en English

Migration News Brief 06.19.20

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

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: lalvarez@lawg.org.

Source: Victoria Pickering/Flickr

Spotlight

LAWG Celebrates Supreme Court DACA Ruling, Victory for Immigrant Youth
Latin America Working Group, June 18, 2020
“The ruling blocks the Trump Administration’s termination of the program in 2017 which the Supreme Court argues was unlawful and impacts more than 700,000 DACA recipients in the United States, allowing them to continue receiving their protections. It is a huge victory for DACA recipients and their families and a recognition of the tireless movement that immigrant youth have led for years.”

Cooperation and Careful Planning: How Costa Rica Has Held Off the Coronavirus
Benji Toruño, Latin America Working Group, June 18, 2020
“Costa Rica’s success has largely been defined by the gravity of its response to the virus. Treating this outbreak as a serious public health problem from the very beginning has resulted in low transmission rates, allowing medical professionals to more adequately treat positive cases.”

COVID-19

General

Four Indigenous Land Defenders Killed Monthly in Latam
Telesur, June 14, 2020
“Territorial conflicts in Latin America and the Caribbean led to the killing of 232 Indigenous leaders, four murders a month between 2015 and 2019, according to the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the Fund for the Development of the Indigenous Peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean (FILAC) in a report released Thursday.”

Latin America reels as coronavirus pandemic gains pace
Natalie Alcoba, Aljazeera, June 14, 2020
“As countries struggle to contain new outbreaks, the looming threat of winter, and other respiratory illnesses like influenza and pneumonia, will complicate matters further. Economic desperation borne out of lockdowns that have dragged on for months is posing its own menace. Protests have broken out over hunger and job cuts.”

United States

Coronavirus Outbreaks at Border Put Haitian Migrants at Risk
David Waldstein, The New York Times, June 16, 2020
The P.A.H.O. has established screening and quarantine centers at border crossings in the region; the organization also provides training, equipment and staff to supplement local medical services that can often be overwhelmed in the small border towns. She noted that these remote areas often lack adequate medical facilities and struggle to provide essential tools in the fight against the coronavirus, like testing and surveillance.”

The Pandemic-Era Rebrand of Family Separation
Gaby Del Valle, Jack Herrera, The New Republic, June 15, 2020
“In the middle of a pandemic, they said, ICE was asking detained immigrants to choose between family separation and indefinite incarceration. ICE aggressively denied that allegation, claiming it was letting detained immigrant parents exercise their “court-ordered option” to release their children to a sponsor.”

Piden a migrantes evitar cruzar frontera a EEUU durante pandemia
Jatziri Magallanes, MVS Noticias, 15 de junio de 2020
“Mediante un mensaje emitido este lunes, el funcionario estadounidense alertó sobre las consecuencias de intentar cruzar en medio de la pandemia, además de la presencia de coyotes que solo buscan quitarles su dinero.”

Tribunal Supremo decidirá si deportados pueden pedir asilo nuevamente
Jorge Cancino, Univision, 15 de junio de 2020
“‘Hasta ahora los extranjeros que son deportados tras perder sus casos de asilo y vuelven a solicitar la protección, sin detenidos y enviados a un proceso acelerado de deportación conocido como ‘streamline’, ‘donde son procesados criminalmente’, dijo Ezequiel Hernández, un abogado de inmigración que ejerce en Phoenix (Arizona).”

Trump Administration Moves to Solidify Restrictive Immigration Policies
Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Maggie Haberman, The New York Times, June 12, 2020
“This week, administration officials proposed a fallback for when they need to lift ‘emergency’ border closure rules for the coronavirus, proposing regulations that would raise the standard of proof for migrants hoping to obtain asylum and allow immigration judges to deny applications for protection without giving migrants an opportunity to testify in court.”

El Salvador

El Salvador awaits end to deadlock over lifting virus curfew
Marcos Aleman, Associated Press, June 12, 2020
“Bukele has imposed the strictest measures in the region to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, including sending people caught violating order to government-run containment centers for monthlong stays. He has resisted loosening the stay-at-home order, arguing that the country’s medical system could be quickly overwhelmed, resulting in much greater loss of life.”

Los nuevos desplazados por hambre y violencia
El Diario de Hoy, 14 de junio de 2020
“Las acciones de estructuras de crimen organizado no han disminuido en los territorios. Sigue la extorsión y la amenaza para quienes no pagan la cuota impuesta por las pandillas, a lo que se agrega que se han visto forzados a salir de sus comunidades por las restricciones de movimiento y trabajo de la cuarentena.”

Organizaciones señalan que decreto ejecutivo para reapertura sigue restringiendo derechos constitucionales
Eugenia Velázquez, ElSalvador.com, 14 de junio de 2020
“Varias organizaciones de la sociedad civil emitieron esta noche un comunicado en el que denuncian que el presidente Nayib Bukele continúa ignorando a la Sala de lo Constitucional al emitir un decreto ejecutivo del Ministerio de Salud Pública que continúa restringiendo derechos constitucionales de los ciudadanos y que no es competencia de la Presidencia emitir ese tipo de regulación de acuerdo a la sentencia emitida por la Sala al declarar inconstitucionales los decretos ejecutivos para regular la pandemia y la emergencia.”

Guatemala

Is ‘vuelo maldito’ to blame? U.S. links to the Guatemalan COVID surge include migrant flights and infected textile plants
Ivan Castano, MarketWatch, June 9, 2020
“Barrientos echoed views that the so-called damned flight (vuelo maldito in Spanish) that returned sick migrants to Guatemala from the U.S. on March 26 has exacerbated the crisis. Since then, President Alejandro Giammattei has blamed the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for deporting people knowing they were sick, failing to properly test them before they were sent home and temporarily halting flights though they have since resumed.”

Honduras

Gobierno débil ante empresas: Personas trabajadoras de maquilas entre las más expuestas al Covid-19 en sus centros de labores
Dina Meza, Pasos de Animal Grande, 17 de junio de 2020
“Mediante el decreto ejecutivo PCM 19-2020 Protocolo de Higiene y Seguridad de Prevención del COVID-19, del 16 de marzo se obligó a empleadores y trabajadores a nivel nacional a cumplir con medidas de bioseguridad en las áreas de trabajo, considerando que deben enviar a trabajadores contagiados a cuarentena, con el goce completo de sus salarios y derechos, pero en la práctica eso no es tan cierto.”

OV-UNAH: 55 muertes violentas de mujeres durante la pandemia
Victoria Aguilar, Tiempo, 13 de junio de 2020
“De acuerdo a las datos, el Sistema Nacional de Emergencia recibe unas mil 700 denuncias mensuales. Es decir, unas 425 semanales y 57 diarias. Pero, en tiempo de pandemia, la cifra incrementó en unas 71 denuncias por semana.”

San Pedro Sula se debate entre la «reapertura inteligente» y la amenaza del colapso sanitario
Allan Bu, Contra Corriente, 12 de junio de 2020
“La reactivación económica decretada e impulsada por el gobierno de Juan Orlando Hernández, propone la apertura de la mayoría del comercio, pero bajo algunas salvedades y con algunas circunstancias propiciada, en buena parte, por las acciones de los entes gubernamentales. Muchos ciudadanos desconfían de las medidas y actuaciones gubernamentales, que ha sido señalado por instituciones como el Consejo Nacional Anticorrupción (CNA), por sobrevalorar compras en plena emergencia. La información oficial también ha llegado a cuentagotas, esto tampoco ayuda a crear confianza en la gente.”

Poca investigación de casos de violencia contra la mujer favorece la impunidad
El Pulso, 12 de junio de 2020
“Al menos 406 feminicidios se cometieron el año pasado y el sistema de emergencia 911 recibió más de 91 mil denuncias de violencia doméstica. Desde que se decretó el toque de queda a nivel nacional, más de 50 mujeres han sido asesinadas. Con el nuevo Código Penal que entrará en vigencia el 25 de junio, organizaciones han exigido que se reforme porque favorece a las personas que cometen los delitos y se han rebajado las penas.”

Mexico

Mexico posts more high virus numbers, acknowledges plateau
Associated Press, June 18, 2020
“Health officials acknowledged Mexico is on a plateau, with sustained rates of transmission and deaths, with few if any signs of a decrease. Despite that, business [sic] are beginning to reopen after mandatory lockdowns due to the coronavirus.”

U.S. Enforcement

The Supreme Court Ruled The Trump Administration Violated Federal Law When It Ended DACA
Adolfo Flores, Buzzfeed News, June 18, 2020
“The court’s 5-4 decision does leave open the possibility that the Trump administration could rescind DACA—just that the process by which it attempted to do so is unlawful. Roberts wrote that the record showed the Department of Homeland Security failed to consider ‘conspicuous’ issues when it decided to rescind DACA, including what to do about the young people who had already relied on the program. ”

Supreme Court blocks Trump’s bid to end DACA, a win for undocumented ‘Dreamers’
Robert Barnes, The Washington Post, June 18, 2020
“The 5 to 4 decision was written by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and joined by the court’s four liberals. It was the second, stunning defeat this week for the Trump administration, as the Supreme Court begins to unveil its decision in marquee cases. It will likely elevate the issue of immigration in the presidential campaign, although public opinion polls have shown sympathy for those who were brought here as children and have lived their lives in this country.”

The Trump Administration Will Soon Deny Work Permits For Asylum-Seekers Who Enter The US Without Authorization
Hamed Aleaziz, Buzzfeed News, June 17, 2020
“The policy, which was first reported by BuzzFeed News in August, will make asylum-seekers who do not cross into the country at a port of entry ineligible for a work permit in most cases. It will also delay the time it takes for those who apply for asylum — either while already in the US or after crossing the border and referred to immigration court — to become qualified to get a work permit, from 150 days to 365 days.”

U.S.-Mexico border closure extended for another month but could stay shut much longer
Sabrina Rodríguez, Politico, June 16, 2020
“But Mexican officials and lawmakers along the U.S.-Mexico border are more broadly concerned that Trump will drag the restrictions into later this fall and use Mexico in the coming months to justify spikes in cases, especially with the November election just five months away. It comes as U.S. officials begin to consider if legal travel between the U.S. and Mexico could be partly responsible for the latest spike in coronavirus cases.”

The Essential, the Undocumented
James Goodman, The Progressive, June 16, 2020
“Across the country, undocumented workers are taking collective action to create their own safety nets. In Western New York, the group Alianza Agrícola has established an emergency fund for COVID-19. In North Carolina, Siembra NC is holding fundraisers to assist undocumented immigrants in a bind.”

‘Abuse of power’: Asylum-seekers, advocates decry new use of high bond fees as condition of parole
Carmen Sesin, NBC News, June 16, 2020
“They are not traditionally issued as a condition for releasing lawful asylum-seekers on parole, according to a 2009 ICE directive. Immigration judges have no jurisdiction over the custody of such asylum-seekers, and only ICE decides whether they get parole.”

The end of asylum — for now
Philip G. Schrag, The Hill, June 16, 2020
“The pending regulation, obviously an attempt to make it difficult for a potential Democratic administration to reverse anti-asylum policies next year, is a belt-and-suspenders attack on every aspect of the plan that Congress enacted. Among other things, it provides that death threats from a regime’s officials should no longer be considered to be persecution, that women can’t win asylum even if persecution of them is ubiquitous and that former gang members who face death for having left the gang cannot qualify as members of a ‘social group.’”

Checking Off Stephen Miller’s Wish List
Sasha Abramsky, The Nation, June 16, 2020
“Last week, it proposed a rule that would make it all but impossible for asylum seekers who transit through other countries to claim asylum here. It is also looking to clamp down on a range of work visas. These announcements are expected to be rolled out in the coming weeks.”

Despite The Pandemic, Immigrants In Mass. Say They Are Afraid To Seek Medical Care
Catherine McGloin, WGBH, June 15, 2020
“Her temperature spiked. She felt dizzy and was unable to breathe. But Esmeralda, whose mother sent her from El Salvador to escape gang violence seven years ago, was afraid to seek medical treatment because she worried it would derail her asylum application.”

California sanctuary law: Supreme Court rejects Trump challenge
David Savage, Los Angeles Times, June 15, 2020
“The Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear the Trump administration’s challenge to a California ‘sanctuary’ law, leaving intact rules that prohibit law enforcement officials from aiding federal agents in taking custody of immigrants as they are released from jail.”

Essential Workers with Temporary Protected Status Could be at Risk of Deportation
Farida Jhabvala Romero, KQED, June 13, 2020
“But Flores and more than 100,000 essential workers who are immigrants could be at risk of deportation, as President Donald Trump’s administration continues a years-long fight to end the humanitarian protections that allows them to live and work in the U.S. About 131,000 beneficiaries of temporary protected status (TPS) nationwide are essential workers, including nearly 28,000 in California, according to research by Nicole Prchal Svajlenka, with the progressive think tank Center for American Progress.”

Immigrants Stage a Hunger Strike for Black Lives Inside ICE Detention Facility
Jack Herrera, Prism, June 12, 2020
“Reached by phone the next day, Qazi said almost everyone in the 70-person dorm had joined the strike. He says that he, like others in the strike, sees their struggle for justice in ICE detention as aligned with the Black Lives Matter movement. ‘We support their cause for protesting against a corrupt justice system and corrupt law officials,’ he said. ‘We’re trying to intertwine our causes in one general fight for justice, and we believe ICE falls in the category of corrupt justice officials.’”

What You Need to Know About Trump’s Proposal to Eliminate the US Asylum System
Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, Immigration Impact, June 11, 2020
“The proposed rules, which impose nearly a dozen new bars to asylum, would rewrite asylum law to exclude nearly all people seeking refuge. Should the rules go into effect, the United States could no longer call itself a country that offers refuge to the persecuted.”

Mexican Enforcement

Peticiones de asilo en México se dispararon 137%
Agencia Reforma, 18 de junio de 2020
“Señaló que a lo largo de los años más de 787 mil centroamericanos han huido de la violencia de Honduras, El Salvador y Guatemala, una parte de ellos hacia México.”

Root Causes

Gang Violence Increasingly Spreading to Women’s Prisons in Honduras
Victoria Dittmar, Insight Crime, June 17, 2020
“Gang violence, just like bribing prison authorities and other forms of control, are common in Honduras’ male prisons where they have provoked various bloody battles between the MS13 and Barrio 18. However, until now, it was unusual to see this type of violence in female prisons, including in El Salvador and Guatemala, where there’s also a sizable presence of jailed female gang members and collaborators.”

Inspired by the Garifuna, Honduran Activists Offer Community Meals in the Capital
The Fund for Global Human Rights, June 17, 2020
“We recently wrote about how OFRANEH, a social movement of the Afro-Indigenous Garifuna people supported by the Fund, drew on their long-standing traditions of communal eating to alleviate hunger. Within days of the pandemic hitting Honduras, they had established ollas comunitarias, or community pots, in nearly 20 Garifuna communities.”

Drop in remittances affecting economies of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras
Carlos Mario Márquez, Tico Times, June 16, 2020
“Some 2.5 million Salvadorans, 2.7 million Guatemalans and one million Hondurans live in the United States and send remittances to their families every month. But the pandemic caused an explosion in the U.S. unemployment rate, which reached 13.3% in May. That figure reaches 17.2% among the population of Latin American origin, according to official figures.”

New arrests in Honduras case implicating president Juan Orlando Hernandez
Jeff Ernst, David C. Adams, Univision, June 15, 2020
“A key witness in the trial identified the Salguero cousins as being present at a meeting in El Paraiso, Honduras, when Guzman allegedly gave $1 million dollars in cash to Tony Hernandez as a contribution to his brother’s 2013 election campaign later that year.”

Unicef necesita 2,2 millones de dólares para ayudar a El Salvador por las lluvias
Agencia EFE, 11 de junio de 2020
“Unicef estima que se requerirán en total 2,2 millones de dólares para dar apoyo clave en los ámbitos del saneamiento, refugio y protección de menores para unas 35.000 personas. Según un recuento facilitado la pasada semana por las autoridades, las tormentas Amanda y Cristobal dejaron en El Salvador al menos 30 muertos y miles de personas en albergues, con 3.000 viviendas afectadas y daños en numerosas infraestructuras como puentes y carreteras.”

Crimen organizado causa incendios forestales en Guatemala: funcionarios
Max Radwin, Insight Crime, 11 de junio de 2020
“Los incendios suelen comenzar cuando narcotraficantes tratan de despejar grandes franjas de selva tropical, y las llamas se salen de control debido a la maleza seca y a la falta de lluvia. Esos terrenos son despejados para la ganadería, la cual es utilizada como fachada para el lavado de dinero y para pistas de aterrizaje clandestinas a donde llegan cargamentos de cocaína, según las autoridades.”

Actions, Alerts, and Resources

Mesa de Seguimiento a sentencias interamericanas urge a Honduras a tomar medidas inmediatas para garantizar vida y salud de personas privadas de libertad
CEJIL, 17 de junio de 2020
“Aunque el Estado de Honduras ha anunciado medidas para prevenir la propagación del virus en los centros penitenciarios, entre ellas la liberación de personas para disminuir la sobrepoblación y el suministro de insumos sanitarios, el aumento de contagios demuestra que estas medidas han fallado en garantizar la salud de las personas en privación de libertad y los casos continúan aumentando en condiciones precarias y de hacinamiento.”

Interview with Nina Lakhani, author of “Who Killed Berta Caceres?: Dams, Death Squads, and an Indigenous Defender’s Battle for the Planet”
Central American News, June 15, 2020