Migration News Brief, February 10, 2023

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Lisa Haugaard, The Latin America Working Group, February 7, 2023

U.S. Enforcement 

Partisan rift widens on immigration policy, as seen in two House hearings 
Rafael Bernal and Rebecca Beitsch, The Hill, February 8, 2023
“Republicans and Democrats kicked off the first major immigration policy meetings of the new Congress at odds, with little agreement on even the most basic facts on the issue. The parties have now faced off on the legislative stage twice, in hearings convened by the House Judiciary and House Oversight and Accountability committees. They’ve accomplished little more than to highlight the growing partisan split, despite a plea to ‘find a solution’ from the El Paso Border Patrol sector chief.”

Biden weighs border deal that would deport non-Mexicans to Mexico
Nick Miroff, Maria Sacchetti and Kevin Sieff, The Washington Post, February 8, 2023
“The Biden administration is negotiating an agreement with Mexico that could allow U.S. authorities to carry out large-scale deportations of non-Mexicans back across the border for the first time, according to four current and former U.S. officials familiar with the discussions.”

Biden gives lip service to immigration reform at SOTU
Rafael Bernal, The Hill, February 7, 2023
“President Biden barely touched the polarizing subject of immigration in a State of the Union address focused on bipartisanship. Nearly an hour into his Tuesday speech before a joint session of Congress, Biden made a quick detour into immigration, doing his best to frame it as a bipartisan issue.”

Biden Officials Tell Supreme Court That Title 42 Case Will Soon Be Moot
Adam Liptak, The New York Times, February 7, 2023
“The Biden administration urged the Supreme Court on Tuesday to dismiss a challenge to ending the pandemic-era immigration measure known as Title 42, saying that the government’s announcement that the health emergency would expire on May 11 would make the case moot.”

State of Arizona, ET AL., Petitioners v. Alejandro N. Mayorkas, Secretary of Homeland Security, ET AL. 
Supreme Court of the United States, February 7, 2023
“Since this Court’s grant of certiorari, the government has also continued its preparations for a full return to operations under Title 8. In January, DHS and the Department of Justice announced their intent to issue a proposed rule that would place additional conditions on asylum eligibility. The proposed rule would adopt a presumption against asylum eligibility for migrants who fail to avail themselves of a lawful pathway for presenting their claims for protection in the United States or another country in the region.”

Weekly U.S.-Mexico Border Update: “Fast-tracking” asylum, Title 42 reduces migration, Humanitarian parole, CBP One issues
Adam Isacson, WOLA, February 2, 2023
“The Biden administration is ‘poised’ to roll out an ‘expedited removal’ effort that could require many asylum seekers to defend their cases within days of apprehension, while in CBP custody. Seventy-seven U.S. legislators objected to another administration proposal, which would presumptively deny asylum to migrants who fail to apply for it in countries through which they passed en route to the U.S. border.”

Tijuana’s migrant shelters under increased attack, as the U.S. sends hundreds of migrants per day
Adam Isacson and Ana Lucía Verduzco, WOLA, 31 January 2023
“Non-profit migrant shelters in the city of Tijuana, Mexico, just south of San Diego, are experiencing an alarming wave of attacks. The frequency of threats and hostilities over the past four months raises serious concerns about the safety of migrants and shelter staff in a city experiencing high levels of violence. While U.S. authorities advise their citizens to reconsider travel to the state, they are sending hundreds of people into Tijuana—many of them non-Mexican—every day.”

Mexican Enforcement

Mexico opposes restart of U.S. ‘Remain in Mexico’ immigration policy
Kylie Madry, Reuters, February 6, 2023
“The Mexican government said on Monday it is opposed to a possible restart of the U.S. immigration policy known as “Remain in Mexico” which required asylum seekers to wait for U.S. hearings in Mexico. President Joe Biden has sought to end the program, which had been introduced by the Trump administration and is currently suspended.”

Tapachula: Más de tres mil inmigrantes cubanos entre la incertidumbre y la espera
Ricardo Quintana, Marti, 2 de febrero de 2023
“Tapachula, en el estado de Chiapas, desde 2017 es una de las ciudades receptoras de extranjeros en tránsito en el sur de México y pese a los esfuerzos del gobierno por contener el flujo migratorio, la crisis ha sido inevitable y prolongada. Migrantes consultados por Radio Televisión Martí calculan que en estos momentos hay más de 3 mil cubanos varados en la pequeña localidad situada a menos de 10 kilómetros de Guatemala, y reconocida como un punto de tránsito, de estancia temporal y de destino”.

Root Causes 


Harris Announces Funding to Address Root Causes of Migration Crisis
Michael D. Shear, The New York Times, February 6, 2023
“Vice President Kamala Harris on Monday announced almost $1 billion in new pledges by private companies to support communities in Central America, part of the Biden administration’s effort to keep migrants from fleeing toward the U.S. border. Ten companies, including Nestle, Target and Columbia Sportswear, said they would collectively spend $950 million on projects in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador to support farmers, create textile jobs and invest in telecommunications and other industries.”

U.S. VP Harris touts $4.2b private sector investment in Central America
Reuters, February 6, 2023
“Private companies have committed to invest $4.2 billion in northern Central America as part of an effort by U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris to reduce migration, the White House said on Monday.”

FACT SHEET: Update on the U.S. Strategy for Addressing the Root Causes of Migration in Central America
The White House, February 6, 2023
“Vice President Harris continues to lead the implementation of the Root Causes Strategy, which tackles the drivers of irregular migration by improving the conditions in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras so people do not feel compelled to leave their homes.  This includes tackling economic, governance, and security challenges.”


Colombia y México, entre los países con más periodistas asesinados en 2022
Santiago Triana Sánchez, El Pais, 7 de febrero de 2023
“La Federación Internacional de Periodistas (FIP) publicó este lunes un informe que indica que 68 periodistas fueron asesinados en el mundo en 2022. Durante ese año, el país más peligroso para ejercer ese oficio fue Ucrania, donde murieron 12 comunicadores. México, donde hubo 11 homicidios contra periodistas, y Colombia, donde hubo cuatro, están entre los seis países donde más se atenta contra esos profesionales. Ese grupo lo completan Haití, Pakistán y Filipinas”.

La infame estrategia de sicarios del CJNG: ahora se visten de militares de la Guardia Nacional en Guerrero – Infobae
Redacción Infobae México, Infobae, 5 de febrero de 2023
“Integrantes del Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG) usan uniformes tácticos militares parecidos a los de la Guardia Nacional (GN) en el estado de Guerrero. Videos que circulan en redes sociales muestran a varios sujetos armados con uniformes muy similares a los que son utilizados en la corporación dependiente de la Secretaría de la Defensa Nacional (SEDENA)”.

Rise in Unaccompanied Migrant Children at U.S.-Mexico Border
TeleSUR, February 5, 2023 
“The arrival of unaccompanied migrant children has surprised again this year at the northern border of Mexico, where authorities have found groups of dozens of minors in the midst of US immigration restrictions. Mexican authorities and activists in Ciudad Juarez have detected that in recent months there has been an increase in the arrival of minors unaccompanied by adults attempting to cross into the United States, mostly from Central America.”

El Gobierno de Ciudad de México defiende que la presencia de la Guardia Nacional en el Metro reduce el robo de infrastructure
Isabella González, El País, 1 de febrero de 2023
“En medio de la polémica de las últimas semanas, los responsables del Metro de Ciudad de México han salido en defensa de una de las medidas más cuestionadas. Desde que más de 6.000 miembros de la Guardia Nacional comenzaron a vigilar las 195 estaciones, el pasado 12 de enero, el robo de cables de las instalaciones ha disminuido 61%, de acuerdo con las autoridades del sistema que transporta a más de 4,6 millones de personas en la capital de México”.

International groups want Mexico to find missing environmental activists
Julian Resendiz, WFXR Fox, February 1, 2023
“Human rights activists say more than 100,000 people in Mexico are missing after being targeted by criminals, and a lawyer who represents families displaced from their farms and a teacher who opposed illegal mining in the state of Michoacan joined the list a few days ago. Now family members and several international organizations have started a media blitz to press Mexican authorities into looking for them and bring their abductors to justice.”


Caso Jose Rubén Zamora: exabogado de periodista es ligado a proceso penal y queda en prisión preventive
Edwin Pitán y EFE, Prensa Libre, 6 de febrero de 2023
“Un juzgado de Guatemala decidió este lunes 6 de febrero ligar a proceso por un supuesto caso de obstrucción a la Justicia al abogado Mario Castañeda, exdefensor del periodista Jose Rubén Zamora Marroquín, principal crítico del Gobierno que preside Alejandro Giammattei. De acuerdo con el juez Jimmi Bremmer, titular del Juzgado Décimo Penal, existen indicios suficientes para que el Ministerio Público (MP) amplíe la investigación contra Castañeda.”

‘They Are Afraid of the People’: Guatemala Tribunal Bars Leftist Presidential Ticket From Ballot
Jake Johnson, Common Dreams, February 4, 2023
“Guatemala’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal ruled earlier this week that a leftist presidential ticket headed by Indigenous human rights defender Thelma Cabrera should be barred from the June ballot, prompting fury and vows of mass protests from Cabrera’s supporters.”

Corruption rife across Latin America; Guatemala, Nicaragua reach all-time lows: report
Steven Grattan, Reuters, January 31, 2023
“Guatemala, Nicaragua and Cuba reached all-time lows on Transparency International’s corruption index released on Tuesday due to increased organized crime by public institutions, co-optation by political and economic elites and increased human rights abuses.”

El Salvador 

“Mirábamos cuando sacaban a los muertos de Mariona”
Carlos Barrera y Víctor Peña, El Faro, 8 de febrero de 2023
“Manuel fue capturado en abril de 2022, a inicio del régimen de excepción. Tras 20 días detenido fue liberado al no haber pruebas de que era pandillero. No olvida lo que vio: torturas y golpizas hasta el punto de ‘desear la muerte’”.

El Salvador’s Historic Metal Mining Ban Is in Danger
Owen Schalk, Jacobin, February 5, 2023
“Unlike many Latin American countries that court extractive investments from transnational companies, El Salvador has no metal mining industry. This is unique in the region, the result of years of organizing by social groups, environmental organizations, and the Catholic Church. Under President Nayib Bukele, however, this mining prohibition is facing new threats.”

El Salvador opens 40,000-person prison as arrests soar in gang crackdown
Reuters, February 1, 2023
“Authorities in El Salvador have opened one of Latin America’s largest prisons, more than doubling the country’s incarceration capacity, as a government crackdown on criminal gangs is causing the prison population to soar.”

El Salvador Arrests Prominent Anti-Mining Activists
Giada Ferrucci and Pedro Cabezas, NACLA, February 1, 2023
“The government of Nayib Bukele opens civil war wounds by arresting five water defenders linked to the historic community of Santa Marta, raising speculation about a possible reversal of the country’s metals mining ban.”


Defensores de derechos humanos preocupados ante una nueva ampliación del estado de excepción » Criterio.hn
Breidy Hernández, Criterio.hn, 3 de febrero, 2023
“A pocos días de cumplirse un mes de la prórroga del estado de excepción la Policía Nacional informó que se está previendo otra ampliación de esta medida, con lo que sería la tercera aplicación de manera consecutiva. Este estado de excepción fue la medida que utilizó la presidenta Xiomara Castro, a través del PCM 29-2022, para declarar una guerra en contra de la extorsión y delitos conexos”.

Honduras launches $280 mln U.N.-backed humanitarian aid plan
Reuters, February 2, 2023
“Honduras and the United Nations launched on Thursday a humanitarian aid plan aiming to reach more than 2 million of the Central American country’s most vulnerable people, the groups said. The plan requires some $280 million in funding to help those hit by recent crop failures caused by drought, historic flooding from tropical storms and insecurity caused by drug trafficking and gangs, the United Nations said in a statement.”

Migración: emergencia humanitaria » Criterio.hn
Breidy Hernández, Criterio.hn, 31 de enero de 2023
“Cada día que pasa, más hondureñas y hondureños toman la decisión de tomar un cambio de ropa, los pocos ahorros, y guardarlos en una vieja mochila y emprender viaje por la ruta migratoria, con la ilusión de llegar hacia los estados unidos, que pese a tener políticas migratorias mas agresivas, lleva en mente el sueño de conmover a las autoridades migratorias y pasar hacia la tierra norteamericana y dejar atrás su país de origen”.

Actions, Alerts, and Resources 

Wrong Direction: 2022 Biden Administration Progress Report
Detention Watch Network, February 8, 2023
“In his second year in office, President Biden continued down an anti-immigrant path set by presidential administrations before him. While the Biden administration ended contracts for several Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facilities and submitted a budget request with a 26% reduction in ICE detention capacity, these victories are attributable to consistent pressure and organizing from community members. Overall, President Biden has widened the enforcement dragnet as detention numbers continued to rise and the number of people surveilled by ICE’s so- called alternatives to detention (ATD) increased exponentially. At the same time, the administration dragged its feet in walking back Trump-era anti-immigrant border policies, including Title 42, and most recently doubled-down on deterrence policies, severely restricting access to asylum and increasing the pipeline into detention.”

January 2023 ICE Air and Last 12 Months
Thomas Cartwright, Witness at the Border, February 5, 2023
“Over the last 12 months, all under President Biden, there have been a likely 7,913 ICE Air flight legs as compared to 4,845 in 2020, a startling, unexpected, and disappointing increase of 3,068 (63%) over 2020 and up 1,789 (29%) over 2021.Of these flights, 1,387 were removal flights, an increase of 378 (37%) over the 1,009 in 2020, and 338 (32%) over 2021.”

*The 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.

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