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MIGRATION NEWS BRIEF FOR FEBRUARY 25, 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

Stymied immigration advocates ask Biden to build something new
Ellen M. Gilmer, Bloomberg Government, February 23, 2022
“Immigrants’ rights and humanitarian groups are promoting a laundry list of executive actions they want President Joe Biden to embrace ahead of his State of the Union address next week.The Immigration Hub, UndocuBlack Network, Save the Children, and other groups on Wednesday unveiled a 2022 blueprint for the White House and federal agencies charged with carrying out Biden’s past pledges to make the U.S. immigration system more orderly and humane.”

More migrants are dying along the US-Mexico border, but it’s hard to say how big the problem actually is 
Courtney Riggle-Van Schagen, The Intelligencer, February 22, 2022
“At least 650 migrants died crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in 2021, according to the International Organization for Migration, a United Nations agency that monitors migration. The figure marks an all-time annual high since the U.S. government began reporting U.S.-Mexico border deaths in 1998.”

Biden’s unconscionable embrace of Trump’s cruel migrant-expulsion scheme
Felipe de la Hoz, The New Republic, February 22, 2022
“Just under 18 months later, on February 4, Biden’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention chose to prolong once again a Trump-era order that undoubtedly is the most restrictive anti-asylum policy in American history. Based on a strained reading of Title 42, a long-standing federal law meant to protect the United States from communicable diseases from other countries, the order has been used throughout the Covid-19 pandemic to expel migrants arriving at U.S. borders immediately, regardless of whether they intended to present asylum claims.”

More migrants are dying along the U.S-Mexico border, but it’s hard to say how big the problem actually is 
Courtney Riggle-van Schagen and Elizabeth Vaquera, The Conversation, February 22, 2022 
“At least 650 migrants died crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in 2021, according to the International Organization for Migration, a United Nations agency that monitors migration. The figure marks an all-time annual high since the U.S. government began reporting U.S.-Mexico border deaths in 1998. U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which estimates migrant deaths over a slightly different time frame, reported that 557 migrants died along the border from October 2020 through September 2021.”

US immigration courts struggle amid understaffing and backlog of cases 
Alexandra Villarreal, The Guardian, February 21, 2022
“America’s immigration courts are struggling to function at the most basic level, with courts that are already woefully understaffed and judges often undertrained now overwhelmed by a growing backlog of more than 1.6m cases, industry leaders have warned.”

Estos son los perros robot que están probando para usar en la inhóspita frontera con México
Univision, 20 de febrero de 2022
“Autoridades explican que las altas temperaturas, la dura orografía y las malas condiciones del tiempo dificultan el trabajo de los agentes y que esta tecnología los ayuda. El Departamento de Seguridad Nacional (Department of Homeland Security, DHS), en un comunicado difundido a inicios de este mes, indicó que la frontera entre México y Estados Unidos ” puede ser un sitio inhóspito para los humanos y los animales, y es por ello que estas máquinas pueden servir mucho ahí”.

Supreme Court agrees to weigh in on legal fight over the “Remain in Mexico” border policy 
Camilo Montoya-Galvez, CBS News, February 19, 2022
The Supreme Court on Friday said it would weigh in on a legal battle between Republican-led states and the Biden administration over the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” border policy, which was reinstated in a limited fashion in December due to a lower court order.”

Seeking asylum, migrant encampment grows in Mexico amid uncertainty over US policy
Mireya Villarreal, Armando Garcia, James Scholz, and Deena Zaru, ABC News, February 19, 2022
“The bridge that connects Hidalgo, Texas, to Reynosa, Mexico, has become a path of uncertainty and fear for thousands of families in search of opportunity. Amid ongoing ambiguity over the U.S.’s immigration policies, an encampment of migrants has swelled to about 2,200 over the past year, according to estimates from nonprofits working in the area. The sea of tents is about a block away from the international bridge in the northern Mexican city of Reynosa.”

Migration to U.S.-Mexico border falls to lowest levels since 2021 surge
Stef W. Kight, Axios, February 18, 2022
“The number of encounters between border officials and migrants attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border fell last month to the lowest levels since last February when the surge began. While it was the second-lowest monthly number on Biden’s watch, the 154,000 migrant encounters last month was still abnormally high for the time of year. There were more border patrol arrests than any other January in over two decades, according to government data.”

Biden has deported nearly as many Haitians in his first year as the last three presidents – combined
Tom Ricker, Quixote Center, February 18, 2022
“Biden has expelled nearly as many Haitians in 12 months (20,200+) as were deported during the previous 20 years (22,000-23,000) under three different presidents. Indeed, Biden’s administration has likely expelled far more: In addition to these official removal numbers, another estimated 8,000 Haitians were expelled back into Mexico in September of 2021, voluntarily according to DHS Secretary Mayorkas, but in circumstances that make that characterization suspect.”

Advocates call on Biden administration to help black migrants
Rhina Guidos, National Catholic Reporter, February 18, 2022
“In a news release, the Interfaith Immigration Coalition, a network of more than 55 national faith-based organizations that advocate for migrants and refugees, said it wanted officials to hear its concerns and “stop the detention and deportation of Haitians and other Black migrants. They said Black migrants have faced racism, not just through immigration policies that fail to protect them, but also at the hands of U.S. immigration authorities and officials who mistreat them.”

Mexico’s top diplomat urges U.S. to manage flow of migrants by creating legal pathways for entry
Alfredo Corchado and Dianne Solis, The Dallas Morning News, February 18, 2022
“Mexico’s top diplomat for North America is calling on the U.S. to do a better job of managing rising immigration by, in part, creating more legal pathways into the U.S. for migrants who otherwise face an increasingly perilous journey at the hands of organized crime.”

MEXICAN ENFORCEMENT

Migrants in Mexico square off against national guard
Edgar H. Clemente, AP News, February 23, 2022
“Dozens of migrants from Haiti, Cuba, and African nations threw stones and sticks at Mexican National Guard troops and immigration agents Tuesday in the southern city of Tapachula, near the border with Guatemala. The confrontation came amid months of complaints by migrants that processing claims for refuge, asylum or humanitarian visas was taking too long.”

The story of a Nicaraguan detained in a migrant caravan “The prison environment was hostile”
Confidencial, 22 de febrero de 2022
“The hope of arriving “healthy” to US territory united them. On Thursday afternoon, January 20, a group of more than 200 Nicaraguans seeking to fulfill the “American dream,” along with hundreds of migrants of other nationalities, gathered and left together from Tapachula, Mexico, en route for the United States border. But, after having traveled about 30 kilometers, they were “dispersed” by Mexican immigration authorities.”

Detienen en hotel de México a más de 130 inmigrantes cubanos en situación irregular
CiberCuba, 21 de febrero de 2022
Un grupo de 134 inmigrantes cubanos en situación irregular fueron detenidos en la mañana de este domingo en un hotel de la ciudad de Juchitán, en el estado mexicano de Oaxaca. Del total de cubanos, 30 eran mujeres y 10 menores de edad”.

México intercepta a más de 5.000 migrantes en la última semana 
DW, 20 de febrero de 2022
“Autoridades mexicanas interceptaron a 5.020 migrantes irregulares en la última semana, informó este domingo (20.02.2022) el Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM). Entre los migrantes capturados hay 793 menores de edad, aunque el INM no precisó cuántos de ellos viajaban no acompañados”. 

México y EEUU tendrán un nuevo cruce fronterizo en 2024: así será Mesa de Otay II
Infobae, 17 de febrero de 2022
“La Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores (SRE) informó la noche de este jueves que a partir de 2024 México y Estados Unidos contarán con un nuevo cruce fronterizo. Se trata de Mesa de Otay II, que conectará la región de Tijuana, en Baja California, con San Diego, California, el cual contará con 10 carriles intercambiables en función del tránsito: cinco para autos ligeros y cinco para transportes de carga”. 

Migrants are sewing their lips shut to protest the policy that stranded them in Mexico
Nicole Narea, Vox, February 17, 2022
“Migrants stranded in southern Mexico because of US and Mexican border policies are taking increasingly drastic measures to draw attention to their plight. On Tuesday, a dozen migrants staged a protest in which they sewed their lips together and went on a hunger strike.”

ROOT CAUSES 

Crackdown on Guatemala prosecutors intensifies amid presidential corruption claims
Alex Papadovassilakis, InSight Crime, February 23, 2022
“With cries of corruption mounting against Guatemala’s president, the country’s Attorney General, Consuelo Porras, has taken minimal action and instead ramped up her crackdown on prosecutors investigating high-level graft. Prosecutor Carlos Antonio Videz Navas, who was previously involved in a corruption probe implicating President Alejandro Giammattei, has fled Guatemala fearing for his safety and possible legal attacks.”

Quince millones de Latinoamericanos están en pobreza extrema, según OCDE
ConfidencialHN, 22 de febrero de 2022
“Quince millones de latinoamericanos han caído en la pobreza extrema, como consecuencia del retroceso de la clase media, según afirmó este martes Sebastián Nieto Parra, jefe de América Latina y Caribe del Centro de Desarrollo OCDE. La recuperación está siendo lenta, tendremos que esperar hasta 2024 para recuperar los niveles pre-covid”.

Sisters of mercy celebrate release of clean-water activists in Honduras
David Green, National Catholic Reporter, February 21, 2022
“The Sisters of Mercy celebrated the release of six anti-mining protesters in Honduras, who spent nearly two-and-a-half years in pre-trial detention — in a case the country’s Supreme Court said should have never proceeded. “We celebrate the release of the #Guapinol Water Defenders who were wrongly imprisoned and tried for protecting their communities from destructive mining,” the Sisters of Mercy tweeted Feb. 11, two days after the Supreme Court decision.”

Struggle in Guatemala offers hope for Latin America’s indigeneous people
Edgardo Ayala, Global Issues, February 21, 2022 
A struggle for the defense of their territories waged by indigenous Maya Q’eqchi’ communities in eastern Guatemala could set a historic precedent for Latin America’s native peoples because it would ensure not only their right to control their lands but also their natural resources, denied for centuries.”

This juzgue is one of the last U.S. allies in the Guatemala corruption fight. Politicians keep trying to sideline her
Kevin Sieff, The Washington Post, February 19, 2022
“Judge Erika Aifán was in her 14th-floor office in Guatemala’s towering judicial building when she heard the buzzing noise. She pulled the curtains aside and found herself staring at a surveillance drone, inches from the glass window. Her colleagues wondered aloud how a drone could get so close to one of the most sensitive government offices in the country. But Aifán knew. It was her own government that was spying on her.”

Continúa el patrón de criminalización de oponentes políticos y defensores de derechos humanos 
Defensores en Linea, 18 de febrero de 2022
“El Comité Por la Liberación de los Presos Políticos en Honduras y la Convergencia Contra el Continuismo (CCC) manifiestan su repudio a las acciones continuistas y de venganza estatal contra los oponentes políticos al Golpe de Estado de 2009. Inmediatamente las detenciones arbitrarias se realizaron sin orden de aprehensión bajo el argumento por parte de las fuerzas de seguridad y de la Fiscalía General de la República de que las detenciones se motivaron por la flagrancia”.

La información oculta del manejo de la pandemia COVID-19
Xenia Oliva, Gato Encerrado, February 18, 2022
“A un año de la llegada del primer lote de vacunas anticovid a El Salvador y casi dos desde el inicio de la pandemia, persisten muchas preguntas alrededor del manejo de la mayor crisis sanitaria que ha enfrentado el país en años. Muchas de estas preguntas podrían responderse si el Estado siguiera cumpliendo los mecanismos de transparencia establecidos, en cambio se ha optado por reservar toda la información relacionada a la compra y adquisición de vacunas, el plan de vacunación, los datos de las pruebas COVID y el manejo hospitalario de los pacientes”.

Nace el bloque de madres de desaparecidos
Carlos Barrera, El Faro, February 17, 2022
“La mamá de Óscar Arévalo forma parte del Bloque de Búsqueda de Personas Desaparecidas en El Salvador, una organización que nació y se formó en su mayoría por madres de desaparecidos.  Este grupo de madres se congregó este día en la entrada de Medicina Legal para exigir a las autoridades más eficiencia y que se agilice la búsqueda de sus familiares”.

El Salvador’s Bukele tells bitcoin-wary U.S. senators to stay out of internal affairs 
Nelson Renteria, Reuters, February 17, 2022 “President Nayib Bukele on Wednesday asked U.S. senators to stay out of El Salvador’s “internal affairs” after they called for an investigation into the economic risks the United States faces due to the Central American country’s adoption of bitcoin as legal tender.”

Al menos 13 ex fiscales guatemaltecos se encuentran en el exilio 
Agencia EFE, 17 de febrero de 2022
“Al menos 13 ex operadores de justicia guatemaltecos se encuentran en el exilio debido a la persecución que enfrentan en el país centroamericano, según afirmó este miércoles el exfuncionario del Ministerio Público Juan Francisco Sandoval. El abogado, líder de la lucha anticorrupción entre 2014 y 2019 en Guatemala, indicó en una entrevista en medios internacionales que el motivo del exilio se debe a la persecución en contra de los fiscales anticorrupción por parte de la jefa del Ministerio Público”.

The world needs a plan – an equitable one – on climate migration
Nicole Greenfield, Natural Resources Defense Council, February 16, 2022
“Wildfires. Floods. Hurricanes. For years, the consequences of carbon-fueled climate change have been upending lives and causing people to migrate. And those are just the sudden climate catastrophes. The slower-moving disasters—sea levels that creep further inland, temperatures that diminish crop yields, storms that dump more and more rain, and rainstorms that fail to appear at all—are even more likely to cause people to leave home and never come back. These insidious climate impacts have already begun, here and abroad.”

Juana Alonzo: la migrante chuj que lleva 7 años detenida en México sin que se le haga juicio 
Sergio Morales Rodas, Prensa Libre, 12 de febrero de 2022
“San Mateo Ixtatán, municipio de Huehuetenango ubicado a 340 kilómetros de la capital, es el lugar de origen de Juana Alonzo Santizo, una migrante de 35 años de la etnia chuj que lleva siete años detenida en México, señalada de tráfico de personas, un delito del que sus familiares, aseguran, no es culpable y más bien es víctima”.

ACTIONS, ALERTS, AND RESOURCES

The opposite of orderly and humane: Use of Title 42 spurs disorder and undermines security 
Human Rights First, February 22, 2022
“The Biden administration’s use of Trump administration policies to turn away people seeking protection along the southern border with Mexico is spurring disorder and escalating security threats. These policies are also responsible for systematic human rights abuses and violations of refugee law that Human Rights First has repeatedly documented. Since President Biden took office in January 2021, there have been at least 8,705 reports of kidnapping, rape, torture and other violent attacks on migrants and asylum seekers.”

South American Immigrants in the United States
Jane Lorenzi and Jeanne Batalova, Migration Policy, February 16, 2022
“Immigrants from South America comprise a small share of the total U.S. immigrant population. However, arrivals from the region have increased in recent years and flows are diversifying. Many of the 3.4 million South Americans living in the United States as of 2019 immigrated during the Cold War era, from the 1960s to the 1980s.”

Refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants
Amnesty International
“Every day, all over the world, people make one of the most difficult decisions in their lives: to leave their homes in search of a safer, better life.Most people in the world have had the experience of leaving the place where they grew up. Maybe they will only move as far as the next village or city. But for some people, they will need to leave their country entirely – sometimes for a short time, but sometimes forever.”

MigraNews: Reportes de Movimientos Migratorios de Hondureños en Noviembre, Diciembre y Enero
Elena Toledo, Scribd
“Honduras es un país con un alto nivel de migración, pero también existe un alto porcentaje de personas que son deportadas y retornadas, por lo que la reinserción de las personas deportadas también representa un desafío. Desde la década de 1980, Estados Unidos es el principal país de destino de los emigrantes hondureños debido a los lazos históricos, económicos, políticos y culturales, así como la proximidad geográfica”.

Movilidad humana en confinamiento: contención vulneración de derechos humanos y desprotección en México
Red de Documentación de las Organizaciones Defensoras de Migrantes, 2022
“En un mundo globalizado donde los Estados nacionales se atrincheran de acuerdo a sus soberanías y fronteras, la acción humanitaria en torno a la movilidad humana que realiza la sociedad civil organizada, está llena de retos y obstáculos. El virus SAR-cov-2, causante de la enfermedad del COVID-19, detonó procesos que a la par de los controles biopolíticos fronterizos antes establecidos, se suman a los dispositivos de control sanitarios para contener la pandemia”.


* 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!