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Migration News Brief 10.30.19

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Migration News Brief for October 30, 2019

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

Trump administration to begin sending asylum seekers to Guatemala as soon as this week 
Nick Miroff, The Washington Post, October 28, 2019 

“Two administration officials with knowledge of the Guatemala accord said Homeland Security probably would start sending asylum seekers from Honduras and El Salvador back to Guatemala, beginning with single adults rather than families.”

Salvadorans on TPS will now be able to stay in the US for another year
Nicole Narea, Vox, October 28, 2019 

“A formal extension of TPS would require the US to determine the conditions in a country remain too unsafe for recipients to return there. The administration would have a hard time reconciling that positions with its asylum agreement with El Salvador, which requires the country to have the capacity to accept asylum seekers.”

Conditions Deteriorating at Makeshift Camp on the Rio Grande Where Thousands Await U.S Asylum  
Acacia Coronado, Texas Tribune, October 28, 2019 

“With only two wooden shower stalls in the woods, less than 10 portable toilets and no cleaning supplies, the conditions are quickly deteriorating. Lack of running water and limited access to food have led migrants to the river to bathe, fish and draw water.”

She raised her niece like a daughter. Then the US government separated them at the border
Valeria Fernandez and Jude Jofee-Block, The Guardian, October 25, 2019

“Figures obtained on Thursday by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) through litigation reveal the federal government separated at least 1,556 more children from their parents than it had previously disclosed, bringing the number of known cases to more than 5,460.”

NMSU Professor: ‘I Helped End a Customs and Border Protection Recruiting Program at NMSU. It Nearly Got Me Arrested’
Neal Rosendorf, The Round Up, October 25, 2019

“But what was, and still is, deeply disturbing is that a senior faculty member in the Criminal Justice Department who had played a central role in forging the CBP recruiting partnership filed a police report against me claiming that I had aggressively accosted and threatened him—a potential misdemeanor crime which, let me emphasize, I did not commit.”

1,556 more migrant families were separated under Trump than previously known
Camilo Montoya-Galvez, CBSNews, October 25, 2019

“Complying with a court-approved demand from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to account for previously undisclosed family separations, the Trump administration told the U.S. district court in San Diego that it identified an additional 1,556 migrant children that it separated from their parents, according to the ACLU. The group said 207 of the newly identified children who were separated from their parents are under 5 years old, including five infants under the age of 1.”

Trump administration testing rapid asylum review, deportation process in Texas
Robert Moore, The Washington Post, October 24, 2019

“The pilot program — known as Prompt Asylum Claim Review — streamlines the asylum process so that migrants who are seeking safe refuge in the United States will receive a decision in 10 days or less, rather than the months or years it currently takes, according to Customs and Border Protection officials. The reviews are largely to determine if Central American migrants can be sent back to their homelands.”

Privacy Concerns Grow as Federal Immigration Agencies Use More Surveillance Technology
Melissa Cruz, Immigration Impact, October 24, 2019

“The proposed regulation would authorize immigration officers to begin collecting DNA samples from people currently in detention facilities around the country and those crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. This would include people in detention who have not been charged with a crime, as well as people seeking asylum at legal ports of entry along the border.”

Criminal misconduct by US border officers has reached a 5-year high
Justin Rohrlich, Quartz, October 24, 2019

““[A]n unacceptable number of CBP employees are arrested each year for violating federal, state, or local law,” the report says. Of 268 CBP employees arrested in fiscal 2018, 11 were arrested twice; one was arrested four times; and one was arrested five times, resulting in a total of 286 arrests.”

Will the Supreme Court Stand Up for an Unarmed Mexican Teenager Shot by a Border Agent?
Linda Greenhouse, The New York Times, October 24, 2019

“The unarmed shooting victim was not a would-be migrant. He was standing on the Mexican side of the 270-foot-wide cement culvert that separates El Paso and Juarez. He had made no attempt to climb the fence on the United States side. Rather, he had been playing in the culvert with his friends, who were running up the American side, touching the fence, and running back down. He was 15 years old. The agent’s bullet hit him in the face and killed him.”

Trump Administration’s Immigration Policies Violate Civil Rights, Government Agency Says
Claire Hensen, US News, October 24, 2019

“The report, written by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, raises grave concerns about the Trump administration’s asylum policies, detention practices and previously widespread use of family separation. It echoes and references a number of issues raised in other government watchdog reports and media accounts.”

‘Secret and unaccountable’: Where some immigrant teens are being taken by ICE
Blake Ellis and Melanie Hicken, CNN, October 24, 2019

“Immigrant youth — regardless of their residency status — are supposed to receive a number of legal protections when detained. Yet more than a dozen immigration attorneys describe the agency’s detention of minors as a black hole with little oversight or easy access to lawyers who can help them navigate complicated immigration law.”

I Went to Mexico to Meet Asylum-Seekers Trapped at the Border. This Is What I Saw.
Ashoka Mukpo, American Civil Liberties Union, October 24, 2019

“The night before we visited, a storm system had swept through Texas, flooding the inside of the low-quality tents people were living in with rain. There was mud everywhere, and it was cold. Few people had the clothing to cope with the chilly temperatures, and the first few people we talked to were shivering, their teeth chattering as they spoke. Everywhere we looked, there were very young children sitting on curbs or hanging onto their parents.”

US close to implementing asylum agreement with Guatemala
Priscilla Alvarez and Geneva Sands, CNN, October 23, 2019

“Once the implementation plan is in place and logistics are firmed up, the US will begin transferring some asylum seeking migrants to Guatemala to seek protection there, according to a source familiar with the plan. There are some exceptions, such as medical issues and unaccompanied children.”

Marine Corps vet who served in Iraq deported to El Salvador
Aris Folley, The Hill, October 23, 2019

“”Gangs target former U.S. military,” he told the paper. “They’ll kidnap a person, they may hold a person for ransom, they may torture an individual.””

ICE Deleted Surveillance Video Of A Transgender Asylum-Seeker Who Died In Its Custody
Adolfo Flores, BuzzFeed News, October 23, 2019

““Her need for medical attention was obvious, it was documented, and it was life threatening, and the records we have to date indicate that ICE officials knew those three things and decided to transfer her,” Free said. “If DHS cannot be trusted to play by the rules, both before and after a detained migrant’s death based on these records, how can DHS be trusted to continue imprisoning migrants at all?””

Trump’s Asylum Ban Could Apply Retroactively to Thousands of Migrants Even Though Officials Promised It Wouldn’t
Dara Lind, Propublica, October 22, 2019

“Herbert is only one of the judges overseeing asylum cases for migrants forced to return to Mexico under the “Migrant Protection Protocols” program. Since judges and prosecutors have apparently been left to interpret the regulation on their own, it’s possible that different judges will come to different conclusions — meaning whether or not the ban applies to a given migrant will depend on which judge is assigned to their case.”

Erasing the Dead: Seeking to Deport Haitians, the Trump Administration Is Counting Deaths in Displacement Camps as “Progress”
Isabel Macdonald, The Intercept, October 22, 2019

“Yet the central role that the Displacement Tracking Matrix has played in the Trump administration’s official rationale for terminating Haitians’ eligibility for TPS also suggests that the tool may contribute to underestimating the impact of disasters, whether earthquakes, wars, or climate change. By failing to track deaths, while ignoring the fate of displaced people who end up in informal settlements with higher risks and fewer services than IDP camps themselves, this tool risks producing highly distorted data that downplays the scale and severity of contemporary crises of displacement.”

Deportación de hondureños aumentó 41 % a septiembre y suman 90 mil 109 retornos
Proceso Digital, 17 de octubre de 2019

“La Cancillería hondureña informó este jueves a través del Observatorio Consular y Migratorio que hasta el pasado mes de septiembre reportó un incremento en las deportaciones de hondureños de 41.2 por ciento y la cifra global de retornos se sitúa en 90 mil 109.”

Inside the US Marshals’ Secretive Detention Empire
Seth Freed Wessler, Mother Jones, November/December 2019 Issue

“Muñoz was left unchecked for 46 minutes before he was found hanging in his cell. “Starr County Jail staff members did not conduct thirty-minute checks on Muñoz as is indicated in the logs,” a Texas Rangers investigation found.”

Mexican Enforcement

The Daily 202: Mexico isn’t paying for Trump’s border wall. But it is footing the bill for a historic surge of asylum seekers in the country.
Mariana Alfaro, The Washington Post, October 24, 2019

“But the dramatic changes to immigration laws implemented by his administration are having a similar effect in this country. And Mexico is indeed paying for the huge burden of housing, caring for, processing asylum seekers and, at times, deporting tens of thousands of migrants now detained in this country before they ever reach U.S. soil.”

Migrantes triplican peticiones de refugio para vivir en México
Khennia Reyes, El Imparcial, 24 de octubre de 2019

“El número de migrantes que solicitaron refugio en México se elevó 217% de enero a septiembre de 2019 en comparación con el mismo periodo del año pasado de acuerdo con la Comisión Mexicana de Ayuda a Refugiados (Comar).”

Root Causes 

4 Takeaways from the US Trial against the Honduras President’s Brother
Héctor Silva Ávalos and Parker Asmann, Insight Crime, October 24, 2019

“The United States may have convicted a few members of the narco-politics structure in place in Honduras, but it hasn’t yet answered for helping create the conditions that allowed such a structure to exist in the first place.”

River of Trash: How Plastic Pollution is Making Central American Communities Uninhabitable
Amelia Urry, The Intercept, October 27, 2019 

“With the river too contaminated to use for drinking water or irrigation, communities along the river are caught in a tightening vise of scarcity and pollution. These environmental problems, compounded by violence, corruption, and poverty, are among the factors driving 116,808 Guatemalans to try and cross the U.S. border in fiscal year 2018.”

Narcotráfico y crimen organizado atacan los pueblos garífunas de Honduras: Miriam Miranda
Redaccion, 27 de octubre de 2019

“El incremento de los asesinatos es mucho más fuerte en el presente año donde han sido asesinadas 17 personas garífunas en este 2019 de estas seis son mujeres dirigentes de las comunidades.”

En secreto reglamentan los acuerdos migratorios entre Honduras y Estados Unidos
Redaccion, El Heraldo, 24 de octubre de 2019

“En total hermetismo y reunidos en la Secretaría de Seguridad se realiza la reglamentación de los cuatro acuerdos de cooperación bilateral -cooperación de asilo, intercambio de información, seguridad fronteriza y oportunidades de empleo- que firmó recientemente el gobierno de Honduras con Estados Unidos.”

Instituto Penitenciario debe sacar de La Tolva a los defensores del río Guapinol
Criterio.hn, 24 de octubre de 2019

“El equipo de abogados defensor, fue informado ayer miércoles 23, de que el INP no ha cumplido dos órdenes judiciales de trasladar a los siete defensores que se encuentran privados de su libertad en la cárcel de máxima seguridad de “La Tolva”, municipio de Morocelí, al Centro Penal de Olanchito, departamento de Yoro.”

Vuelven a atacar protesta opositora contra el régimen de Hernández
ConfidencialHN, 24 de octubre de 2019

“Miembros de las fuerzas de seguridad reprimieron hoy con brutalidad a los miembros de la oposición que se desplazaban rumbo a Casa Presidencial a exigir la dimisión de Juan Orlando Hernández por sus vínculos con el narcotráfico.”

Washington: Senadores de EEUU escuchan a dirigentes de la Oposición
Odaly Urbina, Tiempo Digital, 23 de octubre de 2019

“A juicio del presidente de PL las reuniones fueron positivas y que lo único que esperan es el bien de país con justicia. Además, agregó «queremos evitar el derramamiento de sangre, buscamos volver al sistema de derecho, un gobierno democrático».”

El gobierno que hoy necesitamos
Radio Progreso, 23 de octubre de 2019

“Necesitamos un gobierno que construya soberanía, que nunca se arrodilla ante nadie, y que sabe defender la dignidad y el derecho de autodeterminación de los pueblos. Necesitamos con verdadera urgencia un gobierno que, bajo ninguna circunstancia, ni hoy ni nunca, sea como el impostor narco gobierno actual, que ha decidido perpetuarse en el poder.”

Actions, Alerts, Resources 

Immigration Detention is Psychological Torture: Strategies for Suviving our Fight to Freedom
Freedom For Immigrants, October 2019 

“Freedom for Immigrants documents nearly 2,000 instances of emotional distress caused or exacerbated by the isolation inherent in the U.S. immigration detention system. Examples of these psychological and sometimes physical, assaults include an inability to connect with family or attorneys, transfers away from communities of support, solitary confinement, extreme temperatures, attacks on religious practices, and other forms of abuse by U.S Immigration & Customs Enforcement.”

The Perils of the Migrant Protection Protocols
Hilda Bonilla, Immigration Impact, October 23, 2019

“The DHS guidelines also exempt migrants with “known physical/mental health issues.” However, Reuters reported that many of the 16,000 children—including 500 infants—that have been sent back to Mexico with their families are at risk of getting sick more often given the unsanitary conditions and crowded spaces where they are forced to reside.”

As More Migrants from Africa and Asia Arrive in Latin America, Governments Seek Orderly and Controlled Pathways
Caitlyn Yates, Migration Policy Institute, October 22, 2019

“It is not just the United States whose attention will shift toward extracontinental migration. Transit countries such as Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, and Costa Rica will likely continue to adjust their own policies to adapt to ever more diverse migration movements. These adjustments will include fine-tuning the controlled-flow policy and increasing the number of nationalities that require a visa for entry, whether at the behest of individual Latin American countries or under pressure from the U.S. government. Latin American governments are also likely to face questions about integration into their societies as more extracontinental migrants are expected to remain in the region amid a hardening U.S.-Mexico border.”

Aaron Casimiro Méndez Ruiz y Alfredo Castillo respecto de Mexico
Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humano, 4 de octubre de 2019

“…la Comisión solicita a México que: a) adopte las medidas necesarias para determinar el paradero o destino de los señores Aaron Casimiro Méndez Ruíz y Juan Alfredo Castillo de Luna, con el fin de proteger sus derechos a la vida e integridad personal. En este sentido, la Comisión insta al Estado a garantizar acciones efectivas de búsqueda a través de sus mecanismos especializados creados para tales efecto”

Trauma at the Border: The Human Cost of Inhumane Immigration Policies
The United States Commission on Civil Rights, October 24, 2019

“As confirmed by media reports, government investigations, eyewitness accounts, and public testimony received by the Commission, the Trump Administration has implemented immigration policies that appear to violate constitutional due process rights and basic standards of medical and mental health care, and seemingly target migrants based on demographics including national origin, language status, and gender. These new policies have resulted in the separation of family units, lasting trauma and heartache, and shocking detention conditions for both children and adults.”

*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.