Migration News Brief for September 30, 2022

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Date: Sep 30, 2022

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.


In Guatemala, Freedom of Press Is Hanging on by a Thread
Latin America Working Group, Yadira Sánchez-Esparza, September 28 2022

“Both inside and outside the capital, journalists are feeling the eerie pressure of surveillance and intimidation… Recently, José Rubén Zamora the president of Guatemala’s media outlet, ElPeriódico was arrested under false charges…  There are many who spend weeks or years without being released. Journalists face these conditions for using their right to free speech and report on what is happening in their community.”

-A Spanish version of this article was published in Prensa Comunitaria, “En Guatemala, la libertad de prensa está bajo ataque

Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission Hearing on the State of Exception in El Salvador
Latin American Working Group, Lisa Haugaard, September 12, 2022 
“Over 51,000 people have been detained and grave human rights violations have been committed by the Salvadoran government and security forces in the state of exception that has been renewed five times since March 27, 2022… Recommendations to members of the U.S. Congress:  Express strong concern about the human rights and civil rights violations under the state of exception via social media, statements, and in conversations with Salvadoran government or embassy officials… Urge the State Department to strongly express its concern with the human rights and civil rights.” 

On Ayotzinapa’s 8th Anniversary Justice Is Closer Now than Ever!
Latin America Working Group, September 26, 2022

“Today, eight years ago, 43 students from the Ayotzinapa rural teachers’ college were forcibly disappeared in the state of Guerrero, Mexico. To this day the victims and their families have still not received justice. But, this anniversary is a moment to celebrate the perseverance and strength of the families who continue to search for their loved ones and how far we have come together in calling for justice for the disappeared students.”

US Enforcement

Busing and Flights of Migrants by GOP Governors Mark a New Twist in State Intervention on Immigration
Muzaffar Chishti and Julia Gelatt, Migration Policy Institute, September 28, 2022

“The busing and, in one instance, flights of migrants from Texas and Arizona have transformed the quarrel into one pitting Republican state officials against state- and city-level Democrats in the middle of an election season, exacerbating a deep red- and blue-state divide and bringing serious consequences for migrants, many of whom are asylum seekers.”

Sube en 300% el número de personas que buscan asilo en Estados Unidos
Vanguardia, 28 de septiembre de 2022

“La llegada de migrantes que buscan asilo en el límite de México con Estados Unidos, en la fronteriza Tijuana, se ha incrementado en casi 300%, con albergues saturados y cientos de personas que duermen en las calles… Los refugios se ven rebasados ante el incremento de migrantes, incluyendo mexicanos, desplazados por conflictos políticos y la violencia del crimen organizado, advirtieron ayer organizaciones consultadas por Efe”.

Biden Is Hoping Small Changes Go a Long Way on Immigration
Michael D. Shear, Mirian Jordan, The New York Times, September 27, 2022

“Mr. Biden has no silver bullet to overhaul the immigration system without bipartisan support from Congress, a prospect that no one in Washington expects anytime soon. But after months of debate in the White House, the Biden administration has begun to address a small slice of the problem: the woefully backlogged process to decide who qualifies for asylum, or protection from persecution, in the United States.”

First on CNN: White House hosts meeting of 19 Western Hemisphere nations to begin coordinated efforts on migrants
Priscilla Alvarez, CNN, September 27, 2022

“US officials and representatives of more than a dozen countries in the Western Hemisphere gathered at the White House this week amid concerns over mass migration in the region, a senior administration official told CNN. Monday’s meeting was a follow up to the Summit of the Americas in June when 21 Western Hemisphere nations signed onto an agreement, dubbed the Los Angeles Declaration.”

The Morning: The back story of the migrant buses
German Lopez, The New York Times, September 25, 2022

“Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida created a firestorm this month for what he did to about 50 migrants, mostly from Venezuela, who had recently crossed the southern border: He put them on two planes that took them to Martha’s Vineyard, the famously liberal and upscale vacation destination in Massachusetts. He was following the lead, albeit more explosively, of his fellow G.O.P. governor Greg Abbott of Texas, in sending migrants to progressive strongholds.”

‘The community has stepped in when no one else does’: volunteers rush to aid bussed-in migrants
Trisha Garcia, The Guardian, September 23, 2022

“The Cuban man stepped wearily off the bus after the long journey to Washington DC, expecting to see an official or a volunteer with information on the next steps for him and his fellow passengers. Instead, he was greeted by TV news crews.”

Mexico Enforcement

Casi 200 migrantes fueron localizados en camiones en el norte de México
Que Pasa, 25 de septiembre de 2022

“Casi 200 personas que transitaban por Nuevo León, en el norte de México, como indocumentados fueron localizados por autoridades de Fuerza Civil y puestos a disposición del Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM)…Los indocumentados fueron detenidos en dos hechos distintos y también fueron detenidos cuatro hombres que se hacían cargo de su transportación”. 

Molesta a visitantes presencia de la Guardia Nacional en cruces fronterizos
Salvador Miranda, El Heraldo de Juarez,  28 de septiembre de 2022

“La presencia de elementos de la Guardia Nacional (GN) en las salidas de los puentes internacionales ha causado molestias por parte de los usuarios que vienen a esta frontera de El Paso Texas, ya que mencionan que han sido objetos de revisión física a los automóviles aa a pesar de que ya hayan pasado por la garita aduanera”. 

Why Is Mexico’s Security Strategy Failing?
Nathaniel Parish Flannery, Forbes, September 27, 2022 

“Despite his campaign promise to strengthen police forces in Mexico and find a way to return the military to the barracks, as president López Obrador has done the opposite, even as he essentially ended the vast majority of law enforcement operations. In his first year, López Obrador shredded the Federal Police, the most competent law enforcement agency in Mexico… A well-designed law enforcement strategy is essential in Mexico, just like in any other country. But it is completely lacking in Mexico.” 

Amlo promised to take Mexico’s army off the streets – but he made it more powerful
Steve Fisher, The Guardian, September 27, 2022 

“‘We will not use force to resolve social problems,’ López Obrador said in 2017. ‘We are going to confront insecurity and violence by addressing the root causes, not as they have been doing.’.. The national guard is replacing police forces across the country, but its own statistics show few arrests and investigations, compared with other police forces, said Hope. Government statistics show the national guard arrested more than 8,000 people in 2021 compared with the federal police who, with 38,000 agents, arrested 21,702 people in 2018.”

Root Causes

Wounds Reopened, The Impacts of Democratic Backsliding on Human Rights in Guatemala
Guatemala Human Rights Commission, September 26, 2022

“Our delegation observed a freefall of democracy and rapidly deteriorating human rights conditions in Guatemala. Defenders explained to us that this regression is helmed by a handful of corrupt actors with historic ties to the economic, political, and military elite.”

Bukele Announces a Dictatorship
elfaro, September 23, 2022

“The fact that Nayib Bukele’s announcement that he will seek reelection was foreseeable does not lessen its gravity — not only because it violates the Constitution and laws of El Salvador, but because the regime has already eliminated every counterweight that ensured that they were upheld… Right now he is a constitutionally elected president, even if his exercise of power is no longer constitutional. A second term in 2024 would make him a full-fledged dictator.”

En Guatemala, la libertad de prensa está bajo ataque
Prensa Comunitaria, Yadira Sánchez-Esparza, 29 de septiembre de 2022

  “Una de las tácticas más habituales es el uso de acusaciones falsas para encarcelar y silenciar a los periodistas… Recientemente, José Rubén Zamora, presidente del medio de comunicación guatemalteco ElPeriódico, fue detenido bajo cargos falsos… Hay muchos que pasan semanas o años sin ser liberados. Los periodistas se enfrentan a estas condiciones por hacer uso de su derecho a la libertad de expresión e informar sobre lo que ocurre en su comunidad”. 

The Jungle Patrol: Fighting Illegal Loggers on the Guatemala-Mexico Border
Alejandro Melgoza and Alex Papadovassilakis, InSight Crime, September 28, 2022

“A journey deep into the jungle reveals how a shadowy timber mafia with ties to Asia is illegally extracting precious wood on the Guatemala-Mexico border. InSight Crime traveled over 300 kilometers through a trio of nature reserves to document how illegal loggers have ravaged some of the region’s most biodiverse forests and chronicle the unlikely story of a small group of park rangers fighting back.”

Corruption under the State of Emergency in El Salvador: a democracy without oxygen
WOLA, September 27, 2022

“The state of emergency has not only allowed the suspension of constitutional guarantees but has also eliminated legal controls over administrative processes for the use of public funds and state contracts and the right of access to public information. In other words, it has fostered a lack of transparency and accountability in the management of public resources.”

La Fiscalía deja sin policías ministeriales a la unidad que investiga el ‘caso Ayotzinapa’
Pablo Ferri, El País, 27 de septiembre de 2022

“El fiscal general de México, Alejandro Gertz, ha dejado sin policías ministeriales a la unidad de la dependencia que investiga el caso Ayotzinapa. Hasta mediados de agosto, la unidad contaba con 13 agentes como apoyo de los fiscales para realizar su trabajo. A finales de mes ya no tenía ninguno”.

Renuncia Omar Gómez Trejo a fiscalía del caso Ayotzinapa
Aristegui Noticias, 27 de septiembre de 2022

“Omar Gómez Trejo renunció a la Unidad Especial de Investigación y Litigación para el Caso Ayotzinapa, misma que encabezó desde junio 2019, confirmaron fuentes de alto nivel a este medio de comunicación. Esto, luego de que la Fiscalía General de República (FGR) se desistiera de 21 de las 83 órdenes de aprehensión solicitadas por la unidad a su cargo hacia personas vinculadas a la desaparición de los 43 normalistas de Ayotzinapa, ocurrida la noche del 26 y la madrugada del 27 de septiembre de 2014 en Iguala, Guerrero”.

Poder Judicial niega amnistía a defensores Lencas de Reitoca
Marcia Perdomo, Criterio.hn, 26 de septiembre de 2022

“La resistencia por parte de los pobladores de Reitoca a la imposición del proyecto hidroeléctrico en el río Petacón, principal fuente de agua para consumo humano en la zona, ha ocasionado una serie de violaciones de derechos humanos las que han tenido la participación directa de funcionarios del Estado y de las fuerzas militares y policiales”. 

Representante de las Naciones Unidas admite que proceso para instalar la CICIH se prolongó en Honduras
Proceso Digital, 26 de septiembre de 2022

“En declaraciones a la cadena radial América Multimedios, la representante residente de las Naciones Unidas, refirió que la expectativa sobre la reunión que sostuvo la presidenta de la República Xiomara Castro de Zelaya con el Secretario General, Antonio Guterres, no tenía como objetivo firmar el memorándum de entendimiento, sino pulirlo… en los próximos meses el gobierno y las Naciones Unidas puedan concluir el diálogo de manera que haya entendimiento y se procesa a firmar el memorándum previsto, avanzar en la conformación e instalación.” 

La crisis climática es una emergencia de derechos humanos
Pia Flores, Plaza Pública, 26 de septiembre de 2022

“El cambio climático no solo es un asunto de calentamiento global y alteraciones de la temperatura, las lluvias o el nivel del mar. Es una emergencia de derechos humanos. Los impactos agravan la situación para la población más vulnerable, que por las condiciones sociales y políticas del país no gozan de derechos básicos”.

Wounds Reopened, The Impacts of Democratic Backsliding on Human Rights in Guatemala
Guatemala Human Rights Commission, September 26, 2022

“Our delegation observed a freefall of democracy and rapidly deteriorating human rights conditions in Guatemala. Defenders explained to us that this regression is helmed by a handful of corrupt actors with historic ties to the economic, political, and military elite.”

A Guatemalan law meant to protect women from violence is being used against journalists
Leila Miller, LA Times, September 26, 2022 

“When it was passed in 2008, the Law against Femicide and Other Forms of Violence Against Women was widely hailed as an advancement for women in a country with high rates of gender-based attacks and killings… The law requires ‘a gender component and for the man to feel superior to the woman,’ said Corinne Dedik, a researcher at the Center for National Economic Investigations, a Guatemalan think tank that has studied the law and found that prosecutors last year received nearly 60,000 complaints under it.” 

IDB governors vote to remove bank president Claver-Carone after ethics investigation
Cassandra Garrison and Andrea Shalal, Reuters, September 26 2022

“The governors of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) voted on Monday to fire president Mauricio Claver-Carone, a person with knowledge of the vote said, after an investigation showed the only American president in the bank’s 62-year history had an intimate relationship with a subordinate.”

Impacto de las lluvias dejan más de 24,000 afectados en Honduras
El Heraldo, 25 de septiembre de 2022 

“Alexander López, alcalde de El Progreso, afirmó que el escenario es peor que el dejado por Eta y Iota, ya que tienen alrededor de 78 comunidades completamente afectadas… Para las autoridades de Copeco, Cortés es de los departamentos más golpeados por las lluvias, con 3,134 familias afectadas y 11,863 personas. En la falla, El Metal, de Cucuyagua, Copán, carretera que une a Copán con Ocotepeque, el domingo se comenzó a trabajar para rehabilitar el paso”. 

Honduras golpeada por lluvias, a falta de lo más intenso del invierno
Proceso Digital, 25 de septiembre de 2022

“Al menos 30 comunidades de El Progreso reportan afectaciones por las lluvias registradas en los últimos días… Durante la tarde del domingo, la presidenta Xiomara Castro hizo un recorrido por varias de las zonas perjudicadas frente a las condiciones climatológicas que golpean al territorio hondureño”. 

Bukele anuncia una dictadura
El Faro, 23 de septiembre de 2022

“La falta de sorpresa no le resta gravedad al anuncio que Nayib Bukele ha hecho de buscar la reelección. No solo por tratarse de una violación a la Constitución y las leyes de El Salvador, sino porque el régimen ha eliminado ya todos los contrapesos que servían para que esa Constitución y esas leyes se cumplieran”.

Ayotzinapa: cuentas pendientes a ocho años
Sistema Integral de Derechos Humanos, 23 de septiembre de 2022

“El octavo aniversario de la desaparición de los 43 normalistas ha de servir como un ejercicio de memoria histórica, que ayude a dimensionar los peligros y falacias de la militarización del país, y que subrayen en la agenda nacional los grandes pendientes que persisten para que los mexicanos podamos realmente acceder a la verdad, la justicia y la no repetición de los hechos”.

Disturbios frente a Campo Militar de la Ciudad de México durante protesta sobre el caso Ayotzinapa
Marlon Sorto, CNN, 23 de septiembre de 2022

“Un grupo de manifestantes protagonizó disturbios este viernes frente a las instalaciones del Campo Militar 1-A de la Secretaría de la Defensa Nacional (Sedena) en la Ciudad de México, según presenció un equipo de CNN que estaba en el lugar”. 

Las luchas por la tierra y el territorio en la cuna de Emiliano Zapata
PBI México 

“Las luchas por la tierra y el territorio en la cuna de Emiliano Zapata – campos verdes y húmedos de cultivos de arroz, milpa y caña en los estados de Morelos y Puebla – son herencia de las luchas campesinas transcurridas en esas regiones. La oposición a proyectos extractivistas, como el Proyecto Integral Morelos (PIM), ha unificado en resistencia a diversos pueblos y ejidos en Morelos y Puebla que se ven amenazados por la privatización de bienes naturales y el despojo de sus tierras por estos megaproyectos”. 

Actions, Alerts, and Resources

Upholding President Biden’s Asylum Commitments
Eleanor Acer, Human Rights First, September 20, 2022 

“Over eighteen months later, many of President Biden’s commitments have not yet been fulfilled—in some cases due to lawsuits filed by allies of the prior administration and in other cases due to the slow pace of agency action to fulfill the executive order’s direction.”

Punishing Trauma: incident reporting and immigrant children in government custody
Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights, September 2022 

“Children who have arrived at the U.S. border without a parent or legal guardian are particularly vulnerable to lasting harm from time spent in U.S. government custody… ‘Significant Incident Reports’ (SIR), forms that ORR uses to document a wide array of incidents ranging from disclosures of past abuse or neglect to minor rule infractions within ORR facilities…  SIRs rarely indicate an individualized response by ORR to an incident to address the needs of the child, such as a change in the child’s individual care plan, the provision of additional services, or even a consideration of whether the child may need an accommodation or screening for disability. Instead, the government relies on SIRs to move children to more restrictive placements while in custody.” 

A Social Toolkit to Talk about Arrival of Migrants and People Seeking Asylum
Welcome With Dignity, September 2022

“Use this toolkit to remind the public:

● Human beings should never be used as political pawns.
● People seeking asylum are individuals, children, and families fleeing danger and exercising their human and legal right to seek safety in the United States. The right to seek asylum through a legal process is guaranteed under U.S. and international law.
● Our nation is at its best when we serve as a beacon of hope for people seeking
freedom, safety, and protection from persecution.
● Despite the xenophobic actions and rhetoric of politicians, local groups and volunteers are showing the true character of their communities.” 

 Datos que nos duelen Noticias Regional
Iniciativa Mesoamericana, 29 de septiembre de 2022

“Tres compañeras fueron asesinadas durante estos dos meses, todas ellas en México… 112 defensoras fueron agredidas en El Salvador, Honduras, México y Nicaragua durante los meses de julio y agosto, 36 de ellas durante su participación en acciones colectivas de defensa de derechos humanos… 1 de cada 4 agresiones fue perpetrada por autoridades gubernamentales y policías”.

* 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 ysanchezesparza@lawg.org.