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Migration News Brief for February 14, 2019

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Date: Feb 14, 2019

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 (articles in English and Spanish). Please feel free to send us recommendations or requests for upcoming news briefs: lfolkerts@lawg.org.

Credit: The Intercept


“Remain in Mexico” Must Go: An illegal policy designed to endanger, not protect, migrants
Latin America Working Group, February 12, 2019

“”A new U.S. policy means asylum seekers arriving at ports of entry on the U.S.-Mexico border will be returned to Mexico to wait for the duration of their U.S. immigration proceedings. The ‘Migration Protection Protocols’ (MPP)—frequently referenced as ‘Remain in Mexico’—has nothing to do with migrant protections. In fact, it does just the opposite.”

NGO Concerns with Implementation & Expansion of Unilateral Migrant Protection Protocols/ “Remain in Mexico” Program
February 14, 2019

En español
The 60 organizations from the U.S., Mexican, and Central American urged DHS Secretary Nielsen to immediately halt the policy and to refrain from expanding it to additional locations and to asylum-seeking families.

U.S. Enforcement

Congress’s deal on immigration detention, explained
Dara Lind, Vox, February 12, 2019

“The new deal is an attempt to get ICE to reverse that trend and detain fewer people, without setting a firm cap on the number of people ICE can detain at any given time after arresting them in the US (a demand Democrats had previously made but dropped Monday night).”

‘Work that never ends’: the lawyers fighting for migrants stuck at border
Ed Vulliamy, The Guardian, February 12, 2019

“As the Trump administration turns the screw on migrants – refusing to accommodate those awaiting asylum interviews as law requires – these people, their counsel and sustenance to those in flight and need, are a counterforce against cruelty.”

Fact check: Trump claims a wall made El Paso safe. Data shows otherwise.
Jane C. Timm, NBC News, February 11, 2019

“El Paso does currently enjoy a relatively low rate of crime: There were 19 murders and 1,819 aggravated assaults in the city in 2017, according to FBI crime data. The city’s murder rate is about half that of the national average, and a fraction of more dangerous cities. In the similarly sized city of Detroit, there were 267 murders and 10,193 aggravated assaults, for instance.”

There’s A Legal Crisis On Our Southern Border — And It Was Caused By Our Government
Julie Dahlstrom, Karen Pita Loor, Sarah Sherman-Stokes, Cognoscenti, February 7, 2019

“Trump is right — our southern border is lawless. But this absence of law is a direct result of the policies and regulations promulgated by his administration, which have eviscerated the framework of long-established legal protections at our border, and within our country. The answer to this lawlessness is not a steel wall or over-reliance on enforcement. Rather, it is the law itself: restoring the due process and legal rights that asylum seekers and refugees were once guaranteed.”

California Gov. Gavin Newsom to pull National Guard from border with Mexico
Jazmine Ulloa and Taryn Luna, The Los Angeles Times, February 11, 2019

“Newsom says he is giving the National Guard a new mission so that troops would not take part in the White House’s ‘political theater’ and instead ‘refocus on the real threats facing our state.’ The governor said he would sign a general order to redeploy the troops to support wildfire prevention efforts and expand operations to counter drugs and cartels across California, with a group of forces trained in spotting narcotics to be stationed at the state’s international points of entry.”

Nogales City Council calls on feds to remove all border razor wire in the Arizona city
The Associated Press, February 8, 2019

“The City Council in Nogales, which sits on the border with Nogales, Mexico, wants the federal government to remove all concertina wire installed within the city limits. Otherwise, Nogales Mayor Arturo Garino said the city will sue.”

The Deported Americans — More than 600,000 U.S.-born children of undocumented parents live in Mexico. What happens when you return to a country you’ve never known?
Brooke Jarvis, The California Sunday Magazine, January 31, 2019

“Ashley is one of 600,000 American-born children who are believed to be enrolled in K-12 schools across Mexico. Their lives are a reflection of the complicated realities of border politics: of the so-called ‘mixed-status’ families that formed on the U.S. side when a militarized border made it too difficult for workers to go back and forth; of deportation policies that don’t take the presence of children into consideration; of the wave of returns that followed the Great Recession, which, for the past ten years, has meant more Mexicans migrating out of the United States than into it.”

Journalists, Lawyers, and Activists Working on the Border Face Coordinated Harassment from U.S. and Mexican Authorities
Ryan Devereaux, The Intercept, February 8, 2019

“In the weeks that followed, each of the photographers at the wall that night found themselves pulled into secondary screenings by U.S. and foreign officials while attempting to cross borders in multiple countries. In one case, a photojournalist was barred from re-entering Mexico. During questioning, a U.S. official later indicated that he knew about her encounter at the wall. In another case, a photojournalist was taken into a private room at a U.S. port of entry, shown a book full of images of border-based activists, and asked who he knew.”

U.S. will let just 20 migrants per day in new caravan cross into Texas
Julia Ainsley, NBC News, February 6, 2019

“More than 1,800 migrants arrived in Piedras Negras, Mexico, on Tuesday, just across the Rio Grande from Eagle Pass, Texas. Border agents in Eagle Pass can process fewer than 20 asylum seekers a day, but as of now, there are no plans to beef up the number of officers who can administer a credible-fear interview, the first step towards seeking asylum.”

“If the Police Aren’t Safe Here, What About Us?” Asylum Seekers Fear “Remain in Mexico” Policy
Robert Moore, Texas Monthly, February 7, 2019

“We have implemented an unprecedented action that will address the urgent humanitarian and security crisis at the southern border. This humanitarian approach will help to end the exploitation of our generous immigration laws. The Migrant Protection Protocols represent a methodical commonsense approach.”

How Misinformation Fueled Anti-Immigrant Sentiment in the Tijuana Border Region
Jessica Cobian, Center for American Progress, February 7, 2019

“The spread of misinformation in Mexico led to anti-immigrant sentiment and xenophobic violence against the Central American migrant caravan.”

New Mexico Governor Pulls National Guard From Border, Rejects Trump’s ‘Fear-Mongering’”  
Dominique Mosbergen, Huffington Post, February 7, 2019

“More than 2,000 National Guard troops are currently stationed at the border. About 2,300 active-duty troops have also been deployed there.”

‘Inhuman’ wall of razor wire on Arizona-Mexico border sparks outcry
Press Association, The Guardian, February 6, 2019

“US soldiers have installed concertina wire at or near several official crossings, or ports of entry. In late November, US Customs and Border Protection said the military had sent 36 miles of concertina wire for use in California, Arizona and Texas.”

Record number of migrant families arrested while crossing U.S. border in December
Nick Miroff, Washington Post, January 9, 2019

“Overall, authorities detained 60,782 migrants attempting to enter the United States without authorization. It marked the third consecutive month that the figure — the most widely used barometer of border trends — topped 60,000, remaining near the highest levels of the Trump presidency.”

Mexican Enforcement

“Mexico Isn’t Helping Refugees. It’s Depriving Them of Their Rights.”
Levi Vonk, Foreign Policy, February 8, 2019

“On the surface, humanitarian visas seem a wise and generous policy. They ostensibly allow victims to remain in Mexico legally for one year and travel freely, giving migrants the time necessary to recover and regain control of their lives. But humanitarian visas may not be as humanitarian as they appear—and they offer virtually none of the protections awarded to refugees.”

Tijuana Returns to Normality despite “Crisis” Denounced by Trump
Latin American Herald Tribune, February 6, 2019

“Central American migrants have ceased to be the subject of speeches by municipal authorities, whose head, Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum, had come to describe them as ‘undesirable,’ and the entertainment center El Alamar, previously converted into a shelter under the National Institute of Migration, no longer serves that purpose.”

Mexican Authorities Are Stopping Unaccompanied Kids From Seeking Asylum In The US At Every Turn
Adolfo Flores, Buzzfeed News, February 13. 2019

“Mexican immigration agents started detaining children assisted by lawyers near the San Ysidro and Otay Mesa ports of entry on the California border in November, said Nicole Ramos, the Tijuana-based director of the border rights project at the legal service provider Al Otro Lado. Previously, lawyers were able to walk minors who were traveling without their parents to ports of entry to request asylum from US immigration officials, one of the last remaining methods for unaccompanied minors to seek protection.”

Root Causes

Opinion: Guatemala Must Not Grant Amnesty To War Criminals
Jo-Marie Burt, NPR, February 11, 2019

“The proposed legislation, which Guatemala’s Congress is expected to debate imminently, would free more than 30 military officials convicted of crimes against humanity and more than a dozen others awaiting trial on such charges. It would also prohibit all future investigations into other cases of grave human rights crimes committed during the country’s brutal 36-year civil war that ended in 1996.”

Corruption Probe Catches Up With Former Honduras President Porfirio Lobo
Felipe Puerta, InSight Crime, February 7, 2019

“On February 4, the National Anti-Corruption Council (Consejo Nacional Anticorrupción – CNA) submitted accusations against Lobo to the Special Prosecution Unit Against Impunity for Corruption (Unidad Fiscal Especial Contra la Impunidad de la Corruption – UFECIC), which is part of the Attorney General’s Office. The CNA accused Lobo of misappropriating as much as $1 million in government funds.”

Palm oil industry expansion spurs Guatemala indigenous migration
Jeff Abbott and Sandra Cuffe, Al Jazeera, February 6, 2019

“Plantations of oil palm, also known as African palm, are taking over large swaths of southwestern and northeastern Guatemala… The oil extracted from the palm fruits is used for biofuel and in all kinds of household products… Land, labour and environmental conflicts around oil palm plantations worldwide have sparked consumer campaigns to push companies to remove palm oil from their products’ ingredients.”

MACCIH expresa preocupación ante posible reforma del artículo 115 de la Ley General de Administración Pública
La Misión de Apoyo Contra la Corrupción y la Impunidad en Honduras (MACCIH) de la
Organización de los Estados Americanos, 7 de febrero de 2019

“La Misión de Apoyo Contra la Corrupción y la Impunidad en Honduras (MACCIH) de la
Organización de los Estados Americanos (OEA) expresa su preocupación ante el primer debate desarrollado en el Congreso Nacional, que reforma el artículo 115 de la Ley General de Administración Pública, el cual pretende despojar de atribuciones al Ministerio Público y transferirlas al Tribunal Superior de Cuentas”.

Estados Unidos respalda iniciativa de Ley de Colaboración Eficaz presentada por la Maccih
Diario El Heraldo, 7 de febrero de 2019

“La embajada de los Estados Unidos en el país, mostró su total respaldo al proyecto de Ley presentado por la Misión de Apoyo Contra la Corrupción y la Impunidad en Honduras (Maccih)”.

Actions, Reports, and Resources

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED)
Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.

“This webpage contains tools for TPS and DED holders, practitioners, advocates, media, the general public and more.”

Immigration Detention And The DHS Spending Negotiations — An Explainer
Heidi Altman and Mary Small, National Immigrant Justice Center, February 11, 2019

“The goal of this explainer is to ground these discussions [on spending money on the U.S. immigration system] in reality amidst misinformation from many sources and a quickly changing debate… The current stalemate in negotiations is centered around a ‘detention cap’–an attempt to intervene in a three-year pattern of unaccountable overspending by ICE.”

Report on U.S. CBP’S Use of Chemical Agents on Migrants at the US-Mexico Border January 2019
American Friends Service Committee, January 30, 2019

“This report provides an account from the perspective of migrants that were present and affected by the events that unfolded on the evening of December 31, 2018 and the early morning hours of January 1, 2019 at the Tijuana-San Diego border, near Playas de Tijuana, where Border Patrol Agents fired chemical agents at migrants.”

The Truth About ICE & CBP
United We Dream, February 2019

“A comprehensive analysis of the devastating human impact of the deportation force by the immigrant youth & families who know it best.”

La Interpretacion y Aplicacion del Derecho Internacional y Nacional de Los Refugiados en México
Universidad Iberoamericana

“Muchas personas suelen migrar por motivos asociados a su integridad o seguridad en el marco de hechos violentos, por ejemplo: amenazas directas más violencia directa, más violencia indirecta más extorsión, etc.; lo que muestra la complejidad de las situaciones de las que huyen. En ocasiones convergen estos motivos con otros económicos o laborales, lo cual demuestra la complejidad de la migración y la posibilidad de convergencia de un o una migrante y un refugiado o una refugiada en una sola persona”.

*The Central America/Mexico 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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