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Migration News Brief for June 24, 2016

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A compilation of this week’s top articles and reports related to issues of migration from Central America and Mexico (articles in English and Spanish).

Spotlight: Supreme Court Decision on DAPA/DACA+

•   LAWG Laments Supreme Court Ruling, Calling for Protection
Daniella Burgi-Palomino, LAWG, June 23, 2016
“Today’s decision is extremely disappointing, but we will keep fighting for protection from deportation for the millions of families who would have benefited from DAPA and expanded DACA, as well as for those who continue to arrive seeking asylum from the violence they are fleeing. Comprehensive immigration reform is our shared long-term goal, but time is of the essence for short-term action. We encourage the Obama Administration to take immediate steps in the time it has left to show that it is serious about protection for all immigrant children and families in the United States.”

•  Supreme Court Ties Blocks Obama Immigration Plan
Adam Liptak and Michael D. Shear, NY Times, June 23, 2016
“The 4-4 tie… left in place an appeals court ruling blocking the plan… The lower court rulings in the case were provisional, and the litigation will now continue and may again reach the Supreme Court when it is back at full strength. In the meantime, it seems unlikely that the program will be revived.”

•  Supreme Court’s Decision on Immigration Case Affects Millions of Unauthorized Immigrants
Haeyoun Park and Alicia Parlapiano, NY Times, June 23, 2016
“Just under half of the nation’s unauthorized immigrant population – estimated currently at about 11 million – could have potentially benefited from programs President Obama announced in November 2014… ‘Mr. Obama’s programs for parents and children… would have protected three categories of unauthorized immigrants’, DAPA (parents), DACA (children), and Expanded DACA (children).”


•  Hopes Dashed for Millions of Illegal Immigrants After Supreme Court Deadlocks
Antonio Olivo and Pamela Constable, Washington Post, June 23, 2016
“Thursday’s action left would-be applicants feeling deflated… The months-long legal challenge to Obama’s programs has put many immigrants and their families through an emotional roller coaster, with street rallies, hunger strikes and ­counter-protests that embody the nation’s bitter divide over illegal immigration.”

•  On DAPA and DACA+, It’s Not Over
David Leopold, Medium, June 23, 2016
“The 4–4 split among the 8 justices in U.S. v Texas means, legally, that the Court did not make a decision… This also means that the Republican lawsuit against the President’s immigration executive actions has thus far failed to establish any binding national precedent… The Obama administration does not have to simply accept the Supreme Court’s failure to rule. It can — indeed should — immediately file a motion for reargument before the Court to take place once a ninth justice is confirmed by the U.S. Senate.”

•  With Tears and Resolve, Immigrants Vow to Keep Fighting
AP and NY Times, June 24, 2016
“‘We’re going to keep pushing and fighting and going forward,’ said Carmen Rodriguez, a DAPA eligible parent from Raleigh, who has three sons who are U.S. citizens. ‘We’re going to work to make sure Latino voters come out like never before.’”

•   Obama descarta emitir más medidas sobre inmigración y pide acción al Congreso
EFE y El Proceso, 23 de junio de 2016
“‘No espero que haya más acciones ejecutivas que podamos tomar sobre inmigración’, dijo Obama en una conferencia de prensa tras conocerse el fallo del Supremo, que empató en su decisión sobre las medidas migratorias emitidas por el mandatario y dejó en el limbo a casi 5 millones de inmigrantes indocumentados”.

•   When Parents Face Deportation, Their Children’s Mental Health Suffers
Adrian Florido, NPR, June 22, 2016
“Between 2012 and 2014, the U.S. government deported 200,000 adults who had children born in the U.S. And experts say many of these kids, and even those whose parents are only at risk of deportation, suffer physical and mental health problems as a result. Some have shown signs of PTSD… in 2012, for example, up to 100,000 kids had shown signs of withdrawal after a parent’s detention or deportation.”

•   My Undocumented Mom, America’s Housekeeper
Luba Cortés, NY Times, June 23, 2016
“Housekeepers are the heroes of the immigrant economy — they do their work silently, efficiently, and find money on the table after the job is done. There is no exchange of stories. None of the people whose houses my mom has cleaned know that she was a lawyer, that she is an intellectual and passionate person; they don’t know that she crossed a treacherous border, or that she lives with the constant fear of deportation.”

Spotlight: World Refugee Day

•   Time to Reprioritize: Four False Assumptions in the Administration’s Response to the Central American Refugee Crisis
Emma Buckhout, LAWG, June 20, 2016
“The Obama Administration’s strategies for immigration enforcement and its rhetoric on protection are in conflict; and they will continue to fail to properly enforce or protect if the following four false assumptions are not corrected: crossing the border in search of protection is illegal; enforcement will work as a deterrent; enforcement is part of the solution to the humanitarian crisis driving people out of the Northern Triangle; and medium and long-term refugee and protection programs will address short term needs.”

•   Se multiplican por cinco los desplazados centroamericanos entre 2012 y 2015
EFE y La Prensa Gráfica, 20 de junio de 2016
“El número de personas que han tenido que huir de sus hogares en El Salvador, Guatemala y Honduras se multiplicó por cinco entre 2012 y 2015, hasta 109,800 personas, alertó hoy la Agencia de Naciones Unidas para los Refugiados (ACNUR)”.

•   Let Me In
Alicia Keys, We Are Here and Tidal, June 20, 2016
“In conjunction with World Refugee Day, today, Alicia Keys’ cultural movement, We Are Here, has partnered with CARE, Oxfam, and War Child, on a new campaign to raise awareness and reinvigorate the conversation around the refugee crisis currently affecting millions around the world.”

•   Yes, That’s Hip Hop’s Common in a New Song About Refugees
Marc Silver, NPR, June 22, 2016
“Running (Refugee Song)’ was released this week in honor of World Refugee Day. It’s the first composition from a new venture called Compositions for a Cause….”

•   Remarks With Special Envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Angelina Jolie Pitt
John Kerry and Angelina Jolie Pitt, U.S. Department of State, June 20, 2016
Ms. Jolie Pitt: “Today, partly in response to this crisis, we are seeing rising intolerance and xenophobia. But strength lies in mastering and channeling our emotions so that we pursue policies that reduce – not inflame – threats to our security.”

Root Causes:

•   Organized Crime Fuels Rising Northern Triangle Displacement: UN
David Gagne, InSight Crime, June 21, 2016
“A new United Nations report highlights skyrocketing rates of forced displacement in Central America’s Northern Triangle region, attributing the trend in large part to rampant organized crime related violence… The report suggests a toxic mix of local gangs and transnational drug trafficking groups is driving much of the displacement.”

•   Se multiplican por cinco los desplazados centroamericanos entre 2012 y 2015
EFE y El Nuevo Herald, 20 de junio de 2016
“El número de personas que han tenido que huir de sus hogares en El Salvador, Guatemala y Honduras se multiplicó por cinco entre 2012 y 2015, hasta 109,800 personas… La violencia en la región ha llevado a Estados Unidos a ser el segundo país del mundo en registrar el mayor número de peticiones de asilo en 2015 (172,700)…sin contar con los casi 7 millones de desplazados internos que hay sólo en Colombia.Y es que el conflicto en el país latinoamericano sigue siendo el que ha causado un mayor número de desplazados internos a nivel mundial…”

•   Increases in Child and Family Migration From Central America
Adam Isacson, WOLA, June 23, 2016
“The mid-2014 crisis ended abruptly, as a Mexican crackdown on Central American migrants reduced their numbers for a while…The numbers are rising again. In May 2016 Border Patrol apprehended 4,454 unaccompanied Central American children and 6,170 members of Central American family units. This was the second-largest monthly total since the 2014 crisis subsided, in August of that year.”  

•   U.S. Efforts to Advance Civilian Security in Central America’s Northern Triangle
William R. Brownfield, U.S. Department of State, June 17, 2016
“We are at about the six-month mark from when the United States Congress approved the appropriation of an unprecedented roughly $750 million… three-part strategy in Central America: prosperity, which speaks for itself – economic development, trade; governance, which is to make the institutions of government work in a way that delivers value for the people of Central America; and security, by which we mean managing, reducing, and ideally eliminating violence and violent crime which produces some of the push factor driving tens of thousands of citizens of Central America to seek residence in other countries, including the United States of America.”

•   Guatemala’s Government Corruption Scandals Explained
Michael Lohmuller, InSight Crime, June 21, 2016
Article that breaks down “the four major corruption cases that involve the now disgraced former president [Otto Pérez Molina] and vice president [Roxana Baldetti]”: La Línea, Quetzal Port, Cooptación del Estado y La Cooperacha.

•   Last Year was the Deadliest Ever for the World’s Environmental Activists
Darryl Fears, Washington Post, June 20, 2016
“As it was the year before, Latin America was the world’s most dangerous region for people trying to protect natural resources in 2015… ‘The state is playing a very specific and direct role in empowering various economic sectors’ and looking the other way to move projects along when killings occur, he [Grahame Russell, director of Rights Action] said.”

•   The U.S. Role in the Honduras Coup and Subsequent Violence
Stephen Zunes, Huffington Post, June 19, 2016
“State Department spokesperson Ian Kelly evaded reporters’ questions as to whether the United States supported Zelaya’s return, placing the United States at odds with the Organization of American States, the Rio Group, and the U.N. General Assembly, all of which called for the ‘immediate and unconditional return’ of Zelaya… In the subsequent six years, the horrific repression and skyrocketing murder rate — now the highest in the world — has resulted in tens of thousands of refugees fleeing for safety in the United States.”

•   Berta Caceres’ Name was on Honduran Military Hitlist, Says Former Soldier
Nina Lakhani, The Guardian, June 21, 2016
“Lists featuring the names and photographs of dozens of social and environmental activists were given to two elite units, with orders to eliminate each target, according to First Sergeant Rodrigo Cruz, 20. Cruz’s unit commander, a 24-year-old lieutenant, deserted rather than comply with the order. Cruz – who asked to be identified by a pseudonym for fear of reprisal – followed suit, and fled to a neighbouring country. Several other members of the unit have disappeared and are feared dead.”

•   “Extrajudicial Killings and Impunity Persist in Mexico” – UN Rights Expert’s Follow-Up Report
UNHCR, June 20, 2016
“‘Protective measures remain insufficient and ineffective; impunity and the lack of accountability for violations of the right to life remain a serious challenge, as does the absence of reparations for the victims,’ the human rights expert [Christof Heyns] stressed.”

•   Posicionamiento de la sociedad civil sobre la Reforma del sistema de justicia panel
Fundar, 20 de junio de 2016
“Hace 8 años, el 18 de junio de 2008, el Congreso de la Unión adoptó la reforma constitucional al sistema de justicia penal acusatorio y oral, al sistema de seguridad y al sistema penitenciario con el objetivo de transitar de un sistema inquisitivo mixto a uno acusatorio cuyas característica son la oralidad y la adversariedad del sistema regido bajo los principios de contradicción, publicidad, inmediación, concentración y continuidad y cuyo objetivo es el esclarecimiento de los hechos, procurar que el culpable no quede impune y que los daños causados se reparen”.

•   Mexico Years-Long Justice Reforms Hit Courtrooms Nationwide
Christopher Sherman, AP and Las Vegas Sun, June 18, 2016
“‘In 95 percent of cases the defendant never sees the judge (under the old system),’ said [defense attorney Juan Manuel] Gutierrez…The oral hearings are the final stage of reforms passed in 2008 that seek to change every step of the criminal justice system, from the time police arrive at a crime scene to the moment a sentence is imposed…The reforms aim to reduce impunity for lawbreakers and increase the public’s faith in legal institutions.”

•   La violencia vacía el pueblo de ‘El Chapo’
Jesus Bustamante, Excelsior, 19 de junio de 2016
“Los hechos violentos ocurridos en la zona serrana de este municipio han provocado el desplazamiento de personas hacia la cabecera municipal y otras localidades… En Culiacán, Martín Robles Armenta, subprocurador general de Justicia de Sinaloa, a pesar de la evidencia encontrada in situ, negó que hubieran ocurrido enfrentamientos en esas comunidades, que no fueron encontrados destrozos o que tuvieran reportes de personas asesinadas o privadas de la libertad”.

Mexican Enforcement:

•   México, tierra de refugiados
Iñigo Arredondo, El Universal, 20 de junio de 2016
“La ola de violencia en Centroamérica propició que crecieran 164% las solicitudes de asilo en México… México padece la crisis de refugiados más grande de los últimos 15 años. Las solicitudes de asilo se incrementan cada año, principalmente de personas provenientes de Centroamérica”.

•   Mexico’s Migrant Crackdown On Its Southern Border Raises Human Rights Questions
Lorne Matalon, NWPTV and NPR, June 22, 2016
“…the U.S. has expanded its own border enforcement efforts by assisting Mexico on its southern border. And in 2015, fewer Central Americans made it to the U.S. But, human rights activists say there’s also been evidence of a rise in abuses.”

•   Treatment of Immigrants in Mexico Much Worse Than Any Other Country
Kiran Nazish, USA Today, June 15, 2016
“Many of the tens of thousands of refugees fleeing violence in their home countries, ‘are routinely preyed upon by both criminal organizations and corrupt government officials in Mexico,’ the Washington Office on Latin America, a non-profit rights group, said in a report issued in May.”

•   La frontera vertical que sofoca a migrantes
Ángeles Mariscal y Eileen Truax, En el Camino
“Así, el límite fronterizo de Estados Unidos ya no es una línea horizontal que corre sobre el Río Bravo. En 8 años se ha convertido poco a poco en una línea ‘vertical’ que busca contener la migración desde otro río, más de 3 mil kilómetros al sur: el Suchiate que divide a México con Centroamérica… El Salvador, Guatemala y Honduras también están haciendo su parte”.

•   Mexico and the EU Strengthen Their Cooperation in the Human Rights Field
European Union, June 21, 2016
“The Dialogue allowed both parties to reaffirm their shared values and highlighted human rights as a central element of their Strategic Partnership, at the bilateral, multilateral and global levels… Mexico and the EU acknowledged the role of civil society in their partnership in the field of human rights and stressed the importance of working together to strengthen collaboration in that regard.”

•   Migrant Women Confront and Resist Sexual Assault on Journey to the United States
Nidia Bautista, Global Voices, June 20, 2016
“Numerous actors and institutions are responsible for the violence against women and migrants: government officials, smugglers, and drug traffickers, as well as historical, political and socioeconomic factors such as inequality, corruption, anti-immigrant policies, poverty, and increased border militarization. According to some investigations, 80% of Central American women and girls who attempt to cross Mexico are raped.”

•   Dangerous Migration: Women Search for Disappeared Relatives in Mexico
Ana Lorena Delgadillo, Women Across Frontiers, June 17, 2016
“They described first the torture of not knowing what had happened to their loved ones, followed by the trauma of receiving their remains, and finally the heartbreak of feeling abandoned by their own government.”

U.S. Enforcement:

•   Orange is the New Black Star: Immigration Raids Are Ripping Apart America
Diane Guerrero, Time, June 20, 2016
“Many years later, the immigrant community awaits a Supreme Court decision that could transform the lives of millions, providing relief from deportation to families across the nation, so that other children don’t have to go through what I did… But in the midst of this hope and promise for immigrant communities, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is planning raids on families who have come to our borders seeking refuge and safety.”

•   331 Immigrants Arrested in Midwest Deportation Raids
Jorge Rivas, Fusion, June 20, 2016
“Most of the undocumented immigrants were adult males who were netted during raids in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Kansas, and Missouri… But immigrant rights groups in the Midwest say ICE raids are doing more harm than good… The group [Voces de la Frontera] also questions whether the operation is really targeting hardened criminals.”

•   Imparable oleada de migrantes: arrestos en lo que va del año superan todas las detenciones del 2015
Jorge Cancino, Univision, 22 de junio de 2016
“La Patrulla Fronteriza (CBP, por su sigla en inglés) reveló que el número de detenciones de menores no acompañados entre el 1 de octubre de 2015 y el 31 de mayo fue de 38,566. En todo el año fiscal pasado la cifra alcanzó los 39,970… La violencia y la pobreza constituyen la principal causa de la migración, advierten investigadores del fenómeno”.

•   Clinic Study Concludes that U.S. Family Immigration Detention Violates International Law
Yale, June 20, 2016
“…the United States has violated its international obligations by detaining asylum seekers in jail-like facilities and by providing insufficient safeguards against return to persecution… The legal analysis in the report focuses on three different aspects of the immigration detention regime that violate international law.”

•   Abogados reiteran denuncia de violación al debido proceso de ninos migrantes centroamericanos
Jorge Cancino, Univision, 16 de junio de 2016
“Las redadas, arrestos y deportaciones de migrantes centroamericanos, principalmente menores, violan el debido proceso, reiteró la Asociación Americana de Abogados de Inmigración (AILA, por su sigla en inglés) en un nuevo informe publicado el jueves… El estudio incluye recomendaciones para que el gobierno lleve a cabo reformas al sistema…”

•   Madres y ninos migrantes en cuotas mínimas para llenar cárceles y centros de detención
María Pena, La Opinión, 16 de junio de 2016
“El informe, que se apoya en datos federales obtenidos por ambos grupos, indicó que las cuotas mínimas ‘garantizadas’ para cárceles locales cubren al menos 12,821 camas, o un 40% del total de 34,000 exigido y financiado por el Congreso. El 93% de esas 12,821 camas va a parar a empresas privadas que administran las cárceles para inmigrantes, según el informe ‘Banking on Detention’”.

•   Dismembered Central American Migrants Ask for Change in U.S. Strategy
Jean Guerrero, KPBS, June 20, 2016
“The association [Association for Returned Migrants with Disabilities] is advocating for improving the economies of Central America, so that migrants won’t want to risk their lives to reach the U.S….the current U.S. strategy of investing billions of dollars to boost customs enforcement along both the U.S.-Mexico border and the Mexico-Guatemala border is only increasing injuries and fatalities… the U.S. has been using Mexico as a ‘buffer state’ to keep refugees from Central America from reaching the U.S. Now, Mexico’s deportations of Central Americans are twice as high as those from the U.S..”

•   United States: The Other Refugee Crisis
Claire R. Thomas, Women Across Frontiers, June 2016
“Current and historic U.S. policies—including involvement in Latin American civil wars, mass deportations, and failed attempts at curtailing drug trafficking—have played a significant role in perpetuating some of the root causes of contemporary violence in Central America. Yet, rather than share in responsibility for the effects, the U.S. government mistreats those seeking refuge.”

•   The Overlooked Pathways to Legal Success
Amanda Frost, The Atlantic, June 19, 2016
“Unauthorized immigrants are often unaware of laws that can grant legal status…Unlike criminal defendants, however, unauthorized immigrants don’t have a constitutional right to a government-funded lawyer. According to the UCLA study, only 37 percent of all immigrants, and 14 percent of detained immigrants, are represented by lawyers. As a result, many unauthorized immigrants do not take advantage of laws allowing them to become legal residents.”

•   Supreme Court Takes Up Dispute Over Immigrant Detention
AP and NY Times, June 20, 2016
“The justices said Monday they will take up an issue that affects thousands of immigrants detained for months or years without the benefit of a hearing to determine if their confinement is justified… The class action lawsuit involves about a thousand immigrants in California… They are represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, which says the average class member has been incarcerated 404 days. ”

•   Remains of Hundreds of Unidentified Immigrants are Buried in Imperial County Cemetery
Tatiana Sanchez, LA Times, June 18, 2016
“Each burial site is marked only with a large brick, each inscribed with the words ‘John Doe’ or ‘Jane Doe’ and a row number… Their anonymity in death is an extreme reflection of the often desperate attempts by people to enter the United States.”

New Reports and Resources:

•   El drama de volver a casa
Mario Beltrán, CPTV, 31 de mayo de 2016
Video que se trata de los inmigrantes salvadoreños que son deportados de México. Cuando regresan a El Salvador, son recibidos por el programa bienvenido a casa. Sin embargo, el fenómeno de la migración “rebasa las capacidades de las instituciones involucradas y hace un llamado al estado a erradicar sus causas”.

•   Global Trends
UNHCR, 2015
“This report analyses statistical trends and changes of global displacement from January to December 2015 for… refugees, asylum-seekers, returnees, stateless persons, and certain groups of internally displaced persons, collectively referred to as ‘persons of concern’. The data presented are based on information available as of 18 May 2016 unless otherwise indicated. The figures in this report are based on data reported by governments, non-governmental organizations, and UNHCR.”

•  Mexico Migration Outlook First Half 2016
Juan José Li Ng, Alfredo Salgado and Carlos Serrano, BBVA Research, June 18, 2016
Report covering topics such as the changes and trends from 2010-2015 of Mexican migrants in the U.S. and remittances, DACA from 2012-2015, and child labor and migratory intensity in Mexico.

•   On Dangerous Ground
Global Witness, June 20, 2016
“For our new report On Dangerous Ground we documented 185 killings across 16 countries – by far the highest annual death toll on record and more than double the number of journalists killed in the same period.”

•   Sign-On Letter on Immigration Raids and Other Enforcement Actions Against Central Americans
AILA, June 16. 2016
“On 6/16/16, more than 156 organizations joined AILA in urging DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson and Attorney General Loretta Lynch to stop using aggressive tactics against Central Americans, especially families and children, and to ensure due process before an individual is deported.”

*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.