Migration News Brief for July 14, 2023

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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.


LAWG Condemns Judicial Coup D’état in Guatemala
Latin America Working Group, July 13, 2023
“LAWG condemns the Attorney General’s office decision to revoke the legal status of the Semilla political party in Guatemala. This unlawful decision comes nearly three weeks after the presidential elections in which the Semilla party unexpectedly came in second place.” 

LAWG condena el golpe de estado judicial en Guatemala 
Latin America Working Group, 13 de julio de 2023
“LAWG condena la decisión de la fiscalía general de revocar la personalidad jurídica del partido político Semilla en Guatemala. Esta decisión ilegal se produce casi tres semanas después de las elecciones presidenciales en las que el partido Semilla quedó  inesperadamente en segundo lugar”.

U.S. Enforcement

Migrant girl with illness dies in U.S. custody, marking fourth such death this year
Camilo Montoya-Galvez, CBS News, July 11, 2023
“An unaccompanied migrant girl from Guatemala with a pre-existing medical condition died in U.S. custody earlier this week after crossing the southern border in May, according to information provided to Congress and obtained by CBS News.”

“Reclaim Your Rights, Because We All Have Rights.”
Kino Border Initiative, July 10, 2023
“‘God gave me the strength to survive what they [Border Patrol] did to me…People do not have to allow Border Patrol’s abuses.’ This is Alfredo’s story of his strength and the accompaniment he received following the traumatic abuse he endured on his migration journey.” 

DHS Announces Family Reunification Parole Processes for Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras
U.S. Department of Homeland Security, July 7, 2023
“The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today announced the implementation of new family reunification parole (FRP) processes for Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, advancing the Biden-Harris Administration’s successful combination of expanded lawful pathways and strengthened enforcement to reduce irregular migration. The FRP processes promote family unity and are part of the comprehensive measures announced in April by DHS and the Department of State.” 

U.S. opens new immigration path for Central Americans and Colombians to discourage border crossings
Camilo Montoya-Galvez, CBS News, July 7, 2023
“The Biden administration will soon open a new immigration program to allow some Central Americans and Colombians to enter the U.S. legally and discourage would-be migrants from these countries from journeying north to cross the U.S. southern border illegally, officials announced Friday.” 

Weekly U.S.-Mexico Border Update: Heat wave hits migrants, trends along migration route, fentanyl seizures
Adam Isacson, Washington Office on Latin America, July 7, 2023
“Jet-stream fluctuations left much of the southern United States and northern Mexico trapped in an early summer “heat dome” for about two weeks in June. Reports are pointing to severe consequences for U.S.-bound migrants, both those who attempt to walk through deserts to avoid detection, and those waiting in northern Mexico, often in squalid conditions, for appointments to present themselves to U.S. authorities to seek asylum.” 

Declaring war on Mexican cartels is popular. That doesn’t mean it’s smart.
Fareed Zakaria, The Washington Post, July 7, 2023
“The problem that needs to be addressed is real and tragic. More than 70,000 people in the United States died from synthetic opioid overdoses in 2021, the last year for which we had data. The leading synthetic opioid is fentanyl, which is similar to but much more potent than heroin. These drugs are mostly made by cartels in Mexico. But the idea that using U.S. military force would solve the problem is delusional.” 

Biden’s new asylum policy strands some migrants at Mexico border as conditions worsen
Laura Gottesdiener, Ted Hesson, Mica Rosenberg, Kristina Cooke, and Daina Beth Solomon, Reuters, July 6, 2023
“Pena, 34, fled Venezuela after a criminal group killed her sister, according to interviews and police records. Hoping to seek asylum in the United States, she said her family was stuck in northern Mexico because of new U.S. border rules adopted on May 11 by the administration of President Joe Biden.”

Florida bans driver’s licenses of immigrants living in US illegally
Rachel Nostrant, Reuters, July 6, 2023
“Florida will no longer accept driver’s licenses issued by some other U.S. states to immigrants living in the country illegally under a law signed by Governor Ron DeSantis as he seeks the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.”

U.S. explores refugee program for non-Mexican asylum seekers in Mexico
Ted Hesson and Dave Graham, Reuters, July 2, 2023
“U.S. and Mexican officials are discussing a new U.S. refugee program for some non-Mexican asylum seekers waiting in Mexico, four sources said, part of President Joe Biden’s attempts to create more legal avenues for migration. The program would likely be open to Cuban, Haitian, Nicaraguan and Venezuelan refugees in Mexico, the sources said. Migrants would need to show they were in Mexico before June 6 to qualify, one of the sources said.”

The Biden administration guaranteed attorney access for all migrant screenings. Most don’t have it
Elliot Spagat, Associated Press, July 2, 2023
“As the Biden administration prepared to launch speedy asylum screenings at Border Patrol holding facilities this spring , authorities pledged a key difference from a Trump-era version of the policy: Migrants would be guaranteed access to legal counsel.” 

How US Policy Foments Organized Crime on US-Mexico Border
Parker Asmann and Steven Dudley, InSight Crime, June 28, 2023
“This report aims to highlight the role US policy has played in this transformation, which continues to evolve today. Specifically, it analyzes the ways in which Mexican organized crime groups have become involved in human smuggling as risks rose, prices surged, and migrants began to move through less-traveled corridors.”

High-Stakes Asylum: How Long an Asylum Case Takes and How We Can Do Better
American Immigration Lawyers Association, June 14, 2023
“The report is based on a survey of over 300 asylum attorneys about how much time it takes to prepare an asylum application, and what complications add significant time. High-Stakes Asylum also includes recommendations on how to inject efficiency into the existing asylum process and ensure the integrity of a system that has life and death consequences.”

ICE Air Executive Summary 
Welcome With Dignity, June 2023
“June saw the reversal of the expected lull in removal flights at the abrupt ending of T42 and T42 flights  and before T8 / expedited removal deportation flights ramp up. Removal flights increased 16 (15%)  from 106 in May to 122 in June. On a weekday equivalent basis the increase would have been 22  (21%).”

Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights 2022 Annual Overview
Young Center, 2022
We are a human rights organization that advocates for the rights and best interests of immigrant children. Our goal is to change both immigration policy and practice, so immigrant children are recognized first as children and their best interests are considered in every decision.”

Mexican Enforcement

IP pide legalizar a migrantes para contar con más mano de obra
Alejandro Alegría, La Jornada, 11 de julio de 2023
“El presidente del CCE señaló que México es un puente de migración de muchos países hacia Estados Unidos, situación que calificó como ‘bastante severa’, por lo que indicó se debe aprovechar que el gobierno legalice a los migrantes”.

Encinas se reúne con la secretaria adjunta de DH de EU, Erin Barclay
Lilian Hernández Osorio, La Jornada, 11 de julio de 2023
“El subsecretario de Derechos Humanos, Población y Migración, Alejandro Encinas sostuvo una reunión privada con la secretaria adjunta en la Oficina de Democracia, Derechos Humanos y Trabajo del Departamento de Estados Unidos, Erin Barclay. En sus oficinas de la Secretaría de Gobernación, Encinas recibió a la funcionaria estadunidense, con quien tuvo una ‘fructífera reunión’, así lo informó en sus redes sociales, aunque no dio más detalles de este encuentro”.

INM propondrá estaciones migratorias de “puertas abiertas”
Lilian Hernández Osorio, La Jornada, 10 de julio de 2023
“El Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM) y el Consejo Ciudadano de este organismo acordaron integrarse a la discusión del Poder Legislativo por una nueva Ley Nacional de Migración, donde propondrán que las estaciones migratorias sean ‘de puertas abiertas’”.

Number of Migrants at the Border Plunges as Mexico Helps U.S. to Stem Flow
Simon Romero, Miriam Jordan and Emiliano Rodríguez Mega, The New York Times, July 9, 2023
“In Ciudad Juárez and in other Mexican cities along the border, the story is much the same: Instead of surging as elected officials and immigration advocates had warned, the number of migrants trying to enter the United States has plummeted following the expiration in May of a pandemic-era border restriction.”

INM otorga residencia permanente a mujer migrante que dió a luz en un autobús en Veracruz y a sus dos hijas
Eduardo Dina Dina, El Universal, 29 de junio de 2023
“El pasado 27 de junio, el Instituto Nacional de Migración, en coordinación con otras autoridades federales y municipales, informó que rescataron y auxiliaron a 141 personas migrantes que eran transportadas en un autobús en Córdoba, Veracruz, entre ellas una mujer que dio a luz en la unidad”.

Root Causes


Posibles avances en la investigación de la desaparición de los 43 estudiantes de Ayotzinapa
SERAPAZ, 11 de julio de 2023
“En el caso de la desaparición de los 43 estudiantes de Ayotzinapa, durante junio se reactivaron órdenes de captura contra 16 militares y un exfuncionario civil. En julio se espera la publicación de un nuevo informe del Grupo Interdisciplinario de Expertos Independientes (GIEI) sobre el estado actual de la investigación. Las familias continúan exigiendo al Ejército la apertura de todos sus archivos con información sobre este caso”.

Mexico’s Rising Femicides Linked to Organized Crime
Lara Loaiza, InSight Crime, July 11, 2023
“Increased militarization and the so-called ‘war on drugs’ have played a key part in the recent increase in gender-based violence in Mexico, according to a policy brief published by the Wilson Center.”

Missing Mexican journalist’s body found
Reuters, July 9, 2023
“The body of missing 59-year-old Mexican journalist Luis Martín Sanchez Iniguez was found in the Mexican state of Nayarit with signs of violence, the state public prosecutors office confirmed Saturday. Sanchez Iniguez worked for the newspaper La Jornada.”

Pueblos indígenas, a quienes más impacta el desplazamiento forzado
Maritza Perez, El Economista, 6 de julio de 2023
“La exrelatora Especial sobre los derechos humanos de los desplazados internos, Cecilia Jiménez-Damary, advirtió que tras visitar México logró identificar que el desplazamiento interno impacta de manera preocupante a los pueblos indígenas, así como a las mujeres y personas defensores y periodistas.” 

16 police workers released after being kidnapped in southern Mexico
Associated Press, CBS News, June 30, 2023
“After three days of captivity, 16 police employees kidnapped in southern Mexico were released Friday. Rutilio Escandón, governor of Chiapas state, confirmed their return on Twitter.”

From Smuggling to Trafficking: One Migrant’s Nightmare on the Guatemala-Mexico Border
Cindy Espina, InSight Crime, June 30, 2023
“The operation that brought police and investigators to the highlands of Huehuetenango that July morning was driven by one woman’s desire to flee Guatemala. The victim was a 21-year-old Popti’ Indigenous woman who, for security and legal reasons, we will identify as Valeria.”

Hipólito Mora, vigilante crusader against Mexico’s drug cartels, killed in ambush
Tom Phillips and Analy Nuño, The Guardian, June 29, 2023
“One of the founders of Mexico’s ‘self-defense’ movement, the lime farmer turned vigilante crusader Hipólito Mora, has been murdered in an ambush – the latest macabre chapter in the country’s unabating crime conflict.”

Many people in Mexico without power as deadly heat leads to strain on grid
Gina Jiménez, The Guardian, June 29, 2023
“Late on Wednesday, Mexican health authorities reported at least 112 heat-related deaths so far this year – almost triple the total figures for 2022. The data also shows a significant spike in heat-related fatalities in the last two weeks.” 

Mexico police station attacked as search continues for 14 missing employees
Associated Press, The Guardian, June 28, 2023
“Assailants have thrown explosives at a police station in Mexico’s southern state of Chiapas, as a massive search continued on Wednesday for 14 police employees abducted at gunpoint on a local highway. The attacks highlight a new turf battle between cartels for control of drug and immigrant trafficking in the state, which borders Guatemala.”

Tesla’s new Mexico factory divides a city
Lorena Ríos and Chantal Flores, Rest of World, June 27, 2023
“When the taps started to run dry in March 2022, Blanca Guzmán thought she was prepared. Monterrey, in northern Mexico, was in a state of emergency due to a drought more severe than in previous years, but the 76-year-old and her husband, both retired, had spent a small fortune on an 800-liter rooftop water tank.”

Foro nacional sobre feminicidio: Visiones y soluciones | Reporte 2023
Lila Abed y Senado de la República, Wilson Center, Mexico Institute, 2023
“Este informe es una recopilación de la información, las mejores prácticas, las medidas preventivas y las recomendaciones de política pública presentadas durante el Foro Nacional. El objetivo de este informe es resumir los hallazgos de la conferencia en un esfuerzo por generar conciencia y para que los legisladores mexicanos puedan utilizarlos al redactar y aprobar proyectos de ley para prevenir, reducir y eliminar el feminicidio y la violencia de género en México.”


Top vote-getter in Guatemala’s presidential election suspends campaign in solidarity with opponent
Sonia Pérez, Associated Press, July 13, 2023
“The top vote-getter in the first round of Guatemala’s presidential election said Thursday she is suspending her campaign activities in solidarity with her opponent, whose party is being pursued by prosecutors.”

Fears for Guatemala’s democracy after court excludes a top party from election
Sofia Menchu, Reuters, July 13, 2023
“A Guatemalan court ordered the suspension of anti-graft presidential candidate Bernardo Arevalo’s political party, a prosecutor said on Wednesday, threatening his place in a run-off vote and prompting U.S. warnings of a challenge to democracy.”

Corte penal irrumpe en elección en Guatemala a cinco semanas de la segunda vuelta
Roman Gressier y Julie López, El Faro, 13 de julio de 2023
“Acompañado por la Policía Nacional Civil, el Ministerio Público de Guatemala ha allanado las oficinas del Tribunal Supremo Electoral por la mañana de este jueves 13 de julio en busca de sustento a una acción legal que anunciaron la noche anterior, minutos antes de oficializarse los resultados electorales del 25 de junio, contra el partido Semilla. Un juez ordenó suspender al partido mientras el Tribunal lo convocó a segunda vuelta, sumergiendo al país en un conflicto entre instituciones y suscitando denuncias de monitores electorales de una ‘intentona de golpe de Estado’”. 

Guatemala’s Election Thrown Into Turmoil After Top Party Is Suspended
Jody García, Emiliano Rodríguez Mega and Simon Romero, The New York Times, July 13, 2023
“Guatemala’s presidential election has been thrown into turmoil after a top prosecutor moved to suspend the party of a surging anticorruption candidate, threatening his bid to take part in a runoff and potentially dealing a severe blow to the country’s already fraying democracy.”

Continued Threats to the Integrity and Credibility of Guatemala’s Election
Matthew Miller, U.S. Department of State, July 13, 2023
“The United States welcomes the certification of the first round of election results by the Guatemalan Supreme Electoral Tribunal, which upholds the credibility and integrity of the most-observed electoral process in Guatemala’s history. The certified official results validate the will of the Guatemalan people as expressed in first round elections on June 25.”

Top tribunal certifies Guatemala’s election result minutes after another court suspends party
Sonia Pérez, Associated Press, July 12, 2023
“Guatemala’s troubled presidential election was thrown into even greater turmoil Wednesday when the country’s top electoral tribunal confirmed the results of the June 25 vote while the Attorney General’s Office announced that the second place party had been suspended.”

Guatemala president says he won’t stay in power as courts continue to hold up election results
Sonia Pérez, Associated Press, July 10, 2023
“With tensions surrounding Guatemala’s June 25 presidential election heightening, President Alejandro Giammattei took the unusual step of publishing an open letter Monday saying he has no intention of staying in power beyond his term.”

Son of renowned Guatemalan journalist still fights for his father’s freedom a year after imprisonment
Nicole Acevedo, NBC News, July 10, 2023
“It’s been nearly a year since prominent Guatemalan journalist José Rubén Zamora, the founder of the independent investigative newspaper El Periódico, was imprisoned in his homeland in connection with a case decried by human rights activists and groups as a political persecution seeking to undermine democracy and freedom of expression.”

What’s happening in Guatemala? How a small country’s elections could have a big impact on the US
Kim Hjelmgaard, USA Today, July 8, 2023
“Bernardo Arevalo, a 64-year-old sociologist, anti-corruption campaigner and son of former President Juan Jose Arevalo, defied the doubters grabbing a top spot in the first round of Guatemala’s presidential election last month. He came in second behind former first lady Sandra Torres, with just under 12% of the vote, a result that experts say amounts to crushing it in a race where no candidate won more than 16% of votes.”

If the Election Deniers Succeed, Guatemala Will Have Lost the Battle for Democracy
Anita Isaacs, Rachel A. Schwartz, Álvaro Montenegro, The New York Times, July 6, 2023
“Guatemala’s democracy is under assault. Over the past four years, a group of powerful elites tied to organized crime, known as the “pact of the corrupt,” has been steadily dismantling Guatemala’s democratic guardrails by co-opting judicial institutions and arresting and exiling prosecutors, judges, journalists and pro-democracy activists. Now, in their next step to consolidate power, they are trying to manipulate the national elections that are underway.”

Saving an election on Insta: Guatemalans go to social media to try to protect presidential vote
Leila Miller, Los Angeles Times, July 6, 2023
“As their presidential election hangs in the balance, Guatemalans are taking to social media to try to circumvent what they see as interference and a threat to democracy. After an anti-corruption candidate stunned with a second-place finish last month and advanced to the August runoff, Guatemala’s Constitutional Court on Saturday ordered the election results suspended and reviewed.”

Cuatro partidos insisten en pedir un nuevo recuento de votos y dudan de los resultados preliminares
Douglas Cuevas, Prensa Libre, 5 de julio de 2023
“Un grupo de cuatro partidos políticos buscan que las nuevas audiencias de revisión de escrutinios terminen con un recuento de votos, al menos esa fue su posición en la primera jornada de audiencias, en el Centro de Operaciones del Proceso Electoral (Cope), en el Parque de la Industria, zona 9 de la capital”.

“Abramos las cajas”: el partido del presidente de Guatemala Alejandro Giammattei pidió que el recuento de votos sea manual 
InfoBae, 4 de julio de 2023
“La agrupación política Vamos, del presidente guatemalteco Alejandro Giammattei, exigió este martes un recuento de votos manual en la revisión de los resultados de las elecciones generales del pasado 25 de junio, mientras fiscales de otros partidos han rebatido su postura”.

Guatemala Elites Meddle Again in Presidential Election, Suspending Results
Peter Appleby, InSight Crime, 4 de julio de 2023
“Guatemala’s highest court has suspended the results of the presidential elections as the country’s elite corruption networks mount a last-gasp attempt to cling to political power. A review of the first round of voting was underway on July 4 after Guatemala’s Constitutional Court (Corte de Constitucionalidad) ruled in favor of nine political parties that appealed the first round results, citing potential irregularities.”

La OEA enviará una misión de observación al proceso de revisión de los resultados electorales en Guatemala
Marlon Sorto, CNN Español, 3 de julio de 2023
“La Organización de Estados Americanos (OEA) anunció este lunes que enviará a Guatemala una nueva misión de observación para la revisión de resultados electorales solicitada por la Corte de Constitucionalidad, informó el organismo en un comunicado. El texto señala, además, que la OEA considera de vital importancia que se respete la voluntad popular expresada en las urnas”.

Election Process Impeded
Pat Davis, PBI Guatemala, July 3, 2023
“On July 1, amid calls from  international bodies to respect the June 25 election results, Guatemala’s Constitutional Court ruled  to allow a challenge to the results. The challenge was filed by various political parties.”

Suspensión de resultado electoral en Guatemala desata amplia condena internacional
Roman Gressier, El Faro, 3 de julio de 2023
“El socialdemócrata Bernardo Arévalo, del pequeño partido Semilla, sorprendió en las urnas el 25 de junio al pasar a la segunda vuelta presidencial en Guatemala con la promesa de frenar la deriva autoritaria del país y facilitar el regreso de decenas de exiliados políticos”.

Suspension of Guatemala Voting Results Stokes Fears of Electoral Coup
Roman Gressier, El Faro, July 3, 2023
“The June 25 elections saw the improbable outcome of social-democrat academic Bernardo Arévalo advancing to the presidential run-off on stark promises to halt the country’s authoritarian slide and to facilitate the return of dozens of exilees. But less than a week later, amid an intense smear campaign depicting Arévalo as an anti-family ‘communist’, the Constitutional Court (CC) and Supreme Electoral Tribunal intervened in favor of a slate of establishment parties looking to delay the results on accusations of ‘fraud’.”

OAS Electoral Observation Mission Expresses its Concern for the Extreme Judicialization of the Electoral Process in Guatemala
Organization of American States, July 2, 2023
“The Electoral Observation Mission of the Organization of American States (OAS/EOM) for the general elections in Guatemala has followed up on the positions and petitions of the secretaries of nine political parties, which have resulted in the recent resolution of the Constitutional Court (CC) ordering the suspension of the process of allocation of offices, along with an additional review and comparison of the statements of polls not contemplated in the legislation.”  

Guatemala’s high court steps into election, suspends release of official results
Sonia Pérez, Associated Press, July 2, 2023
“Guatemala’s highest court has suspended the release of official election results, granting a temporary injunction to 10 parties that challenged the results of the June 25 vote. The Constitutional Court late Saturday called for a new hearing to review the contested tallies in no more than five days.”

El miedo de las élites despierta la crisis postelectoral en Guatemala
Édgar Gutiérrez, El País, 2 de julio de 2023
“Una semana después de los resultados electorales del 25 de junio, ni el Pacto de Corruptos, la alianza informal de políticos, élites burocráticas y empresarios, que se protegen entre sí para mantener el poder, ni quienes integran el rancio statu quo de Guatemala han superado el shock”. 

Election Interference in Guatemala
U.S. Department of State, July 2, 2023
“The United States supports the Guatemalan people’s constitutional right to elect their leaders via free and fair elections and is deeply concerned by efforts that interfere with the June 25 election result.  Actions to interfere with the election result violate the spirit of Guatemala’s constitution and threaten the legitimacy of its democratic process.”

TSE acata orden de la CC y frena oficialización de resultados electorales
William Oliva y Douglas Cuevas, Prensa Libre, 2 de julio de 2023
“El Tribunal Supremo Electoral (TSE) emitió este domingo una resolución en la que acata el fallo de la Corte de Constitucionalidad (CC) en el que ordena frenar la oficialización de resultados de la primera vuelta electoral”.

Guatemala court orders presidential ballot review, opposition cries foul
Sofia Menchu, Reuters, July 2, 2023
“Guatemala’s top court on Saturday ordered ballots from the first-round presidential election to be reviewed after the front-runner’s party and allies challenged the results, setting up the potential for a recount ahead of the runoff vote.”

CC otorga amparo provisional a partidos políticos y ordena nueva audiencia de revisión de escrutinio de votos
William Oliva, Douglas Cuevas y César Pérez Marroquín, Prensa Libre, 1 de julio de 2023
“Tras conocer una acción de amparo de varios partidos políticos, la Corte de Constitucionalidad (CC) ordena que se repitan las audiencias de revisión de escrutinio de votos en la Juntas Electorales Departamentales de Guatemala y en la de Distrito Central”.

Bernardo Arévalo, Guatemala’s Electoral Surprise, Makes Corruption Fight Top Priority
Associated Press, U.S. News, June 27, 2023
“Bernardo Arévalo, the surprise candidate in Guatemala’s first round of presidential voting, says the choice in the country’s Aug. 20 runoff is a clear one: Continue living under a corrupt system with his rival or rebuild the country’s democracy with him.”

Working for Rights in Guatemala Has Never Been More Dangerous
Guatemala Human Rights Commission, Summer 2023
“When we conducted an interview with Jorge Santos in early May, neither GHRC nor Santos knew he would soon be facing the very kind of persecution he describes as a pattern. On May 18, the key witness in the case against renowned journalist José Rubén Zamora defamed Jorge Santos in his testimony.”


New Dawn or Old Habits? Resolving Honduras’ Security Dilemmas
International Crisis Group, July 10, 2023
“After more than a year in power, the democratically elected left-leaning government headed by the first woman to rule Honduras is struggling to check the violent crime that has long vexed the country. President Xiomara Castro promised a fresh start after the scandal-plagued administration of Juan Orlando Hernández, who is now awaiting trial in the U.S. on drug trafficking and firearms charges.”

UN experts arrive in Honduras to explore anti-corruption mission installation
Reuters, July 9, 2023
“A UN mission of experts arrived in Honduras to examine the establishment of an international anti-corruption mission in the Central American nation, which is plagued by widespread corruption that exacerbates poverty and immigration, Honduran authorities announced Sunday.”

Honduras: Militarization of public security
UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, July 7, 2023
“We are very concerned by the militarization of public security in Honduras. On 5 July, the Government extended, for an additional 45 days, a state of emergency introduced in December 2022 as part of its efforts to tackle extortion and organised crime.”

In Honduras, Xiomara Castro’s Government Is Caught in the “Remittances Trap
Gina Kawas, Americas Quarterly, July 3, 2023
“After her election in 2021, observers had high hopes for Honduran President Xiomara Castro—and much skepticism. Now, a year and a half into her administration, Castro has increased government spending and sought investment from China.” 

El Salvador

Literatura proscrita del régimen de excepción de Bukele 
Róger Lindo, El Faro, 11 de julio de 2023
“La literatura es el nuevo enemigo del régimen de excepción del presidente Nayib Bukele de El Salvador. El peso de su censura ha caído sobre la joven escritora salvadoreña Michelle Recinos”.

Salvadoran President Bukeles party names him as 2024 candidate
Reuters, July 9, 2023
“Salvadoran political party Nuevas Ideas chose President Nayib Bukele on Sunday as its candidate for the presidential elections of early 2024, even though the country’s constitution does not allow consecutive terms for the presidency. Bukele, whose first term began in 2019, said in September last year he would seek re-election despite the ban on consecutive terms.”

Nayib Bukele seeks to extend his time in power
Carlos Maldonado, El País, July 9, 2023
“No constitutional prohibition matters for the president of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele. On Sunday, July 9, the controversial president announced that he will formalize his candidacy for re-election, despite the fact that the Constitution of his country prevents him from seeking a second term.” 

El Salvador President Nayib Bukele nominated for reelection despite constitutional questions 
Associated Press, July 9, 2023
“President Nayib Bukele was officially nominated by his New Ideas party Sunday to run for reelection next year, brushing aside objections from legal experts and opposition figures who say El Salvador’s constitution prohibits his candidacy.”

Salvadoran court sentences ex-President Funes to another jail term
Reuters, July 5, 2023
“A court in El Salvador sentenced former President Mauricio Funes to six years behind bars for tax evasion, according to a ruling published on Wednesday, marking the second conviction and prison term doled out to the former leftist leader this year. But Funes now lives in Nicaragua and is a citizen of Nicaragua, a country that does not allow for the extradition of its citizens.”

Salvadoran Prosecutors Accuse Top Prison Bureau Aide of Selling Benefits to Narcos
Efren Lemus and Carlos Martínez, El Faro, July 5, 2023
“On May 30, anti-narcotics agents of El Salvador’s National Civil Police (PNC) arrested Wilfredo Hernández Molina, who for the last decade has been an aide to the current Vice Minister of Security Osiris Luna Meza, on accusations of taking bribes to allow men accused of drug trafficking to exit Mariona Prison and receive unauthorized family visits.”

The Guardian view on El Salvador’s crime crackdown: a short-term, high cost fix
The Guardian, July 2, 2023
“In El Salvador, the president, Nayib Bukele, has sent almost 70,000 people to prison in an ‘iron fist’ crackdown on gangs, under a ‘state of exception’ he imposed last March and has yet to lift. Despite the suspension of basic liberties, due process and other human rights infringements, it is fast becoming a model for other nearby countries in the region.”


Will El Niño on top of global heating create the perfect climate storm
Jonathan Watts, Julian Amani, Paul Scruton, and Lucy Swan, The Guardian, July 3, 2023
“‘Very unusual’, ‘worrying’, ‘terrifying’, and ‘bonkers; the reactions of veteran scientists to the sharp increase in north Atlantic surface temperatures over the past three months raises the question of whether the world’s climate has entered a more erratic and dangerous phase with the onset of an El Niño event on top of human-made global heating.”

Crime Groups Drive Pre-Election Violence in Mexico, Brazil: Study 
Cristopher Newton, InSight Crime, June 29, 2023
“Organized crime groups use violence to manipulate elections in Mexico and Brazil, a new report has revealed. But surprisingly, some parts of Mexico that are most afflicted by organized crime suffered few attacks against local officials.”

A Tough Year for Anti-Corruption
Geert Aalbers, Brian Winter, and Emilie Sweigart, Americas Quarterly, June 27, 2023
“It was a year of setbacks for anti-corruption efforts, and almost no one was immune. That’s the clear conclusion of the fifth annual edition of the Capacity to Combat Corruption (CCC) Index, published on June 27. Rather than measuring perceived levels of corruption as other studies do, the CCC Index evaluates and ranks 15 Latin American countries based on their ability to detect, punish and prevent corruption.”

Displaced to Cities: Conflict, Climate Change, and Rural-to-Urban Migration
Gabriela Nagle Alverio, Jeannie Sowers, Erika Weinthal, United States Institute of Peace, June 15, 2023
“Countries as geographically diverse as Honduras, Jordan, and Pakistan are experiencing a common challenge—rapid growth in urban populations as conflict and climate-induced disasters push people from rural areas into cities. This report examines the effects of this increased urban migration on both the migrants and the urban environment, as well as the challenges policymakers face.”

Gender and LGBTQ+

Sin el esfuerzo colectivo, las candidaturas LGBT+ no serían posibles
Ericka López Sánchez, El Faro, 12 de julio de 2023
“Hasta hace muy poco tiempo la identidad sexual empezó a cobrar relevancia en las candidaturas. La enunciación a la existencia específica de la población a la cual se pertenece ha cobrado vital importancia en un contexto que reclama el carácter diverso de la humanidad.”

Políticas públicas en perspectiva de derechos humanos: Construyendo sociedades justas y equitativas
Caribe Afirmativo, 5 de julio de 2023 
“Las políticas públicas en perspectiva de derechos humanos son aquellas que se diseñan e implementan con el objetivo de proteger, promover y garantizar los derechos humanos de todas las personas. Estas políticas reconocen que los derechos humanos son universales, indivisibles e interdependientes, y buscan asegurar que todas las personas tengan igualdad de oportunidades y acceso a servicios básicos en todas las áreas de sus vidas”.

Wasserman Schultz, Castro, Barragán, Pocan Lead Members in Supporting Asylum Access for Vulnerable LGBTQI+ Individuals and Families
Office of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, June 30, 2023
“Today, U.S. Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Vice Chair of the Congressional Equality Caucus, was joined by Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX), Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, Rep. Nanette Barragán (D-CA), Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), Chair of the Congressional Equality Caucus in authoring a letter to President Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas highlighting the dangerous conditions that many LGBTQI+ migrants confront on their way to the U.S. and requesting specific actions to reinforce asylum access for queer people who face violence and persecution in their home countries.”

 Perceptions of LGBT+ Political Representation in Latin America
Luminate Group, June 27, 2023
“The inequalities in Latin America affect LGBT+ people in a particular and profound way. On a daily basis, people in this community face persecution, violence, and discrimination. As an example, in 2022 the region accounted for 68 percent of all reported transgender assassinations globally.” 

Actions, Alerts, and Resources

Post-Ramos TPS Extension Sign-on Letter
“DHS extended but did not redesignate TPS for El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Nepal. While this was necessary to resolve the status of the current TPS holders, we continue to call boldly on the DHS and the administration to redesignate TPS for each of these countries. Following the Ramos hearing, please join SEIU, CASA, Alizana Americas, Adhikaar, and many, many more in signing on to the letter below for a strong, unified message continuing our call for redesignation of El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Nepal – and a new designation for Guatemala. The deadline to sign-on is Friday, July 14.”

Election Interference: Take Action to Defend Guatemalan Democracy! 
Guatemala Human Rights Commission
“Express concern about the interference in the election. Ask the US government to take action to support democracy in Guatemala. A suggested letter is below.”

Congress: Speak up for jailed environmental defenders in El Salvador!
Committee in Solidarity with the People in El Salvador
“On January 11, 2023, five community leaders and environmental defenders were arrested in the rural community of Santa Marta, including leaders from the Economic and Social Development Association of El Salvador (ADES) who were at the forefront of the successful grassroots struggle to ban gold mining in 2017. Send a message to Congress today: Sign on to the letter and speak out against the unjust detention of anti-mining activists in El Salvador!”

Straining under the Backlog: Fixing a U.S. Immigration Court System in Crisis
Migration Policy Institute, July 20, 2023 at 11a EDT
Click here to register for the webinar
“The U.S. immigration court system is struggling with backlogs that have swelled to a record 1.9 million cases—with more than 700,000 added last year alone. The result is that cases, more than 40 percent of which are claims for asylum, take years to adjudicate—depriving people eligible for relief of decisions, undermining the effectiveness of immigration enforcement, and incentivizing unauthorized arrivals. Join this important conversation with key stakeholders and MPI analysts.”

*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 tdelmoral@lawg.org.