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Migration News Brief for October 28, 2022

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Welcome to LAWG’s Migration News Brief, 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.

Spotlight

Chinautla, Guatemala: Another Battleground for Environmental and Land Rights
Yadira Sánchez-Esparza, LAWG, October 2022

“It is happening again. Extractive projects are once again threatening the ancestral lands of Indigenous communities in Guatemala…Their peaceful resistance has received significant backlash, including criminalization, defamation, and death threats.  Because of these threats, the people living closest to the projects on the other side of the bridge choose not to participate for fear of retaliation.” 

Forgetting the Past: How Guatemala’s Plague of Corruption Threatens Justice
Yadira Sánchez-Esparza, LAWG, October 2022 

“As Jordán Rodas, former Human Rights Ombudsman of Guatemala said, ‘We are under an authoritarian regime. We have a masquerade of democracy but (it’s) very fragile.’ With Rodas leaving his position, one of the few last layers of protections for civil society and human rights defenders is removed. Many fear for the former Ombudsman’s life as he has continued to be criminalized.”

When the Dominoes Fall: Co-optation of the Justice System in Guatemala
LAWG, DPLF, GHRC, and WOLA, October 2022

“[T]he current Guatemalan justice system fails to promote justice and address impunity and corrup- tion. The very institutions that are supposed to ensure ac- cess to justice are no longer independent and are instead working to protect the interests of a small, corrupt minor- ity and to silence voices from civil society organizations and independent media.”

Guatemala’s Downward Spiral
LAWG, GHRC, and WOLA, October 14, 2022 

“Today, rule of law in Guatemala is on a dramatic downward spiral. A handful of corrupt political, military, and economic elites seeking to maintain their privileges at the expense of Guatemala’s Indigenous majority population have captured the state. They have systematically dismantled anti-corruption mechanisms.” 

Under Assault in Guatemala: Journalists & Indigenous & Human Rights Activists
LAWG, GHRC, and WOLA, October 14, 2022

“According to Front Line Defenders, Guatemala and Honduras had the fourth highest killings of human rights defenders in Latin America, after Colombia, Mexico, and Brazil, and higher than Nicaragua in 2021.”

US Enforcement

As temporary protected status settlement talks stall, more than 250,000 risk deportation
Andrea Castillo and Hamed Aleaziz, Los Angeles Times, October 26, 2022

“After more than a year of negotiation, settlement talks between the Biden administration and plaintiffs in a lawsuit over temporary protected status fell through on Tuesday, leaving more than 250,000 people at risk of deportation.

The litigation followed concerted actions by the Trump administration to end TPS for the citizens of several countries — El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Haiti, Sudan and Nepal — as part of its efforts to wind down extended use of the protections.”

US Border Patrol sends migrants places where no help waits
Claudia Torrens and Vanessa A. Alvarez, ABC News, October 24, 2022 

“The Associated Press interviewed about a dozen migrants who recently arrived in the U.S… The AP found that most had no idea where they were being sent — nor were they expected by anyone at the addresses listed on their paperwork. ‘We believe that Border Patrol is attempting to demonstrate the chaos that they are experiencing on the border to inland cities,’ said Denise Chang, executive director of the Colorado Hosting Asylum Network.”

The ACLU and others urge border authorities to limit detention of pregnant migrants
Juliana Kim, NPR, October 22, 2022

“One 27-year-old Guatemalan woman said she had no other option but to give birth while holding a garbage can at a Southern California Border Patrol station. A Nicaraguan mother said agents denied her 6-month-old son medical care while he suffered from respiratory problems that caused pneumonia. These are two cases that the American Civil Liberties Union cited in a letter to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency on Friday… CBP declined to comment on the ACLU’s accusations… some doctors say they’re still concerned.” 

US/Mexico: Expelling Venezuelans Threatens Rights, Lives
Human Rights Watch, October 21, 2022 

“On October 12, 2022, the US and Mexican governments announced a new migration enforcement process for Venezuelans ‘to reduce the number of people arriving’ at the US border… As of October 18, 4,050 Venezuelans had been returned… ‘With this decision, Biden is effectively punishing those Venezuelans who have been forced to flee their country on foot, denying them the right to seek asylum, and attempting to sugar coat this abusive policy with a humanitarian parole program that will only benefit a select few.’” 

México y Guatemala cierran uno de los principales pasos fronterizos para contener la migración
Europa Press, 20 de octubre de 2022

“Las autoridades de México y de Guatemala han clausurado el Puente Internacional Rodolfo Robles, sobre el río Suchiate, para contener la migración irregular y unir esfuerzos en materia de prevención de tráfico de personas, según han informado las autoridades de ambos países”. 

‘Hail Mary after Hail Mary’: Biden administration struggles with border policy, fueling frustration
Priscilla Alvarez, CNN, October 20, 2022 

“It has been an endless cycle since President Joe Biden took office, according to multiple administration officials and sources close to the White House. Agency officials dream up a plan but then struggle to get White House approval, even as the problem compounds and Republicans step up their criticism…  The process is often bogged down by a back and forth between the White House and DHS… But the myriad of considerations and federal agencies involved in immigration often results in an arduous decision-making process.”

Mexican Enforcement

“Es más riesgoso volver”: Venezolanos en el limbo tras calvario migratorio en Centroamérica
Raylí Luján y Natiana Gándara, Bloomberg Línea, 24 de octubre de 2022 

“El aumento del éxodo sudamericano que se ha observado en las últimas semanas tiene como objetivo llegar a EE.UU., pero miles se han quedado varados en México… ‘Es muy difícil la situación, pero sabemos que todo tiene que cambiar, porque México va a colapsar y a Estados Unidos se va a pasar sí o sí”.  

Venezolanos piden asilo en frontera sur de México para evitar deportación
QuéPasa, 24 de octubre de 2022 

“Cientos de migrantes venezolanos, varados en la frontera sur de México, han acudido en los últimos días ante la oficina de ayuda a refugiados en la ciudad mexicana de Tapachula, fronteriza con Guatemala, para solicitar refugio, buscar una legal estancia en el país, y así evitar ser deportados… Entre octubre de 2021 y agosto de este año más de 150.000 venezolanos han sido arrestados en la frontera sur de EE.UU, en comparación con los 50.499 en el mismo periodo del año pasado.” 

Autoridades continúan con acciones para detener paso de migrantes
ElPeriodico, 24 de octubre de 2022 

“En el cruce fronterizo específicamente en Ayutla, continúan las acciones de contención de flujos migratorios que intentan cruzar Centroamérica para llegar a los Estados Unidos… Las autoridades de los tres países, indicaron que reafirman el compromiso con el Pacto Mundial para la Migración Segura, Ordenada y Regular, así como el impulso de estrategias enfocadas en brindar desarrollo a connacionales y oportunidades para que decidan quedarse en sus lugares de origen. La movilización del gran contingente de policías y soldados causó asombro en las comunidades aledañas al paso fronterizo”.

Qué les ofrece México a los venezolanos varados en el país ante el nuevo plan migratorio de Estados Unidos
Marcos González Díaz, BBC Mundo, 21 de octubre del 2022

“1.768 personas ya fueron regresadas solo en los cuatro primeros días de la medida, según el gobierno mexicano, que no aclaró si habrá un límite en el número que recibirá. Hasta ahora, los migrantes del país sudamericano gozaban de libertad condicional humanitaria en EE.UU. que les permitía quedarse allí para tramitar una solicitud de asilo”.

Root Causes

Alertan sobre aumento del autoritarismo en Centroamérica
El Periodico, 27 de octubre del 2022

“La región registró en los últimos años “un retroceso” de la democracia y un aumento de “prácticas autoritarias”, que han impulsado la migración irregular de sus poblaciones, alertaron expertos y diplomáticos en un foro celebrado en Honduras”.

In Mexico, ruling party infighting gets worse
Mark Stevenson, The Washington Post, October 26, 2022

“With Morena now dominant, the biggest question in Mexican politics has become what kind of internal divisions will hit the party — which is basically built around López Obrador — when he retires in 2024. The answer that emerged this week is that it probably won’t be pretty. The bloodshed started, literally, on Friday, when Salvador Llamas, a member of Morena’s national committee, was gunned down in front of terrified diners at an upscale steak restaurant in the western city of Guadalajara.”

Registran 42 feminicidios en El Salvador durante este 2022
Telesur, 26 de octubre del 2022

“La Organización de Mujeres Salvadoreñas por la Paz (Ormusa) informó este miércoles que se han registrado unos 42 feminicidios en ese país entre enero y el 25 de octubre de este 2022, de los cuales 13 fueron cometidos por parejas actuales o pasadas de las víctimas”. 

Policías militares de Honduras toman el control de un feudo de pandilleros
Radio France Internationale, 26 de octubre del 2022

“Unos 200 policías militares tomaron control este miércoles de una barriada de la capital de Honduras donde pandilleros estaban obligando a los vecinos a salir de sus viviendas para ocuparlas ellos, informaron las autoridades”.

Organizaciones exigen fin de las desapariciones forzadas en Honduras
Telesur, 25 de octubre del 2022

“Más de 80 organizaciones internacionales y hondureñas exigieron este martes el fin de las desapariciones forzadas y agresiones contra movimientos sociales en el país a través de una misiva dirigida al Poder Judicial (PJ) y el Ministerio Público (MP)”.

Prison deaths mount in El Salvador’s gang crackdown
Christopher Sherman, The Washington Post, October 24, 2022

“The arrests of more than 55,000 people have swamped an already overwhelmed criminal justice system. Defendants have virtually no hope of getting individual attention from judges who hold hearings for as many as 300 defendants at a time; overworked public defenders juggle stacks of cases… At least 80 people arrested under the state of exception have succumbed without being convicted of anything, according to a network of non-governmental organizations trying to track them.”

ONG reportan más de 4.000 violaciones a DDHH en El Salvador
Marcos Aléman, The San Diego Union-Tribune, 21 de octubre del 2022

“Siete organizaciones sociales informaron el viernes que han logrado documentar más de 4.000 casos de violaciones a los derechos humanos durante los primeros seis meses de vigencia del régimen de excepción decretado en El Salvador para combatir a las maras o pandillas…El régimen de excepción fue extendido por última vez el 14 de octubre, y las autoridades adelantaron que seguirán pidiendo más prórrogas hasta sacar de las calles al último de los pandilleros”.

The U.S. Announced a New Military Aid Donation to Guatemala. Here’s Why it is a Mistake
Adam Isacson, Washington Office on Latin America, October 20, 2022

“While “95 vehicles” seems innocuous, the timing of this grant is unfortunate. Beyond concerns with the Guatemalan military’s human rights record that go back at least to 1954, there are six reasons why this military-aid transfer is ill-advised right now.”

AMLO’s Expansion of the Military Undermines Mexico’s Civilian Tradition
Cecila Farfan-Mendez, Kathleen Bruhn, and Tesalia Rizzo, Americas Quarterly, October 20, 2022 

“Since taking office, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has increased the size of the military… Now, the Mexican Senate has approved extending the military’s role in security until 2028… The broad and unquestioning endorsement of an expanded military role revealed in this survey, in tandem with the willingness of the government to assign the military more tasks, does not bode well for the future ability of Mexican governments to maintain authority in the hands of elected officials.”

Transgender woman activist killed in Honduras
Marlon Gonzalez, The Washington Post, October 20, 2022

“A transgender woman activist who had spent over two decades in the United States was buried Thursday in Honduras after unidentified gunmen on a motorcycle shot her to death. Activist groups in Honduras said the killing of Melissa Núñez, 42, was another sign of how dangerous life is in Honduras for members of the LGBTQ community.” 

Around 250 Honduran migrants head toward United States fleeing poverty
Reuters, October 20, 2022

“Around 250 Honduran migrants were joined by a group of Venezuelans fleeing poverty and seeking to reach the United States, a migration official said on Thursday… When leftist President Xiomara Castro came into power in January, she promised to adopt measures to discourage mass migration from the Central American country, where close to three-quarters of the population live in conditions of poverty and severe financial stress.”

Biden y AMLO dialogan vía telefónica sobre migración
Aamer Madhani y Mark Stevenson, LA Times, 18 de octubre de 2022 

“El presidente estadounidense Joe Biden y su homólogo mexicano Andrés Manuel López Obrador sostuvieron el martes una conversación telefónica en momentos en que un alto número de migrantes venezolanos llegan a la frontera entre México y Estados Unidos… Pero al mismo tiempo, Biden está restringiendo los viajes de venezolanos hacia Estados Unidos… La Casa Blanca señaló que Biden y López Obrador también hablaron sobre las labores conjuntas para combatir el tráfico de fentanilo y los esfuerzos para procesar a los traficantes de armas de fuego”.

Actions, Alerts, and Resources

Azhalia’s Story: SOCIAL MEDIA TOOLKIT

“If congressional inaction continues, we will almost certainly see nearly 700,000 DACA recipients like Azhalia lose work authorization, lose protection from deportation and have their lives thrown into chaos in the very near future. This ruling makes it absolutely clear that the courts will continue down the same path that ends in terminating the DACA program, with a final blow to the program coming in the months ahead.”

Punishing Trauma: Incident Reporting and Immigrants Children in Government Custody: 
Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights, September 2022

“Based on our cumulative research and analysis, we conclude that nothing short of an overhaul will correct the systemic, decades-old problems inherent in ORR’s incident reporting system… To align ORR’s incident reporting system with ORR’s child welfare and wellbeing mandate, ORR should redesign its policies, procedures, and trainings to clearly separate incident reporting from discipline and punishment.”

UNCOVERING THE TRUTH: Violence and Abuse Against Black Immigrants in Immigration Detention
Freedom for Immigrants, October 2022

“Black immigrants face a significantly harsher reality inside Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facilities…Meanwhile, courageous detained individuals have organized and resisted against egregious abuse by coordinating mass hunger strikes…  Each act of resistance and exposure has led to greater public awareness and power building inside detention facilities. However, ICE continues to fail in making any structural changes.”

Surviving Deterrence: How Us Asylum Deterrence Policies Normalize Gender-Based Violence
Oxfam and Tahirih Justice Center, October 2022 

“In trying to seek safety in the US, many endure further atrocities and exploitation at the US-Mexico border. Drawing on interviews and surveys of social and legal service providers working at the US southern border, this report documents how migrants and asylum seekers experience gender-based harm in two different but related ways as a consequence of seeking safe haven in the US. This report focuses on the experiences of women, girls, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI+) individuals.”


* The 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.

P.S. Do you know of someone who might be interested in receiving the Migration News Brief? Tell them to email ysanchezesparza@lawg.org.