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Migration News Brief for April 15, 2022

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Welcome to LAWG’s Migration News Brief, 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.

U.S. ENFORCEMENT 

Biden administration protects Cameroonians in the U.S. from deportation, offers work permits
Camilo Montoya-Galvez, CBS News, April 15, 2022
Welcome to LAWG’s Migration News Brief, 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.“The Biden administration on Friday announced it will offer Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to immigrants from Cameroon in the U.S., protecting them from deportation and allowing them to work legally due to the ongoing armed conflict in the African country.”

Expulsions through Baja California remain high ahead of Title 42 rollback 
Salvador Rivera, Border Report, April 14, 2022
“The number of migrant expulsions into Baja California remained high during the first two months of this year, a pattern that began in 2021, according to Colegio de la Frontera, a prominent collegiate think tank based in Tijuana. It says on average, 385 migrants are being expelled every day from the U.S. into Baja California border cities such as Tijuana and Mexicali.”

How US immigration policies will affect Ukrainian refugees
Madison Czopek, Poynter, April 13, 2022
“More than 4 million people have fled Ukraine since Russia’s invasion began late February. With bordering countries Poland, Romania and Hungary overwhelmed with Ukrainians looking for safety, President Joe Biden announced on March 24 that the U.S. would also welcome Ukrainians.”

Migrants arrive in D.C. on buses sent by GOP Texas Gov. Greg Abbott
Rebecca Shabad, NBC News, April 13, 2022
“A group of undocumented migrants arrived in the nation’s capital Wednesday on a bus sent by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, part of the Republican governor’s strategy to oppose the Biden administration‘s rescinding of a Trump-era border policy. ‘By busing migrants to Washington, D.C., the Biden Administration will be able to more immediately meet the needs of the people they are allowing to cross our border,’ Abbott said in a statement Wednesday, adding that another busload is en route.”

Immigration Politics Roils Pandemic Response
David Dayen, The American Prospect, April 12, 2022
“For a brief moment last week, it looked as if Congress might actually fulfill, in part, the basic responsibility of keeping Americans safe in an emergency. A $10 billion deal was reached to restock supplies of COVID vaccines, therapeutics, and tests, using revenue from canceling previously issued relief funds. It’s ridiculous that the government needs to ‘pay for’ lifesaving items, and worse, funding for global vaccines was left on the cutting-room floor, taking the ‘pan’ out of pandemic and ensuring fertile breeding grounds for more mutations that will eventually come ashore.”

A historian at ICE hunts Latin American war criminals in the U.S.
Kevin Sieff and Nick Miroff, The Washington Post, April 10, 2022
“Schneider works at ICE’s Office for Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center, located in a Tysons, Va., office building shared with medical clinics and accounting firms. Founded in 2008, it is the U.S. government entity responsible for finding and investigating perpetrators of egregious human rights abuses who have come to the United States to escape justice.”

As Haitian migration routes change, compassion is tested in Florida Keys
Tim Craig, The Washington Post, April 9, 2022
“Coast Guard crews have interdicted 2,953 Haitian migrants at sea since the start of the federal fiscal year on Oct. 1, nearly 1,500 more Haitians than were picked up at sea last year. The Coast Guard is now on track to intercept 15 times as many Haitian migrants this year as it did in fiscal year 2020, according to data supplied by the Coast Guard.”

Biden official says U.S. will likely see an uptick in asylum requests and immigration
Cindy Carcamo, The Los Angeles Times, April 9, 2022 
“Ricardo Zúniga, the Biden administration’s special envoy for the region, spoke of the challenges in Central America, and how they are expected to result in an uptick of immigration from the region, while visiting Los Angeles for a Summit of the Americas event earlier this week.”

Disagreement and Delay: How Infighting Over the Border Divided the White House
Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Michael D. Shear and Eileen Sullivan, The New York Times, April 9, 2022
“He had been in office only two months and there was already a crisis at the southwest border. Thousands of migrant children were jammed into unsanitary Border Patrol stations. Republicans were accusing Mr. Biden of flinging open the borders. And his aides were blaming one another.” 

Cubans arriving in record numbers along Mexico border
Christine Armario and Nick Miroff, The Washington Post, April 7, 2022
“Last month, more than 32,000 Cubans were taken into U.S. custody along the Mexico border, double the number who arrived in February, according to unpublished U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) figures obtained by The Washington Post. CBP is on pace to apprehend more than 155,000 Cubans during the current fiscal year, records show, nearly four times the 2021 total and a twelvefold increase over 2020.”

Gov. Greg Abbott’s plan to bus migrants to Washington, D.C., will be voluntary
James Barragán, Texas Tribune, April 6, 2022
“Responding to the recent announcement that the Biden administration will lift a pandemic-era immigration policy that allows authorities to turn away migrants, Gov. Greg Abbott promised drastic, ‘unprecedented’ action to curb what is expected to be a significant influx of migrants coming to Texas.”

A New Surge of Ukrainians at U.S. Border
Miriam Jordan, The New York Times, April 6, 2022
“More than 2,000 Ukrainians have made their way to the U.S. border from Mexico over the past 10 days, joining desperate migrants from around the world in what officials expect could become a major border surge as pandemic restrictions are lifted and the continuing fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine reaches America’s shores.”

National Guard troops in riot gear conducting military exercises along Rio Grande
Sandra Sanchez, Border Report, April 7, 2022
“More than 100 Texas National Guard members in full riot gear practiced military maneuvers on the banks of the Rio Grande on Thursday in deep South Texas, a day after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced sweeping border security plans due to the end of Title 42.”

ICE Air Flights March 2022 and Last 12 Months 
Witness at the Border, April 5, 2022
“We are pleased that President Biden and his Administration announced the end to the Trump/Miller Title 42 policy on 23 May that had no evidence-based rationale from a health perspective but had as its sole purpose the constriction of the legal right to seek protection under our asylum laws. Moreover, it’s good to see that they are, at last, distancing themselves from the multigenerational trope that elicits fear of the ‘infected immigrant.’ We urge the Administration to, at a minimum, immediately rescind Title 42 for families rather than wait until 23 May. In February, there were under 8,000 family members expelled (only 250 per day) across our entire southern border. There is absolutely no need to prepare for almost two months to accept families and protect them from the impending dangers of another two months in the territories of violent criminal organizations.”

MEXICAN ENFORCEMENT

Mexico agrees to establish ‘tactical checkpoints’ after U.S. requests help with surge of migrants
Caitlin Dickson and Jana Winter, Yahoo News, April 9, 2022
“Last month, amid the latest surge of migrants crossing the southern border, U.S. officials in the Border Patrol’s Del Rio sector in Texas contacted officials in the Mexican government to request their assistance to defer migrant traffic away from the sector’s overwhelmed ports of entry.”

Mexico’s Restrictive Visa Policy Limits Venezuelans’ Ability to Flee to the U.S.
Kristen Martinez-Gugerli, Washington Office on Latin America, Apr 4, 2022
“As Venezuela’s economic, humanitarian and political crisis has dragged on, the number of people fleeing Venezuela has continued to rise. Over 6 million Venezuelans, or approximately 20 percent of Venezuela’s population, have fled the country, making it the largest international displacement in the hemisphere’s history. As the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted restrictive border policies and aggravated the socioeconomic situation of migrants and refugees across the region, Venezuelans increasingly sought opportunity and protection in the United States over the course of 2021.”

ROOT CAUSES

Honduran ex-leader Hernández to be extradited to US next week
BBC News, April 14, 2022
“Mr Hernández, who governed from 2014 to January this year, was arrested at his home in Tegucigalpa in February. He is accused of having been involved in a drug-trafficking ring which included his younger brother Tony Hernández, who last year was sentenced in the US to life in prison. The ex-president denies any wrongdoing.”

In El Salvador, churches are essential to ending gang violence. But the government’s crackdown could hurt those efforts.
Dany Díaz Mejía, America Magazine, April 13, 2022
“Celia Medrano, a longtime human rights defender in El Salvador, warned that the rhetoric used by the government to justify the state of emergency will lead to human rights abuses and more violence. ‘The government’s rhetoric revolves around hate, arguing it should respond to the alleged perpetrators with the same violence they have exerted on people, justifying its use of force and humiliation,’ Ms. Medrano said. ‘This will only cause more victims, violence and pain. The government’s approach is based on political calculations rather than tackling the root causes of insecurity.’”

El Salvador police pressured to meet arrest quotas, says union official
The Los Angeles Times, April 12, 2022
“Some national police commanders in El Salvador have been pressuring their officers to meet daily arrest quotas as part of the government’s crackdown on street gangs that has yielded more than 10,000 arrests, a police union said Tuesday.”

Mexico, other Latin American countries condemned in annual U.S. report on human rights
Tracy Wilkinson, The Los Angeles Times, April 12, 2022
“Countries in Latin America came under particularly harsh criticism in the U.S. State Department’s annual report on human rights, with allies such as Mexico and adversaries including Nicaragua facing similar opprobrium. The report released Tuesday was the first in which the Biden administration evaluated a full year of countries’ behavior since taking office.”

Exigen resarcir daños, investigar y sancionar a responsables de la detención ilegal de los defensores de Guapinol
Criterio. hn, 11 de abril de 2022
“El Observatorio por la Justicia de los Defensores del río Guapinol instó al Estado de Honduras a resarcir los daños causados, investigar y sancionar a los responsables de los hechos y ofrecer medidas de protección física y psicológica inmediata a los defensores y su entorno”.

Marzo cerró con 82 feminicidios y mujeres piden aprobar Ley Integral Contra la Violencia
Viena Hernández, Criterio. hn, 11 de abril de 2022
“En Honduras la violencia contra la mujer ha crecido de manera alarmante hasta llegar al punto más alto de su manifestación, el feminicidio. Así lo confirma el Centro de Derechos de la Mujer (CDM), actualizando que hasta el 31 de marzo se han producido 82 muertes violentas de mujeres”.

SAG asegura que 7 millones de hondureños están en línea de pobreza
Proceso Digital, 11 de abril de 2022 
“Autoridades de la Secretaría de Agricultura y Ganadería (SAG), aseguraron que unos 7 millones de hondureños podrían sufrir de hambre ya que se encuentran en línea de pobreza. ‘Aproximadamente siete millones de personas pueden tener hambre porque están en línea de pobreza o debajo de ella’, manifestó este lunes la titular de la SAG, Laura Suazo”. 

El Salvador town embracing bitcoin as currency
Sharyn Alfonsi, CBS News, April 10, 2022
“Sharyn Alfonsi reports from El Zonte, El Salvador, a tiny town that has made bitcoin part of its economy.”

El Salvador’s Nayib Bukele Is Yet Again Ramping Up His Authoritarian Violence
Hilary Goodfriend, JACOBIN, April 8, 2022
“Nayib Bukele has overseen multiple violent crackdowns on basic civil liberties across El Salvador during his time as president. With his recent declaration of martial law against gangs, it’s only getting worse.”

Comunicado: “No más criminalización y despojo contra los pueblos indígenas de honduras
Movimiento Amplio, 7 de abril de 2022
“Nosotros y nosotras, integrantes de la tribu indígena Tolupan de Luquigüe, San Francisco Locomapa, ubicados en el Departamento de Yoro; integrantes del Pueblo Maya Chortí de la comunidad de Azacualpa, organizados en el Movimiento Amplio por la Dignidad y la Justicia y el Bufete Jurídico Estudios para la Dignidad nos hemos movilizado el día de hoy desde distintos puntos del país para pronunciarnos ante el Ministerio Público, instituciones del gobierno Central y a la población en general de la forma siguiente”

Honduran special economic zone adopts bitcoin as legal tender
Gustavo Palencia, Reuters, April 7, 2022 
“A special economic zone on a tourist-centric island on Honduras’ Caribbean coast has adopted bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as legal tender, officials of the zone said on Thursday.”

El Salvador’s New Law on Gangs Raises Censorship Fears
Maria Abi-Habib and Bryan Avelar, The New York Times, April 6, 2022
“El Salvador’s Congress passed a measure late Tuesday to punish anyone who shares information about gangs with up to 15 years in prison, a move that observers say could lead to the censorship of journalists and more mass detentions.”

Gag Order for Journalism on Gangs
El Faro, April 6, 2022
“On Tuesday Bukele ordered changes to the Penal Code that press advocates warn censor journalism about gangs and would impede news outlets from questioning the official narrative on issues such as security policy and the government’s secret negotiations with the gangs. The reforms could criminalize El Faro’s newest revelation that an anti-mafia judge documented a top MS-13 leader’s unlawful release from prison. The measure comes on the heels of the declaration of a 30-day state of exception on March 27.”

El Salvador Needs Long-Term Solutions to End Cycles of Violence
Mary Speck, United Institute of Peace, April 6, 2022
“The government of El Salvador reacted harshly to a recent spike in homicides by imposing a state of emergency and rounding up thousands of suspected gang members. Recent history suggests that law enforcement alone cannot solve the problem without comprehensive gang prevention, intervention and rehabilitation programs in marginalized communities. USIP’s Mary Speck discusses violence in El Salvador and how the country can reduce crime while still respecting human rights.”

Organizaciones contabilizan 34 denuncias de violaciones de derechos humanos
Milton Rodriguez, El Salvador, 5 de abril de 2022
“Diferentes organizaciones nacionales e internacionales exhortaron este martes al gobierno de Nayib Bukele  a implementar políticas de seguridad integral en favor de la ciudadanía y a respetar los derechos humanos de acuerdo a los estándares internacionales”.

Juzgar a menores como adultos viola la Convención sobre los Derechos del Niño
Xenia Oliva y Beatriz Benítez, Gato Encerrado, 5 de abril de 2022
“Desde el pasado 30 de marzo El Salvador impuso una legislación penal más severa a menores de edad, sin discusión ni análisis previo de los diputados sobre el contexto de riesgo en el que viven los niños, niñas y adolescentes y sin un estudio que determine el nivel de participación delincuencial de estos, según consideraron diferentes abogadas y expertas consultadas por GatoEncerrado”. 

La ONU denuncia abusos en El Salvador por el estado de excepción para contener la violencia
Europa Press, 5 de abril de 2022
“La ONU denuncia abusos en El Salvador por el estado de excepción para contener la violencia El Alto Comisionado de la ONU para los Derechos Humanos se ha mostrado ‘profundamente preocupado’ por los efectos colaterales que estaría teniendo el estado de excepción impuesto en El Salvador para combatir la violencia de las pandillas, ya que sospecha que la Policía está haciendo un uso excesivo de la fuerza y se estarían cometiendo malos tratos sobre detenidos”.

The Fight for Labor Rights in Mexico
Jim Goodman, The Progressive Magazine, April 5, 2022
“The recent win of an insurgent union to represent workers at the Tridonex auto parts plant in the city of Matamoros, on the Mexico side of the U.S. border, was a blow to the long unholy alliance between corporations and subservient unions in Mexico.”

El desplazamiento forzado un problema invisibilizado en Honduras
Expediente Público, 1 de abril de 2022  
“Este caso de desplazamiento forzado, visibilizado a través de la campana ‘Vidas desplazadas’ de la Agencia de la ONU para los refugiados (Acnur), es un riesgo o la realidad que afrontan miles de personas en Honduras se ven obligadas a cambiar de barrio, ciudad o país”. 

No New Ideas after El Salvador’s Homicide Crisis
El Faro, March 13, 2022
“Amid an ongoing state of exception, the Bukele-controlled legislature held its second emergency session in five days to approve sweeping increases in criminal sentences for gang leaders and underage members alike. Bukele also sponsored legislation to increase prison time for any kind of negotiation with gangs, despite the fact that his administration has been doing just that since its first days in office.”

ACTION, ALERTS, AND RESOURCES

Protection Delayed is Protection Denied:i Factsheet on Title 42 Expulsions, Haitian Asylum Seekers in Tijuana, and the U.S. Government’s Ongoing Evasion of Duty
Center for Gender and Refugee Studies, April 7, 2022
“An estimated 10,000 Black migrants, predominantly asylum seekers from Haiti, currently reside in Tijuana where they face discrimination and violence. Since the imposition of Title 42, the United States has refused to permit nearly all individuals their legal right to seek asylum and has instead conducted mass expulsions. Title 42 has had a particularly devastating impact on Haitians, who have been expelled en masse without being screened for their fear of harm in Haiti despite ‘obligations under both domestic and international law that prohibit return of individuals to persecution and torture.’”

Exploiting the Pandemic to Expel Aslyum Seekers: An FAQ on Why Title 42 Expulsions Must End 
Azadeh Erfani, Jesse Franzblau and Heidi Altman, National Immigrant Justice Center, April 5, 2022
“On April 1, 2022, the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) announced that it would end the use of Title 42 starting May 23, 2022. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a fact sheet the day before, clarifying that the agency was more than prepared for any projected increase in migration. The decision to end Title 42 was the right one and the administration must resist the inhumane efforts to politicize public health and refugee protections.” 

Three Immediate Steps for the Biden Administration to Reform Asylum at the U.S.-Mexico Border
Women’s Refugee Commission, April 4, 2022
“In this infographic, the Women’s Refugee Commission and Human Rights First outline how the Biden administration can reform the asylum process at the U.S.-Mexico border.”

Lateral Expulsion Flights Along The Border
Stephanie Leutert, Francisco Alvarado-Quiroz, Christian Soenen, and Tracey Horan, Strauss Center, April 2022
“In March 2021, Border Patrol agents began bringing hundreds of asylum-seeking Central American families out of processing facilities in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas and onto waiting planes. These individuals often had little, if any, information regarding where they were heading, with some believing that they were about to be reunited with family in the United States. However, instead of being released, the planes traveled to San Diego or El Paso and most of these families were led into Mexican border cities.”

Beyond the Border: Opportunities for Managing Regional Migration between Central and North America
Ariel G. Ruiz Soto and Andrew Selee, Migration Policy Institute, April 2022 
“The Migration Policy Institute (MPI) in 2013 published the final report of the Regional Migration Study Group it convened with the Wilson Center, looking at migration trends from nearby countries and sketching a regional migration cooperation architecture. Even then, the prospect of increased migration from Central America was clear, while Mexican irregular migration was ebbing. The vast income differentials between Central American countries and the United States, along with rapidly developing cross-border social networks that facilitate mobility, made evident that many Central Americans would seek economic opportunities abroad.”


* 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.

P.S. Do you know of someone who might be interested in receiving the Migration News Brief? Tell them to email ysanchezesparza@lawg.org!