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Migration News Brief 12.11.19

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Migration News Brief for December 11, 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

In a first, US. starts pushing Central American families seeking asylum to Guatemala 
Molly O’Toole, Los Angeles Times, December 10, 2019 

“One family of three from Honduras, as well as a separate Honduran parent and child, were served with notices on Tuesday that they’d soon be deported to Guatemala.”

Despite Warnings, Trump Moves to Expand Migrant Family Detention
Caitlin Dickerson, New York Times, December 9, 2019

“The experiences of migrant families like Kenia’s who were held for months behind the locked gates of a secure facility offer insight into what thousands of others could face if the Trump administration succeeds in creating one of the few long-term incarceration systems for families in the developed world.”

Violence Drives a Swell in Mexican Migration
Kirk Semple, New York Times, December 7, 2019

“But the policies have had little impact on Mexican migration because Mexicans cannot be prevented from traveling through their own country to the northern border. And Mexican asylum seekers who have entered the United States, once they apply for protection, cannot be returned home unless their petitions are denied.”

Private border wall construction continues despite court order
Nina Lakhani, The Guardian, December 7, 2019

“The state court order was served to We Build the Wall (WBTW), an anti-migrant group founded by military veteran Brian Kolfage, and the landowners, Neuhaus and Sons LLC, whose land is situated between Trump’s proposed wall and the Mexican border. WBTW is a not-for-profit group that has crowd-funded millions of dollars by tapping into anti-migrant fervor and is led by the former White House advisor Steve Bannon as chairman of its advisory board. Kolfage has described some people crossing the southern border without documents as terrorists and drug traffickers, and accuses border wall critics as being cartel collaborators.”

Here’s The Company Behind Trump’s Controversial Border ‘Tent Courts’ For Migrants
Denis Cam, Forbes, December 5, 2019

“While tent courts have been criticized by immigration activists like Vela for their lack of transparency (she and two colleagues were denied access to hearings on her visit), they have provided a unique opportunity for a New York company more used to constructing tents for huge concerts: Deployed Resources, which Forbes found has been paid at least $48.9 million by the Department of Homeland Security to build and maintain two of these structures.”

The Border Wall Is Rising Up Across Our National Parks
Francisco Cantu, New York Times, December 5, 2019

“While it may be comforting for many to think that the Trump administration has been entirely ineffective in delivering on his most symbolic and most hateful campaign promises, the truth is far more alarming: As you read these words, towering walls of concrete and steel are being constructed across national monuments, wildlife refuges and wilderness areas. In all, more than 130 miles of federally protected lands are under threat.”

Congress races to beat deadline on shutdown
Jordan Carney and Niv Elis, The Hill, December 5, 2019

“The border is the main sticking point, and negotiators have been swapping offers. The GOP-controlled Senate included $5 billion for the wall in its Department of Homeland Security (DHS) bill while the Democratic-run House included no new funding in its legislation.”

Inside the Cell Where a Sick 16-Year-Old Boy Died in Border Patrol Care
Robert Moore, Susan Schmidt, and Maryam Jameel, ProPublica, December 5, 201

“But the record shows that the Border Patrol fell far short of that standard with Carlos. ProPublica has obtained video that documents the 16-year-old’s last hours, and it shows that Border Patrol agents and health care workers at the Weslaco holding facility missed increasingly obvious signs that his condition was perilous. The cellblock video shows Carlos writhing for at least 25 minutes on the floor and a concrete bench. It shows him staggering to the toilet and collapsing on the floor, where he remained in the same position for the next four and a half hours.”

On 5 flights from the US, largest group of deported migrants arrives in Guatemala
CNN, Border Report, December 5, 2019

“Five planes carrying Guatemalan migrants deported from the U.S. arrived Wednesday at an airbase in Guatemala. It is the largest number of people received by the Central American country in a single day, according to what CNN has been able to verify.”

Here’s The Draft Report Revealing How US Border Officials Pressured Asylum Officers To Deny Entry To Immigrants
Hamed Aleaziz, BuzzFeed, December 4, 2019

“In late November, the ACLU, which has sued to block the program, asked the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to order the DHS to release the so-called Red Team Report, which was leaked to BuzzFeed News. The court has yet to rule on the request.”

A toddler thrown from a train, a pregnant woman beaten, a father’s head in a box: Migrant stories from the US-Mexico border
Anastaysia Boiton, KHOU11, December 4, 2019

“The U.S. Customs and Border Protection, or CBP, reported a surge in enforcement during its fiscal year in 2019, attributing it to activity on the southwest border. In a press release, CBP said in 2019 it’s apprehended 851,508 migrants, including what it called “a record-breaking” 473,683 family units. The agency also rescued 4,900 migrants. Adolpho Telles doesn’t argue that immigrants are fleeing their countries due to serious issues. But the chairman of the El Paso Republican Party said they’re leaving for the wrong reasons.”

ICE Dallas office opening its newest detention facility in West Texas
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Department of Homeland Security, December 3, 2019

“The field office director (FOD) for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) for Dallas, Texas, is announcing a new ICE detention facility that’s officially opening during the week of Dec. 9.”

Mexican Enforcement

Witnesses: Mexican immigration officials destroy migrant camps
Erin Sheridan, The Brownsville Herald, December 4, 2019

“In Matamoros, a dirt path along the Rio Grande once lined with tents occupied by asylum seekers was scattered with dirty clothing, toiletries, food, and broken tent poles following a visit from Mexican immigration officials on Tuesday morning. Just past noon, families living in tents nearby quietly searched through the debris. Residents rescued uneaten food, shoes, buckets, blankets, and other supplies left behind by the estimated 60 Mexican families of the camp who were granted permission to cross the Gateway International Bridge overnight.”

Root Causes 

LAWG publica informe y ofrece testimonio ante el Congreso de los Estados Unidos sobre la corrupción y las violaciones de derechos humanos en Honduras 
Latin America Working Group, 11 de diciembre de 2019 

“Hoy, miércoles 11 de diciembre a las 3pm hora de Washington, DC/ 2pm hora de Honduras, Lisa Haugaard, co-directora de LAWG, ofrecerá su testimonio ante una audiencia en el Congreso de Estados Unidos convocada por la Comisión Tom Lantos de Derechos Humanos sobre las violaciones de derechos humanos y la corrupción en Honduras.”

En Honduras: 20 defensores fueron asesinados en 2019 
Radio Progreso, 10 de diciembre de 2019 

“Con el asesinato de 20 defensores y defensoras y el encarcelamiento de ocho ambientalistas por la defensa del derecho al agua, Honduras conmemora el Día Internacional de los Derechos Humanos -10 de diciembre-, situación que, junto a las consecuencias del narcotráfico y crimen organizado, coloca a población en un estado de ‘cuidados intensivos’, según expertos en el tema”.

‘Fleeing not Migrating’
James Goodman, The Progressive, December 6, 2019

“Hit hard by the droughts, neighboring farmers ran out of options. Cantarero says as many as 300 residents from his community alone have left for the United States, most in recent years. “Many are now leaving with their families,” Cantarero says. “You can’t make a living as a farmer.”

China signs on for ‘gigantic’ investment in El Salvador infrastructure
Nelson Reteneria, Reuters, December 3, 2019

“China will help build several major infrastructure projects in El Salvador including a stadium and water treatment plant, the two countries said on Tuesday, signaling China’s growing role in the region after El Salvador cut ties with Taiwan. Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele, who met with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in China this week, said the investment represented a “gigantic, non-refundable cooperation” for the small Central American nation.”

“El 98% del trabajo doméstico es ejercido por mujeres migrantes e indígenas”
Radio Progreso, 5 de diciembre de 2019

“De acuerdo a la Organización Internacional del Trabajo (OIT), en América Latina existen 19.5 millones de trabajadores y trabajadoras domésticas, la mayoría son mujeres, es decir 18 millones de mujeres y 1.5 millones de hombres.”

Guardianes de la patria: la huella militar y religiosa en la niñez de un país violento
Jennifer Avila y Fernando Silva, Contra Corriente, 4 de diciembre de 2019

“Desafortunadamente lo lamentamos, pero los responsables somos toda la sociedad, por eso sigamos creyendo que al reforzar valores vamos a construir un mejor país. El programa seguirá mejorando, esto servirá para contestar esta pregunta, fortaleciendo los valores, implementando becas, vamos a evitar que estos niños estén metidos en maras o pandillas u otras organizaciones que nada más traen luto y dolor. Los resultados no serían 61 masacres sino 500 si no hubiera voluntad para trabajar todos juntos»”.

Relatoría Especial condena asesinato de periodista José Arita en Honduras e insta a investigar relación con su actividad periodística
Gissel Granadez, Conexihon, 4 de diciembre de 2019

“La Relatoría Especial para la Libertad de Expresión de la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CIDH) condena el asesinato del periodista José Arita, ocurrido el 25 de Noviembre de 2019 en Puerto Cortés, departamento de Cortés, Honduras y observa con preocupación que se trataría del sexto asesinato contra personal de prensa en lo que va del año. Asimismo, insta al Estado hondureño a investigar los casos de forma completa, efectiva e imparcial, esclarezca sus móviles y determine la relación que pudieran tener con la actividad periodística.”

Three Facts You Haven’t Heard Much About Are Keys to Better Policy Toward Central America
Michael Clemens and Jimmy Graham, Center for Global Development, November 1, 2019

“Effective policy for managing this pressure needs to rest on three big facts that have received much too little attention in the debate so far:  An imminent demographic shock in the region will ease migration pressure, Visa policy is critical to strengthen law enforcement, The effect of aid on migration”

Actions, Alerts, Resources 

Making Way for Corruption in Guatemala and Honduras 
Lisa Haugaard, Latin America Working Group Education Fund, December 11, 2019 

“In Guatemala and Honduras, corrupt officials in executive branches and legislatures are putting into place laws and policies to limit oversight and action by judicial authorities, human rights defenders, civil society activists, and journalists to expose and protest abuses, while sweeping away obstacles to their own corruption.”

Forced Return to Danger
AFL-CIO, WRC, KIND, LAWG, Alianza Americas, Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, WOLA, December 5, 2019

“In the Forced Return to Danger report, LAWG and other civil society organizations outline the disturbing impacts of the agreements on asylum seekers’ protection and well-being, and the likelihood that they will violate U.S. and international refugee law. The memo highlights the ways in which the agreements completely ignore the distinct but concerning realities that fuel forced migration and displacement of thousands of individuals from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.”

Report: Children at the crosshairs of immigration enforcement
American Friends Service Committee, December 10, 2019 

“This report documents numerous cases in San Diego County where children were detrimentally impacted by the enforcement actions of Customs and Border protection (CBP), which includes Border Patrol, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).”

We Have an Obligation: Breaking down the Trump administration’s war on asylum-seekers
Southern Poverty Law Center, December 6, 2019 

“This war on asylum-seekers has created a humanitarian crisis with tens of thousands of vulnerable migrants – fleeing violence and persecution – trapped in Mexico living in dangerous and often squalid conditions. By sabotaging the asylum system, President Trump has made a mockery of the United States’ international reputation as a country that respects human rights and the rule of law. This cannot and must not stand.”

2019 Update — Death, Damage, and Failure: Past Present, and Future Impacts of Walls on the U.S.-Mexico Border 
ACLU of Texas, December 2, 2019 

“[This report] is an update to a 2018 report analyzing the destructive impacts of border barrier construction with new information about additional border barrier construction with new information about additional barrier funding and future construction plans.”

Migrating to Prison: America’s Obsession with Locking Up Immigrants
César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández, The New Press, December 2019

“A leading scholar’s powerful, in-depth look at the imprisonment of immigrants addressing the intersection of immigration and the criminal justice system”

*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.