en English

Migration News Brief for May 7, 2019

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Date: May 07, 2019

A compilation of recent top articles and reports related to issues of U.S. immigration and enforcement policy and migration from Central America and Mexico (articles in English and Spanish). Please feel free to send us recommendations or requests for upcoming news briefs: lfolkerts@lawg.org.

Source: The Intercept

U.S. Enforcement

Asylum Officers Are Being Replaced By CBP Agents
Julie Veroff, ACLU, May 6, 2019

“Last week, President Trump issued a memorandum… to change how it [DHS] conducts credible fear interviews, the threshold screening interview given to thousands of asylum seekers every year. DHS is reportedly now planning to deploy Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers – enforcement agents whose mission is to ‘secure the border’ – to conduct credible fear interviews with asylum seekers instead of using professional asylum officers…”

Exclusive: Civil servants say they’re being used as pawns in a dangerous asylum program 
Dara Lind, Vox, May 2, 2019 

“An asylum officer’s primary job is to make sure an asylum seeker wouldn’t be persecuted if they’re turned away from the US: to uphold the fundamental principle of refugee law called non-refoulement, that a government must not send a migrant back to a country where they’d be persecuted or imperiled.”

Trump wants to speed up asylum cases and start charging an application fee 
Hamed Aleaziz, BuzzFeed News, April 29, 2019

“By making the majority of arriving asylum seekers ineligible for employment authorization, charging migrants to apply for asylum, and taking away other forms of relief, the administration is trying to deter future asylum-seekers from arriving at the US border, limit how many can apply for asylum, and limit how many ultimately get to stay in the United States.”

Asylum seekers face new restraints under latest Trump orders 
Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Caitlin Dickerson, The New York Times, April 29, 2019 

“The administration has already tried to restrict the number of migrants who can apply for asylum per day, who qualifies for asylum and where they must wait for a resolution — immigration policies that have been the subject of multiple federal court cases.”

Trump wants to make these 4 disastrous changes to the asylum system 
Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, Immigration Impact, May 1, 2019 

“These new rules would accelerate court hearings, limit options for relief, create new fees for an asylum application, and eliminate work permits for most asylum seekers. Taken together, the rules could prevent many from winning asylum and leave others penniless and desperate as they pursue their cases.”

Bodies in the borderlands 
Ryan Devereaux, The Intercept, May 4, 2019 

“He was accused of providing the men with food, water, clean clothes, and a place to sleep over three days. A month later, a grand jury indicted him on two counts of harboring and one count of conspiracy. If convicted and sentenced to consecutive terms, Warren could serve up to 20 years in prison.”

Border patrol tent shelter for immigrants has baby-changing tables, laundry machines, AC 
Daniel Borunda, El Paso Times, May 3, 2019

“The “soft-sided temporary facility” can hold up to 500 people and is intended to help Border Patrol deal with the a continuous flow of Central American families crossing the El Paso border.”

The border patrol’s 2 new tent camps cost 37 million. Take a look inside. 
Mitchell Ferman, The New York Times, May 3, 2019 

“The tent camps at Donna and El Paso are not intended for long-term detention, officials said, but to house migrants during the brief period when they are undergoing initial processing by Customs and Border Protection, usually about 48 to 72 hours.”

More About A Teenage Migrant Who Died In U.S. Custody At A Texas Hospital
David Greene, NPR, May 6, 2019

“Many lawmakers and policy experts agree that the surge of migrants at the southern U.S. border has become a crisis. And as the number of families and children apprehended by Border Patrol grows, so do questions about how to keep them safe while in custody. A 16-year-old boy died in Corpus Christi last week, the third migrant child to die in U.S. custody since December.”

Four missing, including three children, after migrants’ raft overturns in Rio Grande near Del Rio 
Nick Miroff, The Texas Tribune, May 2, 2019 

“Drownings and migrant rescues along the Rio Grande are a regular occurrence, but the dangers have increased in recent weeks because the river is swollen with spring runoff at a moment when record numbers of Central American families are attempting to cross — typically in flimsy dinghies with no safety gear.”

10 transgender women seeking asylum just won their immigration cases after months of violence and discrimination 
Kate Smith, CBS News, May 2, 2019 

“Among the 80, was a smaller group of 30 transgender women who presented themselves together at the border in Tijuana. They were immediately detained at South Texas Detention Center, an immigration prison that, prior to the group’s arrival, had no experience in housing transgender women.”

Emails show Trump admin had ‘no way to link’ separated migrant children to parents 
Jacob Soboroff, NBC News, May 1, 2019 

“In the absence of an effective database, the emails show, officials then began scrambling to fill out a simple spreadsheet with data in hopes of reuniting as many as families as they could.”

Exclusive: DHS to start DNA testing to establish family relationships on the border 
Priscilla Alvarez and Geneva Sands, CNN, May 1, 2019 

“According to DHS, there was a 315% increase “in the number of cases of adults with minors fraudulently posing as ‘family units’ to gain entry” from October 2017 to February 2018.”

State and Local Officials’ Statement in Support of Dreamers and TPS Holders
Over 500 state and local elected officials are standing with Dreamers and TPS holders by calling on Congress to pass permanent protections so that families can remain together and community members can continue contributing to the country they call home. Read the letter and see who signed it.

Colleges urged to shun Trump officials tied to family separation 
Michael Stratford, Politico, May 5, 2019 

“In an open letter to university leaders, the coalition urges them to “make it clear that your college or university will not hire or bestow a fellowship or other honor to anyone involved in the development, implementation, or defense of the Trump administration’s family separation immigration policy.”

Border patrol: more than 600 cross New Mexico border Tuesday morning 
Las Cruces Sun News, April 30, 2019 

“Border Patrol has dropped off nearly 2,500 asylum seekers in Las Cruces since April 12.”

Lawsuit aims to block Attorney General Williams Barr’s rule forcing asylum seekers into detention
Alan Gomez, USA Today, May 2, 2019 

“Barr, who oversees the nation’s immigration courts, issued a decision on April 16 ordering immigration judges to deny bond hearings for asylum seekers, which would keep migrants in detention while they wait months, even years, for their claims to be heard.”

Despite flurry of actions, Trump administration faces constraints in achieving its immigration agenda 
Muzaffar Chishti, Sarah Pierce, and Allison O’Connor, Migration Policy Institute, April 25, 2019

“The decline in enforcement in the U.S. interior owes to a couple of factors: limits on ICE cooperation imposed by a number of state and local jurisdictions, and the shift of some ICE personnel to respond to an increasingly chaotic situation at the border.”

Homeland security used a private intelligence firm to monitor family separation protests 
Ryan Devereaux, The Intercept, April 29, 2019

“Tracking Facebook accounts affiliated with the protests and disseminating the intelligence to law enforcement fusion centers nationwide, the operation drilled down on physical locations where demonstrations were planned: a high school in Sebring, Florida; a church in Carbondale, Illinois; the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City; a Denny’s in Carlsbad, California; and “the old Kmart parking lot” in Stevens Point, Wisconsin.”

Mexican Enforcement

Immigrant Detentions and Asylum Blockades: Urgent Challenges in the Region
Alianza Americas, May 7, 2019

“Increased apprehensions and immigration detention in southern Mexico are creating a climate of fear among migrants, and reports that local communities are now afraid to offer assistance. Civil society leaders worry that these measures signal a further weakening of the Mexican administration’s commitment to protect migrants.”

Q&A: Analyzing Mexico’s Current Migration and Asylum Policies
Maureen Meyers, WOLA, May 7, 2019

“But while López Obrador’s government has tried to promote a more humane response to numerous migrant caravans and an increasing number of extra-continental migrants that have traveled through the country since December 2018, recent events suggest his government may fall back on the aggressive detention and deportation policies that characterized his predecessor, President Enrique Peña Nieto, oftentimes at the expense of vulnerable asylum seekers.”

Mexican government continues rhetoric on “humanitarian policies” but actions favor detention and containment
Alianza America, April 29, 2019

“The López Obrador administration in Mexico insists that its migration policies are based on human rights, and that Mexico desires to be a nation that is “receptive” to immigrants who are looking for opportunities. However, recently released data on apprehensions, detentions and deportations tells another story.”

Crossing Mexico: The new barrier for U.S.- bound migrants 
Jorge Valencia, Fronteras, May 3, 2019 

“More than 1,600 migrants waited in and outside the coliseum in Mapastepec, the National Immigration Institute said in mid-April.  Mexico’s policies for them and many more arriving to the country’s southern state of Chiapas have become unclear and often contradictory.”

AMLO engañó a una multitud de migrantes 
Oscar Martinez, The New York Times, May 2, 2019 

“Dijo y dijo y nunca hizo, o al menos no hay evidencia de ello. Parece lejana una solución realista al hecho incontrovertible de que miles de centroamericanos quieren llegar a Estados Unidos cada año, y para eso deben recorrer México”.

Los cubanos, rechazados en albergues para migrantes, discriminan a centroamericanos 
Arturo Cano, La Jornada, April 30, 2019 

“Una parte de los cubanos se han ido incorporando a la vida de Juárez, tomando los trabajos que pueden e incluso participando en pequeños negocios”.

Root Causes

El Salvador: Gangs try to force incoming leader to negotiate 
AP News, April 30, 2019 

“President-elect Nayib Bukele is scheduled to take office June 1, and Sánchez Cerén said Tuesday that the gangs “are using threat to blackmail the incoming government to negotiate with them.”

154 niñas violadas y embarazadas 
Evelia Hernandez, El Salvador, April 30, 2019 

“Si se conociera (la legislación que castiga) que todo acceso carnal con una chica menor de 15 años es penado, no hubieran embarazos. Pero en el país tenemos un Código Penal, ley de protección y hay familias perpetradoras que lo desconocen completamente”.

Trial of Maya Q’Eqchi Land Defender Abelino Chub
Guatemala Human Rights Commission, April 23, 2019

“Abelino Chub was found not guilty of all charges on April 26, 2019. The trial which proceeded the verdict lasted for three days…They also accused him of setting fire to palm oil trees in the farm; Abelino is facing aggravated land occupation, arson and criminal conspiracy charges as a result.”

Inside gang territory in Honduras:’either they kill us or we kill them’ 
Azam Ahmed, The New York Times, May 4, 2019 

“Only bad options remained for them: stay and fight, abandon their homes and head elsewhere, maybe to the United States, or surrender and hope one of the invading gangs showed them mercy.”

Honduras: authorities must recognize the work of human rights defenders during protests 
Amnesty International, May 3, 2019 

“The Honduran authorities must avoid repeating the mistakes of the past. They must prevent aggressions by members of the security forces against demonstrators and human rights defenders, and publicly acknowledge the legitimate and fundamental work that defenders do, particularly in the context of peaceful protests.”

Honduran protesters torch mayor’s office in rally against reforms 
Reuters, April 29, 2019 

“President Juan Orlando Hernandez, who leads a conservative government allied with the United States, has defended the two bills as needed overhauls of the health and public education systems, including plans for new infrastructure and better training of workers.”

IACHR and OHCHR-Honduras Reject Violence in Honduras
April 30, 2019, Organization of American States 

“The OHCHR and the IACHR stress that the State of Honduras must protect at all times the exercise of the right to peaceful assembly and the right to freedom of thought and expression, and also the right to participate in the management of public affairs and to stand up for rights.”

Honduras protests: buildings burn during clashes over reforms 
BBC News, April 30, 2019 

“The demonstrators want to stop two bills from coming into force which aim to restructure the ministries of education and health. The bills were passed on 25 April by the Honduran Congress in a tense sitting which saw some rival lawmakers push and shove each other. They still require one more voting session to become law.”

Actions, Reports, and Resources

Webinar: Actualizaciones de las políticas migratorias de Estados Unidos para organizaciones de la sociedad civil en la región 
Latin American Working Group, April 26, 2019 

“Las organizaciones Latin America Working Group (LAWG), Alianza Americas, Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC), Oxfam America, Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS) y Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) convocan a las organizaciones de la sociedad civil de la región a un webinar acerca de la coyuntura actual sobre las políticas migratorias y su impacto en la región”.

Informe del monitoreo de derechos humanos del éxodo centroamericano en el sureste Mexicano 
Anne Mary Garrapa, Colectivo de Observación y Monitoreo de Derechos Humanos en el Sureste Mexicano, October 2018 – February 2019 

“Las causas sistémicas que motivan a las personas centroamericanas a partir de sus lugares de origen existen y persisten desde hace muchos años, pero la diferencia en la dinámica migratoria actual se ha dado por la coincidencia de diferentes perfiles sociales y en el número de personas que se han ido movilizando contemporáneamente. La crisis social no es nueva en su centralidad como motor de esta migración”.

Subsist or persist? Assessing drivers of migration and effects of foreign assistance programs on migration from the northern triangle 
Beza Tesfaye, Tina Pruna, and Sayra Cordona, Mercy Corps, April 2019 

“ The ensuing political stalemate in the U.S. government over border security revealed a perennial challenge that many governments face: how to effectively and humanely address migration.”

Funding for ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) is funding for Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda
National Immigration Law Center, April 2019 

“HSI agents are increasingly complicit in round-ups fueled by racial profiling, sham investigations that purport to involve child welfare but are intended to create fear among children’s loved ones and sponsors, and increased aggressive workplace raids that leave communities traumatized.”

Callous and Calculated: longer work authorization bar endangers lives of asylum seekers and their families
Human Rights First, April 29, 2019 

“U.S. immigration law and regulations provide asylum seekers with work authorization documents, which allow them to accept employment after their asylum applications have been pending for at least 180 days. The Trump Administration is currently considering doubling this already lengthy wait period for a work permit to one year.”

Blocked from safety: unaccompanied children along the U.S. Mexico border 
Kids in Need of Defense, April 29, 2019 

“When children are turned away from ports of entry, KIND learned it often leaves them no choice but to take serious risks in order to reach the safety of the United States. For example, staff at a civil society shelter in Reynosa told KIND that after some unaccompanied children there were turned back at the POE, out of desperation, some attempted to cross the Rio Grande River to try to enter between ports.”

Allowing CBP to conduct credible fear interviews undermines safeguards to protect refugees 
Human Rights First, April 29, 2019 

“In 1996, Congress created an expedited removal process in which immigration officers may order the deportation of certain noncitizens charged as inadmissible without a full hearing. One component of this expedited removal process, the credible fear screening, is supposed to ensure that the United States does not summarily deport bona fide asylum seekers and that they have an opportunity to have their eligibility assessed by an immigration court.”

*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.

P.S. Do you know of someone who might be interested in receiving the Migrant News Brief? Forward this e-mail and have them sign up at the bottom of our website.