en English

Migration News Brief for March 15, 2019

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Date: Mar 15, 2019

Author: Lily Folkerts

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.

Source: The New York Times

U.S. Enforcement

Scheduling glitch affects first hearings for ‘Remain in Mexico’ returnees
Kate Morrissey, The San Diego Union-Tribune, March 14, 2019

“At least one of the people who had been returned to Tijuana after asking for asylum at the San Ysidro Port of Entry missed the court hearings because of what Assistant Chief Immigration Judge Rico Bartolomei called a “glitch” in the scheduling system. Court cases for the program were supposed to start next Tuesday, but somehow cases got scheduled for this Thursday, Bartolomei explained. At first, the court tried to reschedule those hearings for Tuesday but realized it wouldn’t have a way to communicate that effectively with the asylum seekers in Mexico.”

Judge: Trump administration may have to reunite thousands of additional migrant families
Alan Gomez, USA Today, March 8, 2019

“But in recent months, media reports and an inspector general report revealed that the administration had an undisclosed family separation pilot program in place starting in July of 2017, which may have led to thousands of additional separations. So on Friday, he ruled that families separated during those 11 months are part of the class-action lawsuit. He scheduled a hearing on March 27 to decide whether the government will be required to identify all of the additional families, or to reunite them as well.”

Trump admin has turned back 240 asylum-seekers at border under ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy
Julia Ainsley, NBC News, March 12, 2019

“Under the Trump administration’s Remain in Mexico policy, 240 asylum-seekers have been turned around near San Diego and sent back to Mexico where they must wait until a U.S. immigration judge can hear their case, Department of Homeland Security officials said Tuesday.”

Top Officials Resign From Southwest Key, Shelter Provider for Migrant Children
Nicholas Kulish, Kim Barker and Rebecca R. Ruiz, The New York Times, March 11, 2019

“The Southwest Key shelter in a former Walmart superstore in Brownsville, Tex., known as Casa Padre, became a symbol of the Trump administration’s family separation policy, with immigration advocates likening it to a warehouse for children. But it was also a generator of millions of dollars in federal grants at a nonprofit unusually concerned with its bottom line.”

Ninth Circuit Appeals Court Grants More Protections for Asylum Seekers
Miriam Jordan, The New York Times, March 7, 2019

“The ruling broadens constitutional protections for undocumented immigrants at the border and opens a new legal gateway for some of them to appeal for permission to stay in the country, even when an asylum officer and an immigration judge have made a determination that they do not have a credible fear of persecution in their homeland.”

Trump to seek $8.6B to finish border wall before 2020 election
Jennifer Scholtes, Politico, March 10, 2019

“The president will make the request in his budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year, which ends just one month before the 2020 presidential election. The sum — billions of dollars higher than the $5.7 billion demand that sparked the 35-day government shutdown — will surely divide spending negotiators again this year, likely resulting in static funding levels for much of the rest of the government or another lapse.”

The Trump Administration Studied Plans To Deter Immigrants At The Southern Border, This Document Shows
Hamed Aleaziz, BuzzFeed News, March 12, 2019

“In a memo dated July 4, 2017, Jonathan White, the former deputy director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which oversees unaccompanied minors, laid out how Immigration and Customs Enforcement efforts to track down certain sponsors — those who pick up unaccompanied children in government facilities — will likely lead to ‘significant increases in length of stay and decline in discharge rate.'”

Family Separation Continues as Policy Winds Through Courts
Mina Kim, KQED News, March 8, 2019

Podcast: “A lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union last year continues to bear revelations on the practice of separating kids from their asylum-seeking parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. Despite District Judge Dana Sabraw’s preliminary injunction last June to halt family separations, the practice continues. Meanwhile, Democrats took Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to task when she testified before the House on Wednesday, questioning her on what they view as inhumane treatment of migrants.”

Mexican journalist seeking US asylum again ordered deported
Nomaan Merchant, Miami Herald, March 7, 2019

“The asylum request made by Gutierrez and his son was first denied in July 2017, and they were taken into detention that December during a check-in with immigration authorities. The two were released in July, two months after an immigration appeals court ordered a new asylum hearing.”

How This Migrant Shelter In Tijuana Supports Girls & Their Families As They Seek Asylum
Nidia Bautista, Bustle, March 8, 2019

“Genesis and her mother are staying at Instituto Madre Asunta, a shelter run by Catholic nuns for women and children. It offers bunk beds, three meals a day, clothes, shoes, access to phones, and medical assistance to families. Madre Asunta and shelters like it, which are often run by nonprofits, also work to provide educational and other services for children who’ll leave as soon as they’re granted asylum — or else return home.”

The Trump Administration May Have to Locate and Reunite More Separated Families
Nathalie Baptiste, Mother Jones, March 9, 2019

“In March 2018, the American Civil Liberties filed a class action lawsuit claiming that the United States has “broadly separated” families at the border and asking a judge to force the Trump administration to find those children and reunite them with their parents. A January report from the Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General revealed that thousands more children may have been separated from their parents at the border between June 2017 and May 2018.”

Trump administration preparing to close international immigration offices
Maria Sacchetti and Nick Miroff, The Washington Post, March 12, 2019

“USCIS Director L. Francis Cissna said in an email to staff Tuesday that he is working to transfer those duties — now performed by employees worldwide — to domestic offices and the State Department’s embassies and consulates. He wrote that if the State Department agrees, the agency would move to close its international field offices in coming months ‘in an effort to maximize our agency’s finite resources.'”

Hundreds of migrants just arrived in Albuquerque after being released from ICE custody
Nancy Laflin, KOAT Albuquerque, March 11, 2019

“A volunteer from a Catholic charity in El Paso says so many people are crossing the border seeking asylum, they’ve run out of room to house them there and Southern New Mexico. Now he says they are now busing migrants to Albuquerque.”

Mexican Enforcement

Mexico launching search for migrants pulled off bus by gunmen near the U.S. border
Kate Linthicum, The Los Angeles Times, March 13, 2019

“The violent incident Thursday, which took place just miles from the U.S. border, was not unique. A group of 25 migrants was pulled off another bus under similar circumstances in February, a top Mexican human rights officials said this week. The migrants’ whereabouts are unknown. The two cases highlight the risks faced by Central American migrants in Mexico, where criminal groups have diversified well beyond drug trafficking and now help smuggle migrants north and sometimes extort or kidnap them for ransom.”

Mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants
Felipe González Morales, March 7, 2019

“The MPP establishes that migrants entering or seeking admission to the United States from Mexico, including those seeking asylum or other forms of human rights protection, are handed a ‘Notice to Appear’ and may be returned to Mexico while awaiting their immigration proceedings. Based on my observations and information received, I am concerned that the practical implications of this policy amount to collective expulsion, work to undermine due process guarantees, and may lead to refoulement, breaching both U.S. and international law.”

Protection and Reintegration: Mexico Reforms Migration Agenda in an Increasingly Complex Era
Rodrigo Dominguez-Villegas, Migration Policy Institute, March 7, 2019

“In response, the López Obrador administration… has vowed to broadly shift the focus of the country’s migration policy from enforcement to protection. The three pillars of this new policy include protection of human rights, decriminalization of migration, and cooperation with Central America… This article discusses the challenges the Mexican government will face in addressing rising migration from the Northern Triangle of Central America (El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras), protecting Mexicans in the United States, and reintegrating returned migrants into Mexican society.”

Special Report: ‘La Trampa’, a Trap Laid Out for Migrants in Reynosa
Valerie Gonzalez, KRGV News, March 13, 2019

“Harbury adds, ‘People started getting detained and deported, which was terrifying. Then, even if they did have a visa or permanent residency papers, or were Mexican citizens, they were not allowed on the bridge at all.’Carlos knew the reason for the long wait, he described their situation as a quagmire. ‘When you get trapped here, you fall into a trap, into a legal kidnapping,’ said Rodriguez-Reyes. If he wanted to get out, it would come at a price.”

Confirma Encinas que son más de 40 los migrantes no localizados en Tamaulipas
Fernando Camacho, Alonso Urrutia y Néstor Jiménez, La Jornada, 13 de marzo de 2019

“El subsecretario de Derechos Humanos, Población y Migración de la Secretaría de Gobernación, Alejandro Encinas, confirmó que hay más de 40 supuestos migrantes que se encuentran no localizados, al sumar los 22 que desaparecieron el jueves pasado mientras viajaban en autobús, con otros 25 que lo hicieron el mes anterior, aunque por el momento no se sabe cuál es el grupo criminal que cometió dichas acciones”.

Y en Nuevo Laredo, policías rafaguean a 15 migrantes, según el CDHNL
Gloria Leticia Díaz, Proceso, 12 de marzo de 2019

“En un comunicado, la organización civil informó que al mediodía del lunes 11, policías estatales a bordo de tres patrullas, en una supuesta ‘revisión de rutina’ en la colonia Villas de San Miguel, dispararon al interior de una bodega contra un grupo de unos 15 migrantes. En el tiroteo, los policías hirieron en el abdomen al migrante originario de Guatemala, Miguel Chachal Santos”.

Gang takes 19 people from bus in northern Mexico
Mark Stevenson, Yahoo News, March 11, 2019

“The gang forced the bus to stop on a highway between the border city of Reynosa and the town of San Fernando on Thursday. They abducted the victims, but allowed 22 other passengers to continue on to the border city of Reynosa, according to a state official who was not authorized to be quoted by name. The official said the victims appear to have been Central American migrants. No relatives have come forward to file missing persons reports, suggesting the victims do not have family in Mexico.”

Exclusive: Mexican Officials are Extorting Thousands of Dollars from Migrants Applying for Asylum
Emily Green, VICE News, March 13, 2019

“Corruption and organized crime have long been a part of daily life along the Mexican side of the border. But corruption has become even more brazen over the past year, as Mexican immigration officials and organized crime are preying on migrants, charging them thousands for the privilege of simply waiting in line in Mexico to claim asylum in the U.S. The strict limitations on asylum seekers enacted under the Trump administration has turned the process into a lucrative business for corrupt Mexican officials and cartels.”

Sin estrategias claras de prevención y búsqueda, y en contextos de impunidad, se continúa arriesgando la vida y la integridad de la población migrante en tránsito
Fundación para la Justicia y el Estado Democrático de Derecho, 13 de marzo de 2019

“El día 10 de marzo de 2019, comenzaron a circular en diversosmedios electrónicos notas que informaban sobre del secuestro de entre 19 y 22 personas. Según lo relatado
por estas notas, ‘el pasado jueves 07 de marzo, alrededor de las 12:55 hrs. un autobús de la línea transpaís, con placas 417-HY-4 y número de serie 9596 en el que viajaban 41 personas, fue interceptado en el kilómetro 79 de la carretera San Fernando- Reynosa, a la altura del ejido Palo Blanco. El autobús fue interceptado por dos vehículos, una camioneta gris y una camioneta lobo, posteriormente hombres armados obligaron a descender a los pasajeros, llevándose entre 19 y 22 personas. El autobús llegó a Reynosa con 22 personas a bordo'”.

Root Causes

US Suspends Some Military Aid to Guatemala over Vehicle Use
“The U.S. Embassy said via text message that since August, Guatemala’s Interior Ministry ‘has repeatedly used (the vehicles) in an incorrect way.’ Therefore, it continued the department ‘has ceased transfer of equipment and training to the task force’ which are under the purview of the Interior Ministry and are charged with things like border enforcement and fighting smuggling and crime.”

Daily Signal Podcast, Ep. 417: El Salvador President-Elect Outlines His 3 Steps to Destroy MS-13, Other Gangs
Ricochet, March 14, 2019

“Last month in El Salvador, a third-party outsider won in a landslide election, defeating his opponents, promising to crack down on corruption, to fight crime, and improve the economy. President-elect Nayib Bukele shares with us his thoughts on immigration, gangs, and how the U.S. and El Salvador can work together.”

Interview: Julián Castro: the US should launch a Marshall plan in Central America
Ed Pilkington, The Guardian, March 14, 2019

“Castro, a former mayor of the Texas city of San Antonio and cabinet member under Barack Obama, is calling for the US to emulate Harry Truman’s 1948 aid program that helped western Europe recover from the ravages of the second world war. In a modern echo, the US would inject resources and knowhow into the struggling societies of Central America as a humane alternative to Donald Trump’s proposed wall.”

Unas 300 personas salen a diario de Honduras rumbo a EE.UU. huyendo de la pobreza
Confidencial HN, 14 de marzo de 2019

“Unas 300 personas salen a diario de Honduras a fin de llegar a EE.UU. al huir de la pobreza y violencia que se vive en el país, aseguró el jueves la representante del Centro de Investigación y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos (Ciprodeh), Miroslava Cerpas. Dijo que este éxodo obedece a la profunda crisis económica y social vigente y que no resulta extraño que siga la expulsión de connacionales.”

Vote Could Free More Than 30 Men Accused of War Crimes in Guatemala
Elisabeth Malkin, The New York Times, March 12, 2019

“In a reversal that seemed unimaginable just a few months ago, Guatemalan lawmakers are moving forward with a proposal to grant amnesty for war crimes committed during the country’s brutal 36-year civil war. The bill, scheduled for a vote on Wednesday, would free more than 30 former army officers, soldiers and civil defense patrolmen within 24 hours and halt investigations into thousands of cases.”

WOLA Report: The Implementing Law of Mexico’s National Prosecutor’s Office
Úrsula Indacochea and Maureen Meyer, Washington Office on Latin America, March 8, 2019

“The report details some of the most critical components of the legislation that was officially enacted last December and is intended to ensure that Mexico’s new National Prosecutor’s Office is more autonomous and insulated from political pressures. These components include new specialized investigative offices focused on human rights crimes and internal affairs, a public plan that will establish investigative priorities, as well as a citizen-led body that serves as a powerful accountability mechanism.”

La retórica presidencial sobre los Derechos Humanos
Catherine Calderón, Contra Corriente, 11 de marzo de 2019

“Hernández, en el país donde su hermano se enfrenta a la justicia por presuntos vínculos con el narcotráfico, propuso que cambien conceptos, que se comience a nombrar al crimen organizado como violador de DDHH. Y para fortalecer su discurso hizo alusión a los videos que circulan de acusados de homicidio aceptando que la pandilla los manda a matar, personas siendo víctimas de asalto o ejecuciones a plena luz del día  captadas por cámaras de seguridad”.

Con Peña aumentó la letalidad en operativos de la Marina: por cada herido hubo 20 muertos
Arturo Angel, Animal Politico, 11 de marzo de 2019

“Datos oficiales y actualizados de la Secretaria de Marina Armada de México (Semar), a los que tuvo acceso Animal Político vía transparencia, muestran un cambio significativo en el índice de letalidad: mientras de 2007 a 2011 los combates habían dejado más de 200 civiles heridos pero ninguno muerto, de 2012 a 2019 la tendencia se revirtió y los civiles muertos superan ahora 20 a 1 a los heridos”.

Actions, Reports, and Resources

Dream and Promise Act Resource Website
“Congress introduced H.R. 6—The Dream and Promise Act—which could provide permanent protection from deportations for immigrant youth and TPS and DED holders. Join the millions around the country as we urge Congress to pass the Dream and Promise Act NOW.”