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Migration News Brief for November 12th, 2021

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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: lalvarez@lawg.org.

Photo by: Alexandre Meneghini


Honduras Goes to November 28th Elections with Rules Uncertain, Corruption and Human Rights Abuses Unchecked
Lisa Haugaard, LAWG, November 12, 2021
“Honduras will hold presidential, legislative, and local elections November 28th under a cloud of concerns. These start with a flawed election law, some elements of which have been poorly or tardily implemented. An array of presidential and legislative candidates are competing who have allegations against them of corruption and connections to money laundering or drug trafficking. Violence stalks the process—15 candidates running for office have been killed.”

U.S. Enforcement 

After deportation flights, Haitian border crossings declined 
Nick Miroff, The Washington Post, November 11, 2021
“The mass expulsions were denounced by immigrant advocacy groups and members of the president’s own party, who noted that Haitian families — including thousands of women and children — were being returned at higher rates than migrants from other nations. Many had fled Haiti years earlier and had been living in Chile, Brazil and other South American nations. They opted to leave for the United States after hearing from relatives and others that jobs were available and Haitians would be allowed to enter.”

US envoy acknowledges painful journey of migrant caravan in Mexico 
La Prensa Latina, November 10, 2021
“US Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar on Tuesday acknowledged “the painful road” of the migrant caravan that set out from the southeastern Mexican state of Chiapas heading northwards, but he accused people traffickers of deceiving the travelers and profiting off of them. “It’s a painful road, when the migrants enter the corridor, but the majority of them come to the corridor because they’ve been deceived by the traffickers, criminals and those organizations are the ones that are enriching themselves by millions of dollars,” he said at a press conference.”

Slow pace of investigation into mounted border agents frustrates officers and activists 
Nicole Sganga, CBS News, November 10, 2021
“Fifty days after U.S. officials vowed to conduct a “swift” internal investigation of mounted Border Patrol agents who aggressively confronted migrants in Del Rio, Texas, the probe remains ongoing, frustrating both the labor union representing the officers and immigration advocates pushing for more accountability.” 

Dehydrated Migrant Rescued by Agents 
U.S. Customs and Border Protection, November 9, 2021
“U.S. Border Patrol agents from El Centro Sector rescued an undocumented individual in the Jacumba Wilderness region near Ocotillo, Sunday evening. The incident occurred at approximately 9:30 p.m., when El Centro Sector Communication received a distress call from a group of individuals who illegally crossed into the United States and needed assistance. El Centro Station notified agents working in the field of the distress call and along with air support provided by the Department of Defense (DOD) responded to last known area of the group.” 

What’s happening at the U.S.-Mexico border in 7 charts 
John Gramlich and Allissa Scheller, Pew Research Center, November 9, 2021
“The U.S. Border Patrol reported more than 1.6 million encounters with migrants along the U.S.-Mexico border in the 2021 fiscal year, more than quadruple the number of the prior fiscal year and the highest annual total on record. The number of encounters had fallen to just over 400,000 in fiscal 2020 as the coronavirus outbreak slowed migration across much of the world.”

U.S. to send deportation case notices to 78,000 migrants who were not fully processed 
Camilo Montoya-Galvez, CBS News, November 8, 2021
“The U.S. government is set to launch an operation this week to send court documents to 78,000 migrants who were not processed for deportation after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border without authorization this year, two people briefed on the plan told CBS News. Starting Monday, U.S. immigration authorities will dispatch packets of legal documents that will instruct migrants, many of them families with children, to show up to court hearings before immigration judges, who will determine whether the new arrivals will be allowed to stay in the country, the sources said.”

Biden’s border woes expose White House divisions
Nick Miroff, The Washington Post, November 8, 2021
“Illegal border crossings and coronavirus cases were both rising this summer when a group of Biden administration officials developed a plan to vaccinate migrants in U.S. custody, viewing the shots as a sensible public health measure. But just before the plan was rolled out, it was opposed by one of President Biden’s top aides, Susan Rice, and other senior officials who worried that it would invite more illegal crossings.”

Migrant caravan organizer says group headed to US border
Associated Press, November 8, 2021
“The leader of an effort by Central American migrants to walk across southern Mexico said Monday the group will now head to the U.S. border, rather than Mexico City as originally planned. Leader and immigration activist Irineo Mujica said in a video that he will try to organize another caravan of thousands of migrants to reach the Gulf coast state of Veracruz, where both groups will join up and set out for the border.”

Solving the US-Mexico Border Crisis Requires Looking Beyond the Border 
Andrew Selee, Foreign Policy, November 8, 2021
“There is no question that migration is transforming communities dramatically. Remittances, the money that migrants send back home, now make up around 15 percent of Guatemala’s economy—and more than one-fifth of that in neighboring Honduras. Remittances are as important to the Guatemalan economy as the value of all of the country’s exports and greater than all government expenditures put together.”

Infographic: Southern Border Apprehensions at All-Time High 
Katharina Buchholz, Statista, November 8, 2021
“President Joe Biden said on Saturday that families separated at the border under Trump-era policies deserved monetary compensation. The now defunct program mandated that adults illegally crossing into the U.S. were jailed, which meant that those traveling with their children were separated from them. The immigration jail and housing system being a federal one, many families found themselves far apart when released, making reunions difficult. The Trump administration touted the approach as a zero-tolerance policy intended to deter undocumented families coming to the United States.”

No, the US has not resumed processing all asylum seekers 
Erin Jones & Brandon Lewis, 13 News Now, November 8, 2021
“On Nov. 8, the United States reopened its borders to international travelers with some exceptions, but the policy change has caused some confusion. Matthew Davies, the executive director of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), recently said that the agency has seen an increase in misinformation, including from smugglers, about who can cross the U.S. border.” 

Two US citizens face prosecution after attempting to smuggle migrants 
Maria Arey, KGUN-TV Tucson, November 8, 2021
“Two U.S. citizens are facing prosecution after attempting to smuggle migrants across the border. Thirty-one migrants were extracted from a trailer near Nogales, Arizona, according to John R. Modlin, Chief Patrol Agent of the U.S. Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector. No details on the condition of the migrants were immediately released.”

Payouts for separated immigrant families is the least Biden can do
Nicole Narea, Vox, November 5, 2021
“President Joe Biden suggested this week that paying immigrant families separated by the Trump administration $450,000 in compensation per separated person — as the Department of Justice is reportedly currently discussing in settlement talks — is too much to ask the federal government. The White House has noted it hasn’t ruled out some form of payout altogether. Some 5,600 families were intentionally separated in immigration detention under former President Donald Trump in 2017 and 2018 after they tried to cross the southern US border without authorization, and about 1,000 families have yet to be reunited.”

Mexico considers tighter entry rules for Venezuelans after U.S. requests
Alexandra Ulmer, Dave Graham and Matt Spetalnick, Reuters, November 12, 2021
“Mexico is considering setting tougher entry requirements for Venezuelans, partly in response to U.S. requests, after a sharp rise in border arrests of Venezuelans fleeing their homeland, according to three people familiar with the matter. Currently, Venezuelans do not need a visa to enter Mexico as tourists. But as apprehensions of Venezuelan migrants on the U.S.-Mexico border soar, Mexico is looking at making their entry subject to certain criteria, a Mexican official familiar with the government’s internal discussions said.”

Mexican Enforcement

Migrant march dwindles in southern Mexico 
Yahoo Life, November 10, 2021
“A group of mainly Central American migrants attempting to walk across southern Mexico has dwindled to less than a thousand, authorities said Wednesday. Mexico’s National Immigration Institute said it had granted humanitarian visas to about 800 migrants who were once part of the group, mainly women with children of others considered at risk. The institute said fewer than a thousand migrants continued with the group, which is now in the southern state of Oaxaca. The migrants once numbered as many as 4,000.” 

Más de 800 migrantes de caravana regularizan su situación en México 
Lopez-Doriga Digital, 10 de noviembre de 2021
“Un total de 800 migrantes de la caravana que lleva casi 20 días avanzando por el sur de México han regularizado su situación en el país en las últimas horas apoyados por las autoridades y, a raíz de ello, han abandonado el contingente. “El Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM) de la Secretaría de Gobernación continúa con la entrega de tarjetas de visitante por razones humanitarias y de residente permanente a personas extranjeras en condición de vulnerabilidad, que decidieron voluntariamente dejar la caravana migrante para regularizar su situación migratoria en México”, informó el INM en un comunicado.”

FGR mantiene encerrados en el DIF de Tuxtla a los migrantes víctimas del ataque de la Guardia Nacional 
Alberto Pradilla, Animal Politico, 8 de noviembre, 2021
“Los migrantes que sobrevivieron al ataque de la Guardia Nacional contra la pick up en la que viajaban el pasado domingo 31 de octubre permanecen encerrados en las instalaciones del DIF de Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, sin que las autoridades les permitan abandonarlas. Son considerados como víctimas de delito, ya que uno de sus compañeros, el cubano Cristóbal Cobreiro Ramírez, murió como consecuencia de los disparos recibidos, por lo que recibieron una tarjeta de residente por motivos humanitarios.

Wave of migrants arrived in Oaxaca on their way to Mexico City 
Ana Luisa Brown, Prensa Latina, November 8, 2021
“The migrants -almost four thousand as Mujica said, and the Migration Institute less than two thousand- left yesterday Sunday morning from the Azteca neighborhood, municipality of Arriaga, Chiapas and arrived at Los Corazones, Oaxaca, where they overnight. He said that the members of this caravan remain firm in their idea of reaching Mexico City. Some human rights spokesmen accuse him of instigating among migrants the refusal to accept the facilities offered to them by the government such as residence permits.”

Root Causes

Bukele to Control NGOs and Media Funding
El Faro, November 10, 2021
“On Tuesday, El Salvador’s Minister of Governance Juan Carlos Bidegaín — under what he called “special instructions” from President Bukele — announced the bill for a new Foreign Agent Law that the Salvadoran government claims will “guarantee transparency” and “preserve social and political stability,” but that civil society groups say is meant to limit their work and choke off funding to the independent press.”

In Honduras, climate change is one more factor sparking displacement 
María Rubi and Tim Gaynor, UN Refugee Agency, 9 de noviembre de 2021
“Hurricanes have always been a fact of life in San Pedro Sula and throughout Honduras’ low-lying Caribbean coast. But the devastating nature of last year’s storms and the fact that they came back-to-back indicate new, more ferocious weather patterns as a result of climate change. Across Honduras, communities already stretched to the brink by widespread gang violence are facing the prospect of dealing with disaster upon disaster with little time or resources to recover in between.”

Is President Juan Orlando Hernández of Honduras a Narco-Trafficker?
Jon Lee Anderson, The New Yorker, November 8, 2021
“It was March 30, 2021: sentencing day for Juan Antonio (Tony) Hernández, a former Honduran congressman who had been arrested in Miami in 2018, on suspicion of drug trafficking. After a trial in the Southern District of New York, Hernández had been found guilty of taking part in the smuggling of at least a hundred and eighty-five thousand kilos of cocaine into the U.S.—enough to supply five doses to everyone living in America.” 

El Salvador’s Bukele deploys military after spike in murders 
Gerardo Arbaiza, Reuters, November 12, 2021
“Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele on Thursday deployed the military to patrol streets throughout the country in response to a surge in murders this week. The military deployment follows more than 30 homicides on Tuesday and Wednesday in the impoverished Central American nation of about 6.5 million people. Average daily homicides had dropped to less than two per day under Bukele, who took office in 2019.”

MS13 Profits From Marijuana Boom in Honduras
Seth Robbins, Insight Crime, November 11, 2021
“Honduras has seen a surge in marijuana seizures and plantations, indicating a booming trade in illegal cannabis that stands to benefit the country’s largest street gang. The latest seizure occurred when anti-drug agents intercepted a pickup carrying a load of gypsum board cut to conceal 1,000 packages of marijuana. The truck was stopped in Choluteca, some 150 miles from the country’s capital of Tegucigalpa, according to a November 8 news release from security officials.”

A 17 Días Para Las Elecciones Generales, 400 Mil DNI No Han Sido Entregados, Reconoce El RNP
Confidencial, 11 de noviembre de 2021
“Autoridades del Registro Nacional de las Personas (RNP), informaron este jueves que unos 400 mil Documentos Nacional de Identidad (DNI), no han sido entregados, esto a falta de apenas 17 días para el desarrollo de las elecciones generales del 28 de noviembre. El comisionado presidente de la entidad registral, Óscar Rivera indicó que se han distribuido 4.7 millones de documentos y que se están entregando hasta 25 mil tarjetas de identidad a diario, por lo que esperan que ciudadanía pueda seguir apersonándose para reclamarla”. 

Honduras/ Xiomara y Salvador Presentan Plan de Gobierno a Cupula Militar
El Libertador, 10 de noviembre de 2021
“El jefe del Estado Mayor Conjunto de las Fuerzas Armadas de Honduras, general de división Tito Livio Moreno Coello, acompañado de la Junta de Comandantes, conocieron ayer tarde el plan de Gobierno de la unidad política; a la reunión asistió de manera virtual la candidata a la Presidencia de la República por el Partido Libertad y Refundación (Libre), Xiomara Castro y, de manera presencial, estuvo una comitiva técnica integrada entre otros por Pedro Barquero y Hugo Noé Pino.”

Hundreds of Twitter accounts aimed to suppress vote weeks before Honduran presidential election
AJ Vicens, Cyber Scoop, November 10, 2021
“Hundreds of fake Twitter accounts targeted opposition candidates and urged citizens not to vote in an upcoming Honduran presidential election, according to research published Wednesday. The 317 accounts appear to be part of an effort to influence the Nov. 28 Honduran presidential election by denigrating two of opposition candidates running against the incumbent National Party of Honduras’ candidate, Nasry Asfura, according to Nisos, the threat intelligence firm that published its findings Wednesday.” 

La campaña de odio hacia las mujeres, detrás de la campaña política del partido de gobierno
René Estrada, Cespad, 10 de noviembre de 2021
“La manta en la que aparece dibujada Xiomara Castro, candidata presidencial por la Alianza, con un puñal en mano dispuesta a utilizarlo en contra de una mujer embarazada, ha despertado la inquietud y el cuestionamiento de diferentes organizaciones de mujeres que analizan en esta imagen una campaña de odio en su contra, y de los pocos derechos que han obtenido con sus luchas. El dibujo en esa manta fue utilizado como insignia del Partido Nacional de Honduras (PNH), durante la marcha “En contra del aborto y las ideologías extrañas”, que dirigió el candidato a alcalde por el Distrito Central, David Chávez, semanas atrás”. 

Organizaciones de sociedad civil: Proceso electoral tiene mucha incertidumbre » Criterio.hn 
Criterio hn, 10 de noviembre de 2021
“El oficialista Partido Nacional es la institución política con más registros de violencia política con 31 incidentes, no obstante, la directora del organismo, Migdonia Ayestas, indicó que alrededor de diez casos fueron provocados entre sus simpatizantes; en el Partido Libertad y Refundación (Libre) se reportan 19 casos, en el Partido Liberal nueve, dos en candidatos independientes y un hecho en el Partido Anticorrupción (PAC), Alianza Patriótica Hondureña y el Partido Salvador de Honduras (PSH).”

¿Por qué decenas de candidatos no deberían participar en las elecciones generales 2021?
Signy Fiallos, Cespad, 10 de noviembre de 2021
“A pesar que el proceso electoral 2021, es uno de los más fiscalizados en la historia política del país y que ha habido mucha presión para que los candidatos a cargos de elección popular rindan cuentas, 463 candidatos electos, en su mayoría aspirantes a alcaldes y algunos a diputados, asisten a las elecciones generales sin brindar informes que indiquen el origen del dinero que financia sus campañas políticas, violentando una ley que establece que, incluso, pueden ser suspendidos de la justa electoral.”

Cámaras de vigilancia estarían siendo instaladas en barrios y colonias emblemáticos de protestas en elecciones 2017 
Pasos de Animal Grande, 10 de noviembre de 2021
“La grave violación a los derechos humanos y la impunidad que impera, blinda de toda responsabilidad a los cuerpos de seguridad del Estado quienes actúan en contra del pueblo efectuando capturas, hostigamientos, seguimientos con carros blindados, judicializaciones, fabricación de pruebas , entre otras estrategias de ablandamiento social. Los encarcelados como producto de la crisis post elecciones 2017 eran jóvenes que crecieron en barrios y colonias y que soñaban con la democracia. Fueron llevados prisioneros a dos cárceles de máxima seguridad y otros distribuidos en dos centros penales del país”. 

Ante la ebullición política hondureña Posicionamiento de Convergencia Contra el Continuismo – Defensores en Linea 
Defensores en Linea, 10 de noviembre de 2021
“Constatamos que estas elecciones se realizan en el contexto de una narco dictadura, cuyos constructores llegaron al control del Estado por la vía violenta e inconstitucional y no están en la disposición de entregar el poder por la vía política democrática, porque ellos no creen en la democracia ni en el Estado de Derecho. Esta mafia es enemiga de Honduras, y sus miembros están empecinados en seguir con el secuestro del Estado a través del control de los resultados electorales, la militarización de la sociedad, la represión y endurecimiento de leyes.”

Embajada de EE.UU. dice que no tienen relaciones “sólidas” con El Salvador 
ContraPunto, 9 de noviembre de 2021
“La encargada de negocios de los Estados Unidos, Jean Manes, confesó que “las relaciones no están sólidas” entre su país y El Salvador, debido al supuesto declive de la democracia encabezado por el presidente de la República, Nayib Bukele. La diplomática advirtió que el gobierno de los Estados Unidos no puede “mirar a otro lado cuando hay un declive de la democracia” en El Salvador”. 

Naciones Unidas llama a candidatas y candidatos políticos a debatir de forma pacífica y democrática con propuestas y planes de gobierno, sin dejar a nadie atrás
María Elena Cálix, Naciones Unidas en Honduras, 9 de noviembre de 2021
“El Sistema de las Naciones Unidas, a menos de veinte días de las elecciones nacionales, reitera su llamado a todas y todos los actores políticos a trabajar para lograr un proceso electoral en un ambiente de respeto y tolerancia, en ejercicio de los derechos civiles y políticos, y, en condiciones de igualdad y no discriminación”. 

Flee or starve: How climate change is impacting Guatemala: Reporter’s notebook 
Juju Chang, ABC News, November 9, 2021
“Climate and agricultural experts point to roughly 20 to 50 years of changing El Nino and La Nina weather patterns. A change in the sub-tropical climate has wreaked havoc on a region that was once the fertile birthplace of the Mayan culture dating back millennia. Many rural villages in Guatemala are experiencing catastrophic crop failure. In many areas, it’s been seven straight years of failed crops and decades of dwindling yields.”

The High Price of Doing Journalism in El Salvador 
Nelson Rauda, ProPublica, November 9, 2021
“The Journalists Association of El Salvador, of which I’m a board member, keeps a record of attacks against journalists in the country. This includes acts of physical aggression, threats, digital harassment and firings. The trend is alarming: In 2018, there were 65 attacks; the next year, 77 (Bukele took office on June 1, 2019). The association reported 125 incidents last year and, as October drew to a close, we’ve documented 201 cases in 2021.”

Garífunas en Washington celebran premio a Organización Fraternal Negra
Proceso Digital, 6 de noviembre de 2021
“La comunidad de migrantes garífunas en Washington celebró este sábado el otorgamiento del Premio Anual de Derechos Humanos Letelier-Moffitt del Instituto de Estudios Políticos (IPS) a la Organización Fraternal Negra de Honduras (OFRANEH). La coordinadora de la OFRANEH, Miriam Miranda, comunicó en sus redes sociales los festejos por parte de la comunidad garífuna en el país norteamericano”. 

Honduran Paramilitaries Violently Infiltrate Land Rights Groups 
Jared Olson, The Intercept, November 6, 2021
“The paramilitaries’ strategy begins with infiltrating social movements, killing off key members, and then installing armed groups inside communities to terrorize their residents into exile or silence, according to eyewitness testimony, interviews with more than a dozen local residents, and affidavits made on behalf of asylum-seekers in the U.S. If successful, the armed groups will extinguish land rights movements and seize back control of the palm oil lands Dinant claims as its own.”

Estudio indica que el 60 por ciento de los hondureños no tienen la suficiente alimentación diaria
Selvin Sánchez, El Pulso, 6 noviembre de 2021
“El 60 por ciento de los hondureños no cuentan con los recursos necesarios para alimentarse día a día según los resultados de una encuesta realizada por la organización Latinobarómetro. La encuesta fue aplicada en varios países de América Latina, a los cuales se les consultó ¿Cuán seguido usted o su familia no han tenido suficiente comida para alimentarse? Las respuestas de los ciudadanos ubicaron a Honduras en el cuarto puesto, solo por detrás de República Dominicana, Guatemala y Venezuela”. 

OACNUDH expresa preocupación por recientes reformas legales que contravienen obligaciones de derechos humanos y restringen el espacio cívico en Honduras
OACNUDH, 5 de noviembre de 2021
“La Oficina en Honduras del Alto Comisionado de las Naciones Unidas para los Derechos Humanos (OACNUDH) expresa su profunda preocupación por la entrada en vigor de las reformas al Código Penal, Código Procesal Penal y Ley Especial contra el Lavado de Activos, que contravienen las obligaciones del Estado de Honduras en materia de derechos humanos, restringen el espacio cívico y limitan las capacidades para conducir investigaciones efectivas en casos de corrupción.”

Why climate migrants are missing from the debate at Cop26
Patrick Mulholland, The New Statesman, November 5, 2021
“In the past, these climate-induced migrations were somewhat masked by the process of urbanisation. People in developing countries, typically the worst-affected by climate change, would leave rural areas for nearby cities. But now, there is a rising trend of cross-border movements, as exemplified by the crisis along the US-Mexico border, where 1.7 million migrants have been apprehended during the fiscal year that ended in September 2021.”

Laura Dogu será la nueva embajadora de EE.UU en Honduras » Criterio.hn 
Criterio, 5 de noviembre de 2021
“El presidente de Estados Unidos, Joe Biden, propuso este viernes como embajadora en Honduras a Laura Farnsworth Dogu, una diplomática de carrera que ya ocupó ese mismo cargo en Nicaragua entre 2015 y 2018. Dogu, que actualmente se desempeña como asesora de política exterior del jefe de Estado Mayor del Ejército en el Pentágono, ha sido la elegida por Biden para sustituir como máxima representante de EE.UU. en el país hondureño a James Nealon, en el cargo desde 2014.” 

La desigualdad en Honduras se incrementó tras la pandemia y los huracanes, revela estudio 
El Universo, 4 de noviembre de 2021
“La pandemia y los huracanes Eta e Iota, que azotaron Centroamérica en noviembre pasado, han tenido un “efecto perverso”, indicó la representante de la Oficina del Alto Comisionado de las Naciones Unidas para los Derechos Humanos (OACNUDH) en Tegucigalpa, Isabel Albaladejo. La COVID-19 ha “magnificado los patrones de vulnerabilidad, desigualdad y discriminación preexistentes en el país con mayor énfasis en los grupos de mayor vulnerabilidad, provocando una regresión importante en el goce y disfrute de varios derechos económicos”, subrayó la diplomática”. 

Actions, Alerts, and Resources

ICE Air Flights October 2021 and Last 12 Months  
Thomas Cartwright, Witness At The Border, November 7, 2021
“From the Tornillo, TX and Homestead, FL Child Detention Centers to the Brownsville/Matamoros border, many have stood as witnesses in solidarity with the victims of these policies; to witness and report on the mass incarceration of innocent children and the practice of forcing asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico for their day in a tent court presided over by a remote judge on video, and to be faced with denial, without due process, of their legal rights to seek asylum and protection.”