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Central America/Mexico Migration News Brief for October 30, 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: New York Times


U.S. Enforcement

Citizenship Applications in the U.S. Surge as Immigration Talk Toughens
Miriam Jordan, The New York Times, October 27, 2017
“As Mr. Trump campaigned on promises of a border wall and strict crackdowns on immigration, 2016 became the busiest year in a decade for naturalization applications. But this year, the number of applications is on track to surpass that of last year’s, while a perennial backlog continues to pile up. It is the first time in 20 years that applications have not slipped after a presidential election, according to analysis by the National Partnership for New Americans, an immigrant rights coalition of 37 groups.”

This immigrant was certified as a victim of human trafficking. But she could still be deported
Brenda Medina, Miami Herald, October 26, 2017
“For almost two years, she worked for a family that paid her to what amounted to about $3 an hour for days that stretched to 13 hours. At night, she slept on the floor of the family’s apartment in a posh Miami neighborhood. Her employers also denied her access to health care, monitored her communications and warned her that if she complained about her working conditions she would be deported to her native Colombia and lose the temporary U.S. visa obtained for her by the family.”

Expelling Immigrant Workers May Also Send Away the Work They Do
Eduardo Porter, The New York Times, October 24, 2017
“Few American industries are as invested in the decades-long political battle over immigration as agriculture. Paying low wages for backbreaking work, growers large and small have historically relied on immigrants from south of the Rio Grande. These days, over one-quarter of the farmhands in the United States are immigrants working here illegally.”
10-Year-Old Immigrant Is Detained After Agents Stop Her on Way to Surgery
Vivian Yee and Caitlin Dickerson, The New York Times, October 25, 2017
“The girl, Rosamaria Hernandez, who was brought over the border illegally to live in Laredo, Tex., when she was three months old, was being transferred from a medical center in Laredo to a hospital in Corpus Christi around 2 a.m. on Tuesday when Border Patrol agents stopped the ambulance she was riding in, her family said. The agents allowed her to continue to Driscoll Children’s Hospital, the family said, but followed the ambulance the rest of the way there, then waited outside her room until she was released from the hospital.”

To Help a Dreamer, Why Do We Have to Hurt Her Cousin?
Sonia Nazario, The New York Times, October 27, 2017
“We are at risk of becoming a country that turns its back on the most vulnerable: children from neighboring countries who show up at our border with no parents and no place to turn. And yet, in a response to a renewed uptick in the number of these children arriving at our border, that’s who we are turning our backs on first.”

Senators Ask Trump Not to Use DREAMers’ Data to Deport Them
Latin American Herald Tribune
“A group of 39 Democratic senators asked on Wednesday the interim secretary of Homeland Security, Elaine Duke, not to use personal data provided by undocumented young people known as DREAMers to deport them. The young foreigners, many of whom were illegally brought to the US as children by their parents, originally supplied personal data to the Department of Homeland Security to obtain Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status.”

Republicans quietly craft Dreamers deal
Seung Min Kim, Politico, October 24, 2017
“A bipartisan DACA deal is in no way imminent. Democrats are waiting for Republicans to offer their list of demands in exchange for legalizing Dreamers. And an immigration package that gets through the Senate, even with GOP sweeteners, may have trouble in the more conservative House.”

Medical Students in Limbo as Young Immigrant Program Ends
AP, NBC, October 23, 2017
“Medical student Alejandra Duran Arreola dreams of becoming an OB-GYN in her home state of Georgia, where there’s a shortage of doctors and one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the U.S. But the 26-year-old Mexican immigrant’s goal is now trapped in the debate over a program protecting hundreds of thousands of immigrants like her from deportation. Whether she becomes a doctor depends on whether Congress finds an alternative to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, that President Donald Trump phased out last month.”

Trump’s rhetoric reflects a shallow understanding of immigration policy
Kristie De Peña, The Hill, October 22, 2017
“Portraying legalized Dreamers as triggers of a flood of new migrants is inflated, particularly given the parameters proposed by legislation like the SUCCEED Act. But even more alarming is the way the Trump administration inaccurately frames the issue: family-based migration is a negative because those immigrants are usually low-skilled.”

Cuenta regresiva para saber el futuro de beneficiados del TPS
Flor Lazo, La Prensa Gráfica, 24 de octubre de 2017
“Durante los próximos 10 días, el canciller Hugo Martínez y su homóloga hondureña, María Dolores Agüero, estarán en misiones en Washington (Estados Unidos) para reunirse con congresistas y otras autoridades a fin de gestionar una nueva extensión del Estatus de Protección Temporal (TPS, por sus siglas en inglés). Según Martínez, parte de la visita se manejará como una agenda conjunta, ya que a Honduras y a El Salvador se les vencerá próximamente el programa de protección migratoria”.

What is Jeff Sessions really doing?
Marselha Gonçalves Margerin, Amnesty International, October 24, 2017
“The Attorney General claimed there is a crisis at the U.S border and attributes it to the ‘fraud and failure of the asylum system.’ He said ‘the system is being gamed’ because of the abuse in the credible fear process which is a legal process set up to make sure people with a credible fear of being persecuted, tortured or killed in their country of origin are not returned to face that predicament.”

TPS holders ask Trump not to tear apart families ahead of key deadline
Esther Yu Hsi Lee, Think Progress, October 24, 2017
“Out of the total 320,000 TPS recipients in the United States, roughly 300,000 in the United States are originally from El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti. Many are already fully integrated into United States and have family ties here. More than half of El Salvadoran and Honduran TPS beneficiaries as well as 16 percent of Haitian TPS beneficiaries have lived in the United States for 20 years, according to a Center for Migration Studies report.”

US Toughens Rhetoric, Declares MS13 ‘Priority’ Target
Héctor Silva Ávalos, InSight Crime, October 24, 2017
“Sessions’ announcement can be interpreted as a new attempt from Washington to increase its crackdown on the MS13 after the US Treasury Department designated the group a “transnational criminal organization” in 2012 under the administration of then-President Barack Obama. It could also be seen as an attempt to provide more legal remedies to prosecutors fighting homicide cases attributed to the gang on the East Coast.”

Mexican Enforcement

The U.S. and Mexico want to slow migration from Central America. Will mass deportations help?
Kate Linthicum, LA Times, October 27, 2017
“The new collaboration between the U.S. and Mexico is a bright spot in what has been a contentious year for the longtime allies… Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has used Mexico’s cooperation on immigration and security as a bargaining chip, saying his country could stop helping the U.S. at any time. Of course, Mexico also has a vested interest in reducing migration from Central America. Asylum requests from Central Americans hoping to stay in Mexico tripled between 2012 and 2015.”

Mexico’s earthquakes complicate life for Central American migrants fleeing violence
Levi Bridges, PRI, October 30, 2017
“The actual train known as La Bestia, or, The Beast, rumbles past the shelter every couple of days. Migrants used to ride on top of the boxcars. But today the train tops are empty. Mexican authorities now patrol the railroad as part of an immigration crackdown, using US funding, called The Southern Border Program. Instead of riding the train northward, migrants now complete much of the trip north from the Guatemalan border to Ixtepec by walking along the railroad tracks.”

Root Causes

Misión diplomática viaja a EUA para concretar renovación del TPS
Alexis Torres, Tiempo, 29 de octubre de 2017
“En la visita se dispondrá de un espacio para atender a los líderes en las asociaciones de migrantes. Especialmente a aquellos que han entablado una lucha a favor del TPS desde muchos meses atrás. Agüero enfatizó que expondrán la importancia que el TPS representa a nivel de país ante las autoridades estadounidenses. Además buscarán crear consciencia entorno al impacto humanitario que representaría la cancelación del convenio”.

Honduras: Space for Activists and Journalists Closing, Wide Open for Corruption
Lisa Haugaard, LAWG, October 23, 2017
“Honduras remains one of the most dangerous countries in the world for human rights defenders and journalists. The risks for human rights defenders and journalists increased dramatically since the 2009 coup. For the last decade, according to Global Witness, Honduras has been the most dangerous country in the world per capita for land and environmental defenders, with 123 of these defenders killed since the June 2009 coup and 14 killed in 2016.”

Who Ordered Killing of Honduran Activist? Evidence of Broad Plot Is Found
Elisabeth Malkin, The New York Times, October 28, 2017
“But Ms. Cáceres, 44, had won international acclaim for leading her indigenous Lenca community against a dam planned on their land. Her prominence transformed her killing into an emblematic crime — and turned the investigation that followed into a challenge to the entrenched impunity of the powerful in Honduras. Now, 20 months after the killing, a team of five international lawyers has warned that the people who ordered it may never face justice.”

Atacan otro medio de comunicación de Honduras
El Libertador, 29 de octubre de 2017
“Las oficinas de Canal 6 en Tegucigalpa fueron atacadas esta madrugada, según la Secretaría de Seguridad sujetos a bordo de un vehículo ignoraron un retén policial, esto ocasiono que la Policía diera persecución y posteriormente un enfrentamiento con armas de fuego que daño las instalaciones”.

Video Shows Horrific Details of DEA-led Massacre in Honduras
teleSUR, October 23, 2017
“a new video unearthed by ProPublica through a Freedom of Information Act request shows how the Honduran anti-drug unit led by DEA agents fired on unarmed passengers in Ahuas being transported by taxi boat at 2 a.m., resulting in four deaths, two of which were pregnant women, and three injuries.”

Candidatos presidenciales en Honduras: ¡urge incluir medidas relativas a protección a los derechos humanos y sus defensores en sus planes de gobierno!
Defensores en línea, 27 de octubre de 2017
“Reconocer públicamente, a través de una campaña pública difundida a nivel nacional, la labor legítima que realizan las personas defensoras de derechos humanos, específicamente aquellas que defienden derechos relacionados a la tierra, el territorio y el medio ambiente, así como los derechos sexuales y reproductivos. Investigar de forma pronta, exhaustiva e imparcial los ataques, amenazas y agresiones contra personas defensoras de derechos humanos y llevar ante la justicia a los responsables tanto de carácter material como intelectual”.

Asesinan a un camarógrafo en Honduras
teleSUR, 24 de octubre de 2017
“Hasta el momento se desconocen detalles del paradero de los sospechosos. El organismo estatal de derechos humanos confirmó este martes que en el país centroamericano han asesinado a 73 periodistas, entre dueños y empleados de medios de comunicación desde 2003”.

IACHR and UN Special Rapporteur on Internally Displaced Persons Welcome Decisions in El Salvador
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, October 27, 2017
“The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons welcome the decisions adopted on October 6 and 13, 2017, by the Constitutional Chamber of El Salvador’s Supreme Court that aims to protect internally displaced persons. The IACHR and the Special Rapporteur urge the State of El Salvador to recognize and adopt measures to prevent displacement, as well as to protect the human rights of those who have been forced to leave their homes.”

Agencias privadas de seguridad sin control de la PNC
Jessica Ávalos, La Prensa Gráfica, October 30, 2017
“Las agencias de seguridad pueden extraviar armas sin dar parte a las autoridades y no pasa nada. Pueden ocultar información a la Policía y Fiscalía sobre hechos delictivos cometidos por sus agentes, y no pasa nada. O pueden permitir que sus agentes traten mal a las personas, y tampoco pasa nada. La razón: la Policía Nacional Civil (PNC), que tiene una división encargada de supervisarlas, enfrenta un vacío legal para poder sancionar infracciones leves y graves”.

Lucha contra MS-13 ahora es prioridad para justicia en EUA
La Prensa Gráfica, 24 de octubre de 2017
“Los miembros de la MS-13 ‘violan, roban, extorsionan y asesinan brutalmente’, dijo Sessions en su discurso en la reunión de la Asociación Internacional de Jefes de Policía, en Filadelfia. ‘Con más de 40,000 miembros en todo el mundo, incluyendo 10,000 en Estados Unidos, la MS-13 amenaza la vida y bienestar de todas y cada una de las familias de las zonas que infestan’, agregó el funcionario”.
In English

Mexico’s Record Violence Is a Crisis 20 Years in the Making
Max Fisher and Amanda Taub, The Interpreter, October 29, 2017
Since then, a series of bad breaks, missteps and self-imposed crises have led to an explosion of violence. Last year there were more than 20,000 killings. This year is on track to be worse, exceeding the 2011 record, which was thought to be the drug war’s apex.
‘Drug trafficking is not this violent in other countries,’ Guillermo Valdés, a former leader of CISEN, the civil national security intelligence service, said in an interview in Mexico City.”

Is the Impact of Violence in Mexico Similar to War Zones?
Parker Asmann, InSight Crime, October 23, 2017
“The impact that drug-related violence has on citizens in Mexico is similar to what people living through war experience, according to the president of the Red Cross, in a controversial comparison that has been made before. In an October 21 interview with El Universal, Peter Maurer said that violence — whether perpetrated by war or violent crime — has the same consequences.”

Time for Mexico To Take Its Destiny Into Its Own Hands
Duncan Wood, Forbes, October 23, 2017
“But the Merida Initiative was only ever intended to be a supplement to Mexico’s own efforts, and they have been considerable. A 2008 justice reform offered the prospect of a cultural and organizational shift in the courts; various (some partial, others abortive) efforts at police reform; and a 2016 anti-corruption reform that, if implemented correctly and with sufficient resources, could make significant inroads against a disease that is killing the country.”

Mexico Victims’ Survey Belies Growing Homicides
Parker Asmann, InSight Crime, October 24, 2017
“Although perceptions of insecurity rose slightly, citizens are still not reporting crimes to authorities. In 2016, 93.6 percent of crimes were not reported to authorities, nearly identical to the 93.7 percent of crimes not reported in 2015. As for why, 33.1 percent said that reporting a crime was a ‘waste of time’ and 16.5 percent didn’t have faith in authorities.”

13 acciones clave contra crisis de seguridad y justicia en México
Arturo Angel, Animal Politico, 26 de octubre de 2017
“Sergio López Ayllón, reconoció que el contexto actual no es favorable para la puesta en marcha de las acciones que se necesitan. Los gobiernos y partidos comienzan a enfocarse en la coyuntura electoral del próximo año como prioridad. No obstante, el académico subrayó que la crisis de seguridad y justicia que atraviesa el país no puede estar sujetada a estos tiempos, y su gravedad amerita que el trabajo comience de inmediato. La viabilidad del plan requiere que no se piense en el corto plazo sino en la búsqueda de resultados con una visión de Estado”.

Mexican anger over corruption deepens – but will politicians change their ways?
David Agren, The Guardian, October 29, 2017
“Santiago Nieto – whose investigations had put the PRI on the defensive – was fired last week for unspecified ‘code of conduct’ violations. Nieto’s office had been investigating allegations that the disgraced Brazilian construction company Odebrecht improperly pumped money into the PRI’s 2012 general election campaign.”

Activists Take Mexico to Human Rights Commission Over Ayotzinapa Case
teleSUR, October 24, 2017
“The international commission said it called on the government to redouble its efforts in the search for justice for the missing students and to prevent this ‘emblematic case of grave human rights violations from remaining in impunity.’”

Mexico employers federation pushes for higher minimum wage
AP, October 24, 2017
“The issue of Mexican wages has become a sticking point in talks with the United States and Canada on the North American Free Trade Agreement because of accusations that Mexico has unfairly attracted industry by keeping wages low. The current minimum wage is $4.20 a day, or about 52 cents an hour. That is only about 7 percent of the $7.25 hourly minimum wage in the U.S.”

Actions, Reports, Resources

TPS and DACA: Real Relief For Real Families
Unite Here, October 23, 2017
“UNITE HERE members share how temporary work permits through TPS and DACA provide humanitarian relief to their families.”

Latinoamérica y el Caribe: construyendo sobre una tradición de protección
Migraciones Forzadas revista, octubre de 2017
“La región de Latinoamérica y el Caribe ha demostrado desde hace mucho tiempo hospitalidad hacia aquellos que huyen del conflicto y la persecución dentro y fuera de la región. Ante las nuevas causas de desplazamiento, como la violencia de las bandas criminales organizadas y los efectos adversos del cambio climático, los países de Latinoamérica y el Caribe continúan ampliando y adaptando sus leyes y mecanismos de protección para abordar estas y otras situaciones de desplazamiento y para satisfacer las diferentes necesidades de las poblaciones afectadas”.

*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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