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Central America/Mexico Migration News Brief for September 27, 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.

Photo by Lily Folkerts

U.S. Enforcement

DHS planning to collect social media info on all immigrants
Max Greenwood, The Hill, September 26, 2017

“Homeland Security’s inspector general published a report earlier this year concluding that DHS pilot programs for using social media to screen immigration applicants ‘lack criteria for measuring performance to ensure they meet their objectives.’”

Las polémicas prácticas de ICE al retener a inmigrantes
La Opinión, 26 de septiembre de 2017
“Sin embargo, un problema que activistas pro inmigrantes están reportando es que ICE está llevándose a los detenidos lejos de las zonas donde fueron capturados, luego cuando se aprueba su fianza, los libera a miles de kilómetros sin dinero y en zonas desconocidas, sin acceso a representación legal, además del tiempo contado para volver a su país”.

Feds accused of improperly detaining pregnant immigrants
Nomaan Merchant, The Washington Post, September 26, 2017
En español.
“The complaint filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups asks DHS to investigate the cases of 10 women who were held at facilities in California, Texas, and Washington state. It alleges that several women were held for weeks despite a memorandum issued last year by Thomas Homan… [that] says pregnant women are generally not to be detained “absent extraordinary circumstances or the requirement of mandatory detention.

Border Patrol Arrests Parents While Infant Awaits Serious Operation
John Burnett, National Public Radio, September 20, 2017
“The Sanchezes, who are undocumented, would need to pass a Border Patrol checkpoint. ‘The nurse told us we had to go there,’ Oscar says in Spanish. ‘We said we couldn’t go.’ While they pondered their predicament in a Harlingen, Texas, hospital, a Border Patrol agent showed up in the waiting room — Oscar Sanchez suspects a nurse turned them in — and said he could arrange for officers to escort the parents through the checkpoint to Corpus. But the agent said when they arrived, they would be arrested and put into deportation proceedings. The couple agreed.”

Immigrant taken by ICE from Austin courthouse was killed in Mexico
Ryan Autullo and Taylor Goldenstein, My Statesman, September 19, 2017
“‘Juan was a very nice young man who always had a smile on his face,’ said local attorney David Peterson, who represented Coronilla-Guerrero in federal court on the illegal entry charge. ‘This is a true tragedy for him and his family. Deportation should never be a death sentence.’”

Plainclothes Officers Arrested Immigrants at a Courthouse. Can They Do That?
Maya Rhodan, Time, September 18, 2017
“Under current policy, immigration officers are directed to avoid enforcement activities at locations that are deemed sensitive, including places of worship, schools, and hospitals, but courthouses are not included on the list. According to ICE, officers only carry out courthouse arrests after they’ve exhausted other options and those they target are typically foreign nationals with prior criminal convictions or pending charges or are threats to public safety.”

Proposed US Gang Deportation Law Could Sweep Up Innocents
James Bargent, InSight Crime, September 18, 2017
“On September 14, the House passed the Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act by 233 votes to 175. The bill would grant new powers to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to designate a group of five or more people as a criminal gang and to detain and deport any immigrants determined to have participated in the gang or have furthered its illegal activity.”

Border Patrol Memo States Procedures to Process All Daca Recipients
Valerie Gonzalez, KRGV, September 25, 2017
“For now, Martinez advises DACA recipients not to cross checkpoints or ports of entry unless it’s an emergency. ‘Then I would advise simply make sure that you have your attorney, a successful immigration attorney, on standby if it’s necessary for you to cross. If it’s not necessary for you to cross, then I would say the extreme action is not deciding not to cross, it’s to cross because what you will be subjected to is not a pleasant experience,’ Martinez said.”

In San Diego, work could begin soon on construction of prototypes for Trump’s border wall
Greg Moran, LA Times, September 26, 2017
En español (video).
“Despite the preparations, which have been going on for weeks, Customs and Border Protection officials declined to say when construction would begin. Mark Endicott, a spokesman for the Border Patrol, said Monday that construction is expected to begin ‘in the near future.’”

Why the number of deaths at the US-Mexico border keeps rising even as illegal border crossings fall
George Joseph, ProPublica, September 22, 2017
“The result is a significant increase in the chances of dying in an illegal border crossing over the past two decades. A key cause: efforts by the Border Patrol to push migrants away from easy-to-cross, hard-to-police urban corridors and into barren, isolated terrain.”

Report: Most Undocumented Migrants In U.S. Cross Legally Using Temporary Visas
Carrie Jung, KJZZ, September 22, 2017
“According to the Center For Migration Studies, most undocumented immigrants in the U.S. today initially cross the border legally using temporary visas. Arizona’s Hispanic Chamber of Commerce took a closer look at those statistics for this year’s DATOS report and found that most Hispanic immigrants in the state came to the U.S. with a work or student visa and then overstayed.”

Liberal unrest threatens Dem immigration strategy
Rafael Bernal and Mike Lillis, The Hill, September 21, 2017
“Others fear a deal between Trump and top Democrats would spare the Dreamers while ‘kicking ICE into overdrive’ in persecution of other undocumented immigrants. Among that second group are activists who would rather accept new border-wall construction — a non-starter for the Democrats — than funding that could be used to hire more Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.”

Democratic lawmakers arrested outside Trump Tower
Ed O’Keefe, The Washington Post, September 19, 2017
“Reps. Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.), Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) and Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) were among at least 10 people arrested, according to a Gutiérrez spokesman. ‘We’re taking the necessary steps to make it clear to President Trump, the Republicans and the Democrats that we will continue this peaceful fight for DREAMers and immigrants as long as it takes to enact legislation and put DREAMers in a safe place,’ Gutiérrez said in a statement provided by his spokesman after the arrest.”

Walmart, Target Join Call for ‘Dreamer’ Legislation
Reuters, September 20, 2017
“Wal-Mart Stores Inc, Target Corp and PepsiCo Inc on Wednesday joined an expanded group of nearly 800 companies calling in a letter for U.S. legislation to protect immigrants brought into the country illegally by their parents from deportation, according to organizer FWD.us.”

Appeals court allows more of Texas “sanctuary cities” laws to go into effect
Julian Aguilar, The Texas Tribune, September 25, 2017
“’The ‘comply with, honor, and fulfill’ requirement does not require detention pursuant to every ICE detainer request,” the panel wrote. ‘Rather, the ‘comply with, honor, and fulfill’ provision mandates that local agencies cooperate according to existing ICE detainer practice and law.’ The court also ruled that jails do not need to comply if a person under a detainer request provides proof of lawful presence.”
Mexican Enforcement

México pide a la ONU que vele por derechos de migrantes
Associated Press, 22 de septiembre de 2017

“Videgaray dijo que su país está consciente de que el tema del status migratorio irregular es algo que compete a la soberanía nacional de Estados Unidos, pero añadió que ‘desafortunadamente hay casos de discriminación, son tratados de una manera inaceptable más allá del tema migratorio, desde un punto de vista de derechos fundamentales. Naciones Unidas debe estar atenta’”.

What, if anything, does Mexico do to stop people from crossing illegally?
Rafael Carranza, The Republic, September 20, 2017
“Although Mexicans still attempt to enter the U.S. illegally, net Mexican migration is zero, meaning as many or more Mexicans leave the U.S. as enter. Meanwhile, Central American migrants, fleeing violence and poverty, make up a growing share of the migrants apprehended by U.S. officials. In order to stem the historic flow of Central Americans to the U.S.-Mexico border, the Mexican government three years ago cracked down on illegal immigration along its border with Guatemala and Belize, and throughout southern Mexico.”

Migrantes centroamericanos ayudan a los afectados por el terremoto en México
Univision, 24 de septiembre de 2017
“Estos migrantes pertenecientes a la ‘Brigada de hermanos en el camino’ viajaron casi 10 horas desde el suroeste de México para brindar ayuda en zonas de desastre de la Ciudad de México tras el sismo de magnitud 7.1 Richter”.

Thousands of Haitians find ‘Mexican dream’ near US border
Elliot Spagat, Associated Press, September 19, 2017

“They are among several thousand Haitians who came to Mexico’s northwest corner hoping to cross the border before the U.S. abruptly closed its doors last year. The Mexican government has welcomed them, with a visa program that helps them fill the need for labor in Tijuana’s growing economy.”

Mexico accepts Israeli offer to help develop Central America
Reuters, September 14, 2017

“In Central America, Pena Nieto said Israel’s assistance could bolster the United States and Mexico’s efforts in the region, particularly in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. He noted that Israel brings experience from carrying out development projects in Africa… Netanyahu’s trip marked the first visit to Mexico by a sitting Israeli prime minister, Pena Nieto said. At the close of the news conference, Netanyahu invited Pena Nieto to Jerusalem.”

Root Causes

Corrupción en Triángulo Norte supera los $1,400 milliones
Daniel Trujillo, Transparencia Activa, 26 de septiembre de 2017

“Los costos de la corrupción en los países del Triángulo Norte de Centroamérica (Guatemala, El Salvador y Honduras) equivalen a $1,468.2 millones, recursos que pudieron invertirse en programas de salud, educación, vivienda, entre otros rubros sociales”.

Trump’s Central America plan will not boost militarization: Honduras president
Dion Rabouin, Reuters, September 20, 2017

“‘We have a saying (in Honduras), ‘If the people in Washington realize that lack of security, lack of preparedness in Central America is dangerous, very dangerous for the U.S. they have to work together with us to create in Central America a region of prosperity, investment, opportunities,’’ he said. ‘That’s going to be one of the best investments of the (American) people, in their best interest and in ours.’”

Repunte de homicidios a causa de pandillas: PNC
Gabriela Cáceres, La Prensa Gráfica, 24 de septiembre de 2017

“‘A raíz de esta situación, un sector de la MS-13 planteó dentro de la ranfla nacional que ya no seguirían extorsionando ni atacando a agentes del Estado, pues esto calentaba sus zonas y que solo se dedicarían al narcomenudeo… La desobediencia de este grupo (MS- 503) llevó a que los cabecillas de la MS decidieran acabar con la facción disidente’, apuntó Cotto”.

El Salvador vivió el sábado el “día más violento” del 2017 con 40 asesinatos
EFE, 26 de septiembre de 2017

“El Salvador vivió su jornada más violenta del 2017 el pasado sábado con 40 asesinatos, atribuidos principalmente a una purga al interior de la Mara Salvatrucha (MS13), aseguró ayer el director de la Policía, Howard Cotto. ‘Sí, efectivamente así es’, dijo escuetamente Cotto al ser preguntado por la prensa en una conferencia y señaló que la cifra de asesinatos registrados entre el jueves pasado y el fin de semana, con 108 homicidios, ‘rompió el esquema’ que tenía el país de menos de 10 asesinatos diarios en 2017”.

El juicio bufo de San Blas
Roberto Valencia, El Faro, 22 de septiembre de 2017

“El juez dio por probado que la Policía Nacional Civil ejecutó extrajudicialmente a Dennis, el escribiente de la finca San Blas, pero absolvió a los agentes del GRP procesados porque los fiscales no individualizaron quién le atravesó la cabeza de un balazo mientras rogaba por su vida y negaba que fuera pandillero. Más allá del daño a esta familia, el juicio del llamado caso San Blas deja un poso aún más preocupante: las negligencias, ligerezas y omisiones en la investigación cometidas por la Fiscalía General de República”.

El Salvador shares US goal of security in tackling MS-13, drug trafficking
Hugo Martinez, The Hill, September 24, 2017

“In furtherance of that goal, we believe  that it would be a mistake for the U.S. to end the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Salvadorans…Receiving deportees that our developing economy cannot sustain could destabilize the Northern Triangle and our economy. This could in turn lead lesser-skilled Salvadorans to migrate illegally to the U.S. to escape worsening conditions and more limited opportunities in El Salvador.”

Honduras y Venezuela entre países que castigan a activistas de derechos humanos: ONU
Criterio, 20 de septiembre de 2017

“Un nuevo informe presentado hoy en la sede de la Organización de Naciones Unidas (ONU), en Ginebra, Suiza menciona a 29 países donde se han documentado casos de represalias e intimidación, lo que supone un aumento en comparación con los 20 anteriormente reportados y donde aparecen Venezuela y Honduras”.

Liberan al periodista y candidato a diputado Víctor Manuel Pineda
Criterio, 23 de septiembre de 2017

“El periodista y candidato a diputado por el Partido Liberal en el departamento de Cortés, Víctor Manuel Pineda, que había sido secuestrado desde hace varias semanas, fue liberado este sábado por los cuerpos de seguridad e investigación del Estado. Pineda fue reportado como desaparecido el pasado cuatro de septiembre y en su oportunidad la familia negó que se tratase de un secuestro para proteger la vida de familiar”.

Bertha Zúniga, Coordinadora General del COPINH se pronuncia en la ONU en contra de la impunidad en el caso Berta Cáceres
Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Populares e Indígenas de Honduras, 20 de septiembre de 2017

“Los Estados, como el de Honduras y su gobierno deben dejar de estigmatizar y criminalizar a quienes defienden la vida y los territorios, a quienes no quieren que los poderes económicos estén por encima de la vida de las comunidades. Debemos luchar contra la impunidad, que deja que los Estados y los grupos empresariales, las familias-mafias y los bancos, detrás de asesinatos como el de Berta Cáceres se queden incólumes ante crímenes de lesa humanidad”.

71 periodistas asesinados en Honduras desde 2003
El País, 14 de septiembre de 2017

“Flores, quien laboraba en el canal 22, ‘estaba con una dama visitando a una persona en la comunidad de Tegucigalpita, en el área de Omoa, departamento de Cortés, a donde llegaron unos desconocidos y les dispararon a ambos’, informó el portavoz policial, subcomisionado Luis Osavas. La pareja fue traslada a un hospital de Puerto Cortés, a unos 40 kilómetros del sitio del ataque, donde él falleció y la mujer quedó internada”.

The State is Broken’ in Guatemala and Only Social Movements Can Fix It
Jeff Abbott, Upside Down World, September 18, 2017

“As social movement pressure on Morales continues mounting, the majority of Congress is doubling down to protect the political elite from being accountable to the people for corruption. But a mobilization of outraged citizens, backed by the Constitutional Court, has stopped Congress’ brazen power move from going unchecked, and political elites have shown signs of backtracking under popular pressure.”

At UN, Guatemalan President pledges government’s full commitment to fight corruption
UN News Centre, September 19, 2017

“Institutional and international action on migration was an important issue for Guatemala, President Morales continued, including partnership with Mexico, Honduras and the United States. Guatemala was counting on the efforts of Member States to negotiate an agreement on safe, regular and orderly migration. Turning to the situation of the so-called ‘dreamers’ in the United States, he said Guatemala hoped that the American people’s sense of humanity would lead to the US Senate adopting legislation that would allow “dreamers” to enjoy legal status in that country.”

Still More Victims in Mexico’s Quakes: Legions of Displaced
Marina Franco and Kirk Semple, The New York Times, September 27, 2017

“Federal officials say that the quake on Sept. 19, and one on Sept. 7 that struck mainly the southern states of Oaxaca and Chiapas, damaged at least 155,000 homes, with more than 27,000 destroyed and 19,700 damaged so severely as to be uninhabitable.”

Mexico earthquake topples homes and causes fresh alarm
Associated Press, September 23, 2017

“A strong new earthquake shook Mexico on Saturday, toppling already damaged homes and a highway bridge and causing new alarm in a country reeling from two even more powerful quakes this month that together have killed nearly 400 people. The US Geological Survey said the new magnitude 6.1 temblor was centered about 11 miles (18km) south-southeast of Matias Romero in the state of Oaxaca, the region most battered by a magnitude 8.1 quake on 7 September.”

What’s Behind Mexico’s Historic Spike in Violent Crime?
Andrew Rennemo, World Politics Review, September 26, 2017

“These brutal trends almost certainly have multiple causes, but the absence of an effective federal security strategy has been a key factor. For more than a decade and under several presidents, Mexico’s government has responded to insecurity across the country by deploying federal forces to augment or replace local police… An overreliance on military force and emphasis on removing senior drug cartel leaders have had the unintended effect of making crime more diffuse… At the same time, Mexico has struggled to build the institutional strength needed…”

Actions, Reports, and Resources

“#Ayotzivive: Three Years without Justice for the Missing 43″ Toolkit 2017
The Latin America Working Group, September 2017

“This​ ​toolkit​ ​honors​ ​the​ ​third​ ​anniversary​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Ayotzinapa disappearances​ ​and​ ​provides​ ​educational​ ​resources​ ​and​ ​updates​ ​on​ ​the​ ​case​ ​and​ ​ideas​ ​for​ ​action​ ​that you​ ​can​ ​take​ ​to​ ​stand​ ​for​ ​truth​ ​and​ ​justice​ ​for​ ​the​ ​missing​ ​43​ ​as​ ​well​ ​as​ ​other​ ​victims​ ​in​ ​Mexico.”

Rejected Report Shows Revenue Brought In by Refugees
The New York Times, September 19, 2017

“A draft of a study rejected by Trump administration officials that found that refugees brought in $63 billion more in government revenues over the past decade than they cost.”

Deportations in the Dark
Sara Campos and Guillermo Cantor, American Immigration Council, September 19, 2017
“What emerges from the survey data and testimonies is an alarming portrait of the way Mexican migrants are treated while in U.S. custody and through the deportation process. Often, migrants do not receive copies of deportation documents and have little understanding of the processes they have undergone and the related legal ramifications. When U.S. officials prevent migrants from accessing critical information and processes, they further deprive individuals of their possible legal opportunities to present immigration claims.”

Ni delincuentes ni ilegales:El trabajo de niños, niñas y adolescentes fronterizos en la facilitación de migración irregular en El Paso-Juárez
Derechos Humanos Integrales en Acción, agosto de 2017
In English.
“El presente documento tiene como finalidad brindar un acercamiento a las dinámicas presentes en la experiencia deniñas, niños y adolescentes (NNA) fronterizos que participan en la facilitación de cruces fronterizos irregulares en el corredor El Paso-Ciudad Juárez”.

*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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