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Central America/Mexico Migration News Brief for September 17, 2018

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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.

A mother and daughter have been detained and wait by a Border Patrol truck
Source: Washington Post

NGOs Oppose U.S. Plans to Fund Mexico for Deportations of Non-Mexican Migrants & Bilateral Negotiations around a Safe Third Country Agreement, Urge Governments to Abandon Plans

OSCs se oponen a planes de Estados Unidos de dar fondos a México para deportar a personas migrantes no mexicanas, y a las negociaciones bilaterales sobre un Acuerdo de Tercer País Seguro, urgen a gobiernos abandonar los planes.

U.S. Enforcement
•Trump administration took nearly $10 million from FEMA’s budget to support ICE, documents show
Christal Hayes, USA Today, September 11, 2018

“The document lists the additional money was taken to help ICE detain immigrants along the southern border, fund beds in detention centers and remove undocumented immigrants from the country.”

•Arrests of migrant families rose 38 percent in August in what Trump officials call a ‘crisis’ at the border
Nick Miroff, Washington Post, September 12, 2018

“Arrests of migrant family members increased by a similar percentage during the same period last year, rising 36 percent from July to August 2017. But the 12,774 family members taken into custody this August marked a threefold increase over 2017 and stands among the highest monthly totals on record.”

•U.S. to triple number of beds at tent camp for immigrant children near El Paso
Dianne Solis, Dallas News, September 11, 2018

“That’s a 20 percent increase in the number of beds for unaccompanied minors, now at 12,800, in the controversial network of more than 100 shelters overseen by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It comes as the length of stay for unaccompanied minors has lengthened to an average of 59 days — nearly double what it was four years ago.”

•As many as 1,000 parents separated from their children are getting a second chance to stay in the US
Dara Lind, Vox, September 13, 2018

“Generally, most asylum seekers pass their credible fear screenings. But evidence suggests that parents who were separated from their children often failed their interviews. Parents were often so consumed by grief over their separation from their children that they weren’t able to answer asylum officers’ questions fully and effectively.”

•Here’s A Statistic You Won’t Hear From Trump: Over 90% Of Families Seeking Asylum Show Up For Their Court Hearings
Adolfo Flores, Buzzfeed News, September 11, 2018

“When researchers looked at only cases where a judge had issued a decision, 6,587 families, they found that the court appearance rate was 72%, overall, but went up to 92% for asylum applicants. That percentage rose to 94% if the family had filed an asylum application and had an attorney.”

•More than 400 kids remain separated from their parents. Here’s one lawyer’s long-shot plan to reunite a family
Hannah Wiley, The Texas Tribune, September 12, 2018

“Byron Xol Bol, who was detained with his father after crossing the Rio Grande into Texas in May, is one of 416 separated children who have yet to be reunited with their parents, as attorneys scramble to untangle the details of the cases and the government fails to meet court-ordered deadlines to reunify the children with their families.”

•Sessions criticizes immigrants’ attorneys before immigration judges
Tal Kopan, CNN, September 10, 2018

“The remarks at the training of the largest-ever class of new immigration judges implied that the judges were on the same team as the Trump administration, and that immigrants and their attorneys were trying to undermine their efforts.”

•Here’s What Happened to the 99 Immigrant Children Separated From Their Parents and Sent to Chicago
Jodi S. Cohen, Melissa Sanchez and Duaa Eldeib, ProPublica Illinois, September 10, 2018

“‘The damage inflicted was not something that went away because of the reunification,’ said Jesse Bless, one of the attorneys who filed the lawsuit, who has represented children housed at Heartland’s shelters. ‘We are starting to see signs that there could be long-term effects.’”

•’They were laughing at us’: immigrants tell of cruelty, illness and filth in US detention
Andrew Gumbel, The Guardian, September 12, 2018

“Many complained about the cruelty of guards, who they said would yell at children, taunt detainees with promises of food that never materialized and kick people who did not wake up when they were expected to.”

•Trump’s Huge Mistake on Refugees
Ariana A. Berengaut and Antony J. Blinken, The New York Times, September 11, 2018

“Destroying our bipartisan tradition of refugee resettlement goes against the American value of extending a lifeline to the world’s most vulnerable. And it’s economic malpractice: Refugees return more in taxes than they receive in benefits, revitalize towns whose best days seemed behind them and enrich the United States with new energy, ideas and businesses.”

•Migrants’ Emotional Ties to U.S. Expressed in Flags, Tombs and Fancy Homes
Kirk Semple, The New York Times, September 9, 2018

“For generations, the western highlands of Guatemala — remote, rural and impoverished, with a largely indigenous population — have sent a steady stream of migrants north, seeking work and a better life. As a result, the United States and the promises it represents loom large in the popular imagination here, and symbols of American life and culture are everywhere.”

•Niña guatemalteca muere como consecuencia de su detención en EEUU; jueza prohíbe drogar a los niños
Nómada, 11 de septiembre de 2018

“Cuando finalmente las reunificaron y Yazmín Juárez y su hija pudieron viajar hasta Filadelfia para encontrarse con la madre de Yazmín, tuvieron que internar a la bebé en un hospital por problemas respiratorios. Después de seis semanas de batallar, Marie finalmente murió”.

•The US-Mexico trade deal leaves out one important group: immigrants

Gene Marks, The Guardian, September 2, 2018

“Some take the position that immigration reform and a trade bill with Mexico are two separate issues. For most small businesses – and particularly the ones who rely on low-skilled workers – the two issues are very much intertwined.”

•La futilidad del muro antinmigración está demostrada
David Jiménez, The New York Times, 10 de septiembre de 2018

“…las defensas españolas se erigen sobre la frontera como símbolos del fracaso de la política migratoria europea y como un recordatorio permanente de la futilidad de los muros. Ninguno ha demostrado ser lo suficientemente alto frente a la determinación de quienes escapan de la pobreza, la guerra o la falta de oportunidades”.

•Mistaken Identity: The Dangers of Sweeping Gang Labels for Black and Latino Youth
Maritza Perez, Center for American Progress, September 13, 2018

“Even in instances where gang allegations do not lead to criminal consequences, they can carry serious immigration consequences for noncitizens. For instance, accusations of gang affiliation have led to serious immigration ramifications for Latino youth in Long Island.”

Mexican Enforcement

•U.S. Plans to Pay Mexico to Deport Unauthorized Immigrants There
Gardiner Harris and Julie Hirschfeld Davis, The New York Times, September 12, 2018

“In a recent notice sent to Congress, the administration said it intended to take $20 million in foreign assistance funds and use it to help Mexico pay plane and bus fare to deport as many as 17,000 people who are in that country illegally. The money will help increase deportations of Central Americans, many of whom pass through Mexico to get to the American border.”

•Incoming Mexican government rejects US offer to fund deportations

David Agren, The Guardian, September 14, 2018

“Thousands of migrants are detained by Mexico as they travel through the country to try to reach the US, but the interior minister-designate said on Thursday no offer had been made to help fund the process.”

•Gobierno de Peña firmará convenio que convierte a México en filtro migratorio de EU
J. Jesús Esquivel, El Proceso, 12 de septiembre de 2018

“Bajo el estatus de Tercer País Seguro (TPS), el gobierno de Enrique Peña Nieto se apresta a firmar un compromiso bajo el cual México acepta una cuota de deportación de inmigrantes indocumentados no mexicanos, y un número de solicitantes de asilo que buscan refugiarse en Estados Unidos”.

•Alista INM retorno de 336 inmigrantes
El Mañana, 10 de septiembre de 2018

“‘Eran trasladados en condiciones muy difíciles, inhumanas, como si no fueran personas, muchos ya traían problemas de deshidratación, de respiración, de alimentación. Hay un factor de crimen organizado, de polleros que los traían’, comentaron las fuentes de la Segob, sin revelar más detalles”.

Root Causes
•Guatemala court orders UN anti-graft chief be readmitted
Sonia Perez D., Associated Press, September 17, 2018

“The unanimous ruling by the court’s five magistrates marked the second time in as many years that the court has reversed Morales’ efforts to keep commission chief Ivan Velasquez out of Guatemala. Velasquez has pressed a number of high-profile graft probes, including one that is pending against the president himself.”

•Guatemala: Indigenous protest against Morales’ CICIG decision
Sandra Cuffe, Al Jazeera, September 10, 2018

“Thousands of indigenous Guatemalans blocked sections of the Pan-American highway on Monday, kicking off a week of marches, blockades and rallies to protest the government’s decision to shut down an international anti-corruption commission in the country.”

•Guatemalans step up protests of president’s attacks on anti-graft body
Sofia Menchu, Julia Love, and Daina Beth Solomon, Reuters, September 11, 2018

“‘It is clear we are facing a clear plan by Congress to generate mechanisms of impunity,’ said Oswaldo Samayoa, a criminal law professor at Guatemala’s San Carlos university.”

•Fiscal contra la Impunidad: “Si la CICIG se va, volvemos a lo de antes”

Gabriel Labrador, El Faro, 9 de septiembre de 2018

“Es que antes no se entraba a lo que se tenía que entrar. Aparte de detectar estructuras, la CICIG ayuda a determinar cuáles son sus fuentes de financiamiento. Ese trabajo llevó a demostrar -porque es demostrado- de que el tema central aquí es el financiamiento de los partidos”.

•A Student Movement 50 Years and Counting
Hilary Goodfriend, NACLA, September 13, 2018

“As the 50th anniversary of the October 2, 1968 Tlatelolco student massacre looms on the horizon, students at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) in Mexico City find themselves engaged in another fierce struggle against campus, state, and gender-based violence—which extends well beyond the gates of the university.”

•“No hay justicia en Nicaragua. Te pegan un balazo y nadie hace nada”

Carlos Salinas, El País, 7 de mayo de 2018

“’Nadie me da explicaciones de por qué le hicieron eso a él’, dice indignado su hermano, Alexander. ‘Aquí no hay transparencia, no hay justicia. Me siento solo. Estamos en un sistema de sálvase quien pueda. Las instituciones no tienen credibilidad para que uno pueda recurrir a ellas y explicarles lo que pasó’, agrega Sarria”.

•El expresidente salvadoreño Saca, condenado a 10 años de cárcel por desviar más de 300 millones
El País, 13 de septiembre de 2018

“Es el primer expresidente de la democracia salvadoreña en ser condenado por delitos de corrupción y tendrá que reintegrar al Estado salvadoreño casi 261 millones de dólares”.

•Despite Confession, Former El Salvador President’s Sentencing Is Bittersweet
Parker Asmann, InSight Crime, September 13, 2018

“What was different about Saca, however, was his and his family’s strong links to organized crime. Saca’s cousin, Herbert Ernesto Saca Vides, was one of El Salvador’s most effective political fixers due to his links to both organized crime groups, like the infamous Los Perrones, and the upper echelons of the country’s political elite.”

•5 Ways the MS13 Launders Money

Felipe Puerta, InSight Crime, September 7, 2018

“Extortion has traditionally been the main source of income for gangs like the MS13. More recently, these groups have ventured into other criminal markets, including unsuccessful attempts at becoming increasingly involved in international drug trafficking, which has helped beef up the gang’s financial muscle.”

Actions, Reports, and Resource

•Southwest Border Migration FY2018
Customs and Border Patrol, September 13, 2018

“While the overall numbers are consistent with an expected seasonal increase, the number of family unit apprehensions increased 38%, approximately 3,500 more than July. In August, the number of family units apprehended represented 34% of all Southwest Border apprehensions, an increase from an average of 25% for the year.”

•Death, Damage, and Failure: Past, Present, and Future Impacts of Walls on the U.S.-Mexico Border
Stefanie Herweck and Scott Nicol, ACLU Border Rights Center, September 12, 2018

“In this report, we analyze the rationale behind border barriers, discuss the effectiveness of border walls in regards to unauthorized migration, smuggling, and national security, and illustrate the wide-ranging damages that existing walls have inflicted upon border communities, the environment, and the lives of border crossers.”

•How to Save the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program
International Crisis Group, September 12, 2018

“These steps could help the U.S. reinvigorate its resettlement efforts amid a global displacement crisis that shows no sign of abating.”

•Towards the North

Humanity on the Move

“At a tiny refugee shelter in Tapachula, Mexico we meet Nelly and her daughter Joseline, who like millions of others, are fleeing extreme gang violence in Central America. With unprecedented intimacy, we enter their world and witness the daily battles of asylum seekers on the run: making the best of each day, meeting new friends and living in a constant state of fear. With their sights set on the U.S., mother and daughter cover the length of Mexico, facing immigration officials and taking selfies along the way – only to arrive in Tijuana where the US border suddenly becomes a dark reality.”

•Another Month in Honduras…
Honduras Forum Switzerland, August 2018

“Even during the presence of the IACHR commissioners state security forces did not hold back and injured two students, a journalist and a human right defender on August 1. The remaining days of August then showed that this was only the first of several acts of state repression in a month that ended with a national day of protest demanding the end of the JOH regime.”



*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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