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Migration News Brief 10.17.19

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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: lalvarez@lawg.org.

US Enforcement

US policies led Honduras to collapse. Now, Trump’s asylum deal will trap migrants there.
Oscar Chacón, USA Today, October 15, 2019

“The United States has an undeniable presence through both the military aid backing the Honduran government’s brutal attacks, and through U.S. weapons, as political violence by Honduran military police officers is committed with U.S.—made M4 rifles.”

US border: Why drownings tripled and water rescues skyrocketed in one section of the Rio Grande
Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN, October 12, 2019 

“Smugglers are increasingly taking migrants to more dangerous areas of the river and ditching them. ‘When they do this, the smugglers don’t put their own lives in danger. They only put the migrants in danger,’ he says. ‘Quite often when it comes to unaccompanied children and family units, they’ll put them in makeshift rafts, inner tubes, inflatable swimming pools, you name it’.”

Judge Blocks Trump Policy That Favors Wealthy Immigrants
Miriam Jordan, The New York Times, October 11, 2019

“In one of two legal setbacks on Friday for the Trump administration’s attempts to limit immigration, Judge George B. Daniels of the United States District Court in the Southern District of New York said those potentially affected by the new regulation could suffer “irreparable harm” if the rule goes into effect. “The balance of equities and the interests of justice favor issuance of a preliminary injunction,” the judge wrote.”

Exclusive: U.S. migrant policy sends thousands of children, including babies, back to Mexico
Kristina Cooke, Mica Rosenberg, Reade Levinson, Reuters, October 11, 2019

“Another mother at the same shelter, 34-year-old Marla Suniga from Honduras, said her 1-year-old daughter Montesserat recently had a convulsion due to a high fever and had to be taken to a hospital. ‘She couldn’t breathe,’ she said.”

Migrant protesters occupy U.S. – Mexico border bridge, close crossing
Veronica G. Cardenas, Reuters, October 10, 2019

“U.S. asylum seekers camped out in a dangerous Mexican border town occupied a bridge to Brownsville, Texas on Thursday, leading to the closure of the crossing, witnesses and authorities said.”

Asylum Protesters Close Bridge on Texas-Mexico Border
Miriam Jordan, The New York Times, October 10, 2019 

“‘They are absolutely desperate, with no international presence in the camp to organize anything such as food delivery or medical care,’ said Jodi Goodwin, an immigration attorney who holds regular workshops to help migrants fill out asylum applications.”

ICE reubico a más de 700 mujeres migrantes sin notificar a sus abogados
Conexion Migrante, 9 de octubre 2019 

“Más de dos semanas después, los abogados del Centro de Educación y Servicios Legales para Refugiados e Inmigrantes (RAICES) no saben dónde se encuentra la mayoría de sus defendidas y no pueden encontrar ninguna información actualizada en el sistema de seguimiento de detenidos en línea de ICE.”

Pols seek answers on sick immigrant medical program
Sarah Betancourt, Common Wealth Magazine, October 9, 2019 

“The program, called medical deferred action, provides temporary legal immigration status for sick immigrants that cannot otherwise be treated in their home countries. The program was canceled and then reinstated by the Trump administration over the past two months.”

Louisiana becomes new hub in immigrant detention under Trump 
Nomaan Merchant, AP News, October 9, 2019 

“These new facilities, a mix of old state prisons and local jails, are several hours away from New Orleans and other major cities in the region, far from most immigrant rights’ groups and immigration lawyers. Migrants complain of mistreatment and prolonged detention.”

This asylum seeker was shot in the head. ICE jailed him and gave him ibuprofen
Sam Levin, The Guardian, October 9, 2019

“Rolando would frequently sign up for “sick call” to visit medical staff, but he said the appointments did little to help. Records show that on one visit, a nurse told him to drink more water and “wash hair/head thoroughly””

Border Patrol apprehensions dipped last month, but 2019 saw a dramatic increase from 2018
Julian Aguilar, The Texas Tribune, October 8, 2019

“Despite the months-long trend downward, the entire 2019 fiscal year’s total represents nearly a 90% increase over 2018. In 2019 about 977,500 people were apprehended or presented themselves at the ports of entry without proper paperwork, compared to 521,000 during the 2018 fiscal year.”

Julián Cástro Escorted 12 Asylum-Seekers to the US Border. They Were All Sent Back to Mexico
Adolfo Flores, Buzzfeed News, October 7, 2019 

“If these people —LGBTQ migrants who have been assaulted for who they are in the camps, disabled people, children — do not meet the criteria for ‘vulnerable populations,’ then the ‘vulnerable’ exemptions in ‘Remain in Mexico’ are lip service,’ the organization said in a statement. ‘Everyone on the ground here knows it, and now we can prove it.’”

U.S. Border Officials Using Fake Addresses, Dangerous Conditions, and Mass Trials to Discourage Asylum Seekers
Debbie Nathan, The Intercept, October 4, 2019 

“But the family’s NTAs list their address as “Facebook.” Listing an internet platform as an address was perhaps an acknowledgment of where the family’s real address would be once they got to Tijuana: the street.”

Trump Will Block Visa Applicants Who Cannot Prove They Can Get Health Insurance
Hamed Aleaziz, BuzzFeed, October 4, 2019 

““Continuing to allow entry into the United States of certain immigrants who lack health insurance or the demonstrated ability to pay for their healthcare would be detrimental to these interests.””

Mexican Enforcement

Mexican National Guard blocks US-bound migrant caravan 
Sandra Cuffe, Al Jazeera, October 13, 2019 

“The majority of caravan participants, faced with few alternatives, boarded transport to return to Tapachula. A small group refused and began walking back along the highway, with National Guard troops and immigration agents following in a coordinated pursuit.”

El éxodo migratorio se enfrenta a una cacería cruel e inhumana ejecutada por cientos de agentes de la Guardia Nacional y del Instituto Nacional de Migración: COMDHSM
Voces Mesoamericanas, 13 de octubre de 2019 

“Aproximadamente 2000 personas de distintas nacionalidades intentan escapar del muro conformado por la militarización, la burocracia, criminalización, xenofobia, el poco acceso a derechos básicos y por las condiciones indignas de vida que las han aprisionada en la ciudad de Tapachula”.

Segob advierte crisis si EU acaba con asilo
Jose Gerardo Mejia, La Razon, 10 de octubre de 2019 

“Al comparecer en la Cámara de Diputados, la funcionaria consideró que si el tema se convierte en ley, EU va a dejar sólo una rendija por la que intentarán pasar decenas de miles de migrantes.”

Alto a militarización de fronteras, piden a Mexico Medicos por los Derechos Humanos
Gabriel Moyssen, El Universal, 10 de octubre de 2019

“El informe del organismo presentado ayer en Nueva York confirma, con base en evaluaciones clínicas de adultos y niños mexicanos y centroamericanos que esperan en Tijuana, Baja California, su ingreso a Estados Unidos, la violencia y persecución de la que son víctimas los solicitantes de asilo.”

El uso de los recursos del PEF2020 destinados a materia migratoria debe privilegiar la garantía de derechos
Grupo de Trabajo Sobre Política Migratoria, 7 de octubre de 2019

“En México, la detención migratoria es la regla y no la excepción, la privación de la libertad de personas migrantes y sujetas de protección internacional no pasa por una evaluación de necesidad, proporcionalidad y excepcionalidad, ni tampoco por control judicial como sucede en otros países.”

African Migrants Stuck in Mexico Plan to March Toward U.S.
Carrie Kahn, NPR, October 7, 2019 

“He says Africans can’t find work here in Mexico’s poorest state. He says there are no jobs, and racism against blacks is terrible. He was told he could only apply for asylum, something he says he won’t do.”

Alarmante Situación en la nueva estancia provisional de Chiapas 
Voces Mesoamericanas, 4 de octubre de 2019

“Hay personas que han presentado su solicitud de refugio sin haber recibido ningún documento y otras que permanecen detenidas a pesar de tener constancias de inicio del trámite ante la COMAR agravando la situación que muchas personas no cuentan con medios propios de comunicación satelital y el INM no les garantiza el acceso a llamadas telefónicas.”

Mexico intercepts 2 trucks crowded with 243 migrants
Associated Press, October 3, 2019

“Mexican authorities say they have intercepted two trucks carrying 243 migrants in crowded conditions in the southern state of Chiapas.”

Root Causes 

Guatemala shut down its anti-corruption commission. Now its people worry about impunity
Emily Green, PRI, October 14, 2019

“Hernández Mack, who quit the health minister job after a year, said when she first took the post, she learned the government hadn’t purchased vaccines for two years in a row. The funds had disappeared. People in Guatemala see the government as a vehicle for getting rich..”

The cost of a guest worker visa? For some scam victims, years of debt.
Maya Averbuch, The Christian Science Monitor, October 10, 2019

“Mr. Pablo Martín eventually left for the U.S., but was deported as soon as he crossed the U.S. border last year. Jeremías sought asylum and is now working to pay off his looming debt. Raúl returned to his day job for several months, but tired of never earning enough for the kind of life he had imagined.”

Honduras: Police Clash with Anti-Government Protesters
Telesur, October 10, 2019

“The protest was developing normally with the area protected by at least 60 police officers. The demonstrators had agreed with them to suspend the sit-in at noon when an officer began abruptly to use tear gas with dozens of others following his action.”

How Elites and Narcos Do Business, Politics in Honduras
Steven Dudley, InSight Crime, October 9, 2019

“As Honduras remains riveted on the trial of Tony Hernández, a document from the case file reveals details of another drug trafficking connection involving one of Central America’s wealthiest and most politically connected families.”

Deep in Guatemala’s jungle, drugs and murder are new neighbors to palm oil
Sofia Menchu, Reuters, October 9, 2019

“Images provided by the government of the army’s discoveries show what appears to be a well-built laboratory, which Morales said could produce up to half a tonne of cocaine a day. He said the government had discovered 1.5 million coca plants along with the labs, estimating a street value of $800 million.”

Piden que se designe mayor presupuesto para investigar casos de femicidios en Honduras
Confidencial HN, 9 de octubre de 2019

“Más de seis mil 400 mujeres han sido asesinadas en los últimos diez años en Honduras, reveló la representante del Centro de Estudios La Mujer (CEM-H), Honorina Rodríquez… y entre 18 mil niños que se quedaron sin mamá,’ dijo”.

“The Walking Dead” Is Not Fiction In Central America
Andrea Cárcamo, The Medium, October 8, 2019

“One of my clients left her country with her son after she saw her friend’s seven-year-old son dead on the street, where the gang had left him after killing him for everyone to see. Just as Negan knew that beating someone to death in front of everyone would make them listen, gangs know the most painful way to hurt a mother is through her child.”

Despite U.S. Asylum Ban, Honduran Women Fleeing Violence Remain Undeterred 
Anna-Catherine Brigida, The Intercept, October 8, 2019 

“Sixteen-year-old Marisela…reported her cousin after he raped her. But even behind bars, he continued threatening her family. In May, the cousin sent hitmen to Mariela’s house looking for her, but she wasn’t there. Instead, they killed her father. Now Marisela, her mother, and three sisters are planning to leave Honduras and seek asylum.

Witness directly involves the president of Honduras in the use of drug money for his campaigns
Jeff Ernst, Univision, October 8, 2019

“Confessed drug trafficker, Alexander Ardon, told the court on Tuesday in New York that he attended meetings with President Juan Orlando Hernández to discuss the use of drug money in his election campaigns. The younger brother of the president, former congressman ‘Tony’ Hernández, is on trial for large scale drug trafficking.”

Hondurans Are Fighting for a Future Against the US-Supported Dictatorship
Laura Carlsen, The Nation, October 8, 2019

“The Platform and other organizing efforts to defend public lands, territories, services, and goods mark a new moment in Hondurans’ long quest for a free and livable nation.”

EEUU suspende Plan de Alianza para dar Prosperidad y trabaja en uno nuevo
Yony Bustillo, El Heraldo, 8 de octubre de 2019

“El gobierno de Donald Trump decidió abolir el Plan de Alianza para la Prosperidad y trabajar en un Plan de Desarrollo económico diferenciado para apoyar a los países que son partes de los acuerdos migratorios firmados a finales de septiembre”

Guatemala court halts inquiry of UN-backed-anti-corruption body
Sandra Cuffe, Aljazeera, October 7, 2019

Guatemala‘s highest court ordered an immediate halt on Monday to a controversial commission of inquiry into the work of a United Nations-backed anti-corruption body.”

Honduras: torturado y asesinado hallan a miembro de la comunidad LGBTI
Redaccion Web, Tiempo Digital, 7 de octubre de 2019

“El cuerpo del ciudadano -que aún no ha sido identificado- fue encontrado atado de los pies y las manos cerca de un basurero en el barrio Suyapa.”

12 ambientalistas y defensoras han sido asesinados este año; Oaxaca y Chiapas, los estados más peligrosos
Alberto Pradilla, Animal Politico, 7 de octubre 2019

“México es el sexto país del mundo más peligroso para los ambientalistas según informes de la ONG Global Witness. Esta asociación detectó que en 2017 fueron asesinados 15 defensores y en 2018 otros 14”

An arms race in Mexico is driving record killings. American guns are to blame.
Kate Linthicum, Los Angeles Times, October 6, 2019

“Today, millions of weapons are in private hands — in direct violation of Mexico’s strict gun laws. Some of those firearms once belonged to the military or police and were sold into the underworld. But the vast majority were smuggled from the world’s largest gun market: the United States.”

Police Again at Center of Latest Death Squad Uncovered in El Salvador
Parker Asmann, InSight Crime, October 4, 2019

“The death squad members — dressed in police and military uniforms — entered their targets’ homes under the guise of executing fake search warrants and either executed their victims on the spot or took them to other locations to be killed, according to authorities.”

Actions, Alerts, Resources 

The Scars Match the Stories: Asylum Seekers’ Medical Evaluations Corroborate Violence and Persecution
Physicians for Human Rights, October 9, 2019

“These punitive policies defy both international and U.S. law by obstructing the right to seek asylum. They place asylum seekers who are in extremely vulnerable situations – like everyone profiled in this report – at great risk of further violence and traumatization.”

Children in Central America-Mexico-US corridor need protection, not detention and deportation
Alianza Americas, October 8, 2019

“New statistics speak to the gravity of the situation facing young people.  In the first seven months of 2019, 1,798 people were reported missing in El Salvador, 551 of whom were children.”

Policy Brief: The Dark Money Trail Behind Private Detention: Immigration Centers of America- Farmville
National Immigrant Justice Center, October 7, 2019

“Designed to ensure profitability for shareholders, private detention largely operates in the shadows, leaving communities in the dark about the operations of new and existing facilities. The U.S. immigration private detention industry is dominated by two notorious companies, GEO Group and CoreCivic (formerly CCA), but a third company, Immigration Centers of America (ICA) is aggressively pursuing detention center contracts across the country.”

Organizations Urge Congress to Conduct Significant Oversight of Remain in mexico and Use of Tent Courts by DHS and DOJ
American Immigration Lawyers Association, October 7, 2019

“Deeply troubling is DHS’s failure to provide information to the public about the basic operations and procedures at the tent courts.”

Piden organizaciones un mecanismo transnacional de protección integral para la niñez migrante
Sistema Integral de Información en Derechos Humanos, 10 de octubre de 2019

“Organizaciones de derechos humanos presentes en el 173 periodo de sesiones de la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CIDH) denunciaron graves violaciones a los derechos de niñas, niños y adolescentes migrantes en su tránsito de Centroamérica a México, y pidieron el establecimiento de un mecanismo transnacional de protección integral.”

“If I went back, I would not survive” Asylum Seekers Fleeing Violence in Mexico and Central America
Physicians for Human Rights, October 2019

“PHR further found that U.S. policies have stranded asylum seekers in Tijuana, where they are vulnerable to violence, theft, and extortion by cartels, gangs, and police authorities. Current U.S. asylum policies that restrict asylum seekers’ right to enter the United States inflict further trauma on them every day they must wait. Many of those interviewed by PHR reported feeling under imminent threat both during their journey to the U.S.-Mexico border and while they waited in Tijuana.”

Seeking Release from Immigration Detention
American Immigration Council, September 13, 2019

“This fact sheet gives a brief overview of the process individuals must undergo to seek release from immigration detention.”

Política Migratoria en Estados Unidos: un boletín para organizaciones mesoamericanas
CEJIL, Septiembre de 2019

“Mediante esta herramienta, presentamos un resumen mensual de las más recientes iniciativas y decisiones judiciales de Estados Unidos acontecidas en septiembre, con el fin de aportar a las estrategias de promoción y protección de los derechos humanos de las personas migrantes en Centroamérica y México.”
*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.