Migration News Brief for September 22, 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 Attends TPS Rally in Front of the White House

LAWG, September 20, 2023

“Last Friday, LAWG joined CASA and other organizations in front of the White House to demand TPS for Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, and Nepal. TPS is the only way to allow individuals who are already living in our communities to legally work and diminish their fear of deportation.”

U.S. Enforcement

Secretary Mayorkas Announces Extension and Redesignation of Venezuela for Temporary Protected Status

U.S. Department of Homeland Security, September 20, 2023

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas today announced the extension and redesignation of Venezuela for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months, due to extraordinary and temporary conditions in Venezuela that prevent individuals from safely returning. 

Young Center Demands CBP Immediately End Parent-Child Separations, Release Families Together

Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights, September 18, 2023

“A report released this weekend from a federal court monitor found that U.S. border agents are, once again, separating migrant children from their parents, allegedly to “avoid overcrowding” in their facilities. The details are deeply disturbing, including separations of children under the age of 8 from their parents, toddlers forced to eat adult food, and a lack of beds for children to sleep in.”

DHS Issues Proposed Rule to Modernize H-2 Temporary Visa Programs and Strengthen Worker Protections

U.S. Department of Homeland Security, September 18, 2023

“Today, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) took steps to strengthen protections for temporary workers through the H-2A temporary agricultural and the H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker programs (H-2 programs). In a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) published today, DHS proposed modernizing and improving the H-2 programs by providing greater flexibility and protections for participating workers, and improving the program’s efficiency.”

Mexican drug cartels pay Americans to smuggle weapons across the border, intelligence documents show

E.D. Cauchi, CBS News, September 18, 2023

“Mexican drug cartels have been smuggling a vast arsenal of even military-grade weapons out of the U.S. with the help of American citizens, a CBS Reports investigation has found. Exclusively-obtained U.S. intelligence documents and interviews with half a dozen current and former officials reveal that the American government has known this for years but, sources said, it’s done little to stop these weapons trafficking networks inside the United States, which move up to a million firearms across the border annually, including belt-fed miniguns and grenade launchers.”

Setting the Record Straight on 10 Misconceptions about Migration and Asylum at the US-Mexico Border

The Women’s Refugee Commission, September 14, 2023

“The United States has long received refugees who have fled their homes to escape violence and persecution. While some refugees arrive to the United States through the US Refugee Admissions Program, others travel to the US to apply for asylum. However they arrive, people flee their home countries because they fear persecution based on their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.”

U.S. reopens troubled facility for migrant children in Texas amid spike in border arrivals

Camilo Montoya – Galvez, CBS News, September 13, 2023

“The Biden administration this week reopened a housing facility for unaccompanied migrant children previously at the center of reports of poor living conditions in response to a marked increase in crossings along the southern border, two U.S. officials familiar with the move told CBS News. The U.S. Department of Health of Human Services facility, a former camp for oil workers in Pecos, Texas, officially stopped housing migrant children in federal custody this spring.”

Republicans move to block Biden from forcing migrant families to remain in Texas 

Hamed Aleaziz, Los Angeles Times, September 13, 2023

“Republican lawmakers have vowed to stop the Biden administration from forcing some migrant families to remain in Texas while awaiting their initial asylum screenings. The Times reported last week that the administration was considering the “remain in Texas” idea, which would involve tracking migrants’ locations using GPS monitoring devices such as ankle monitors. Immigrant advocates criticized the plan, calling it punitive and misguided. Republican leaders, including Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, have said they would attempt to block the policy should it be instituted.”

US-Mexico border is world’s deadliest land route for migrants: IOM

Al Jazeera, September 12, 2023

“The United States-Mexico border is the world’s deadliest land route for migrants, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) says, with at least 686 deaths and disappearances recorded there last year. In a statement on Tuesday, the IOM said the figure – which is likely an undercount due to a lack of official data – represented nearly half of the 1,457 migrant deaths and disappearances recorded throughout the Americas in 2022.”

Biden’s punt to Congress on immigration is wearing thin with advocates

Rafael Bernal, The Hill, September 11, 2023

“Immigration advocates are growing weary of the Biden administration’s measured use of executive power to grant work papers to immigrants. Over three years, Team Biden has systematically drawn back the Trump administration’s efforts to shrink programs such as Temporary Protected Status (TPS), but at a deliberate pace that’s irked immigrant communities.”

Mexican Enforcement

Migrants burst into southern Mexico asylum office demanding papers

Edgar H. Clemente, Associated Press, September 18, 2023

“Migrants, mostly from Haiti, burst into an asylum office in southern Mexico on Monday, demanding papers. Throngs of migrants knocked over metal barricades and rushed into the office in the city of Tapachula, pushing past National Guard officers and police stationed at the office. Some of the migrants were trampled by their colleagues in the rush. Authorities later convinced many to leave, and no injuries were reported.”

Aumenta la naturalización de extranjeros en México

El Informador, 17 de septiembre de 2023

“En el primer semestre de 2023 sumaron dos mil 644 personas naturalizadas de otros países, reportó el Gobierno federal. Es la cifra más alta desde 2018, por lo que se perfila para ser el año con más registros en todo el sexenio, según la Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores (SRE).

El Artículo 2 de la Ley de Nacionalidad establece que la carta de naturalización es el instrumento jurídico por el cual se acredita el otorgamiento de la nacionalidad mexicana a los extranjeros”.

Mexican police officers convicted over 2021 migrant killings

BBC News, September 15, 2023

“A court in Mexico has convicted 11 ex-police officers of killing a group of migrants near the US border in 2021. The bodies of 17 migrants were found in a burnt-out vehicle in the town of Camargo in Tamaulipas state. Investigators say they were killed as part of a turf war between criminal gangs over control of migrant smuggling routes in the area. Every year, thousands of people from Central America attempt to make the long journey to the US through Mexico.”

Mexico on track to break asylum application record

Edgar H. Clemente, Associated Press, September 14, 2023

“Mexico is on track to receive more asylum applications this year than ever before as the flow of migrants threatens to overwhelm governments of several Latin American countries along the migratory route. Andrés Ramírez Silva, the director of Mexico’s refugee agency, said Thursday that the number of asylum applications his agency receives this year could reach 150,000, well above the 129,000 record set in 2021.”

ONGs estiman que hay casi 100,000 migrantes varados en la frontera sur de México

Forbes México, 12 de septiembre de 2023

“Organizaciones civiles estiman que hay entre 90,000 y 100,000 migrantes varados en la frontera sur de México, que se ve rebasada ante un incremento del flujo migratorio en los últimos meses tras la expiración del Título 42 de Estados Unidos.El padre César Augusto Cañaveral, responsable de la Pastoral de Movilidad Humana en Tapachula, calcula que hay unos 90,000 migrantes en Tapachula, en el límite de México con Guatemala, mientras que el director del Centro de Dignificación Humana, Luis Rey García Villagrán, calcula 100,000”.

Mexican law enforcement must not take individuals to immigration facilities for detention, Tijuana official says

Salvador Rivera, ConchoValleyHomepage, September 7, 2023

“The city of Tijuana is reminding its own police force and other law enforcement in the state that they can’t turn migrants over to immigration officials for the purpose of apprehension or detention. Enrique Lucero, Tijuana’s director of Migrant Affairs spoke with reporters on Wednesday to discuss Mexican federal law pertaining to immigrants’ rights when stopped by local and state police. We have not gotten any complaints from migrants or local residents about this, but it’s good to remind people about what the law says,” he said.”

Root Causes


Mexican railway operator halts trains because so many migrants are climbing aboard and getting hurt

Fernanda Pesce, Associated Press, September 19, 2023

“A Mexican railway operator announced Tuesday it is temporarily suspending train runs in the northern part of the country because so many migrants are climbing aboard freight cars and getting hurt in the process. Ferromex said it has temporarily ordered a halt to 60 trains carrying cargo that would fill 1,800 tractor trailers. It said some international trade would be affected by the stoppage.”

Mexican reporter whom U.S. tried to deport ruled eligible for asylum

Nick Miroff, The Washington Post, September 14, 2023

“A reporter from Mexico who fled the country after exposing corruption in its military has been granted eligibility for U.S. asylum, ending a years-long effort by the U.S. government to deport him, the National Press Club said Thursday. Journalist Emilio Gutiérrez Soto received notice this week that the Board of Immigration Appeals has ruled him eligible for asylum, 15 years after he crossed into the United States seeking protection, the organization said.”

Aurelio y cómo México falla en la búsqueda de migrantes desaparecidos

Rosario Marina, Quorum, 14 de septiembre de 2023

“A nivel institucional en México existen múltiples fallas en la búsqueda de migrantes desaparecidos. Hay un caos en el registro de los datos, nadie sabe qué se está contando y qué se está dejando de contar. Los datos que lleva la Comisión Nacional de Búsqueda, por ejemplo, no coinciden con los que reportan las fiscalías locales. En medio de una crisis forense sin precedentes, México no tiene políticas públicas para la búsqueda e identificación de migrantes. La historia de Aurelio Cruz López, un joven desplazado de Chenalhó, Chiapas, demuestra que esas falencias tienen un impacto dramático en las familias”.

Morgues colapsadas y un subregistro de personas desaparecidas en México

Rosario Marina, Quorum, 14 de septiembre de 2023

“Una necropsia “bien hecha” toma de entre 3 a 6 horas completarla, pero algunas fiscalías locales en México solo tienen un médico forense para 12 horas y llegan a hacer hasta 10 necropsias. ¿Cuántos médicos forenses se requieren para los más de 50 mil cuerpos sin identificar en México? ¿Y cuántos se necesitan para devolver a las familias de Guatemala los restos de sus migrantes hallados muertos aquí”?

Comparece el Estado ante el Comité de Desaparición Forzada de la ONU 

Sistema Integral de Información en Derechos Humanos, 14 de septiembre de 2023 

“Este miércoles y jueves se han llevado a cabo las comparecencias de México ante el Comité sobre las Desapariciones Forzadas de la Organización de Naciones Unidas, fundamental para hacer un corte de caja sobre la más dolorosa crisis de nuestro presente: la generalizada Desaparición de Personas en México.En ambos días México compareció con una delegación de nivel intermedio, conformada mayoritariamente por directores generales. Fue notorio que la Comisión Nacional de Búsqueda compareció por vía de encargado de despacho, al haber renunciado su titular recientemente”.

Transformación militarizada: Derechos humanos y controles democráticos en un contexto de creciente militarización en México

Stephanie Brewer and Ana Lucía Verduzco, Washington Office on Latin America, 6 de septiembre de 2023

“México vive un proceso de creciente militarización de tareas civiles dentro y fuera del ámbito de la seguridad pública. Mientras presidentes anteriores presentaban la militarización como un proceso temporal que permitiría fortalecer el papel de las instituciones civiles —aunque en la práctica el despliegue militar se volvió el modelo permanente, en gran medida a costa de priorizar otras estrategias e instituciones de seguridad y justicia— el actual gobierno impulsa una amplia militarización de tareas civiles a largo plazo, incluyendo mediante la militarización de la Guardia Nacional”.


Demonstrators rally in Guatemala to defend presidential election results

Aljazeera, September 19, 2023

“Thousands of protesters have flooded the streets of Guatemala, answering a call issued by President-elect Bernardo Arevalo to defend the integrity of the country’s recent elections. Last Friday, Arevalo took to social media to rally his supporters, asking them to join him in Guatemala City on Monday as he filed a legal challenge against those he considers ‘coup-mongers’.” 

Protecting Guatemala’s “New Spring” 

Hope Border Institute, September 19, 2023

“From August 17 to August 22, the delegation accompanied local community members and religious and civic leaders to better understand the social and political landscape; visited polling stations in areas of Guatemala City and in the Department of San Marcos to get a sense of whether the elections were being conducted in a fair and transparent manner; and processed our experience and election results with our pro-democracy partners. In addition, national delegates registered as observers before the Supreme Electoral Tribunal observed polling stations to ensure ballots were cast freely and according to the Guatemalan electoral law.”

Indigenous supporters march to defend Guatemala’s president-elect amid vote fraud allegations

Associated Press, September 18, 2023

“Thousands of indigenous supporters protested in Guatemala City on Monday to defend Guatemala’s president-elect as government prosecutors seek to ban his political party. Many of the protesters carried banners or chanted slogans demanding the resignation of government officials who have sought to prosecute Bernardo Arévalo and ban his Seed Movement party.”

La crisis de Guatemala requiere mayor acción internacional

Washington Office on Latin America, 18 de septiembre de 2023

“A pesar de las reiteradas muestras de preocupación expresadas por el Consejo Permanente de la Organización de Estados Americanos (OEA), la Unión Europea, diversos Estados y las manifestaciones ciudadanas, la fiscal general Consuelo Porras continúa abusando de su poder y extralimitándose en sus funciones, y sigue criminalizando y acosando al TSE y al partido Movimiento Semilla”.

Top anticorruption prosecutor from Guatemala receives asylum in the US

Aljazeera, September 14, 2023

“The former head of Guatemala’s anticorruption office has been granted asylum in the United States, more than two years after he was forced to flee his country. Juan Francisco Sandoval acknowledged the decision with a social media post on Thursday, saying it was confirmation of the threats he had endured.”

Guatemala: el Parlamento Europeo denuncia el intento de revertir las elecciones

Parlamento Europeo, 14 de septiembre de 2023

“El Parlamento Europeo criticó el jueves los intentos reiterados de suspender el Movimiento Semilla y pidió que se respete la voluntad expresada por los guatemaltecos en las urnas. En una resolución aprobada a mano alzada, la Cámara felicitó a Bernardo Arévalo y Karin Herrera por su clara victoria electoral y pidió a todas las instituciones y sectores sociales que apoyen una transición ordenada y un traspaso de poderes pacífico, como colofón a unas elecciones «pacíficas y bien organizada»”.

El Salvador

El Salvador’s leader, criticized internationally for gang crackdown, tells UN it was the right thing

Associated Press, September 19, 2023

“El Salvador President Nayib Bukele trumpeted the success of his gang crackdown during his speech at the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday, crediting his administration’s will against international criticism over human rights violations. Bukele said that if El Salvador had listened to external critics — including some at the United Nations — the tiny Central American country would again be the murder capital of the world.”

How to match Bukele’s success against gangs? First, dismantle democracy.

Mary Beth Sheridan, The Washington Post, September 19, 2023

Barahona, a 56-year-old community journalist, can see the rebirth of this Central American country in every block of his town: In the once-abandoned homes, where fans are now whirring. In the snack shop opened by a widow who was once exiled by the gangs. But as he walked past the wall daubed “Transform your life in Christ,” past the kids’ soccer field he’d helped build, past old friends and fellow evangelicals, no one mentioned one awkward fact. Until recently, he’d been Prisoner 209683. Barahona was swept up in a “war on gangs” that has cleared much of the country of pistol-wielding hoodlums — including this town north of San Salvador — and made Bukele a household name from Honduras to Argentina. But the crackdown has also raised alarms about the rights of thousands of people like Barahona, who are arrested without explanation and held for months.”

El Salvador’s plan for voting from outside the country

El Salvador Perspectives, September 19, 2023 

“El Salvador’s Legislative Assembly passed a law for the upcoming election of president and the national congress which will allow Salvadorans living outside the country to cast their vote from home over the internet. At least some of them will be able to.”

Jornada de reclamos por reelección y capturas arbitrarias

W. Sandoval and J. Urbina, La Prensa Gráfica, 16 de septiembre 2023

“Mientras el Gobierno realizaba ayer un desfile militar en el Día de la Independencia, organizaciones sociales y familiares de capturados en el régimen de excepción marcharon por las calles capitalinas para denunciar violaciones a derechos humanos, rechazar la reelección de Nayib Bukele y señalar la falta de políticas públicas en temas como la salud o la agricultura”.


Xiomara dice ante la ONU que la oposición “conspira” contra su gobierno

Ana María Rovelo, El Tiempo Honduras, 20 de septiembre de 2023

“La presidenta de la República, Xiomara Castro, arremetió contra la oposición hondureña en su discurso en la 79 Asamblea de la Organización de las Naciones Unidas (ONU) . En su intervención, la mandataria aseguró que las fuerzas opositoras «conspiran» contra su gobierno, y los llamó «alianza de políticos corruptos y de supuesta sociedad civil»”.

Atentan contra Miriam Miranda

Reportar Sin Miedo, 19 de septiembre de 2023

“Cuatro hombres armados con fusiles de asalto entraron hoy en la casa de la lideresa de la Organización Fraternal Negra Hondureña (Ofraneh), Miriam Miranda. Ofraneh denunció en sus redes sociales el atentado contra la privacidad de la defensora del territorio que tuvo lugar la madrugada de hoy en la comunidad de Vallecito, Colón, en el Atlántico de Honduras”.

CAF approves loans for more than USD 900 million and adds Honduras and the Dominican Republic as full members

CAF – Development Bank of Latin America and the Caribbean, September 14, 2023

“CAF, Development Bank of Latin America and the Caribbean, consolidates its vocation as the bank of and for Latin Americans and Caribbeans with the support of its Board of Directors to incorporate Honduras and the Dominican Republic as members of the institution, which will allow them to have greater access to long-term financial resources, as well as technical cooperation for sustainable development, among other benefits.

Con varias cajas de evidencias, Marlon Ochoa llega a interponer denuncia contra empresarios ante el Ministerio Público

El Heraldo, 13 de septiembre 2023

“Acompañado por un camión cargado con varias cajas de supuestas evidencias que probarían las exoneraciones que han beneficiado a “empresarios de cúpula”, llegó el ministro del Servicio de Administración de Rentas (SAR) , Marlon Ochoa, ante el Ministerio Público”.

Honduras’ Stalled AG Election Shows Political Obstacles to Fighting Crime

Anastasia Austin, InSight Crime, September 11, 2023

“Lawmakers in Honduras are deadlocked over the selection of a new attorney general, underscoring the political obstacles to constructing an effective approach to fighting organized crime and corruption. Legislators appear no closer to agreeing on a candidate to be the country’s new top prosecutor after missing a September 1 deadline for the selection..”


How the Treacherous Darien Gap Became a Migration Crossroads of the Americas

Caitlyn Yates and Juan Pappier, Migration Policy Institute, September 20, 2023

“Yet for all that it lacks, the Darien Gap has in recent years become a major transit route for irregular migration. Despite the jungle’s dangers and immense hurdles, it remains the only land-based pathway connecting South America to Central America. For asylum seekers and other migrants heading to the United States and other northern destinations, as dangerous as it is, the Darien Gap has lately become the primary passageway.”

Dominican Republic closes border with Haiti, further stoking tensions

Widlore Mérancourt, Samantha Schmidt and Amanda Coletta, The Washington Post, September 15, 2023

“The Dominican Republic had already begun building a wall at its border with Haiti. Then it cracked down on immigration, deporting tens of thousands of Haitians back to their impoverished and gang-ravaged country. Now it’s closing the border entirely. President Luis Abinader announced the Dominican Republic will shut all of its land, air and sea frontiers with Haiti starting Friday morning, amid a festering dispute over Haiti’s plans to construct a canal off a river that separates the two countries.”

‘A Ticket to Disney’? Politicians Charge Millions to Send Migrants to U.S.

Julie Turkewitz, The New York Times, September 14, 2023

“Hundreds of thousands of migrants are now pouring through a sliver of jungle known as the Darién Gap, the only land route to the United States from South America, in a record tide that the Biden administration and the Colombian government have vowed to stop. But the windfall here at the edge of the continent is simply too big to pass up, and the entrepreneurs behind the migrant gold rush are not underground smugglers hiding from the authorities. They are politicians, prominent businessmen and elected leaders, now sending thousands of migrants toward the United States in plain sight each day — and charging millions of dollars a month for the privilege.”

Chile, Mexico presidents call for democracy, Santiago protests flare on eve of coup anniversary

Reuters, September 10, 2023

“The presidents of Chile and Mexico called for the strengthening of democracy in Latin America during a joint address on Sunday to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a 1973 coup in Chile, hours after a peaceful march culminated in violent clashes with police. Monday will mark half a century since the overthrow of President Salvador Allende by the regime of General Augusto Pinochet, which ushered in 17 years of brutal military rule that saw some 40,000 people imprisoned, disappeared, tortured or killed.”

Gender and LGBTQ+

La autopsia confirma que Ana María Serrano fue asesinada

Alejandro Santos Cid, El País, 18 de septiembre de 2023

“La investigación policial sobre el feminicidio de Ana María Serrano Céspedes, la mexicana de 18 años asesinada en su casa del Estado de México el pasado 12 de septiembre presuntamente a manos de su expareja, Alán Gil Romero, de la misma edad, comienza a esclarecer las primeras incógnitas del caso. La necropsia de la joven ha revelado que fue asfixiada, lo que confirma que se trató de un homicidio, de acuerdo con un comunicado de la Fiscalía estatal publicado en la tarde del lunes”.

María Elena Ríos denuncia un ataque armado en su contra

Jorge Vaquero Simancas, El País, 18 de septiembre de 2023

“La saxofonista María Elena Ríos ha denunciado en un comunicado que el pasado 15 de septiembre sufrió un ataque armado contra su persona cuando se trasladaba de Ciudad de México a Oaxaca. “A las 20:40 horas tuve un atentado en contra de mi vida en donde hubo detonaciones durante la persecución al vehículo en donde viajaba”, explica el comunicado. Ríos fue víctima de un intento de feminicidio en 2019, ya que dos sujetos la rociaron con ácido que quemó el 90% de su cuerpo”.

Guatemala: mil 500 mujeres desaparecidas indican falta de seguridad

Al Maydeen Español, 18 de septiembre de 2023

“Guatemala reportó en este año casi mil 500 alertas de mujeres desaparecidas, unas cinco diarias en promedio, fenómeno calificado como expresión de la inseguridad social predominante en ese país centroamericano.Según registros oficiales, de las llamadas alertas “Isabel-Claudina”, la mayor cantidad fue reportada en la ciudad capital, con 551 casos, aunque también destacan los departamentos de Escuintla, Quetzaltenango, Alta Verapaz y San Marcos, seguidos de Petén, Huehuetenango y Santa Rosa”.

A mausoleum for transgender women is inaugurated in Mexico’s capital as killings continue

Associated Press, September 15, 2023

“Mexican transgender rights activists Kenya Cuevas and Andrea Luna sat in front of their longtime friend Paola Buenrostro’s pink grave in Mexico City. You don’t have to pay rent anymore. You will have your own home now,” Luna sadly joked to her late friend, a transgender woman slain in front of Cuevas in 2016.”

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.