Migration News Brief for April 28, 2023

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Key Facts on U.S.-Sourced Firearms and Violence in Mexico
Stop US Arms to Mexico, April 2023
“From 2010 through 2022, Mexico experienced more than 214,000 gun homicides, constituting more than two every three murders in the country. Over 111,000 people in Mexico have been forcibly disappeared, according to an official Mexican government registry.”

U.S. Enforcement

US opening migrant centres in Colombia and Guatemala in effort to bolster border security
Andrew Feinberg, The Independent, April 27, 2023

“​​The Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State will roll out “improved access to lawful pathways to the United States for asylum seekers” and step up “efforts to increase border security” and increase cooperation with South and Central American nations in preparation for the end of a Trump-era public health order which blocked significant numbers of migrants from claiming asylum in the US, senior Biden administration officials have said.”

‘You don’t get to say that…!’ House members clash on border witness who was also at Jan. 6
Will Carless, USA Today, April 27, 2023
“Sparks flew during a Wednesday hearing of a House Judiciary subcommittee after a Democratic member questioned a witness who testified about border security – but also participated in the pro-Trump rally in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021.”

Joaquin Castro and Tim Kaine are urging the White House to redesignate Temporary Protected Status for Honduras and El Salvador.
Politico, April 21, 2023
What’s happening: Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) and Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) are urging the Biden administration to redesignate Temporary Protected Status for Honduras and El Salvador, according to a letter sent to Biden administration officials Friday and first obtained by POLITICO.”

How Temporary Protected Status has expanded under the Biden administration
Mohamed Moslimani, Pew Research Center, April 21, 2023
“Since January 2021, the Biden administration has greatly expanded the number of immigrants who are eligible for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) – a designation that gives them time-limited permission to live and work in the United States and avoid potential deportation. An estimated 670,000 individuals from 16 countries are either currently registered for TPS or newly eligible for it. The list of countries with active TPS designations now includes Afghanistan, Cameroon, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Haiti, Honduras, Myanmar, Nepal, Nicaragua, Syria, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Ukraine, Venezuela and Yemen.”

As Migrant Children Were Put to Work, U.S. Ignored Warnings
Hannah Drier, The New York Times, April 17, 2023
“Again and again, veteran government staffers and outside contractors told the Health and Human Services Department, including in reports that reached Secretary Xavier Becerra, that children appeared to be at risk. The Labor Department put out news releases noting an increase in child labor. Senior White House aides were shown evidence of exploitation, such as clusters of migrant children who had been found working with industrial equipment or caustic chemicals.”

Mexican Enforcement

Mexico’s treatment of migrants raises concern ahead of U.S. policy shift
Daina Beth Solomon, Reuters, April 25, 2023
“An impending change in U.S. border policy could put increased pressure on Mexico’s migrant detention system and lead to more reports of rights violations, migrant advocates have warned, in the wake of a fire that killed 40 people. On May 11 the U.S. is slated to lift a COVID health order known as ‘Title 42’ that has allowed it to rapidly return migrants from the southern border back to Mexico.”

Migrants march through Mexico in demand for justice
Tiffany Wertheimer & Will Grant, BBC, April 24, 2023
“Thousands of migrants are marching through southern Mexico as part of a mass protest to demand the end of detention centres. Last month, 40 people were killed when fire ripped through a facility in Ciudad Juárez, a city on the US border. ‘The only thing we are asking for is justice, and to be treated like anyone else,’ Salvadoran migrant Miriam Argueta told AP news agency.”

Mexico migrant camp tents have been torched across the border from Texas
NPR, April 22, 2023
“About two dozen makeshift tents were set ablaze and destroyed at a migrant camp across the border from Texas this week, witnesses said Friday, a sign of the extreme risk that comes with being stuck in Mexico as the Biden administration increasingly relies on that country to host people fleeing poverty and violence. The fires were set Wednesday and Thursday at the sprawling camp of about 2,000 people, most of them from Venezuela, Haiti, and Mexico, in Matamoros, a city near Brownsville, Texas. An advocate for migrants said they had been doused with gasoline.”

Root Causes


Mexico army ignored cartel warnings before mass student kidnapping, emails show
Oscar Lopez, The Guardian, April 26, 2023
“The Mexican military received nearly a dozen complaints about cartel activity in the region where 43 students were abducted in September 2014, emails hacked from the country’s defense ministry reveal, but the armed forces apparently did little to tackle organized crime in the area.”

Los grupos armados también violan derechos humanos
Carlo Carvajal, Animal Politico, 24 de abril de 2023
“Si bien la visión tradicional del derecho internacional consideraba únicamente a los Estados como sujetos de ese sistema jurídico, el incremento y la participación de actores no estatales en distintos procesos legales durante el siglo XX evidenció la necesidad de incorporarlos al sistema. Entre estos actores se encuentran las personas, organizaciones internacionales, corporaciones transnacionales y, por extraño que parezca, ciertos grupos armados no estatales”.

Concurrent Displacements: Return, Waiting for Asylum, and Internal Displacement in Northern Mexico 

Isabel Gil-Everaert, Claudia Masferrer, and Oscar Rodríguez Chávez, Sage Journals, April 18, 2023
“This paper explores the ways in which contemporary mobility dynamics in Mexico have changed over the last decade, leading to protracted displacement. It focuses on three populations: (1) the internally displaced due to violence; (2) Mexican nationals returning from the United States, both voluntarily and due to deportation; and (3) populations seeking asylum in Mexico and the United States. These three populations are not usually analyzed together and do not squarely fall under the traditional legal definitions. The paper outlines ways that situations of protracted displacement and insecurity present challenges in four interconnected arenas of life: housing, legal status, employment, and emotional well-being.”

Ayotzinapa Case Fugitive Interviewed by Israeli Magazine
National Security Archive, April 14, 2023
“This week, the Israeli magazine 7 Days published an extraordinary and exclusive interview with the former Mexican official accused of orchestrating the cover-up of one of the country’s most infamous human rights violations. In the article, Zerón, the former lead investigator of the 2014 Ayotzinapa student disappearances, talks about his childhood, his career in law enforcement in Mexico, and his current life in Tel Aviv, revealing details that have never appeared in a Mexican media outlet. He also provides a self-serving account of his role directing the investigation of the Ayotzinapa case – the September 26, 2014, kidnapping and disappearance of 43 students that shocked Mexico for its brazenness, for the government’s failure to solve the case, and for evidence indicating that it was obstructing its own investigation.”


Crímenes y represiones contra comunidades Maya Q’eqchi’ de Nuevo Chicoyou y  de Chapín Abajo
Liga Maya/Mayan League, 18 de abril de 2023
“Advertencia: La Liga Maya Internacional comparte testimonio de los crímenes y represiones cometidos por el Estado de Guatemala contra las comunidades Maya Q’eqchi’ de Nuevo Chicoyou y  de Chapín Abajo. En ambos desalojos cientos de militares y policías atacaron y violentamente desalojaron a familias de sus hogares. Además, arrestaron arbitrariamente a Autoridades Ancestrales e hirieron a varios miembros de la comunidad, incluyendo niños recién nacidos, mujeres embarazadas y ancianos. La defensa de la Madre Tierra significa la defensa de los derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas”.

El Salvador 

El Salvador: Country Conditions
Cecilia Menjivar and William Pleites, National TPS Alliance, April 26, 2023
“According to the latest multipurpose household survey (BCR, 2023), in 2022 El Salvador had a population of 6.3 million, of whom 61.7% lived in urban areas and 38.3% in rural areas. 53.3% are women and approximately 25.8% were between 15-29 years old.”

Arrests surge under iron fist of El Salvador’s millennial president
Charlotte Peet, The Times, April 26, 2023
“Tens of thousands of people in El Salvador have been detained since Bukele, 41, launched a nationwide anti-gang offensive last year. Rights groups say a state of emergency, implemented in March last year and periodically renewed since then, has resulted in arbitrary arrests, ill treatment and deaths in overcrowded prisons.”

El Salvador tries ex-leader Funes in absentia for gang truce
Marcos Alemán, ABC News, April 26, 2023
“El Salvador opened a trial Wednesday against former President Mauricio Funes alleging that he had negotiated a truce with the country’s powerful street gangs when he was president, but the trial will proceed without Funes who lives in Nicaragua. Funes has denied negotiating with the gangs or giving their leaders any privileges. ‘I never ordered nor authorized any negotiation,’ Funes wrote Tuesday on Twitter, adding that the truce was between rival gangs, not with the government. Mediators in the talks between the MS-13 and Barrio 18 gangs were not representing the government, he said.”


Honduras: Country Conditions
Cecilia Menjivar and William Pleites, National TPS Alliance, April 26, 2023
The extension of protection to Honduran immigrants residing in the U.S. is favorable to the interests of both Honduras and the United States. Social and demographic conditions: The total population of Honduras in 2022 was 9.6 million; 53.3% were women and 55.4% lived in urban areas. Adults 60 years of age and over make up 12.4% of the total population (INE, 2022).”

Honduras gang violence at ‘war-like levels’ – NGO
Vanessa Buschschlüter, BBC, April 25, 2023
“People living in Honduras are facing “war-like levels of violence”, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) has warned. During a visit to the Central American country, the organisation’s head Jan Egeland spoke to ‘people whose suffering was on the level with what you would find in any armed conflict’. Entire communities were being forcibly displaced by gangs, he said. He urged governments around the world not to neglect the crisis.”

Acnur: Ley para proteger desplazados, una respuesta para víctimas en Honduras
Swiss Info inc., 19 de abril de 2023
“La ley para proteger a los desplazados por la violencia en Honduras, aprobada en 2022, plantea visibilizar más el fenómeno, dar respuestas a las víctimas y prevenir nuevos desplazamientos, afirmó este miércoles a EFE el representante residente de la Acnur en Tegucigalpa, Andrés Celis. La normativa “sin duda” permitirá conocer la magnitud del desplazamiento interno en Honduras y mejorar la protección de las víctimas ante amenazas como el reclutamiento forzado, aseguró Celis en una entrevista con EFE”.


​​Across the Americas, Governments Aim to Rein in Flow of Guns
Henry Shuldiner and Anastasia Austin, Insight Crime, April 24, 2023
“Latin American leaders are renewing their commitment to confront arms trafficking, but it remains unclear how much of a dent they can make in this complicated, transnational criminal trade.Security forces across 15 Latin American countries, including Mexico, Brazil, and Colombia, seized over 8,000 firearms in the largest-ever regional anti-arms trafficking operation coordinated by the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol), the organization announced on April 18.”

Why narratives around migration in Latin America need to change
The New Humanitarian, April 18, 2023
“Latin America hosts around 18.4 million refugees, asylum seekers, and internally displaced people. That’s about 20% of the global total, according to the UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR. But when it comes to Global North-led narratives of migration, Latin America is primarily viewed as a region that refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants come from and travel through en route to the United States, not as a place where forcibly displaced people seek safety and live out their lives.”

Gender and LGBTQ+

Beatriz Trial in Inter-American Court Defies Total Abortion Ban in El Salvador
María Luz Nóchez, El Faro, April 26, 2023
“On March 22 and 23, the debate over El Salvador’s restrictive abortion laws relocated to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in San Jose, Costa Rica. The defendant, the state of El Salvador, had to explain what happened in 2013 when Beatriz, a young woman who was suffering from lupus erythematosus and pregnant with a fetus diagnosed with anencephaly —lacking a brain— was denied a therapeutic abortion despite her doctors’ medical opinion that she needed one. Beatriz had given birth before, and her first pregnancy had also put her life at risk. But this time, when she was 19 weeks pregnant, the hospital’s medical committee believed that carrying the pregnancy to term could cause severe damage to Beatriz’s body and health and concluded that the pregnancy should be terminated. But El Salvador’s government and justice system would not allow it. Moreover, its arguments at the IACHR demonstrated that the Salvadoran state is proud of how it handled the situation.”

When Abortion Bans Are Too Popular to Overturn
Anna-Catherine Brigida, Foreign Policy, April 24, 2023
“The court’s verdict could have a far-reaching impact across the Latin American nations that have accepted the jurisdiction of the court by ratifying the American Convention on Human Rights, and set an important precedent for a region that’s one of the most restrictive in the world for abortion. In particular, it could spell the end of total abortion bans in five countries that recognize the court’s jurisdiction: Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Honduras, and El Salvador.”

Actions, Alerts, and Resources 

Call NOW to help us reach #TPSforCentralAmerica!
Yadira Sánchez-Esparza, the Latin America Working Group, April 27, 2023
“President Biden could make a decision in the next few days that protects over two million people–or leaves them vulnerable to deportation. As of today, the Biden Administration has not announced a decision on Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for Guatemala and TPS redesignation for El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua. TPS designation for these countries would protect the over 2 million individuals and their families who qualify. Without TPS, these individuals could be deported, their families separated, and forced to return to countries that are no longer their home. These members of our communities live and work by our sides, and we need to protect them.”

IACHR Annual Report 2022 highlights human rights and democracy challenges for the region
OAS, April 20, 2023
“The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) publishes its Annual Report 2022, which contains details of the most relevant advances and challenges in human rights for the region, as well as information on its institutional management for the fulfillment of its mandate. As a whole, the Report represents an instrument of regional reference, access to information and institutional transparency.”The Annual Report is a regional reference of inter-American public interest to understand the human rights challenges faced by people in the Americas and the Caribbean, which contributes to the States and different actors in the region to join efforts to promote human rights in the hemisphere,” said the Chair of the IACHR, Margarette May Macaulay.”

International week of action to defend El Salvador´s mining ban and demand the release of the five Water Defenders of Santa Marta
International Allies, April 8, 2023
“As social organizations in El Salvador recently celebrated the sixth anniversary of the historic mining prohibition, approved unanimously by the Legislative Assembly in 2017, there are signs that the government of President Nayib Bukele is creating conditions to overturn the law. Despite the president’s popularity, mostly due to his hard-line approach to gangs and crime, the Salvadoran economy is failing and the government is in desperate need to attract foreign investment.”