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MIGRATION NEWS BRIEF FOR FEBRUARY 11, 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

Federal immigration agents can no longer make traffic stops and warrantless arrests
María Inés Zamudio, WBEZ, February 10, 2022
“Under the terms of the agreement filed in federal court Tuesday, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has agreed to issue nationwide policy that will restrict its agents from detaining undocumented immigrants without a warrant during traffic stops.”

The black Migrant Trail of Tragedies
Kovie Biakolo, The Nation, February 8, 2022
“In Tapachula, near the Guatemala border, the United States operates what is effectively an open-air immigration prison by forcing migrants to wait to be granted refugee status in Mexico. When Essengue presented her documents to Mexican immigration officials, the conditions were grim.”

1 in 10 blacks people in the U.S. are immigrants, new data finds
Claretta Bellamy, NBC News, February 8, 2022
“A Pew Research Center analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the University of Minnesota found that 4.6 million Black immigrants were living in the U.S. in 2019. That figure grew from about 800,000 in 1980.”

More Immigrants Are Waiting in Legal Limbo Than Ever Before. Why Is It So Hard to Fix the Backlog in the Courts
Fernanda Echavarri, Mother Jones, February 7, 2022
“Now new data shows the backlog of cases in immigration court has reached the highest level ever—at almost 1.6 million, according to a recent report from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University.”

“Remain in Mexico” is back under Biden, with little resemblance to the Trump version 
Nick Miroff and Arelis R. Hernández, The Washington Post, February 4, 2022
“President Biden halted the returns when he took office, but in September a U.S. District Court ordered his administration to reinstate the program, formally known as the Migrant Protection Protocols. After months of negotiations with Mexico, the Biden administration relaunched MPP in early December, starting in El Paso.”

The House Passes the America COMPETES Act, Including Immigration Reforms to Help the U.S. Economy
Walter Ewing, Immigration Impact, February 4, 2022
“The House of Representatives passed an economic competitiveness bill on February 4 that includes several immigration provisions. The bill is called the ‘‘America Creating Opportunities for Manufacturing, Pre-Eminence in Technology, and Economic Strength Act of 2022’’—or the America COMPETES Act of 2022.”

US tests of robotic patrol dogs on Mexican border prompt outcry 
Oliver Holmes, The Guardian, February 4, 2022
“The US is testing robotic patrol dogs along its frontier with Mexico that it says could provide “mechanical reinforcements” for border guards, in a move criticized by a leading domestic rights group as a civil liberties disaster.”

EEUU, México y países centroamericanos deportaron a 6,094 hondureños en enero
Infobae, 3 de febrero de 2022
“Un total de 6.094 hondureños que fueron detenidos cuando intentaban viajar ilegalmente a Estados Unidos fueron deportados a su país en enero de este año, un 110 % más respecto al primer mes de 2021, informó este jueves una fuente oficial en Tegucigalpa”.

Removal flights to Colombia spur Venezuelan fears of harsher immigration treatment in the U.S.
Antonio Maria Delgado, Michael Wilner, and Syra Orbitz-Blanes, Miami Herald, February 1, 2022
“For thousands of Venezuelans hoping to reach the U.S.-Mexico border, recent news that Washington has decided to turn back those who have resided in Colombia is only the most recent sign that the path to the United States is disappearing.”

Remain in Mexico hearings off to a bumpy restart in San Diego
Kate Morrissey, The San Diego Union Tribune, February 1, 2022
Their introduction to U.S. immigration court was marred by technological snafus and general confusion on the part of officials about procedures for the program’s reboot with added complications from the ongoing pandemic — as well as ongoing issues that were apparent in the program’s earlier version.”

The US southern border saw a growing number of migrants from Russia, Ukraine, and other distant countries last month 
Sarah Al-Arshani, Business Insider, January 30, 2022
“Axios reported that migrants from Mexico and the Northern Triangle – which consists of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador – have historically been the largest group of people at the border, but last month an uptick was caused by people traveling from other countries including some oceans away.”

Migrants in Mexico are on their own against omicron
Nicole Narea, Vox, January 30, 2022
“For thousands of migrants stranded in the country due to US border policy, that has meant exposure to the highly contagious variant. Worse, many of these migrants face the prospect of Covid-19 infection without widespread access to vaccines or health care.”

MEXICAN ENFORCEMENT

UN rapporteur appalled by convictions for Honduran environmentalists who opposed open-pit mine
Nina Lakhani, The Guardian, February 9, 2022
“The activists, from the small community of Guapinol, have been held in pre-trial detention for two and a half years after opposing an iron oxide mine which has polluted rivers relied upon by thousands of people.”

Embajada anuncia la llegada a Honduras de subsecretaria de estado, Emily Mendrala
Vanessa, ConfidencialHN, 9 de febrero de 2022
“La embajada de Estados Unidos en Honduras, confirmó este miércoles la llegada al país de la Subsecretaria de Estado Adjunta en el Buró de Asuntos del hemisferio Occidenal, Emily Mendrala. La funcionaria estadounidense sostendrá reuniones con líderes del gobierno hondureño y la sociedad civil”.

Belice reabrirá fronteras terrestres con México tras dos años cerradas
Informador, 7 de febrero de 2022
“El Gobierno de Belice anunció que este lunes, después de dos años de clausura, reabrirá sus fronteras terrestres durante 16 horas diarias para personas que han completado su esquema de vacunación contra la COVID-19”.

Deportaciones de migrantes bajaron 24% y se duplicaron las regularizaciones
Jorge Butrón, La Razón, 7 de febrero de 2022
“A pesar de que 2021 rompió el récord de migración en el país, terminó con 24 por ciento menos deportaciones que en el 2019 —segundo año con más flujo— y con un incremento en la entrega de Tarjetas de Visitante por Razones Humanitarias (TVRH) a extranjeros de Centroamérica y El Caribe”.

Tijuana limpia cruce fronterizo
Informador, 7 de febrero de 2022
“Cerca de un centenar de policías y elementos de la Guardia Nacional y el Ejército desalojaron a más de 381 migrantes, en su mayoría centroamericanos y mexicanos, que permanecían desde hace casi un año en un improvisado campamento que fue instalado en la entrada de un cruce fronterizo entre Tijuana y Estados Unidos”.

Mexico steps up migrant raids in city near Guatemala border
Edgar H. Clemente, ABC News, February 3, 2022
“Mexican immigration agents and National Guard have stepped up raids on migrants staying in small hotels and on the streets of the southern city of Tapachula, near the Guatemalan border, activists said Thursday.”

Protesting migrants in southern Mexico threaten to form new caravan
Jose Torres, Reuters, February 2, 2022
“Hundreds of migrants in the southern Mexican city of Tapachula on Thursday protested against the slow pace of government visa approvals and threatened to form a fresh caravan that would head to the U.S. border.”

Los migrantes que México prefiere no ver
Jorge Santibáñez, Los Angeles Times, 1 de febrero de 2022
“Si analizamos según la costumbre mexicana el número de migrantes detenidos en su intento por cruzar hacia Estados Unidos de manera subrepticia y que fueron detenidos por la patrulla fronteriza en ese intento en 2021, encontramos cifras que deberían ser más conocidas y escandalizarnos”.

Number of migrants detained in Mexico surged 78%
AP News, January 31, 2022
“The number of migrants detained in Mexico surged 78% in January from a year ago, Mexico’s National Immigration Institute said Monday. It said 16,740 migrants, mainly from Central America, were detained between Jan. 1 and Jan. 30.”

ROOT CAUSES 

El Salvador woman punished under strict abortion law freed after 10 years  
The Guardian, February 9, 2022                                                                                        El Salvador has released another woman imprisoned for aggravated homicide who after suffering an obstetric emergency was accused of aborting her pregnancy in a country where abortion under any circumstances is banned.”

Al menos treinta mujeres han sido asesinadas en el inicio del año en Honduras
Vanessa, ConfidencialHN, 8 de febrero de 2022
“Unas treinta mujeres han sido asesinadas durante el inicio de año en Honduras, reveló hoy la consultora de Derechos Humanos de la Mujer, Honorina Rodríguez. La defensora de Derechos Humanos exigió que las autoridades asignen los recursos necesarios para la investigación de muertes de mujeres en todo el territorio nacional”.

CIDH admite denuncia por violaciones de derechos humanos tras el golpe de estado de 2009
ConfidencialHN, 8 de febrero de 2022
“La Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CIDH) admitió la denuncia que, tras el golpe de Estado de 2009, presentaron las víctimas de la violación sistemática de los derechos humanos que incluyó muertes, torturas, encarcelamientos, persecuciones entre otros”.

Ex-Honduran leader placed on US list of corrupt officials
Joshua Goodman, AP News, February 8, 2022
“The Biden administration last year quietly placed former Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández on a classified list of officials suspected of corruption or undermining democracy in Central America, according to the State Department, which made the designation public Monday.”

Estados Unidos reitera su apoyo al gobierno de Xiomara Castro
El Heraldo, 7 de febrero de 2022
“Estados Unidos reiteró este viernes su apoyo al gobierno de la presidenta Xiomara Castro, según informó el ministro de Desarrollo Económico, Pedro Barquero, tras reunirse con la encargada de negocios de EE UU, Colleen Hoey”.

Honduras political dispute resolved, paving way for president’s anti-corruption agenda
Reuters, February 7, 2022 
“A dispute over who would lead Honduras’ newly elected Congress has been resolved, lawmakers said on Monday, paving the way for new President Xiomara Castro to pass anti-corruption reforms she promised on the campaign trail.”

Departamento de Estado dice que JOH ha cometido actos de corrupción y narcotráfico
Criterio, 7 de febrero de 2022
“El secretario del Departamento de Estado de Estado de Estado Unidos, Antony Blinken, estableció en un comunicado que el expresidente de Honduras Juan Orlando Hernández “se ha involucrado en una corrupción significativa al cometer o facilitar actos de corrupción y narcotráfico”.

When the MS13 played possum in Guatemala
Juan José Martínez d’Aubuisson, InSight Crime, February 7, 2022
“This is the third article in InSight Crime’s three-part investigation, “MS13 & Co.,” diving into how the MS13 grew from humble beginnings to become a business powerhouse with investments in numerous businesses, both legal and illegal, across the Northern Triangle.”

Familiares de Keyla Martínez anuncian plantón para exigir justicia a un año de su muerte 
Proceso Digital, 6 de febrero de 2022
“Los familiares de Keyla Martínez, la  estudiante de enfermería muerta en una celda de la posta policial de Intibucá, convocaron para este lunes a un plantón en el parque central de esa occidental ciudad”.

Denuncian asesinato de cinco miembros de comunidad LGTBI+ en lo que va del año
Proceso Digital, 5 de febrero de 2022
“Rihanna Ferrera, directora de la Asociación de Derechos Humanos Conzumel Trans de dicha comunidad, señaló que las cinco muertes en tan poco tiempo es “preocupante”, indicando que las mismas no son muertes sencillas, sino que ocasionadas por odio”.

Honduras: La violencia es estructural, nuevo gobierno debe reforzar políticas de seguridad 
Criterio, 3 de febrero de 2022
“En promedio 11 personas son asesinadas a diario, tan solo en enero de 2022, se han contabilizado 320 asesinatos y ocho muertes múltiples o masacres donde han sido asesinadas 20 personas”.

Tras aprobación de amnistía, crece expectativa sobre cómo terminará el juicio de Guapinol
Leonardo Aguilar, Contra Corriente, 3 de febrero de 2022
“Libertad para los presos políticos de Guapinol», proclamó el pasado jueves 27 de enero la presidenta Xiomara Castro, durante la toma de posesión que la convirtió en la primera presidenta en Honduras”.

Latin America is increasingly dangerous for human rights defenders, report says
Carmen Sesin, NBC News, February 3, 2022
“Latin America is one of the most perilous regions in the world for human rights defenders, according to a report released Wednesday by Freedom House. Latin America accounted for more than three-quarters of all murders of human rights defenders around the world in 2020.”

Angélica Serrano-Román, Bloomberg, February 3, 2022 
The labor market crisis in Latin America and the Caribbean could drag on for the next couple of years as the economic growth of 2021 was insufficient to recover millions of jobs lost during the pandemic, according to the International Labor Organization.”

Guatemalan Congress approves tougher sentence for human traffickers of 30 years
Reuters, February 1, 2022
“Guatemala’s Congress on Tuesday toughened prison sentences for human traffickers to up to 30 years as the government aims to crack down on smugglers as coyotes. Traffickers will be fined between 100,000 and 200,000 quetzales for each Guatemalan or foreign person who is smuggled through national territory.”

New Minister, But Security Challenges Await Honduras President
Alex Papadovassilakis, InSight Crime, January 31, 2022
“The return of a former Honduran police chief who fled the country after arresting a string of top traffickers is the first sign that President Xiomara Castro wants to shake up the country’s security forces – but it will be a difficult task.”

Migración centroamericana a Estados Unidos, peor que durante los conflictos armados de los años 80
Expediente Público, 31 de enero de 2022
“La cantidad de centroamericanos detenidos en Estados Unidos al cruzar irregularmente la frontera sur, está solo por detrás de la cifra de migrantes oriundos de México. La migración de ciudadanos de Centroamérica ha superado niveles históricos”.

La ley contra las personas trans violaría leyes Guatemaltecas y tratados internacionales
José David López Vicente, Agencia Ocote, 28 de enero de 2022
“En el Congreso de Guatemala se discute una iniciativa de ley que dejaría más vulnerable a la población trans en Guatemala. El proyecto ya recibió dictamen favorable de una de las tres comisiones del Congreso, el paso previo a aprobarse en el pleno del Legislativo”.

ACTIONS, ALERTS, AND RESOURCES

Black immigrants in the United States face hurdles, but outcomes vary by city
Valerie Lacarte, Migration Policy Institute, February 10, 2022, 
“The United States is a vast country with a diversity of cities that have their own socioeconomic characteristics and policies that can affect immigrants’ ability to secure family-sustaining jobs, health care, and other benefits.”

How can you throw us back?
Lauren Seibert, Human Rights Watch, February 10, 2022
“Many Cameroonians denied asylum and deported by the United States between 2019 and 2021 have suffered persecution and other serious human rights violations in Cameroon post-return. This report traces what happened to several dozen of them, both during their time in the US and after deportation.”

“Remain in Mexico”: Overview and Resources
Human Rights Watch, February 7, 2022
“On January 25, 2019, US President Donald Trump and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador began the “Remain in Mexico” or MPP. Under it, US border officials return non-Mexican asylum seekers to wait for months or years in dangerous locations in Mexico while their claims are adjudicated in US immigration courts.”

Americas: Amnesty International sounds alert over killings of human rights defenders and journalists in first month of 2022
Amnesty International, February 2, 2022
“With at least 20 human rights defenders and four journalists killed across the region in January, the first month of 2022 has demonstrated once again the dangers of defending human rights and journalism in Latin America, said Amnesty International today.”

Stuck in uncertainty and exposed to violence: The impact of US and Mexican migration policies on women seeking protection in 2021
Women’s Refugee Commission, February 2, 2022
“The Impact of U.S. and Mexican Migration Policies on Women Seeking Protection in 2021, notes that both the U.S. and Mexican governments have fallen short of promises to restore safe, orderly, and humane migration and have left thousands of women vulnerable.”


* 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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