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Central America/Mexico Migration News Brief for October 28, 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

•   Honduras Military Collusion w/ Drug Traffickers Remains an Issue: Report
Michael Lohmuller, InSight Crime, October 26, 2016
“A recent report highlights the alleged collusion of Honduran military personnel with drug traffickers along the country’s remote eastern coast, suggesting Honduras’ current security force reform should also include the country’s military.”

•   Honduras: El narco infiltrό a los militares en La Mosquita
Redacción, El Heraldo, 25 de octubre de 2016
A pesar de que las Fuerzas Armadas tienen un escudo contra las drogas en La Mosquitia, las rutas del narcotráfico en esa zona continúan vibrantes por aire, tierra y agua.”

•   Congress and State Department at Odds Over $55 Million in Aid for Honduras
Tracy Wilkinson, The Los Angeles Times, October 25, 2016
“The State Department appears headed for a showdown with Congress over the department’s decision to approve more than $50 million in aid for Honduras despite the Central American nation’s poor human rights record.”

•   Environmental Activists Face Renewed Repression in Honduras
Parker Asmann, The North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA), October 27, 2016
“Recent attacks on members of the Civil Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) have not altered the U.S. decision to send the country its full funding package.”

•   Policías buscan asilo por inseguridad
Ezequiel Barrera y Héctor Rivas, La Prensa Grafica, 23 de Octubre de 2016
“Policías están solicitando asilo a países como Estados Unidos y Canadá porque se sienten inseguros y sin el apoyo necesario de la PNC. El ministro de Seguridad, Mauricio Ramírez Landaverde, reconoce el problema y asegura que está trabajando en garantizar seguridad a los agentes.”

•   El Salvador Police Resigning, Seeking Asylum Abroad
Luis Fernando Alonso, InSight Crime, October 25, 2016

“Many police in El Salvador are resigning and some are seeking asylum abroad, an indication of officers’ dissatisfaction with poor working conditions as they continue to be called upon to combat the country’s gangs.”

•   La fuerza policial élite de los Moreira operó 76 casos de desaparición forzada, acusan familias
Jesús Peña, Sin Embargo, 23 de octubre 2016
“Esta es la voz de una de muchas madres de Coahuila que sí saben quién se llevó a sus hijos. El de Hortensia es un comerciante de Piedras Negras, fue llevado en 2013 por unos agentes del Grupo de Armas y Tácticas Especiales del estado. Las estadísticas de la Comisión de Derechos Humanos dicen que de 2012 a la fecha, se han presentado 482 quejas relacionadas con las actuaciones del GATE, como la detención arbitraria, lesiones, allanamiento de morada, robo, amenazas, retención ilegal, entre otras violaciones.”

•   El Salvador Vice President Touts Use of Force to Fight Crime
Tristan Clavel, InSight Crime, October 24, 2016
“El Salvador’s government has praised an elite unit tasked with confronting street gangs, but this strategy is unlikely to translate into long-term security gains in a country wracked by violence.”

•   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.”

•   The US and Canada Have Blood on Their Hands in Honduras
Grahame Russell, TeleSur, October 22, 2016
“The international community needs to be held to account for propping up and subsidizing the murderous regime in Honduras. Honduran military and police forces, backed by the international community and in particular millions of U.S. dollars, once again brutally attacked peaceful protesters in a week that saw more social movement blood spilt.”

•   Army Captain’s Dismissal Could Open Another Chasm in US-Honduran Relations
David Gagne, InSight Crime, October 21, 2016
“Honduras’ armed forces have removed an army captain under investigation by the US government for drug trafficking, a move which could put further stress on bilateral relations between the Central American nation and its northern ally.”

•   Opposition Leaders Murdered in Honduras While US Supports Government
Mark Weisbrot, The Hill, October 25, 2016
“Since a 2009 military coup against the democratic government of President Mel Zelaya, Honduras has become the most dangerous country in the world for environmental and human rights activists.”

•   40,000 Create Human Chains to Protest Violence in Honduras
TeleSur, October 23, 2016
“The event was meant to “raise awareness against violence, in favor of a culture of peace and healthy cohabitation,” said one of the participants.”

•   Guatemala Indicts Top Ex-Military Men for War Crimes and Rape
TeleSur, October 25, 2016

“Guatemala made a new breakthrough Tuesday in the decades-old struggle for justice for historical crimes against humanity, including systematic rape, as a court indicted former military chief of staff Manuel Benedicto Lucas Garcia and four other high-ranking officials on a number of crimes linked to the 1981 kidnapping and disappearance of 14-year-old boy Marco Antonio Molina Theissen, including the torture and rape of his sister Emma Guadeloupe.”

•   Mexico’s Bloodshed Keeps Getting Worse — Homicides Hit a New High for the 3rd Month in a Row
Christopher Woody, Business Insider, October 21, 2016
“Nationwide, there were 2,187 homicide victims in September, exceeding the 2,155 of August and the 2,098 recorded in July. July was the first time the number of homicide victims was over 2,000 since the government began releasing that statistic at the start of 2014.”

•   Over Half of Mexico Homicides Perpetrated by Organized Crime: Report
Tristan Clavel, InSight Crime, October 27, 2016
A study linking a percentage of Mexico’s homicides to organized crime offers a different view of the rising violence depicted through government homicide figures, which do not discriminate between all killings and those related to criminal groups.

•   Study Links Mexico Vigilantes, Inequality
Patrick Corcoran, InSight Crime, October 26, 2016

“A new study from a Mexico security expert examines the driving factors behind the explosion of vigilante groups around the nation over the past several years. In his recently published paper, “Inequality and the Emergence of Vigilante Organizations: The Case of Mexican Autodefensas,” Brian Phillips shines a light on the vigilante groups that emerged in Mexico beginning in 2013.”

Mexican Enforcement

•   Policías privados disparan a migrantes de ‘La Bestia’
Carlos Rocha, La Jornada de Oriente, 27 de octubre de 2016
“La noche de este miércoles elementos de la policía privada que resguardan el tren de Ferrosur en territorio poblano, conocido como La Bestia, persiguieron a tiros a migrantes centroamericanos cuando llegaron en el lomo del convoy a la estación ferroviaria de Nazareno, en el municipio de Chalchicomula de Sesma, mejor ubicado como Ciudad Serdán.”

•   Migrantes en Nazareno: Agentes del INM y policías los bajan del tren a golpes
Carlos Rocha, La Jornada de Oriente, 24 de octubre de 2016
“Para frenar el paso de migrantes centroamericanos a Puebla agentes del Instituto Nacional de Migración, en coordinación con la Policía privada que custodia el tren de Ferrosur, mejor conocido como “La Bestia”, detienen con violencia a centroamericanos en la comunidad de Jesús Nazareno, en el municipio de Chalchicomula de Sesma, y los regresan a Orizaba, en Veracruz.”

•   Como Godot, esperando el tren que nunca llega
Oswaldo J. Hernández, Plaza Pública, 10 de octubre de 2016
“Los migrantes centroamericanos llegan a México y pronto buscan las vías del tren para continuar el recorrido hacía Estados Unidos. En Tenosique, estado de Tabasco, los migrantes pasan varios días a la espera de que “La Bestia” aparezca y tengan una oportunidad de trepar por sus costados sobre la marcha. El número de personas que huye de sus países de origen ha comenzado a generar datos que describen una crisis humanitaria en Centroamérica. Los Estados del Triángulo Norte ya no pueden ofrecer condiciones mínimas de sobrevivencia para muchos de sus ciudadanos. Huir, no importa a dónde, siempre y cuando sea lejos de casa, es parte de las nuevas premisas.”

•   Mexico Held 20,000 Child Migrants in 2015
AFP, Yahoo News, October 25, 2016
“Mexico detained more than 20,000 unaccompanied child migrants, mostly from Central America, in 2015, authorities said on Monday.”

•   Centroamericanos en México, desplazados o perseguidos por el crimen organizado
Sayda Chiñas Córdova, La Jornada, 28 de octubre de 2016
“La Agencia de la Organización de Naciones Unidas para los Refugiados (Acnur) advirtió que la migración en Centroamérica ha cambiado de matiz, pues cientos de familias de Guatemala, Honduras y El Salvador son desplazadas por la violencia o perseguidas por grupos criminales.”

•   El flujo de haitianos y africanos no se resolverá en breve, admite Osorio Chong
Antonio Heras, La Jornada, 26 de octubre de 2016

“El flujo migratorio que enfrentan en Tijuana y Mexicali la mayoría de haitianos, es un fenómeno extraordinario que se mantendrá y no se resolverá en breve, advirtió el secretario de Gobernación, Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong, al realizar una gira de trabajo por Baja California.”

•   México firma acuerdo migratorio laboral
Notimez, La Jornada, 14 de octubre de 2n016
“México, El Salvador, Guatemala y Honduras suscribieron un Memorándum de Entendimiento en Materia de Cooperación Laboral, para fijar las bases de la elaboración de un plan conjunto de apoyo a trabajadores migrantes. El secretario del Trabajo de México, Alfonso Navarrete Prida, expuso que el Programa Laboral Migratorio Temporal prevé la posibilidad de que trabajadores de los tres países centroamericanos laboren en México hasta por 180 días en los sectores agrícola y de servicios durante épocas determinadas de mayor demanda.”

U.S. Enforcement

•   Immigration Groups File Briefs Calling For End to Detention Without Bond
Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, American Immigration Council: Immigration Impact, October 27, 2016
“Although the U.S. Constitution provides citizens and noncitizens the right to seek bail after an arrest, immigration detention is different. Certain noncitizens who are arrested by immigration authorities may be detained for months on end, while awaiting hearings that will determine whether they can remain in the United States.”

•   SPLC Complaint: Families Falsely Imprisoned After ICE Raids
Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), October 27, 2016
“The SPLC today filed claims for damages against the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on behalf of three families targeted in the aggressive and potentially unconstitutional ICE raids conducted in Atlanta last January.”

•   Piden el reingreso de un inmigrante que intentó suicidarse estando detenido
EFE, Hola Ciudad, 21 de octubre de 2016
“El Consejo de Inmigración Fronteriza exigió hoy a las autoridades el reingreso al país de un inmigrante que fue deportado a México cuatro días después de haber intentando suicidarse en el Centro de Detención y Procesamiento de El Paso (Texas).”

•   ICE Plans to Reopen the Very Same Private Prison the Feds Just Closed
Seth Freed Wessler, The Nation, October 27, 2016
“Advocates cheered when the Justice Department began shuttering its private prisons. But immigration officials saw an opportunity.”

•   They Crossed the Border Illegally, and Can’t Vote, But They Can Knock on Doors.
Antonio Olivo, The Washington Post, October 23, 2016
“Unable to vote in the presidential election, a group of undocumented immigrants is knocking on doors in Northern Virginia in support of Hillary Clinton and other Democratic candidates, convinced that the outcome of the vote will determine whether they can secure a path to citizenship in the country they have known since childhood.”

•   Terrifying, Heart-Rending, Defeating: 10 Hours on Patrol Along the Mexican Border
Lisa Rein, The Washington Post, October 23, 2016
“It was late 2013, just as hundreds of women and children a day started streaming across the Texas border to the Rio Grande Valley, seeking asylum amid escalating violence in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. By summer 2014, the Border Patrol had apprehended 50,000 unaccompanied children in the Rio Grande Valley. The agency was looking to hire people just like Medina: Latinas who spoke Spanish and could put children and women at ease.”

•   One Photographer Traveled the Full Length of the U.S. Border With Mexico
Olivier Laurent, TIME, October 27, 2016
“Over the course of several recent weeks, Getty Images photographer John Moore visited the Imperial Sand Dunes of southern California, Big Bend National Park in West Texas and the Boca Chica State Park, where the Rio Grande flows into the Gulf of Mexico. Moore wasn’t on holiday, but on assignment documenting the full length of the border between the U.S. and Mexico.”

•   Border Mass with Pope’s U.S. Envoy Backs Immigration Reform
Associated Press, CRUX, October 23, 2016
“On Sunday Pope Francis’s ambassador in the United States, French Archbishop Christophe Pierre, celebrated a cross-border Mass at a large security fence dividing the U.S. and Mexico, in a gesture intended to demonstrate the Church’s support for immigration reform and humane treatment of migrants.”

Reports, Resources, Actions

•   Central American Refugees: Root Causes and the Flawed U.S. Response
Latin America Working Group, Women’s Refugee Commission, Kids in Need of Defense, Alianza Americas, American Immigration Lawyers Association, Center for Migration Studies, 2016
We pulled together facts and resources to investigate why Central American refugees are fleeing their homes, where they seek refuge in the region and what the U.S. response has been to the influx of migrants.

•   Not a National Security Crisis: The U.S.-Mexico Border and Humanitarian Concerns, Seen from El Paso
Maureen Meyer, Adam Isacson, and Carolyn Scorpio, Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), October 2016
“Contrary to popular and political rhetoric about a national security crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border, evidence suggests a potential humanitarian—not security—emergency…. At a time when calls for beefing up border infrastructure and implementing costly policies regularly make headlines, our visit to the El Paso sector made clear that what is needed at the border are practical, evidence-based adjustments to border security policy, improved responses to the growing number of Central American migrants and potential refugees, and strengthened collaboration and communication on both sides of the border.”

•   Informe sobre la problemática de niñas, niños y adolescentes centroamericanos en contexto de migración internacional no acompañados en su tránsito por México, y con necesidades de protección internacional
Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos, octubre de 2016

•   National Day of the Dead Actions: Stop the Deaths, Alto a las Muertes #EndDetention
Detention Watch Network, Actions from October 26-November 4, 2016
“Demands: An immediate review of the 11 deaths in ICE custody this fiscal year, and publication of these reviews by January 30, 2017; The immediate shut down of LaSalle Detention Center, where three of this year’s deaths have occurred.”

•   Working Group on Arbitrary Detention: Preliminary Findings from its visit to the United States of America (11-24 October 2016)
United Nations Human Rights: Office of the High Commissioner, October 24, 2016
“The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention was invited by the Government of the United States of America to conduct a country visit from 11 to 24 October 2016.  Three of the Working Group members, Mr. Seong-Phil Hong, Mr. Jose Guevara and Ms. Leigh Toomey, were accompanied by two members of the Working Group’s Secretariat from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva.”

•   Joint Statement on the U.S.-Mexico Bilateral High Level Dialogue on Human Rights
U.S. Department of State, October 27, 2016
“Both countries shared their efforts in response to the challenges presented by international migration and asylum seekers. They reaffirmed the need to work together to follow up on their commitments from the 71st session of the General Assembly in September—particularly in working toward the adoption of a global compact for safe, ordered, and regular migration in 2018.”

•   Trading Away Migrant Rights: How the TPP Would Fuel Displacement and Fail Migrant Workers
Charlie Fanning, AFL-CIO, October 2016
“The TPP is a recipe for destabilizing communities, perpetuating low wages and stifling labor rights—all of which are factors driving migration.”

*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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