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Central America/Mexico Migration News Brief for October 3, 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: CS Monitor

U.S. Enforcement

White House Considers Tougher Rules as Part of Immigration Overhaul
Glenn Thrush and Yamiche Alcindor, The New York Times, September 26, 2017
“They fall into three broad categories: securing the border; placing new restrictions on legal immigration to protect American workers, a focus for Mr. Miller; and increased enforcement of immigration laws within United States borders, as made possible by a major expansion of the agent force for the Department of Homeland Security… Other proposals include eliminating protections for unaccompanied, undocumented minors; restricting asylum for adults and children; implementing an online system that allows businesses to quickly check the immigration status of a person after being hired; and increasing fees for visa applications.”

Why is Another Category of Legally Present Immigrants Being Threatened with Loss of Status and Deportation?
Donald Kerwin, Huffington Post, October 1, 2017
“What is certain is that TPS recipients substantially contribute to US communities and are strongly vested in our nation. Revoking TPS for El Salvadorans, Hondurans and Haitians – who represent the overwhelming majority of beneficiaries (302,000) — would ill-serve their nations of origin and would be disastrous for US families and communities.”

The coming storm: Are these ‘temporary’ immigrants Trump’s next target?
Jessica Weiss, Univision News, September 23, 2017
“The Latin America Working Group is trying to gather support from congressional offices to pressure the Department of Homeland Security, which needs to make the decision on the extension of TPS. As part of that, they’re highlighting the ongoing violence in much of Central America… Immigrant advocates say those sent back to Honduras and El Salvador, especially, would be exposed to horrific gang violence. That violence, coupled with economic desperation, has been the cause of unprecedented levels of Central American migration in recent years, even as U.S. border security has tightened.”

Keep El Salvador’s TPS Status
The Washington Times, September 27, 2017
“In the next four months, DHS, in consultation with the Department of State, will decide whether to extend El Salvador’s TPS designation, which benefits almost 200,000 Salvadorans who have legally lived and worked in the United States for years. Today, as we capital-cities mayors come together, we urge the U.S. government to extend TPS for the Salvadoran community. As mayors, we both want to build safer, stronger cities for our residents. We both believe that spreading prosperity means celebrating the talent and culture of our residents.”

This is what the White House wants in exchange for saving Dreamers from deportation
Anita Kumar, McClathy DC Bureau, September 26, 2017
“The White House document includes several proposals already introduced in standalone bills — eliminating protections for unaccompanied children who are in the country illegally; restricting eligibility for asylum, humanitarian parole and abused or abandoned foreign children; raising fees for visas; reducing legal immigration by placing people with certain skills at the front of the line; hiring thousands more immigration officers, prosecutors and judges; and implementing E-verify, an online system that allows businesses to check immigration status.”

As courts overwhelmed to handle cases, more immigrant children left without legal representation
Esther Yu Hsi Lee, Think Progress, September 29, 2017
“As President Donald Trump ramps up immigration enforcement through large-scale raids, many more people, especially immigrant children, may find themselves deported because they do not have lawyers. Starting in late 2013, an uptick in gang violence in Central America began driving a large number of unaccompanied alien children to the Mexican-U.S. border. Tens of thousands of children, sometimes unaccompanied by a guardian, turned to the United States to plead of asylum or some other form of humanitarian status for a chance to legally stay in the country.”

The Deported
Human Rights Watch, Live Updates
“The Trump administration has dramatically ramped up immigration arrests inside the US while it scapegoats millions of people by painting them as violent criminals who should be deported. The administration claims it is focusing on serious, violent criminals, but President Trump’s new policies make every unauthorized immigrant a target, regardless of their actual criminal histories. The crackdown is also sweeping in immigrants who are legal residents but who have been convicted of sometimes only minor or old criminal offenses.”

US immigration arrests rise — and neighbors sign up to witness ICE operations

Monica Campbell, PRI, October 2, 2017
“She vowed to find a way to support other people facing deportation and family splits. That vow helped spark what are called rapid response networks — which are now being replicated in other cities across the US. These organizations are springing up especially as the Trump administration pushes to ramp up deportations, targeting ‘sanctuary cities’ — those it accuses of limiting cooperation with federal agents to shield undocumented immigrants — in particular.”

Asylum Seekers Sue ICE Over Prolonged Detention
Kelsey Jukam, Courthouse News, September 28, 2017
“After an immigration surge along the Mexican border in 2014, due in part to increasing violence and repression in Mexico and Central America, ICE rapidly expanded its jail capacity and imprisoned more people, particularly mothers with children and unaccompanied children. The purpose was to deter others from coming, according to the complaint.”

ICE issues plan to detain 1,000 more migrants in Texas
Patrick Michaels, The Center for Investigative Reporting, September 28, 2017
“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is soliciting private-sector interest in a new detention center to hold 1,000 people in South Texas, according to a notice posted Wednesday on a federal contracting site… The contract would mean more good news for the private prison industry, which has rebounded quickly under President Donald Trump.”

Trump Sent Judges to the Border. Many Had Nothing to Do.
Meredith Hoffman, Politico, September 27, 2017
“As part of a new Trump administration program to send justices on short-term missions to the border to speed up deportations and, Sessions pledged, reduce ‘significant backlogs in our immigration courts,’ Slavin was to spend two weeks at New Mexico’s Otero County Processing Center. But when Slavin arrived at Otero, she found her caseload was nearly half empty.”

Advierten que el CAM cerrará del todo en diciembre
Amanda Hernández Moreno, La Prensa Gráfica, 30 de septiembre de 2017
“El Programa para Menores Centroamericanos (CAM, en inglés) fue impulsado en 2014 por el expresidente Barack Obama. Ha sido una forma de migración legal, segura y ordenada para las familias del Triángulo Norte que tengan un menor de 21 años soltero, y con un padre con presencia legal –permanente o temporal– en Estados Unidos”.

US Will Phase Out Program for Central American Child Refugees
Reuters, September 27, 2017
“President Donald Trump’s administration is ending a program that allowed children fleeing violence in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to apply for refugee status in the United States before leaving home. The administration will phase out the Central American Minors (CAM) program during fiscal year 2018, according to a report provided to Congress and obtained by Reuters. That report also sets the overall refugee cap for the year at its lowest level in decades.”

Background Briefing: U.S. Government Officials On the Refugee Cap for Fiscal Year 2018
U.S. Department of State, September 27, 2017
“State and DHS have determined the ceiling of 45,000 refugees is consistent with our foreign policy goals and operational capacity in light of additional security vetting procedures that we are implementing, as well as the domestic asylum backlogs that DHS is currently facing. The safety and security of the American people is our chief concern.”

Officials Praise Large Gang Roundups in US, Central America
VOA News, September 28, 2017
“Authorities in the U.S. and Central America say they have indicted thousands of violent street gang members since March, including a powerful MS-13 leader who allegedly ordered bloodshed on the East Coast while imprisoned in El Salvador.”

The Wrong Way to Fight Gangs
Lauren Markham, The New York Times, September 28, 2017
“Young migrants from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador come to this country fleeing violence and lives that are often dictated by savage gangs. It’s expensive to get here. They often arrive with thousands of dollars of high-interest debt and little or no English skills. And they face an administration that insists that they are gangsters bringing bloodshed and gang warfare to American cities.”

Midwest Tour Links Latino-Led Immigrant, Labor Groups
US News, September 18, 2017
“Alianza Americas starts the eight-day tour Tuesday at the Detroit Hispanic Development Center. Organizers say those groups don’t usually get together and have found themselves pitted against each other in the political realm. The tour comes amid negotiations to revise the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada. President Donald Trump has said he could withdraw the United States from the 23-year-old pact. Mexico said it won’t stay at the table if it doesn’t get a fair deal.”

Mexican Enforcement

Escaping death, asylum seekers surge in Mexico
Leer en español: Los que iban a morir se acumulan en México
El Faro and Univision, October 1, 2017
“In one week of reporting I have talked to 29 people who are running away from violence: families with babies, ex-gang members, raped girls, mutilated men. They are running away from gangs, police, drug-traffickers, kidnappers. Underlying it all, they are fleeing from countries where authorities are unable or unwilling to protect them.”

Canciller mexicano busca en visita a EU fortalecer protección a mexicanos
Vanguardia, 2 de octubre de 2017
“Con estas acciones, la SRE refrendará ‘el compromiso del Gobierno de México de trabajar de manera integral y conjunta con Estados Unidos en temas de interés común y de fortalecer las acciones de protección a los connacionales en ese país, sin importar su situación migratoria’, acotó la institución”.

Órgano transparencia mexicano dice que ayuda a repatriados debe ser pública
Inmigración.com, 2 de octubre de 2017
“‘Somos mexicanos’ es una estrategia implementada por el Gobierno federal para reincorporar en el país a los mexicanos repatriados frente al endurecimiento de las políticas migratorias en Estados Unidos. Según un informe de la Secretaría de Gobernación, de septiembre de 2016 a junio de este año hubo 138.000 nacionales repatriados desde EE.UU. a quienes se les brindó apoyo para su reintegración”.

The face of migration via Mexico
Whitney Eulich, CS Monitor, September 28, 2017
“Despite all the attention on the US-Mexico border, the gateway to the United States is no longer necessarily in Texas or California. The ‘border’ could now be considered over a thousand miles south, where Mexico meets Guatemala.”

Root Causes

Miles de desplazados por la violencia pierden su hogares y propiedades en Honduras
Redacción CRITERIO, 29 de septiembre de 2017
“Miles de personas que han sido desplazadas por la violencia de pandillas en Honduras fueron despojadas de sus tierras y hogares debido a vacíos en la legislación de propiedad existente en ese país, asegura un nuevo informe de la Agencia de la ONU para los Refugiados (ACNUR)”.

Gangs drive Hondurans from their homes and land
James Frederick, UNHCR, September 8, 2017
“Forcing people to leave their homes or their land is how the gangs root out opponents and establish dominance. Abandoned houses also serve as warning signs to potential snitches, as buffer zones in disputed territories and as points of strategic control. In some cases, families will be forced from homes so gangs can establish a base for running drugs or controlling neighbourhood traffic. The gangs are known to use abandoned homes as so-called casas locas, or crazy houses, where they detain, torture, rape and kill kidnap victims.”

Más de 200 personas asesinadas en 8 días
Ricardo Flores y Gabriela Cáceres, La Prensa Gráfica, 28 de septiembre de 2017
“Navarrete fue una de las 34 personas que fallecieron víctimas de la violencia ese miércoles, que se convirtió en el segundo día más violento en lo que va de septiembre. El día con más casos fue el sábado 23, cuando ocurrieron 40 asesinatos, de acuerdo con los reportes de la PNC. Sin embargo, el repunte inició dos días antes: el jueves 21 de septiembre hubo 21 casos”.

Jiménez Mayor: Honduras es el país que más roba por corrupción
Elvin Diaz, Tiempo Digital,  29 de septiembre de 2017
“De tal forma, dice que en el caso del IHSS el problema detectado fue la colusión de los delitos cometidos dentro del Seguro Social por una organización criminal que se apoderó desde la función pública de la institución. ‘Hay más personas involucradas (en el fraude) y está en investigación’, expresó Jiménez. Asimismo, consideró que debe haber mayores avances respecto al caso. Esto, para que la impunidad que aún existe ‘sea superada’”.

Seguridad para periodistas, en agenda de la UNESCO esta semana
Conexihon, October 1, 2017
“La continua violencia en Honduras y su efecto sobre los valores democráticos ha recibido la atención de la comunidad internacional, incluida la UNESCO, que sigue contribuyendo a los esfuerzos del país por proteger a los periodistas. Entre 2006 y 2016, la Directora General condenó los asesinatos de más de 25 periodistas en Honduras y continúa pidiendo investigaciones y enjuiciamientos”.

Estamos llegando a un punto decisivo de la guerra de posiciones
Marco Fonseca, Plaza Pública, 1 de octubre de 2017
“Hablar de la crisis del presente requiere ir más allá de las explicaciones usuales, de los arreglos institucionales y de las formalidades e irregularidades legales. Es preciso recordar que el trasfondo de todo esto está determinado por una guerra de posiciones en torno, por un lado, el proyecto restaurador como un todo y, por otro, el modelo existente de dominación y hegemonía de oligarquías conservadoras y burguesías neoliberales”.

Honduras, the Deadliest Country in the World for Environmental Defenders, Is About to Get Deadlier
Heather Gies, Upside Down World, September 29, 2017
“The human rights situation continued to deteriorate after the coup with targeted assassinations, forced disappearances, and torture as state terror rained down on human rights defenders, journalists, lawyers, LGBTI activists, Indigenous and campesino leaders, and others. According to Global Witness, Honduras is the most dangerous country in the world for environmental defenders, with more than 120 killed since 2010, while the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights documented murders of 28 journalists between 2010 and 2015. And this was all before protesters could be legally classified as terrorists.”

Denuncian a jueza por abuso de autoridad contra universitarios en protesta
Confidencial HN, 28 de septiembre de 2017
“El representante de derechos humanos en Honduras Edwin Barahona presentó este día una denuncia ante el Ministerio Publico contra la jueza Karla Magdalena Vázquez por girar una orden de desalojo indebida el pasado ocho de septiembre en la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras (UNAH)”.

Celebrando 30 años de Alianza con la niñez y juventud de Honduras
Defensores, 28 de septiembre de 2017
“Casa Alianza celebra tres décadas con su trabajo incondicional con la niñez y la juventud hondureña, que se encuentra en exclusión y vulnerabilidad social y por los respeto a los derechos humanos en el país. Durante estas tres décadas de trabajo en Honduras, Casa Alianza ha atendido a más de 40 mil niños y niñas, tanto en sus instalaciones cómo en sus comunidades de origen, trabajo que ha dejado una huella en sus vidas”.

Forgotten in life and death: inequality for Mexico’s invisible underclass after quake
Nina Lakhani, The Guardian, October 2, 2017
“Who died and who survived the collapse remains unknown and authorities have failed to produce a list of the companies and workers operating in the building – fuelling speculation that the building housed clandestine sweatshops staffed by undocumented migrants. And with no official missing persons register, fears are mounting that many earthquake victims will go unidentified and unclaimed, especially if they came from abroad or belonged to the capital’s invisible army of informal workers who clean houses, cook street food, polish shoes and guard buildings.”

‘The Social Contract Is Broken’: Inequality Becomes Deadly in Mexico
Max Fisher and Amanda Taub, The Interpreter, September 30, 2017
“…invisible walls enclose Monterrey’s wealthy core, creating a dividing line between its four million residents. For the people within those invisible walls, government is responsive and crime low. Those outside face rising murder rates, corruption and, activists say, police brutality.”

El Salvador launches commission to find those missing from civil war
Reuters, September 27, 2017
“El Salvador on Wednesday launched the first commission to search for persons who went missing during its civil war, 25 years after the end of a conflict that left tens of thousands dead and hundreds of cases unresolved. The commission will seek victims who were killed or kidnapped by the military or rebels in order to help reunite them with families or return their remains.”

Actions, Reports, and Resources

Actualización sobre la Política Migratoria y Política Exterior de los EE.UU. para Organizaciones de Centroamérica y México
Daniella Burgi-Palomino y Lisa Haugaard, Latin America Working Group, septiembre de 2017
“Los primeros nueve meses bajo la administración Trump se han caracterizado por una retórica fuertemente dañina para la comunidad latinoamericana en los Estados Unidos, así como para inmigrantes, refugiados y minorías étnicas, la comunidad LGBTI, mujeres, comunidades indígenas, la prensa y el medio ambiente”.

Beneath the Violence: How Insecurity Shapes Daily Life and Emigration in Central America

Ben Raderstorf, Carole J. Wilson, Elizabeth J. Zechmeister, and Michael J. Camilleri, The Dialogue, October 2017
“Insecurity, crime, and state weakness are parts of everyday life in much of Central America. Most homicides and other crimes go unreported or unsolved and law enforcement, judicial, and correctional systems are overloaded, corrupt, and ineffective.”

The Detention of Women Seeking Asylum in the U.S.
Women’s Refugee Commission, October 2, 2017
“The U.S. immigration detention system is undergoing a fundamental and nearly unprecedented transformation, while at the same time, the number of people in detention has steadily been increasing for one population in particular: those seeking protection at the southern border, many of whom are women.”

AILA Policy Brief: How Dreamer Protection Bills Measure Up
American Immigration Lawyers Association, October 3, 2017
“AILA urges Congress to move forward swiftly by bringing for a vote the bipartisan Dream Act, which represents the country’s best chance to pass protection for Dreamers with united Republican and Democratic support. This should be done without additional, extraneous provisions on enforcement being added.”

U.S. Annual Refugee Resettlement Ceilings and Number of Refugees Admitted, 1980-Present
Migration Policy Institute, September 27, 2017
“This data tool shows refugee admissions and annual resettlement ceilings from the U.S. refugee resettlement program’s inception in 1980 through fiscal 2017. The number of persons who may be admitted to the United States as refugees each year is established by the President in consultation with Congress.”

Proposed Refugee Admissions for Fiscal Year 2018 Report to the Congress
United States Department of State, United States Department of Homeland Security, United States Department of Health and Human Services
“When safe and voluntary return is not possible, the United States and its partners pursue self-sufficiency and temporary, indefinite, or permanent local integration in countries of first asylum. The Department of State encourages host governments to protect refugees and allow them to integrate into local communities.”

Prisons, Punishment, and Policing: Across the region, violence continues to spiral. What can be done?
Laura Weiss and Alejandro Velasco, NACLA Report on the Americas, September 14, 2017
“Reasons for this violence abound, and over the years NACLA has examined many—drug wars, inequality, U.S. foreign policy. Here, our focus is two-fold: official approaches to the violence on the one hand, and its impact on the everyday lives of people across the hemisphere on the other. The issue assembles contributors whose research and activism exposes the dark drivers of public security policy in the region—prisons, punishment, and policing—and their lethal consequences.”

La corrupción: sus caminos e impacto en la sociedad y una agenda para enfrentarla en el Triángulo Norte Centroamericano
Carlos Melgar y Ricardo Barrientos, ICEFI, 26 de septiembre de 2017
“Los múltiples escándalos de corrupción surgidos en años recientes en Honduras, El Salvador y Guatemala, el denominado Triángulo Norte Centroamericano (TNCA), y en los cuales han resultado involucradas las altas autoridades de los poderes del Estado (presidentes, ministros, legisladores, alcaldes, magistrados, jueces, etc.), políticos y empresarios, han generado preocupación creciente por fortalecer la transparencia de la gestión pública”.

Gangs in El Salvador: A New Type of Insurgency?
Juan Ricardo Gómez Hecht, Small Wars Journal, September 27, 2017
“Gangs, therefore, are actors generating instability by violating the country’s order, tranquility and all the rights mentioned above.  The main instrument used to provoke this effect is outright violence.”

*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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