana y el derecho internacional prohíben tajantemente detener a niñas y niños en estaciones migratorias. En ese contexto, además tanto el INM como la COMAR omitieron analizar el interés superior del niño, desestimando realizar alguna entrevista con el menor de edad como parte del procedimiento de reconocimiento de la condición de refugiado”.

¿De qué migrantes habla el gobierno mexicano?
Jose Knippen, Animal Politico, 19 de octubre de 2017
“Cuando exige que se deben ‘ordenar los flujos’, respetar nuestra soberanía, e impulsar la corresponsabilidad entre países, se refiere en general a las justificaciones por los malos tratos que reciben los migrantes de otras latitudes en nuestro país, en particular aquellos de Guatemala, El Salvador y Honduras. Esto no es nuevo, pero se volvió muy visible por una coyuntura particular en la ONU: la creación de un nuevo ‘Pacto Global sobre Migración Segura, Ordenada y Regular’, a ser aprobado en la Asamblea General en septiembre de 2018. En este proceso, México se posicionó como un actor clave”.

Root Causes

Central Americans fleeing violence can’t return home yet, bishops warn
Adelaide Mena, Catholic News Agency, October 18, 2017

“As a temporary immigration permit program for families fleeing violence in Honduras and El Salvador is set to expire, the U.S. bishops warn that requiring immigrants to return to unsafe countries is unjust. ‘There is ample evidence to suggest that current TPS recipients from Honduras and El Salvador cannot return safely to their home country at this time,’ said Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Texas, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops Committee on Migration.”

El Salvador Violence Levels on the Rise: Report
teleSUR, October 20, 2017
“Violence levels are on the rise in El Salvador, as the Central America nation had a record 679 homicides in 47 days, representing an average of 14 murders per day, El Universal reported. Authorities attributed the escalating violence to organized crime and street gangs, known locally as ‘maras.’ They claim clashes between rival gangs MS-13, MS-503 (the recently-formed dissident faction of Mara Salvatrucha) and Barrio 18 have added to the critical situation.”

Gasto militar en tiempos de paz es similar al de la guerra
Ezequiel Barrera, La Prensa Gráfica, 20 de octubre de 2017
“Las estadísticas también indican que en los años en que más militares han salido del cuartel para patrullar y realizar tareas de seguridad pública la violencia homicida no disminuyó, sino que, por el contrario, aumentó. Así lo revelan los datos que obtuvo este periódico en el Ministerio de la Defensa Nacional (MDN), a través de la Ley de Acceso a la Información, sobre el incremento de los militares que patrullaron desde 2009 hasta septiembre de este año”.

EUA pide cadena perpetua para pandilleros salvadoreños
Carmen Rodríguez, La Prensa Gráfica, 20 de octubre de 2017
“Estados Unidos no da respiro a la Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) y sus miembros capturados en ese país. Nueve salvadoreños, acusados por las autoridades de formar parte de clicas de la MS-13 que operaban, asesinaban y extorsionaban en el estado de Maryland, enfrentan ahora la cadena perpetua en el proceso judicial federal en su contra”.

Why It’s So Hard to Leave El Salvador’s Gangs: An Interview With José Miguel Cruz
Tristan Clavel, InSight Crime, October 16, 2017
“Around 85 percent of gang members in El Salvador have thought about distancing themselves from gang life or leaving entirely. But with few reported success stories, little is known about this process. In March 2017, a study by Florida International University (FIU) examined the dynamics behind the dangerous choice to abandon gang life and the challenges faced by ex-members seeking to reintegrate into society.”

‘Organized Crime Permeates Society’ in Honduras: Presidential Advisor
Héctor Silva Ávalos, InSight Crime, October 18, 2017
“On October 17, an advisor to President Juan Orlando Hernández said Rivera Maradiaga’s allegations concerned politicians of all stripes. ‘If we’re going to look at how organized crime has permeated society in general and funneled money, placed deputies, placed judges, various offices, within the attorney general’s office and everywhere, hold onto your seats, because we’re talking about all colors here,’ presidential advisor Ebal Díaz said in comments reported by La Tribuna.”

Número de deportados hondureños asciende a 36,546 en el año 2017
Jose Reithel, Tiempo, 16 de octubre de 2017
“A pesar de esta reducción, expertos señalan que los flujos migratorios se mantienen iguales desde el año 2014. En ese entonces, Honduras experimentó un repunte de la migración. Cabe señalar que Honduras se encuentra entre los países que lideran las peticiones de asilo en México. En ese sentido, la Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos (CNDH) asegura que las solicitudes aumentaron en un 578 por ciento, con 10 mil 262 recibidas de enero a septiembre de este año, la mayoría de Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador y Venezuela”.

A pesar que Juez sobreseyó el caso: Ministerio Público sigue investigando a defensores de derechos humanos que fueron torturados y detenidos
Dina Meza, Pasos de Animal Grande, 16 de octubre de 2017
“Las represalias fueron de tal magnitud que el trío UNAH-MP y Policía se unieron para cometer graves abusos tanto contra los defensores como  a los estudiantes. Las escenas dantescas de lanzamiento de gases lacrimógenos y golpes a todos los detenidos han quedado en las redes sociales, pero el castigo a los responsables solamente está aún en discurso. Los perpetradores están tranquilos mientras Del Cid y Morales están sufriendo graves consecuencias por las secuelas de las torturas”.

Being a Trade Unionist in Guatemala Will Get You Killed
Jeff Abbott, Upside Down World, October 19, 2017
“Tomas Francisco Ochoa Salazar, from the Sindicato de Trabajadores de la Empresa de Carnes Procesadas Sociedad Anónima (SITRABREMEN), was shot and killed on Sept. 1 as he left the meat processing factory where he worked. According to the AFL-CIO’s Solidarity Center in Guatemala City, the murder of Ochoa Salazar is the 87th murder of a union leader since 2004. His murder highlights the risk that union organizers face in Guatemala.”

Guatemalan Government Gives Visa to CICIG Chief
Latin American Herald Tribune, October 17, 2017
“The Foreign Ministry notified on Tuesday Ivan Velasquez, the head of the UN-sponsored International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), that it was granting him a visa, changing course after denying the corruption investigator a visa last week citing irregularities in the application process. ‘The CICIG fulfilled all the requirements for officially obtaining a visa and they were notified,’ a Foreign Ministry spokesman told EFE.”

Criminalizing Resistance: Militarization, Murder, and Extractivism in Chiapas
Kaelyn DeVries, Upside Down World, October 17, 2017
“Since mining companies began extracting titanium and other minerals in 2005, the Acacoyagua municipality in the Soconusco region of Chiapas has seen a substantial increase in the number of new cases of lung, pancreatic, skin, colon, and liver cancer among residents… Just as the health effects of mineral extraction projects have proven deadly for local populations, so, too, has expressing political opposition to them.”

Report on Deadly Clashes Faults Mexican Police
Latin American Herald Tribune, October 18, 2017
“Both federal and state officers committed ‘grave violations’ of human rights, CNDH chairman Luis Raul Gonzalez told a press conference in Mexico City… The security forces failed to follow their own official protocols, ‘particularly in regard to the legitimate use of force and the necessity to prioritize the use of non-violent mechanisms and techniques’…”

Actions, Reports, and Resources

Temporary Protected Status: State-by-State Fact Sheets
CAP Immigration Team, Center for American Progress, October 20, 2017
“The three countries with the largest TPS populations in the United States are El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti—totaling more than 300,000 TPS recipients. Over time, these individuals have become integral members of American society. They contribute to the local and national economy, have hundreds of thousands of U.S.-born children, and are civically engaged in their communities.”

TPS (Temporary Protected Status)
iAmerica Action, October 2017
“Why Should We Keep Fighting to Preserve TPS?
TPS offers humanitarian protection to people unable to return to their home countries due to natural disasters, war and other extraordinary situations. Providing this protection is a moral imperative. While preserving TPS brings economic benefits to the U.S., it would also allow American families to stay together–U.S. citizen children would remain with their parents and grandparents.”

Differing DREAMs: Estimating the Unauthorized Populations that Could Benefit under Different Legalization Bills
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.”

Interactive Map: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Populations and their Economic Contributions by U.S. Congressional District
Center for the Study of Immigration Integration, University of Southern California, October 11, 2017
“As the debate over how to respond to the discontinuation of the DACA program moves into congress, it is useful to consider both the human and economic costs of not coming up with a more permanent solution. To that end, we have updated the map to include calculations from the Center for American Progress (CAP) of the estimated contributions that workers with DACA status make to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in each Congressional District.”

MCH 6: Repensando la protección, el poder, y los movimientos
Marusia Lopez y Alexa Bradley, JASS, October 2017
“Repensando la Protección, el Poder, y los Movimientos contribuye a la necesaria conversación sobre la dinámica cambiante del poder y los desafíos de las estrategias protección.  Este informe trae una perspectiva feminista y de construcción de movimientos a la pregunta urgente de por qué — a pesar de los avances en materia de protección legal e institucional — las mujeres activistas y sus organizaciones están más en riesgo que nunca. Esperamos que está publicación contribuya a suscitar nuevas discusiones y reflexiones colectivas sobre estas importantes preguntas”.

*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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