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Migration News Brief for April 22, 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.

SPOTLIGHT 

The end of Title 42 is being threatened, we need your help!
Latin America Working Group, April 19, 2022
“We told you our work wasn’t over! Just weeks after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced they would be terminating Title 42 on May 23rd, there is already pushback. Senators Lankford (R-OK) and Sinema (D-AZ) in the Senate have introduced the Public Health and Border Security Act of 2022, commonly referred to as the ‘Lankford-Simena Bill’ Senate, S.4036. And Representatives Gonzalez (R-OH) and Golden (D-ME) have introduced a companion bill in the House, H.R. 7458.”

U.S. ENFORCEMENT

US immigration agency explores data loophole to obtain information on deportation targets
Johana Bhuiyan, The Guardian, April 20, 2022
“Over the last decade, a growing number of American cities and states have restricted the information local law enforcement departments can exchange with immigration authorities. But new documents reveal that US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) has tapped a network of private technology companies to skirt such sanctuary policies, facilitating access to ‘real time’ information about incarcerations and jail bookings, which enables them to pick up immigrants targeted for deportation.” 

Record arrivals of Cubans, Nicaraguans and Colombians fuel 22-year high in U.S. border arrests
Camilo Montoya-Galvez, CBS News, April 19, 2022
“A 22-year high in apprehensions along the U.S.-Mexico border in March was partly fueled by record arrivals of migrants from Cuba, Nicaragua, Colombia and Ukraine, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) figures released this week show. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) processed migrants 221,303 times along the southern border in March, a 33% jump from February and the highest tally since 2000, according to agency statistics. CBP said 159,900 encounters in March represented unique migrants, citing a 28% rate of repeat border crossings.” 

Biden considers delaying Title 42 repeal
Hans Nichols and Jonathan Swan, Axios, April 19, 2022
“President Biden’s inner circle has been discussing delaying the repeal of Title 42 border restrictions, now set to end May 23, according to a source with direct knowledge of the internal discussion. The White House is looking for ways to buy time to avoid a massive influx of migrants that would add to already-historic border numbers. That already endangers Democratic incumbents in states that could decide the Senate majority in November.” 

US officials attend migration summit while policies under fire 
Sandra Cuffe, Al Jazeera, April 19, 2022
Guatemala City, Guatemala – Top United States officials are in Panama for a summit on migration in the Americas, where migrant rights groups say US policies exacerbate the dangers faced by migrants and asylum seekers heading north. The US secretaries of state and homeland security are joining their counterparts from 20 other countries in the western hemisphere for a ministerial conference on migration on Tuesday and Wednesday in Panama City.” 

More Ukrainians to receive immigration protections
Caroline Simon, Roll Call, April 18, 2022
“The Biden administration announced a regulatory change Monday that will make more Ukrainians eligible for Temporary Protected Status in the United States. Ukrainians who entered the U.S. by April 11 are eligible to apply for 18 months of deportation protection and work authorization, according to a Federal Register notice. That expands the window by more than a month. When the TPS designation was initially announced in early March, the qualifying date was March 1.” 

U.S. arrests 210,000 migrants at Mexico border in March, rivaling record highs
Ted Hesson, Reuters, April 18, 2022
“The White House is looking for ways to buy time to avoid a massive influx of migrants that would add to already-historic border numbers. That already endangers Democratic incumbents in states that could decide the Senate majority in November. The March total is a 24% increase from the same month a year earlier, when 169,000 migrants were picked up at the border, the start of a rise in migration that left thousands unaccompanied children stuck in crowded border patrol stations for days while they awaited placement in overwhelmed government-run shelters.” 

Maestra hondureña muere al caer del muro fronterizo en El Paso 
El Heraldo, 16 de abril de 2022
“Sumida en consternación y luto se encuentra una familia hondureña tras la muerte de una joven mientras buscaba alcanzar el ‘sueño americano’. La joven, de solo 26 años, buscaba llegar a Estados Unidos y tener mejores oportunidades económicas cuando perdió la vida en la frontera sur estadounidense el pasado 24 de marzo”. 

A 14-year old who fled Ukraine is in U.S. detention. His family doesn’t know where
Adrian Florido, NPR News, April 15, 2022
“When she traveled from her home in Los Angeles to Ukraine earlier this month to bring her 14-year-old nephew Ivan to safety, Iryna Merezhko did not expect to lose track of him at the U.S.-Mexico border. From Ukraine, she and Ivan traveled to Tijuana, Mexico. At the border crossing with San Diego, they asked U.S. border agents to let Ivan in on humanitarian grounds, something thousands of Ukrainians have done since the Biden administration said it would accept 100,000 refugees fleeing the war. Merezhko knew that because she was Ivan’s aunt and not his mother, the agents might temporarily detain him.” 

Immigration punch above their weight as taxpayers
Nan Wu, American Immigration Council, April 14, 2022
“As Tax Day approaches, it’s a good time to bring the significant tax contributions of immigrants—including undocumented immigrants—into the spotlight. These contributions are indispensable to the health and success of America’s public services and programs. Immigrant households paid $492.4 billion in total taxes in 2019 alone, based on analysis of data from the American Community Survey. Their contributions included $330.7 billion in federal income taxes and $161.7 billion in state and local taxes.” 

Cuba has stopped accepting deportations of its nationals from the U.S., ICE says
Nora Gámez Torres, April 13, 2022
“The Cuban government has not been accepting deportations of Cuban nationals from the U.S. for more than six months, at a time when tens of thousands are leaving the island to reach the U.S. in the largest exodus since the 1980s Mariel boatlift. In the fiscal year 2022 that started Oct. 1, 20 Cubans returned voluntarily to the island, but the Cuban government ‘has not accepted any ICE removals via commercial or charter flights,’ a spokesperson for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement told the Miami Herald.” 

Court lifts block on Biden admin. immigration enforcement memo
Daniel Wiessner, Reuters, April 13, 2022
“A U.S. appeals court has cleared the way for the Biden administration to implement guidance focusing immigration enforcement on people convicted of serious crimes while it appeals a judge’s order that had blocked the policy nationwide. A three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said on Tuesday that Ohio, Arizona and Montana were unlikely to show that the September memo from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security violated federal immigration law, and their claims of potential harm to states were speculative.” 

Ukrainians have arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border by the thousands
Adrian Florido, NPR News, April 13, 2022
“Ukrainians fleeing the war have been arriving at Mexico’s northern border cities by the thousands. There, they are presenting themselves to U.S. border agents and asking for temporary admission to the United States on humanitarian grounds. Thousands of Ukrainians have been let in — availing themselves of the avenues that the Biden administration has opened to ease their admission into the U.S. faster than people who have come from other countries.” 

What is President Biden’s Plan for Ending Title 42?
Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, American Immigration Council, April 12, 2022
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced in early April that it would end Title 42, the pandemic border policy that allowed immigration officials to rapidly ‘expel’ migrants over 1.7 million times. However, the CDC delayed the termination until May 23 to give the U.S. Department of Homeland Security time to prepare for an expected increase in people seeking asylum after Title 42 ends. Now, a new plan put out by the Biden administration shows how DHS is preparing to respond.”

MEXICAN ENFORCEMENT

Exigen discutir derecho de asilo con conferencia sobre migración en Panamá 
Emir Olivares Alonso, La Jornada, 19 de abril de 2022
“Organizaciones civiles internacionales llamaron a los dirigentes de las 20 naciones que participan en la conferencia hemisférica sobre migración –que se realiza en Panamá— a priorizar en los debates el respeto a los derechos de los migrantes, solicitantes de asilo y refugiados a través de una mayor protección, vías legales complementarias, asistencia humanitaria y acceso a la justicia”. 

México preempts migrant caravan with regularization offer
Juan Manuel Blanco, The Fresno Bee, April 19, 2022
“Hundreds of migrants who spent months waiting in this city on the Guatemalan border to be issued documents allowing them to cross México en route to the United States aborted a planned caravan to México City on Saturday after the INM immigration agency promised to provide transit permits. The roughly 800 Central Americans, Haitians, Venezuelan, and Africans making up the ‘Migrant Way of the Cross’ caravan set out from Tapachula on foot around 7 a.m.” 

México rescata a una madre cubana y a su hijo de las fuertes corrientes del río Bravo
Sonia Osorio, El Nuevo Heraldo, April 17, 2022
“Una madre cubana y su hijo fueron rescatados de las fuertes corrientes del río Bravo, México, cuando intentaban cruzar ilegalmente a Estados Unidos y se quedaron varados en la mitad del cuerpo de agua. Un video mostró el riesgo que enfrentan. Agentes de la Oficina de Representación de Ciudad Acuña, Coahuila, recibieron el jueves un aviso de que un grupo de personas estaba en el río a la altura del sector conocido como Benito Juárez, informó el Instituto Nacional de Migración de México (INM)”. 

Migración: En lo que va del 2022, el INM ha rescatado a 115 mil migrantes
Informador.mx, 16 de abril de 2022
“El Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM) de la Secretaría de Gobernación, rescató entre el 1 de enero y 13 de abril pasado, a 115 mil 379 personas migrantes extranjeras durante su ingreso y tránsito por territorio mexicano. De ellas, 97 mil 730 son mayores de edad (69 mil 868 migrantes hombres y 27 mil 862 migrantes mujeres) y 17 mil 649 menores de edad (10 mil 226 niños y siete mil 423 niñas)”.

ROOT CAUSES

Embajadora de EEUU se reúne con presidenta Castro para abordar temas de economía y crisis energética
Proceso Digital, 20 de abril de 2022
“Laura F. Dogu, embajadora de Estados Unidos en Honduras, se reunió este miércoles con la presidenta Xiomara Castro de Zelaya, para abordar temas de economía, entre ellos la crisis que atraviesa el país centroamericano en el sector energético. Fue la propia funcionaria norteamericana que anunció del encuentro que sostuvo de manera virtual con la mandataria hondureña, también participó Héctor Zelaya, secretario privado de la presidencia y Marcio Sierra, presidente de la Comisión Nacional de Bancos y Seguros (CNBS), Rixi Moncada, ministra de Finanzas, entre otros funcionarios”. 

El Salvador NGOs file suit against gag order on gang statements
France 24, April 20, 2022
“El Salvadoran NGOs asked the judiciary on Tuesday to declare unconstitutional a new measure that journalists warn could criminalize certain forms of media reporting on gangs. The reform to the penal code, passed on April 6, approves prison sentences of up to 15 years for reproducing and transmitting information from gangs that could generate anxiety and panic among the general population.” 

Ex Presidente Juan Orlando Hernández será extraditado este jueves a Estados Unidos
El Heraldo, 20 de abril de 2022
“El expresidente de Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernández, será extraditado a Estados Unidos este jueves 21 de abril, así lo confirmó la Secretaría de Seguridad a través de una conferencia de prensa que puso punto final a las especulaciones sobre su partida. El ex gobernante hondureño (2014-2022) será entregado a las autoridades de la Administración de Control de Drogas (DEA, por sus siglas en inglés) tras movilizar -vía aérea- desde la Fuerza Nacional de Operaciones Especiales (Los Cobras) hasta la base aérea Hernán Acosta Mejía. Luego partirá a Nueva York”. 

La ONU alerta del empeoramiento de la crisis alimentaria en Honduras 
Confidencial HN, 19 de abril de 2022
“El Programa Mundial de Alimentos (PMA) de las Naciones Unidas alertó este martes del ‘empeoramiento’ de la inseguridad alimentaria en Honduras, una situación que afecta a 2,6 millones de personas en el país, debido al alza mundial de los precios alimentarios y la guerra entre Rusia y Ucrania. En la firma de un convenio con el Instituto Nacional de Estadísticas (INE) de Honduras, la representante del PMA en Tegucigalpa, Stephanie Hochstetter, dijo a Efe que, según estimaciones, entre junio y agosto la situación de inseguridad alimentaria ‘va a empeorar’ en el país centroamericano”. 

Coca Growing, Cocaine Production Reach New Heights in Honduras 
Seth Robbins, Insight Crime, April 19, 2022
“Coca farms and cocaine production camps are proliferating in Honduras, showing that the illicit crop has taken root in the country after years of low-level experimentation. Between January and March this year, authorities have destroyed some 543,000 coca plants, about 11,000 more during all of 2021, when authorities destroyed a record high of 532,000 plants, Proceso Digital reported.” 

A medias inician las clases presenciales en la educación pública de Honduras
Confidencial HN, 18 de abril de 2022
“Las clases presenciales en los centros educativos del sector público de Honduras iniciaron a medias este lunes, pese a la ordenanza de la Secretaría de Educación en el sentido de que todos retornarían a las escuelas y colegios, después del cierre, hace dos años, por la pandemia de la Covid-19. Según el viceministro de Educación, Edwin Hernández, 1,7 millones de estudiantes estaban convocados para retornar hoy clases, pero la ordenanza no se ha cumplido en muchos centros educativos porque los maestros aducen que no reúnen todas las condiciones para recibirlos”. 

Adquirir la canasta básica en Honduras, requiere más del salario mínimo, asevera Asociación del Consumidor 
Proceso Digital, 16 de abril de 2022 
“Para adquirir una canasta básica en Honduras se necesita más del 100 por ciento del salario mínimo, dijo este sábado el presidente de la Asociación de Protección al Consumidor Artículo 19, Darwin Ponce. Ponce añadió que si ‘la inflación interanual hasta marzo estaba en 6.96 por ciento’, no obstante, ese porcentaje está alejado de la realidad. Insistió en que la realidad es que esa tasa no corresponde a las proyecciones en base a la canasta básica de Honduras, porque definitivamente se sale de esa realidad”. 

Guatemala: As COVID misinformation spreads, vaccine doses expire
Jeff Abbott, Al Jazeera, April 14, 2022
“On a recent afternoon, the COVID-19 vaccination center in the heart of the Indigenous Mayan town of Santiago Atitlan was quiet. The health center had a vaccine supply, but demand was low. The lack of coordination of a Guatemalan government-led campaign to overcome vaccine hesitancy has resulted in the expiration of millions of doses across the country this year, critics have said, as more than half of the population remains unvaccinated.”

ACTIONS, ALERTS, AND RESOURCES

Title 42 Action Letter
Joint Statement, April 21, 2022
“As leaders of immigrant, civil rights, humanitarian, human rights, and labor organizations, our missions include the goal of safeguarding asylum access in the United States. It pains us to watch the core of asylum rights in the United States crumble, and we write to urge the Biden administration to urgently reverse course.” 

“I’m a Prisoner Here”: Biden Administration Policies Lock Up Asylum Seekers
Human Rights First, April 21, 2022
“Jailing asylum seekers is inhumane, unnecessary, and wasteful. Moreover, the mass detention of asylum seekers violates U.S. legal obligations under the Refugee Convention and its Protocol. In its guidelines on the use of detention, the U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR) states that ‘asylum-seekers should not be detained” and that ‘the use of detention is, in many instances, contrary to the norms and principles of international law.’ As a candidate, President Biden pledged to eliminate prolonged detention, end the use of for-profit immigration detention centers, and uphold the legal right to seek asylum.” 

“Part of my heart was torn away”: What the U.S. Government owes the tortured survivors of family separation
Brittney Bringuez, Physicians for Human Rights, April 19, 2022
“When the news broke in 2018 that the U.S. government was forcibly separating thousands of parents and children as young as infants at the U.S.-Mexico border, nationwide outcry ensued due to the evident trauma caused by the separations. Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) found that the cases of forcible family separation by the U.S. government that we documented constituted torture. PHR’s torture finding was cited by the Biden campaign during the 2020 U.S. presidential election.” 

Widespread Arbitrary Arrests And Violations Of Due Process In El Salvador Raise Concerns About Human Rights And Ongoing U.S. Security Cooperation 
Joint Statement, April 19, 2022
“On March 24, 25, and 26, the people of El Salvador experienced one of the highest death tolls in a single weekend since the end of the civil war in 1992—a wave of violence widely attributed to gangs. In the weeks following the alarming spike in homicides, the number of arrests across the country under the government’s State of Exception has quickly risen to over 12,000, including many that have been denounced by witnesses and family members as arbitrary in nature.” 

Guatemala’s Attorney General Elections: Judicial Independence and Democracy at a Crossroads
Ana María Méndez and Julia Aikman Cifuentes, Washington Office on Latin America, April 18, 2022
“In March 2022, former Judge Erika Aifán, one of Guatemala’s most important high-risk judges who played an integral role in the country’s anti-graft efforts, was forced to flee Guatemala due to threats from the country’s political-criminal networks. She is the 15th high-profile judge or prosecutor to leave Guatemala in less than a year. As of March 22, 2022, 24 former Guatemalan justice operators were forced into exile to protect their lives as well as their physical and judicial integrity. In addition, 10 prosecutors faced spurious legal proceedings, were in preventive detention, or had a warrant for their arrest.”

* 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!