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Central America/Mexico Migration News Brief for September 23, 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).

Spotlight: UN and U.S. Summits on Refugees and Migrants

•  Shadow Summit: The US Response to Central American Refugees
Center for Migration Studies, September 20, 2016
Panel event examining the “U.S. record in its own backyard, specifically the policy response to unaccompanied children and families fleeing violence in the Northern Triangle of Central America. Speakers will grade U.S. policies from a humanitarian perspective, examining push factors, protection needs, and the impact of enforcement and deterrence strategies.” See livestream.

•  Has Obama Forsaken Central America’s Refugees?
Franco Ordoñez, McClatchy DC, September 19, 2016
“‘A lot of what the president is trying to do is noble, with his summit, to increase responsibility sharing, but it’s going to be a little inconsistent, in fact, hypocritical that we’re not doing the same thing with refugees in our own hemisphere,'” said Kevin Appleby, the senior director of international migration policy at the Center for Migration Studies of New York.

•  Obama Thanks Mexico for ‘Absorbing’ Central American Refugees. His Own Administration Wants to Turn Them Away.
David Nakamura, The Washington Post, September 20, 2016
“President Obama convened a special summit of world leaders in New York on Tuesday to address the dramatic increase in refugees across the globe, which he called ‘one of the most urgent tests of our time.’ History, he added, ‘will judge us harshly if we do not rise to this moment.'”

•  A Tale of Two Summits for Central American Refugees
Andrew Connelley, IRIN News, September 21, 2016
“‘I will never forget the trauma I experienced when I crossed the border and then what happened in the detention centre. When we arrived, we thought the government would be able to help refugees who are seeking a safe place. Instead, we suffered.'”

•  Did Obama Host a Summit on Migrants While Ignoring a Refugee Crisis in the U.S.’s Own Backyard?
Amy Goodman, Democracy Now, September 21, 2016
“The United States objected to language in the original draft of the [UN] resolution that said children should never be detained. This comes as teenagers held at the Berks County Residential Center are protesting their indefinite detention. Some have been held more than a year while they seek asylum with their mothers, who are also detained.”

•  Obama to Push Refugee Aid at U.N., but Critics Say Effort Is Overdue
Somini Sengupta, The New York Times, September 18, 2016
“Moreover, American officials are being criticized for trying to keep out people fleeing gang violence in Central America, even jailing children who show up at the border without legal papers. Only recently did the White House agree to let a small number of people from the region apply for resettlement from their home countries.”

•  Peña Nieto: “There Are No Barriers Stopping Movement of People”
Latin American Herald
“Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on Monday defended the need to protect migrants and noted that ‘history shows that there are no barriers that stop the movement of people.'”

•  “Los migrantes simbolizan la fuerza que ha hecho avanzar a la humanidad”: Peña Nieto
EFE, La Opinión, 19 de septiembre de 2016
“El presidente de México, Enrique Peña Nieto, defendió hoy la necesidad de proteger a los migrantes y recordó que ‘la historia demuestra que no hay barreras que detengan el movimiento de las personas.'”

•  ‘Northern Triangle’ of Death: Australia-bound Refugees Fleeing a Brutal Gang Conflict
David Wroe, The Sydney Morning Herald, September 21, 2016
“The MS-13 and Barrio 18 gangs are famed for the creepy way they tattoo their heads and faces. That and the sheer savagery of their violence towards rivals and innocent civilians. While much of the world’s focus has been on the chaos of the Middle East, the bloodshed wrought by gangs and the paramilitary responses of governments in Central America have been fuelling a different kind of refugee exodus.”

•  Refugees from Central America Violence May Head Down Under
Antje Dieterich, InSight Crime, September 21, 2016
“With the United States increasingly clamping down on its southern border and high numbers of Central American refugees continuing to flee the violence associated with gangs and organized crime, more and more migrants are opting to leave the continent altogether.”

•  Read Barack Obama’s Final Speech to the United Nations as President
Katie Reilly, Time, September 20, 2016
“President Barack Obama on Tuesday delivered his final address to the United Nations General Assembly, calling on leaders to work together and criticizing those who seek a ‘simple rejection of global integration.'”

Root Causes

•  Death and Taxes in Central America
Andrew Wainer, Save the Children: Voices from the Field, September 20, 2016
“Latin America remains the most unequal region in the world and the Northern Triangle is notoriously poor at taxing and spending equitably. While some Latin American nations employed progressive taxation to reduce income inequality during the 2000s, regressive tax policy in Central America exacerbated its already severe inequality.”

•  End U.S. Support for the Thugs of Honduras
Dana Frank, The New York Times, September 22, 2016
“On June 21, The Guardian reported the testimony of a Honduran soldier who said that his elite unit of United States-trained special forces had been given a hit list of activists to be killed that included Berta Cáceres. (He had deserted from the army, he said, rather than comply with the orders.) Six men have subsequently been arrested in connection with her case, including a serving army officer and two retired members of the military, but it remains to be seen if whoever commissioned the crime will be brought to justice.”

•  Una niña hondureña de 8 años pide a Obama en un video que no la deporten
Jorge Cancino, Univision, 22 de septiembre de 2016
“La madre de la pequeña ya había sido deportada en 2014, justo durante el estallido de la crisis migratoria en la frontera. Pero regresó porque, asegura, las amenazas de muerte en su país han continuado.”

•  Report Describes Shifting Patterns of Violence in El Salvador
Mike LaSusa, InSight Crime, September 22, 2016
“A new report describes recent shifts in the characteristics of violence in El Salvador, and it offers recommendations for how to deal with these developments, focusing particularly on the need to tailor violence reduction and prevention strategies to specific local conditions.”

•  El Salvador Chips Away at Very High Homicide Rate
Sofia Liemann, InSight Crime, September 19, 2016
“The homicide rate in El Salvador showed improvement in the first half of September, continuing a steady decline in violent deaths seen over the past six months, though the country still has a long way to go to achieve murder rates in line with international norms.”

•  Honduran President Seeks to Create Jobs to Deal with Gangs
EFE, September 21, 2016
“President Juan Orlando Hernandez, who declared war on street gangs when he took office in 2014, is now seeking to attract investment to create jobs, attacking Honduras’s gang problem from another angle.”

•  Corruption Casts a Shadow Over Another Guatemala President
Martín Rodríguez Pellecer and Javier Estrada, InSight Crime, September 20, 2016
“A corruption scandal has hit the family of Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales like a tsunami, with his son and brother both investigated for possible corruption during the previous, disgraced administration. Nómada provides a detailed look at the complex legal panorama with the potential to bring down the second consecutive executive in the scandal-ridden nation.”

•  Founder of a Mexican News Magazine Shot Dead
Roy Greenslade, The Guardian, September 21, 2016
“He is the eighth journalist murdered in Mexico so far this year.”

•  Agosto, el mes más violento en gobierno de Peña con mil 938 homicidios dolosos
Proceso, 21 de septiembre de 2016
“En lo que va del sexenio de Enrique Peña Nieto, agosto de 2016 se posicionó como el mes más violento, con mil 938 casos de homicidio doloso, 76 más que en julio, que se había ubicado como el más violento, con mil 862.”

•  The Women of Atenco
Photographs by Daniel Berehulak, The New York Times, September 22, 2016
“When President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico was still a governor, he ordered a crackdown on protesters that led to the brutal sexual assault of dozens of women. The victims took their case to international human rights officials, who are now demanding an investigation across the entire chain of command in Mexico. That would probably mean investigating the president, Mr. Peña Nieto. These are the 11 plaintiffs, and their words.”

Police Sex Abuse Case Is Bad News for Mexico’s Leader [English]
La CIDH exige una investigación sobre el abuso sexual que sufrió un grupo de mujeres en Atenco en 2006 [Español]
Azam Ahmed, The New York Times, September 22, 2016
“International human rights officials are demanding an investigation into the brutal sexual assaults of 11 Mexican women during protests a decade ago – an inquiry that would take aim at President Enrique Peña Nieto, who was the governor in charge at the time of the attacks.”

Mexican Enforcement

•  New Report Incriminates Mexico’s Treatment Of Central American Immigrants
Dolia Estevez, Forbes, September 20, 2016
“The Washington Office of Latin America (WOLA) released a report Tuesday that harshly criticizes the Mexican government for ‘prioritizing migration enforcement’ which has resulted in the highest number of detentions, deportations, and asylum petitions of Central Americans in transit to the U.S. in recent years.”

•  Viola México los derechos humanos de migrantes de CA, dicen Wola y dos ONG
José Antonio Román, La Jornada, 21 de septiembre de 2016
“Con el Programa Frontera Sur, México ha optado por una política de ”control y aseguramiento” del flujo de migrantes centroamericanos, con un aumento significativo de detenciones y deportaciones, dejando de lado los derechos humanos, asegura el informe Un camino de impunidad: miles de migrantes en tránsito enfrentan abusos y medidas severas en México.”

•  Peña defiende a migrantes en la ONU, pero en México aumentan deportaciones y agresiones
Manu Ureste, Animal Político, 20 de septiembre de 2016
“El presidente ensalzó a los migrantes como ‘agentes de cambio’, sin embargo, en México las deportaciones masivas continúan. La organización Wola critica que México privilegie la deportación frente al asilo.”

•  No Barriers Can Stop Immigration: Mexican President at U.N.
Hugh Bronstein, Reuters, September 19, 2016
“Efforts to stop immigration and the mix of cultures are bound to fail, Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto told a United Nations summit on migrants and refugees on Monday, as his country’s northern border has become an issue in the U.S. presidential election campaign.”

U.S. Enforcement

•  As Mexico “Absorbs” Central American Refugees, Record Numbers Reach the U.S.
Dennis Stinchcomb, Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) American University, September 22, 2016
“The meeting of world leaders that President Obama convened on Tuesday to rally support for refugee resettlement and inclusion across the globe was good diplomacy but contradicts Washington’s policies even in the Americas. At a meeting on the margins of the UN General Assembly, Obama thanked Mexico for ‘absorbing a great number of refugees from Central America,’ yet the data make clear that Mexico is hardly absorbing refugees.”

•  The Year of the Refugee: It’s Gut-Check Time for President Obama
Robert L. McKenzie, The Brookings Institute, September 19, 2016
“This week, heads of state and senior officials from around the world are gathering in New York for the highest-level meetings ever convened on refugees. Given the urgent and growing needs of the world’s 21 million refugees, these meetings offer an important opportunity to bring the international community together and galvanize action.”

•  U.S. to Step Up Deportations of Haitians Amid Surge at Border
Kirk Semple, The New York Times, September 22, 2016
“The Obama administration, responding to an extraordinary wave of Haitian migrants seeking to enter the United States, said on Thursday that it would fully resume deportations of undocumented Haitian immigrants.”

•  Church That Has Been Helping Haitians Hits Breaking Point
Kate Morrissey, The San Diego Union Tribune, September 21, 2016
“A church that has been sheltering Haitian migrants called on San Diegans for help at a press conference today, saying it cannot continue to house the high numbers of new arrivals with the resources that it has. The Christ Ministry Center, part of the United Methodist Church in Normal Heights, has accommodated about 200 people per night since Haitians began arriving in May.”

•  Hardline U.S. Border Policing Is a Failed Approach
Timothy Dunn, The North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA), September 21, 2016
“The most comprehensive study on Mexican migration yet demonstrates how the past two plus decades of increasing border enforcement have led to the opposite of intended outcomes.”

•  Plan Aims to Save US-born Children in Mexico from Legal Limbo
Nina Lakhani, The Guardian, September 20, 2016
“A new scheme to ease bureaucratic obstacles blocking access to health and education for hundreds of thousands of American-born children living in Mexico has been launched by the US and Mexican governments.”

•  Illegal Immigration from Mexico Falls in US
Sam Fleming, The Financial Times, September 20, 2016
“Donald Trump has made cracking down on illegal immigration from Mexico a centrepiece of his presidential campaign, but new analysis shows that the number of unauthorised immigrants from south of the US border has fallen. The report from the Pew Research Center showed that the number of illegal Mexican migrants has decreased from its 2007 peak even as the US sees rising inflows from countries further afield including India.”

•  Myth and Reason on the Mexican Border
Paul Theroux, The Smithsonian Magazine, September 21, 2016
“The renowned travel writer journeys the length of the U.S.-Mexico border to get a firsthand look at life along the blurry 2,000-mile line.”

•  “Nadie cree más en América que quienes lo arriesgan todo para venir”
Ana B. Nieto, La Opinión, 22 de septiembre 2016
“Julissa Arce, fue indocumentada pero trabajó en Wall Street. Ahora quiere que los latinos voten en una campaña crucial para inmigrantes y minorías.”

•  Flow of Central Americans to U.S. Surging, Expected to Exceed 2014 Numbers
David Nakamura, The Washington Post, September 22, 2016
“The Obama administration’s efforts to stem the flow of Central American migrants illegally crossing into the United States have largely failed two years after a border crisis prompted President Obama to order an emergency response. The number of families and unaccompanied minors arriving in 2016 is on pace to exceed the total in 2014, when U.S. Border Patrol stations were overwhelmed along the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. They are coming primarily from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, an area sometimes called the Northern Triangle.”

•  A Slap in the Face for Immigrant Children [English]
Bofetada para los niños migrantes [Español]
La Opiniόn, 22 de septiembre de 2016
“United States shows the contradictions between what he says and what it does regarding migrant children.”

•  Dreamer Generation: Eight Young Immigrants Who Dared to Dream [English]
Generación Dreamer: Ocho jóvenes que probaron que soñar es poder [Español]
William D. Caballero, Univision
“Experience the inspiring stories of eight young undocumented immigrants as told through 3D action figures.”

•  Immigration Does More Good Than Harm to Economy, Study Finds
Jeffrey Sparshott, The Wall Street Journal, September 22, 2016
“Waves of immigrants coming into the U.S. in recent decades have helped the economy over the long haul and had little lasting impact on the wages or employment levels of native-born Americans, according to one of the most comprehensive studies yet on the topic.”

Reports, Resources, Actions

•  URGENT ACTION: Help Stop Attacks on Soup Kitchen Staff and Migrants at Risk
Amnesty International, September 22, 2016
“A soup kitchen for Mexican and Central American migrants has been vandalized in the northern Mexican city of Nogales, on the US border. Staff members had previously reported receiving death threats and having electronics stolen. The attacks could be a reprisal for their complaints of kidnappings against migrants in the area. The lives of staff and volunteers, as well as the migrants who use the soup kitchen, could be at risk.”

•  A Trail of Impunity: Thousands of Migrants in Transit Face Abuses amid Mexico’s Crackdown
Ximena Suárez Enriquez, José Knippen, and Maureen Meyer, Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), September 20, 2016
“A new assessment of the situation reveals that migration enforcement operations keep increasing, at a time when Mexican authorities have not sufficiently improved their capacity to screen migrants to detect protection concerns and to seriously investigate crimes against migrants in transit in the country….2016 may be the year with the highest number of detentions, deportations, and asylum petitions in Mexico.”

•  New CEPR Paper Questions Effectiveness of US-Funded Anticrime Programs in Central America [English]
Nuevo informe de CEPR cuestiona la efectividad de los programas contra el crimen en Centroamérica financiados por Estados Unidos [Español]
Center for Economic and Policy Research, September 19, 2016
“A new paper from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) questions the findings of one of the only studies to measure the impact of Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) anticrime programs….CEPR finds problems with the methodology used and that the study cannot support the conclusion that the areas subject to treatment in the CARSI programs showed better results than those areas that were not.”

•  Overall Number of U.S. Unauthorized Immigrants Holds Steady Since 2009
Jeffrey S. Passel and D’Vera Cohn, The Pew Research Center, September 20, 2016
“The U.S. unauthorized immigrant population – 11.1 million in 2014 – has stabilized since the end of the Great Recession, as the number from Mexico declined but the total from other regions of the world increased, according to new Pew Research Center estimates based on government data.”

•  The Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration
Francine D. Blau and Christopher Mackie
“More than 40 million people living in the United States were born in other countries, and almost an equal number have at least one foreign-born parent….Not only does immigration affect the environment in which everyone lives, learns, and works, but it also interacts with nearly every policy area of concern, from jobs and the economy, education, and health care, to federal, state, and local government budgets.”

•  The Economic Impacts of Removing Unauthorized Immigrant Workers: An Industry- and State-Level Analysis
Ryan Edwards and Francesc Ortega, Center for American Progress, September 21, 2016
“In every state and in every industry across the United States, immigrants-authorized and unauthorized-are contributing to the U.S. economy. Immigrant labor and entrepreneurship are believed to be powerful forces of economic revitalization for communities struggling with population decline.”

•  El Salvador: Nuevo patrón de violencia, afectación territorial y respuesta de las comunidades (2010-2015)
Alexander Segovia, Leslie Quñónez, Diana Contreras, Laura Pacheco and Manuel Talavera, Instituto Centroamericano de Investigaciones para el Desarrollo y el Cambio Social (INCIDE)
“El objetivo general del estudio es identificar, sistematizar y analizar los cambios en el patrón de violencia y sus tendencias ocurridas en El Salvador en el período 2010-2015, en el contexto de la mayor presencia y control territorial de los grupos delictivos, con la finalidad de brindar recomendaciones y acciones concretas que contribuyan a la definición e implementación de políticas públicas efectivas para reducir los homicidios y para recuperar el control de los territorios por parte del Estado y las comunidades.”

•  Immigration’s Long-Term Impacts on Overall Wages and Employment of Native-Born U.S. Workers Very Small, Although Low-Skilled Workers May Be Affected, New Report Finds; Impacts on Economic Growth Positive, While Effects on Government Budgets Mixed
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, September 21, 2016
“A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine provides a comprehensive assessment of economic and demographic trends of U.S. immigration over the past 20 years, its impact on the labor market and wages of native-born workers, and its fiscal impact at the national, state, and local levels.”

*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.