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Central America/Mexico Migration News Brief for September 16, 2016

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A compilation of the previous three week’s top articles and reports related to issues of migration from Central America and Mexico (articles in English and Spanish).

Root Causes

•   “They Said We Would Pay with Our Lives”
Annie Hylton and Sarah Salvadore, Slate, August 31, 2016
“As Central American gangs increasingly target children for violence and sexual assault, more unaccompanied minors are heading to the United States.”

•   “Pensé que nos iban a matar uno por uno”
BBC Mundo, 14 de septiembre de 2016
“Conoce la historia de Williams y la razón por la que huyó de Honduras.”

•  Politics and the Migration Crisis in Honduras: An Unfortunate Disagreement
Manuel Orozco, The Inter-American Dialogue, September 14, 2016
“Since at least 2009, more than 70,000 adults and 10,000 minors have left Honduras each year.  This year’s total so far is at least 7,000. These people are not leaving by choice, but rather by necessity, in many cases for security reasons: in 2015 there were more than 5,000 homicides, and, most terrifyingly, these homicides occurred in the exact areas from which citizens are leaving (or rather, fleeing). Upon mapping violence and migration patterns, the correlation is extremely high. Could this be coincidence?”

•   El Salvador Announces New Anti-Impunity Unit
Héctor Silva Ávalos, InSight Crime, September 15, 2016
“El Salvador’s attorney general announced the creation of a new anti-impunity unit in the prosecutor’s office that will work on politically sensitive corruption cases and have strong backing from the US government, although it lacks direct international participation.”

•   Attacks on the Rise in Honduras and Guatemala, the World’s Deadliest Countries for Environmental Activists
Press Release, Amnesty International, August 29, 2016

“An insidious wave of threats, bogus charges, smear campaigns, attacks and killings of environmental and land activists in recent months has made Honduras and Guatemala the most dangerous countries on earth for those protecting natural resources, Amnesty International said in a new report six months after the brutal murder of Indigenous leader Berta Cáceres.”

•   Honduras Still a Death Trap for Environmental Activists Six Months after Berta Cáceres’ Slaying
Erika Guevara-Rosas, Inter Press Service, September 1, 2016

“Berta’s work was widely and globally acclaimed and had earned her international awards – if someone could violate the sanctuary of her home and shoot her dead, it was too frightening to contemplate what could happen to any of the country’s lesser-known human rights defenders.”

•   6th Suspect Arrested in Slaying of Activist in Honduras
The Associated Press, The New York Times, September 9, 2016

“Honduran authorities say they have arrested the sixth, and last, suspect among those sought for allegedly carrying out the killing of environmental activist Berta Caceres last March.”

•   The Top-10 Most Violent Cities Worldwide
Niall McCarthy, Statista, August 31, 2016

“Which cities have the highest rates of murder worldwide? According to the The Mexico Citizens Council for Public Security, the very worst of them are concentrated in Mexico, Venezuela and Honduras. In 2015, Caracas in Venezuela topped the list with 119.87 murders per 100,000 people.”

•   El gobierno de México reporta 26 mil 898 personas no localizadas hasta diciembre de 2015
Animal Político, 6 de septiembre de 2016
“Hasta diciembre del año pasado, en México se registraron 26 mil 898 personas desaparecidas o no localizadas, de acuerdo con un informe del Registro Nacional de Datos de Personas Extraviadas o Desaparecidas (RNPED) que recibió este martes 6 de septiembre el Senado.”

•   The Teen Killers of the Drug War
Patrick Radden Keefe, The New Yorker, September 12, 2016
“Child soldiers in foreign conflicts are treated as victims. What about the adolescents on the U.S.-Mexico border?”

•   Is Mexico Under-reporting Its Homicide Count?
Sofia Leimann, InSight Crime, September 7, 2016

“An investigation by the newspaper Zeta has concluded that the administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto is significantly understating the number of homicides committed in the country.”

•   Every Journalist Mourns a Dead Journalist
Patrick Timmons, North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA), September 14, 2016

“In Veracruz, Mexico, 17 journalists have been murdered and five have gone missing in the last six years. Noé Zavaleta, a Proceso reporter from the state, has found himself forced to ‘take a break.’”

•   70 Percent of Costa Rica Murders Drug Related: Report
Michael Lohmuller, InSight Crime, September 13, 2016
“A rise in drug-related murders has contributed to Costa Rica’s homicide rate almost doubling in the past 15 years, as the country’s growing role in the regional narcotics trade continues to provoke anxiety among security officials.”

Mexico Enforcement

•   Central American Refugees Struggle for Protection in Southern Mexico
Laura Weiss, Foreign Policy In Focus, September 16, 2016
“The U.S. and Mexican government’s prioritization of border security over human security has had dire consequences that must be discussed at the UN Summit for Refugees and Migration.”

•   Mexico Builds Its Own Wall Against Migrants
James Fredrick and Jude Webber, Financial Times, September 14, 2016
“Donald Trump wants a wall on America’s southern border to keep illegal immigrants out. But for people such as Rosa, whose husband, mother, sister, brother-in-law and two nephews were murdered in her native Honduras by gangs who then tried to recruit her 14-year-old son, Mexico already acts as a formidable barrier.”

•   Central American Migrants Desperate to Reach US Risk New Dangers at Sea
Nina Lakhani, The Guardian, September 15. 2016

“As US-driven immigration crackdown forces many to find alternative routes through Mexico, activists fear an increase in trafficking and drownings.”

•   Mexico Migrant Kidnappings on the Rise?
Mike LaSusa, InSight Crime, September 14, 2016

“Migration activists in Mexico are warning about a growth in the number of kidnappings of migrants by crime groups, and they blame the government’s policies for exacerbating the situation.”

•   Se reactivan secuestros masivos de migrantes en México
Gardenia Mendoza, La Opinión, 13 de septiembre de 2016

“Los secuestros masivos de migrantes se incrementaron nuevamente a partir  de noviembre de 2015, alertan activistas defensores de derechos humanos en la frontera sur que se suman a reportes diplomáticos y  policíacos del norte donde cada semana se revelan oficialmente ‘rescates’ de centroamericanos, principalmente, aunque también mexicanos.”

U.S. Enforcement

•   As Refugee Summits Approach-Community, Labor, Elected Officials, Faith and Immigrant Rights Leaders Call On Administration Not to Ignore Central Americans Fleeing Violence
September 13, 2016

“Ahead of the UN General Assembly Summit on Large Movements of Migrants and Refugees and Obama’s Leaders’ Summit on Refugees, leaders from organized labor, community organizations, local elected officials, immigrant rights advocates, and faith groups gathered on a press call to urge the Obama Administration to alter its response to the refugee crisis and halt the detention and deportation of Central American families seeking refuge from extreme violence, poverty, and corruption in the Northern Triangle of Central America.”

•   Exigen trato justo de centroamericanos
Rafael Sánchez-Cruz, Univision, 13 de septiembre de 2016

En una conferencia de prensa, grupos de la comunidad de Washington, DC junto con grupos de derechos humanos y fe pidieron que la administración Obama otorgue protecciones a refugiados y migrantes centroamericanos.

•   Migrant Surge Poses Challenge for U.S. Who’s a Refugee, Who Isn’t?
Franco Ordoñez, McClatchy DC, September 15, 2016

“U.S. Border Patrol agents will apprehend more family members entering the United States along the Southwest border this fiscal year than they did in 2014, when a massive surge of Central Americans found the Obama administration detaining thousands of mothers and their children.”

•   Denying Immigrants Access Undermines Core American Values
Representative Loretta Sanchez (D-CA), The Hill, September 15, 2016

“Most members of Congress have an immigrant heritage, depending on how far back they choose to look. Yet, while millions of families suffer, Congress has failed to fix our dysfunctional immigration system because of politics, prejudice, and unearned complacency. Our leaders must remember their roots and learn from the values that my immigrant parents instilled in me: the immigrant work ethic, love of family, generosity, faith, gratitude, strength, and perseverance.”

•  Obama’s Legacy on Central American Refugees
Timothy Eakins, Medium, September 12, 2016

“On an early morning in late January of this year, a young man named Pedro Salmeron was riding in the passenger seat of his father’s truck in Charlotte, NC when ICE agents stopped the truck and detained Pedro. His crime: fleeing gang members in El Salvador that had just brutally murdered his cousin. This may sound hard to believe but it is the official policy of the Obama administration with regard to refugees fleeing violence in Central America.”

•   Biden Is Dangerously Unaware Of The Tragedy Asylum Seekers Face
Tom Andrews, The Huffington Post, September 6, 2016

“Is he unaware of the tragedy, also widely reported over the past several weeks, being played out at the Berks County PA detention facility where the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) has incarcerated mothers and children seeking asylum from death threats and extreme violence in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador?”

•   Esperan otra ola de refugiados centroamericanos por la frontera
Franco Ordoñez, El Nuevo Herald, 14 de septiembre de 2016

“Agentes de la Patrulla de Fronteras de EEUU arrestarán este año fiscal más familias entrando a Estados Unidos por la frontera suroeste que en el 2014, cuando una gigantesca oleada de centroamericanos hizo que la administración de Obama detuviera a miles de madres y a sus hijos.”

•   Surge of Haitians Leaving Brazil Arrive on U.S.-Mexico Border
Julia Edwards, Thomson Reuters Foundation News, September 15, 2016

“U.S. border officials are struggling to find enough space to temporarily hold hundreds of Haitian immigrants who left Brazil, where they relocated after Haiti’s 2010 earthquake, but have decided to move again amid recession and the Rio Olympics ending.”

•   United States Border Patrol Southwest Family Unit Subject and Unaccompanied Alien Children Apprehensions Fiscal Year 2016
Customs and Border Protection, Updated September 9, 2016

“Overall apprehensions by the Border Patrol in August along our southwest border – which include apprehensions of single adults, unaccompanied minors, and family units — increased somewhat from the previous month. For the year to-date, overall apprehensions continue to be somewhat higher than in Fiscal Year 2015, but lower than FY 2014 and FY 2013.”

•   Head of Border Patrol Speaks Out About Border Issues
KRGV News, September 14, 2016
“The new head of Rio Grande Valley sector’s Border Patrol is shining a light on his agency. He said agents are not doing what they were trained to do. He said instead of protecting our border, they’re working as humanitarians.”

•   Arizona’s Once-Feared Immigration Law, SB 1070, Loses Most of its Power in Settlement
Nigel Duara, The Los Angeles Times, September 15, 2016

“Arizona has announced an end to its practice of requiring police officers to demand the papers of people suspected of being in the country illegally — a move that pulls the last set of teeth from what was once the nation’s most fearsome immigration law.”

•   Policía de Arizona no podrá detener a una persona solo por sospechar que es un indocumentado
Univision, 15 de septiembre de 2016

“Este es uno de los acuerdos a los que ha llegado la ACLU con este estado para limitar varios aspectos vigentes de la controversial ley SB 1070, la policía no podrá determinar “la sospecha razonable” de que una persona está en el país sin documentos migratorios solo por la raza u origen étnico.”

•   El atasco en las cortes de inmigración retrasa audiencias al 2020
Jorge Cancino, Univision, 15 de septiembre 2016
“El último informe del TRAC de la Universidad de Syracuse asegura que en julio había 502,794 casos de inmigrantes acumulados.”

•   Customs and Border Protection Moves Forward With Body-Worn Cameras
Chakiara Tucker, Southern Border Communities Coalition, September 15, 2016
“Today marks a step forward to improve the quality of life for Southern Border residents as U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) begins the process of purchasing body-worn cameras. These devices will help achieve the common-sense goals of added transparency, accountability, and oversight over CBP.”

•   Familiares y víctimas de crímenes violentos en EEUU podrán entrar al país para esperar aquí la obtención de la Visa U
Jorge Cancino, Univision, 13 de septiembre 2016
“A finales de marzo había 121,659 casos pendientes y el servicio de inmigración solo entrega 10,000 cupos por año. La visa incluye un permiso de trabajo y la opción de obtener tres años después la ‘Green Card’.”

•   Detention of Migrant Families Immoral, Costly
Theodora Simon, El Paso Times, August 30, 2016
“Family detention is the systematic incarceration of asylum-seeking mothers and children, mostly from Central America.”

•   Federal Court Ruling Denies Families in Immigration Detention Review of Legality of their Removal
Human Rights First, August 30, 2016
“Human Rights First has long argued that the expedited removal process, which gives immigration officers the authority to order non-citizens who are subject to that process deported without a hearing, is flawed. Asylum seekers processed under expedited removal must pass a “credible fear” interview with an asylum officer before they are allowed to file for asylum before an immigration judge.”

•   Justice Department Gave Supreme Court Incorrect Data in Immigration Case
Jess Bravin, Wall Street Journal, August 30, 2016
“The Justice Department said it provided the Supreme Court with erroneous information that helped it win a 2003 case upholding a blanket policy of denying bail to thousands of immigrants imprisoned while appealing deportation orders.”

•   Nearly Half a Million U.S. Citizens Are Enrolled in Mexican Schools. Many of Them Are Struggling
Kate Linthicum, The Los Angeles Times, September 14, 2016
“Many students struggled to integrate into Mexican schools because they couldn’t read or write in Spanish. Others weren’t in school at all because they lacked the necessary accreditations. In all, nearly a third had either been held back a grade or had missed a year or more of school.”

•   The U.S. Already Spends Billions on Border Security
Leigh Ann Caldwell, NBC, August 31, 2016

“Over the past 24 years, the amount of money spent on border security has increased 14 times; the number of border patrol agents have increased 500 percent; the amount of border wall has grown from 77 miles to 700 miles since 2000; and the number of people being apprehended trying to cross the border have decreased by four-fifths.”

•   5 Things To Know About Obama’s Enforcement Of Immigration Laws
Scott Horsley, NPR, August 31, 2016

“Ahead of Trump’s speech, here are five things to know about how President Obama has enforced immigration laws over the past eight years.”

•   The Time I Went on Border Patrol in a Virtual Reality World
Fernanda Santos, The New York Times, September 12, 2016
“I found myself on a desolate desert road, in front of a man who was leaning against the hood of a banged-up sedan and next to a United States Border Patrol agent who was on the radio of her patrol vehicle, running the sedan’s license plate.”

•   San Diego Built a Bridge Over Its Border Wall
Andrew Selee, The Wilson Center, August 17, 2016

“City leaders in San Diego, America’s seventh largest city and the only one in the top 10 governed by a Republican mayor, have actually pursued a different approach to the border. Instead of asking for a higher wall, San Diego’s leaders decided to build a bridge over the piece of wall they already had.”

•   This Border Fence Has Become a Magnet for Family Reunions. Just Don’t Try to Hug
Cindy Carcamo, The Los Angeles Times, September 16, 2016

“Andres Gallegos Arguello stood on the American side of a metallic mesh fence in Friendship Circle between San Diego and Tijuana. His mother and father stood on the other side. It was a family reunion under the close watch of the Border Patrol agents that serve as chaperones for every one of these meetings.”

•   What People on the Border Think about Building a Bigger Fence
PBS, August 31, 2016

“Donald Trump’s talk of building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico has been one of the most-repeated tropes of his campaign. Currently, there stands a 652-mile-long wall running across the almost 2,000 mile border. It stretches not just along deserted areas, but also along bustling cities like Nogales, Arizona. Special correspondent Angela Kocherga gives us a glimpse of life at the border.”

•   Remembrance on International Day of the Disappeared
Reyna Araibi, Colibri Center for Human Rights, August 30, 201
“Over the past two decades, at least 2,700 people have disappeared crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. Two-thousand-seven-hundred irreplaceable lives…The missing are never forgotten.”

Reports, Resources, Actions, and Events

•   Shadow Summit: The US Response to Central American Refugees
September 20, 2016 8:30 am
Location: Center For Migration Studies, East 60th Street, 6th Floor, New York, NY, United States
Register here: http://bit.ly/920shadow

•   POTUS, Lead by Example: Protect Central American Refugees & Migrants
Latin America Working Group, September 13, 2016

“We are calling on the U.S. government to lead by example by changing its response to the refugee crisis in our own backyard. Click here to tell President Obama to take action for Central American migrants and refugees.”

•   It’s Time To Scale Back Border Patrol Checkpoints
Southern Border Communities Coalition, September 12, 2016

“Unaccountable, highly intrusive Border Patrol interior checkpoints have infringed on the quality of life of border residents, resulting in unchecked cases of excessive force, racial profiling and widespread civil and human liberties abuses  — all at a high cost, but with questionable effectiveness.”

•  Migrar para Sobrevivir
Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Matías de Córdova
Niñez Migrante: Una tragedia y una injusticia que crece, La realidad de las niñas y los niños migrantes en Mesoamérica

•   Divided by Detention: Asylum-Seeking Families’ Experiences of Separation
Leigh Barrick, American Immigration Council, August 31, 2016
“As the number of asylum-seeking families from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico arriving in the United States soared in recent years, the Obama Administration aggressively expanded family detention in an attempt to ‘deter’ the arrival of others. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) opened large detention centers to detain mothers and children….This report examines what happens when ‘family detention’ does not actually keep loved ones together.”

•   Letter from 380 NGOs Requesting Temporary Protected Status for Northern Triangle Countries
September 7, 2016

“Letter from 380 national, state, and local non-profit organizations to President Obama requesting that he expand Temporary Protected Status for El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala and provide relief from deportation to 1.2 million undocumented immigrants.”

•   340+ Civil & Human Rights Organizations Tell DHS: Stop Detaining Immigrants in Private Prisons
September 14, 2016
“More than 340 immigrant rights, faith-based and civil- and labor-rights organizations delivered a letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson Wednesday calling for the government to end its use of private prison companies to detain immigrants.”

•   Surge in Immigration in 2014 and 2015? The Evidence Remain Illusory
Robert Warren, Center for Migration Studies,
August 31, 2016
“The fact that immigration is at the center of the current presidential election greatly increases the importance of carefully evaluating the latest immigration data.”

•   Education as a Priority for Development in Central America [English]
Centroamérica debe apostar por la educación para impulsar su desarrollo [Español]
Alberto Mora Román, Inter-American Dialogue, September 13, 2016

“The Fifth ‘State of the Region’ Report (Quinto Informe Estado de la Región), launched on August 3 in Guatemala City, gives an update on the main demographic, social, economic, political, and environmental trends, as well as on the process of regional integration in Central America. The report includes a special chapter on education that discusses topics such as the social exclusion of youth aged 15-24, the processes of design, approval, and implementation of education policies, the wide territorial gaps – by age group and income level –, the public financing of education, and the evolution of enrollment rates between 2000 and 2014.”

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**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.