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Migration News Brief 11.6.20

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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.

COVID-19

General

COVID-19: Remittance Flows to Shrink 14% by 2021
The World Bank, October 29, 2020
“Remittance flows to low and middle-income countries (LMICs) are projected to fall by 7 percent, to $508 billion in 2020, followed by a further decline of 7.5 percent, to $470 billion in 2021. The foremost factors driving the decline in remittances include weak economic growth and employment levels in migrant-hosting countries, weak oil prices; and depreciation of the currencies of remittance-source countries against the US dollar.”

United States

Immigrants, border families face difficulties amid COVID-19 travel restrictions
David Oliver, USA Today, November 2, 2020
“Travel restrictions have affected Americans and international travelers alike, but perhaps no one feels border-crossing conundrums more acutely than immigrants and their loved ones. And with the COVID-19 pandemic surging in several countries, their situations are likely to worsen before they improve. The U.S. borders to both Mexico and Canada are closed through at least Nov. 21, according to a tweet from Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf earlier this month.”

El Salvador

El Salvador se acerca a los mil fallecidos por covid-19
Erika Ventura, El Mundo, 4 de noviembre de 2020
“Con estas cinco muertes, la cifra oficial de personas que han muerto en el país a causa del virus desde el inicio de la pandemia, en marzo pasado, sube a 992. El sitio gubernamental, que registra los datos de la pandemia, indica que en los hospitales se encuentran 32 pacientes en estado crítico y 407 en estado grave.”

Un informe señala que en centros de cuarentena salvadoreños se violaron más DDHH
Infobae, 29 de octubre de 2020
“El director del Instituto de Derechos Humanos de la UCA (Idhuca), José María Tojeira, señaló durante una conferencia de prensa que en algunos centros ‘las personas estaban hacinados, mal alimentados y se violó los derechos a la salud y a la libertad de expresión, porque cuando protestaron por abusos se les reprimió con la policía’.”

Guatemala

Guatemala cumple dos meses de reapertura con la segunda ola de covid-19 a la vista
Yahoo! Noticias, 1 de noviembre de 2020
“Guatemala llegó este domingo a dos meses desde la reapertura del país después de un confinamiento iniciado en marzo y aguarda una “inminente” segunda ola de la covid-19, aunque la misma puede ya estar en marcha silenciosamente en el interior del país. Ante la incertidumbre del nivel que llegue a alcanzar la nueva ola de contagios y la incipiente reactivación económica, los guatemaltecos continúan con el cumplimiento de las restricciones emanadas por el Gobierno central mediante un semáforo de alertas en vigor desde julio.”

Honduras

Controversia en Honduras por el prolongado asueto en plena pandemia de covid-19
EFE, 30 de octubre de 2020
“El prolongado asueto que tendrá Honduras la próxima semana es defendido por el Gobierno y los empresarios porque supone un alivio para la economía del país, pero médicos al frente de la pandemia de la covid-19 están en contra porque consideran que puede disparar las cifras de muertos y contagios.”

Mexico

México no está en emergencia para tomar medidas de confinamiento: AMLO
Alberto Morales, Pedro Villa y Caña, El Universal, 4 de noviembre de 2020
“El presidente Andrés Manuel López Obrador aseguró que México no está en una situación de alarma o emergencia como en Europa, por lo que no se aplicarán medidas de confinamiento o cierres de negocios ante la pandemia por coronavirus.”

Foreign minister: Mexico will not close the border despite COVID-19 surge
Julian Resendiz, WRBL, October 30, 2020
“Despite pleas from the mayor of Juarez and Chihuahua health officials to restrict the entry of U.S. visitors to slow the spread of COVID-19, Mexico will take no such action, Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said. Speaking at a press conference in Mexico City broadcast on YouTube, Ebrard said his country is holding weekly meetings with officials from U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Department of Homeland Security to evaluate the COVID-19 threat. He said the current policy banning only non-essential travel is adequate.”

U.S. Enforcement

La confirmación Amy Coney Barrett es un riesgo para los migrantes y solicitantes de asilo
Daniella Burgi-Palomino, El Faro, 5 de noviembre de 2020
“La confirmación de la jueza Amy Coney Barrett como magistrada de la Corte Suprema de Justicia de los Estados Unidos el pasado 26 de octubre 2020 se dio apenas unos días antes de las elecciones, empujada por la administración de Donald Trump a pesar de reclamos y votos en contra de su nominación por senadores demócratas. Su aprobación significa que la Corte Suprema tendrá una nueva juez que estaría dispuesta a defender las políticas antiinmigrantes y antiasilo han puesto en riesgo las vidas de miles de personas en los últimos cuatro años. De cara al número de casos sobre inmigración que podrían llegar a ser decididas por la Corte Suprema, esto es realmente grave.”

Asylum Seekers With Disabilities Challenge Trump Admin’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ Policy in New Lawsuit
Jasmine Aguilera, TIME, November 2, 2020
“Despite official guidelines to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that anyone with “known physical/mental health issues” are exempt from the Trump Administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), otherwise known as “Remain in Mexico,” a policy that keeps asylum seekers in Mexico throughout the duration of their legal proceedings, they are still being forced to wait in Mexico for their case to be heard.”

Asylum seekers in limbo look to US election with hope and fear
Megan Janetsky, Al Jazeera, November 1, 2020
“Ahead of the vote, many asylum seekers are looking northward with a mixture of hope and fear. The hope is that if former Vice President Joe Biden is elected, the Democratic candidate will fulfil campaign promises to immediately put an end to hardline policies like MPP. The fear is that if President Donald Trump wins a second term, their situation could worsen.”

El DHS compra datos de teléfonos celulares para rastrear a inmigrantes que cruzan la frontera, según reporte
Jorge Cancino, Univision, 31 de octubre de 2020
“El DHS utiliza datos de teléfonos celulares conseguidos sin una orden de un juez para seguir y detener a inmigrantes que cruzan sin autorización la frontera. Organizaciones de derechos civiles temen que esa tecnología sea utilizada para seguir también a ciudadanos estadounidenses.”

México denuncia “abusos médicos” a mujeres en reclusorio de migrantes de EEUU
La Vanguardia, 31 de octubre de 2020
“México anunció este sábado que denunciará presuntos abusos médicos contra mexicanas en el centro de detención migratoria del condado de Irwin (Georgia, EE.UU.), donde se indaga supuestas esterilizaciones sin que las migrantes lo pidieran o sin entender de qué se trataba. Mediante una nota informativa, la Cancillería mexicana indicó que hay identificadas nueve mujeres mexicanas que recibieron atención ginecológica por parte de Mahendra Amin, el doctor a quien se señala de abuso y negligencia médica.”

U.S. Expels Migrant Children From Other Countries to Mexico
Caitlin Dickerson, The New York Times, October 30, 2020
“The expulsions, laid out in a sharply critical internal email from a senior Border Patrol official, have taken place under an aggressive border closure policy the Trump administration has said is necessary to prevent the coronavirus from spreading into the United States. But they conflict with the terms upon which the Mexican government agreed to help implement the order, which were that only Mexican children and others who had adult supervision could be pushed back into Mexico after attempting to cross the border.”

Trump Administration to Put 180-Day Ban on Many Asylum Requests
Nick Wadhams, Bloomberg, October 30, 2020
“The Trump administration is expected to announce a 180-day ban on a range of asylum requests citing the threat posed by the coronavirus, according to two people familiar with the matter, in its latest effort to restrict immigration ahead of the Nov. 3 election. Under the new rule, anyone entering or trying to enter the U.S. by land from Canada or Mexico would be ineligible for asylum — and subject to removal — because of potential national security threats to the U.S. amid the Covid-19 pandemic, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the rule hasn’t been made public.”

Why Should the U.S. Election Matter to Central Americans?
Jorge Cuéllar, El Faro, October 29, 2020
“Today, the countries of El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala bear the marks of these historical maneuverings. The U.S. imperial relationship to Central America has continually sharpened economic and social contradictions, turning transnational migration into, for many, the sole option for survival. From the home to the maquila, from the canton to the marketplace, U.S. power has impacted, if not wholly determined, how life is lived in Central America.”

US Border Officials Told Asylum-Seekers They Didn’t Have Space, Regardless Of Whether They Actually Did
Adolfo Flores, Buzzfeed News, October 29, 2020
“The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General report focused on the agency’s practice of regulating how many immigrants border agents could allow to enter the US to seek asylum, known as queue management, or “metering.” In 2018, after learning that Customs and Border Protection agents could turn away 650 immigrants every day if all ports of entry instituted the practice, Kirstjen Nielsen, the former homeland security secretary, instructed all ports to implement metering.”

A “Biden Administration Will Have to Be Like a Post-War Administration”: Interview with Jon Lee Anderson on What US Election Bodes
John Washington, El Faro, October 29, 2020
“Biden, with decades of history working Latin American policy, including his managing of the Obama administration’s response to an influx of Central American child migrants, promises a non-Trumpian approach. But would Biden really end the US bullying of the region, as he’s promised? Would a modernized Monroe Doctrine, as he’s called for, just soften the edges of Trumpism?”

More Than 40 Immigrants Have Died In ICE Custody In The Past Four Years. Here Are Thousands Of Records About What Happened.
Kendall Taggart, Hamed Aleaziz, Jason Leopold, Buzzfeed News, October 29, 2020
“To date, DHS has produced more than 5,000 pages of documents related to deaths in ICE custody. Collectively, they tell the story of how ICE has in some instances failed to provide adequate care to detainees, some of whom are locked up for months or years before their immigration cases are resolved.”

Democratic Lawmakers Denounce DHS ‘Ad Hoc’ Migrant Deportations In Guatemala
Carrie Khan, NPR, October 29, 2020
“Democratic lawmakers are demanding more information from the Trump administration about an incident in January in which U.S. agents working in Guatemala rounded up U.S.-bound Honduran migrants and transported them back to the Guatemala-Honduras border. Forty-five members of Congress, all Democrats, signed a letter released Wednesday asking Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf to provide a full report on what happened.”

Border Officials Turned Away Unaccompanied Immigrant Children More Than 13,000 Times Under Trump’s Pandemic Policy
Hamed Aleaziz, BuzzFeed News, October 28, 2020
“The Department of Homeland Security has expelled unaccompanied immigrant children from the US border more than 13,000 times since March, when the Trump administration gave the agency unprecedented powers to close off access at the border during the coronavirus pandemic, according to an internal document obtained by BuzzFeed News.”

Asylum Is Dead. The Myth of American Decency Died With It.
Ian Gordon, Mother Jones
“That the United States has long-standing commitments to asylum seekers under federal law and international agreements is of little consequence to Trump and his coterie of immigration hardliners. Even less compelling to the White House is the role asylum plays in the aspirational story of America that we have been telling the world for decades: that, in a country of immigrants, ensuring the safety of those fleeing repression and violence is our duty, and by welcoming them—by doing the right thing—the United States both fulfills its promise and distinguishes itself from all other nations.”

Mexican Enforcement

CNDH: Se violaron derechos de migrantes centroamericanos en México
The Dallas Morning News, 30 de octubre de 2020
“La Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos denunció el jueves que agentes de inmigración y miembros de la Guardia Nacional de México violaron los derechos de los migrantes de una caravana a la que se impidió el paso en enero en la frontera con Guatemala. El uso de piedras, porras y escudos contra los migrantes constituyó uso excesivo de la fuerza, afirmó la CNDH en un comunicado.”

Root Causes

Tropical Storm Eta Left at Least 3 Dead in Central America
The New York Times, November 4, 2020
“Tropical Storm Eta spun through northern Nicaragua Wednesday after lashing the country’s Caribbean coast for much of the past day, its floodwaters isolating already remote communities and setting off deadly landslides that killed at least three people. The storm had weakened from the Category 4 hurricane that battered the coast, but it was moving so slowly and dumping so much rain that much of Central America was on high alert.”

Niños, niñas y adolescentes en garras de la violencia
Ana Irías, Contra Corriente, 3 de noviembre de 2020
“Para Wilmer Vásquez,  coordinador de la Red de Instituciones por los Derechos de la Niñez (Coiproden), las desapariciones que en estos meses han tenido el foco de los medios de  comunicación, tienen relación con el crimen organizado, «muchos niños que han desparecido son utilizados para la trata la explotación sexual comercial, la utilización de la pornografía, entre otros, que quiero decir con esto, que este no es un tema nuevo ya que es algo que ha venido ocurriendo desde hace décadas en el país», dijo.”

Indigenous Guatemalan Journalist Faces Charges after Reporting on Protest
Iñigo Alexander, North American Congress on Latin America, November 2, 2020
“For 37 days, Maya K’iche’ journalist Anastasia Mejía was held in detention at a women’s prison on the outskirts of Quetzaltenango, a small city in Western Guatemala. The National Police detained Mejía on September 22 and charged her with sedition, aggravated attack, arson, and aggravated robbery. She now faces three months on house arrest, after local organizations raised funds to pay her bail.”

Guatemala official resigns over Planned Parenthood row
The Washington Post, November 3, 2020
“Guatemala’s interior minister resigned Tuesday after his decision to allow the group Planned Parenthood to operate in the country despite conservative President Alejandro Giammattei’s fierce opposition to abortion. The president said he had accepted the resignation of Oliverio García Rodas and told a local radio station he would overturn García Rodas’ decision to approve the group, whose clinics sometimes provide abortion services.”

39 diputados del parlamento europeo piden a Honduras liberar los defensores de Guapinol
Criterio.hn, 31 de octubre de 2020
“Treinta y nueve diputados del parlamento Europeo enviaron una carta al gobernante hondureño Juan Hernández y a miembros de su gabinete  pidiendo que se libere a los defensores de Guapinol que guardan prisión por el hecho de defender sus territorios y sus derechos.”

Detienen a dos grupos de migrantes hondureños en su tránsito por Guatemala
Proceso Digital, 31 de octubre de 2020
“En las últimas horas de este sábado fueron detenidos por la Policía Nacional Civil de Guatemala, dos grupos de hondureños que transitaban de manera irregular por el territorio de ese país, informó el Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM) de Honduras.”

En México han asesinado al 10% de periodistas a nivel mundial: Unesco
La Jornada, 3 de noviembre de 2020
“Frédéric Vacheron, representante de la oficina en México de la Unesco, detalló un informe realizado por ese organismo multilateral, presentado ayer en el marco del Día Internacional para poner fin a la impunidad de los crímenes contra periodistas, revela que la última década ha sido fatal para el gremio, pues entre 2010 y 2020 cerca de 900 reporteros y comunicadores han sido asesinados en todo el mundo, y 93 de esos crímenes se dieron en México.”

Central Americans Can Be Key to American Renewal
Óscar Chacón, El Faro, November 30, 2020
“40 years has brought many changes. Today, Central American nationals represent the third largest group of foreign nationals of Latin American origin in the country, after Mexicans and the combined total of Caribbean nationalities. However, Salvadoran nationals alone represent the second largest group of Latin American nationalities residing in the United States, after Mexicans.”

Trump and Central America: Less Democracy for Less Migration
Héctor Silva Ávalos, El Faro, October 29, 2020
“With each new journalistic or judicial investigation into high-level corruption and crime, Central American leaders have found a lifeline in U.S. ambassadors willing to scrub their public image. By dint of blackmail, the Trump administration has demanded an end to unauthorized immigration, promising in return the label of “reliable partner” and issuing blank checks to the presidents of the so-called Northern Triangle of Central America which have underwritten their attacks against the fragile democratic orders they lead.”

El Salvador’s Controversial New US Ambassador and the Future of TPS and DACA
Katharine Valencia, El Faro, October 29, 2020
“Shortly after her nomination, the Ambassador-designate declared on social media that “the heart of the new agenda with Washington is explaining to our compatriots that our president is creating the conditions for their return” – a statement which logically calls into question whether Mayorga will be an ally of Salvadoran immigrants in their fight to find a permanent solution to stay in the US, or rather, if she is inclined to support the restrictive immigration policies implemented by the Trump administration.”

Entrevista: ¿Cómo podría cambiar el rumbo de Honduras el resultado electoral en Estados Unidos?
Contracorriente, 28 de octubre de 2020
“La antropóloga de la Universidad de Michigan asegura que el presidente de Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernández podría enfrentarse a la justicia estadounidense muy pronto y que el resultado de las elecciones en ese país podrían, de cierta manera, cambiar el rumbo de las relaciones entre el gobierno de Honduras y el estadounidense.”

Según Red Nacional de Defensoras: Hombres armados están tras las mujeres de Guapinol
Heidy Dávila, Pasos de Animal Grande, 27 de octubre de 2020
“La Red Nacional de Defensoras de Derechos Humanos en Honduras, (RNDDH), se pronunció en una conferencia de prensa virtual, este 27 de octubre de 2020, por la constante vigilancia, asedio y hostigamiento de hombres armados, policías y militares, aparentemente vinculadas a la empresa minera Inversiones Los Pinares, contra las mujeres, que luchan por proteger el Río Guapinol, en Tocoa, Colón, Honduras.”

Actions, Alerts, and Resources

KIND Blueprint: Concrete Steps to Protect Unaccompanied Children on the Move
Kids in Need of Defense, November 2, 2020
“KIND’s Blueprint for the protection of unaccompanied children provides guidance on how the U.S. government should uphold its responsibility to treat these children humanely and in accordance with the law and this country’s ideals. Their unique vulnerabilities require a legal and policy framework that provides enhanced procedural safeguards and protection mechanisms essential to helping unaccompanied children overcome daunting obstacles to relief.”

Asylum Priorities for the Next Presidential Term
UC Hastings Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, November 2020
“We recognize that while many harmful, unjust policies can and should be reversed immediately, the damage already inflicted is long-lasting, and the system before 2017 was far from perfect. Re-envisioning an asylum system worthy of America’s best traditions and responsive to today’s needs will take a sustained commitment, beyond the length of a single presidential term. But we must start now. Here we lay out the fundamental principles needed to guide the United States in reconstituting the asylum system for the challenges of the 21st century.”

Government Records Shed Light on Illegal Expulsions of Asylum Seekers and Children
Kennji Kizuka, Human Rights First, October 30, 2020
“Since March 2020, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at ports of entry and Border Patrol agents have blocked thousands of asylum seekers and unaccompanied children from requesting humanitarian protection at the border and summarily expelled them from the United States—in violation of U.S. refugee and anti-trafficking laws and treaty obligations. In so doing, DHS has used as a pretext an order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on COVID-19—issued over objections of senior CDC officials and pursuant to instructions by Trump administration officials.”

Immigrant Rights Voices
“There is significant evidence to conclude that agencies within the United States government, particularly the Department of Homeland Security, are using their police power and that of other agencies to stamp out dissenting voices in immigrant communities. By targeting activists and organizers with detention, deportation, criminal prosecution, and surveillance, the government is sending a message that immigrant rights defenders should be fearful to exercise their rights to speak and associate freely.”