Migration News Brief for September 8, 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.


Reflections on the Semilla Party’s Presidential Victory In Guatemala and the Challenges Ahead

Vicki Gass, Latin America Working Group, September 5, 2023

“The vote counting from Guatemala’s runoff election between the Semilla Party and the UNE Party resounded from the three election tables in the classroom where I was an electoral observer with a mission funded by Global Exchange. ‘Semilla, Semilla, Semilla, UNE, Semilla, Semilla, Semilla, nulo (null), Semilla, Semilla, Semilla.’ On August 20, 2023, the Semilla Party headed by Bernardo Arévalo and Karin Herrera, won by a landslide, winning 17 of the 22 departments. This victory has been internationally recognized.”

Crisis migratoria en la jungla del Darién tensa las relaciones entre Panamá y Colombia

Jean Palou Egoaguirre, El Mercurio de Chile, 4 de septiembre de 2023

“Cuando las personas están desesperadas, migran”, resume Vicki Gass, directora ejecutiva del Latin America Working Group, quien estima que los riesgos de la vía terrestre, que en el Darién van mucho más allá de la naturaleza —e incluyen la acción de bandas de trata de personas, carteles del narcotráfico y guerrilleros—, no son suficientes para diuadir a las personas que huyen de sus países”.

El Consejo Permanente de la OEA debe pronunciarse para que cesen los ataques al proceso electoral en Guatemala

Latin America Working Group, 1 de septiembre de 2023

“Las organizaciones internacionales firmantes solicitamos al Consejo Permanente de la Organización de Estados Americanos (OEA), que en la sesión extraordinaria programada para este día, en la que cual se tratará la crisis electoral de Guatemala, se emita un pronunciamiento contundente para que se respeten los resultados electorales, se garantice la seguridad del presidente y vicepresidenta electos Bernardo Arévalo y Karin Herrera, cesen las represalias judiciales contra las autoridades electorales y el partido Movimiento Semilla”.

U.S Enforcement

Hispanic Democrats want Biden to cut the red tape for migrants

Rafael Bernal, The Hill, September 5, 2023 

“A group of Democrats is calling on the Biden administration to make a series of policy adjustments to help nationals of El Salvador, Honduras, Nepal and Nicaragua keep or obtain work permits.”

Revealed: how US immigration uses fake social media profiles across investigations

Johana Buiyan and Sam Levin, The Guardian, September 5, 2023 

“U.S immigration officials sought to expand their abilities to monitor and surveil social media activity and allowed officers to create and use fake social media profiles in a wide range of operations, including covertly researching the online presence of people seeking immigration benefits, new documents show.”

Migrant presence spikes at U.S.-Mexico border

Jasmine Ramirez, CBS8 News, September 3, 2023

“Groups of asylum seekers are lining up at the border between Tijuana and San Diego once more. There was a rush of asylum seekers when Title 42 was lifted in May. The surge slowed but now a bit of an uptick of people waiting at the border wall is happening again.”

Smugglers are steering migrants into the remote Arizona desert, posing new Border Patrol challenges

Anita Snow, AP News, September 1, 2023 

“Suddenly, the Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector, which oversees the area, in July became the busiest sector along the U.S-Mexico border for the first time since 2008. It’s seen migrants from faraway countries like Pakistan, China and Mauritania, where social media is drawing young people to the new route to the border that begins in Nicaragua. There are large numbers from Ecuador, Bangladesh and Egypt, as well as more traditional border crossers from Mexico and Central America.”

ICE’s Family Expedited Removal Management (FERM) Program puts families at risk

National Immigrant Justice Center, August 31, 2023

“Upon taking office, President Biden encountered a fork in the road regarding his approach to asylum and border policy: continuing the failed practices of his predecessors, or advancing policies that protect the rights of asylum seekers to fair and humane processing.”

LA City Council seeking legal action against Gov. Greg Abbott over migrant busing program

Craig Huber and Associated Press, Spectrum News, August 31, 2023

“Now, according to a report from the Los Angeles Times, LA City Council is ready to do something about it. The report says council voted unanimously Wednesday to look into whether the city can sue the state of Texas and Gov. Greg Abbott over the busing program and investigate to see if Abbott’s actions broke any criminal laws.” 

TPS Extended for Six Countries, Advocates Urge Status for More

Aline Barros, VOA News, August 31, 2023

“The Biden administration recently announced an extension and redesignation of the program that gives temporary protection from deportation for nationals of Sudan and Ukraine. Nationals of El Salvador, Honduras, Nepal and Nicaragua also have had their protection extended.”

Records show California prisons are reporting U.S. citizens to ICE, ACLU says

Andrea Castillo, Los Angeles Times, August 29, 2023

“On Aug. 18, 2022, a records department employee at the California Correctional Center emailed federal immigration authorities a list of people they believed could be subject to deportation. The list noted that most of those named were born outside the U.S. or had an unknown birthplace.” 

Texas National Guardsman allegedly shoots across U.S. border wounding man in Mexico – CBS Texas (cbsnews.com)

S.E.Jenkins, CBS Texas, August 28, 2023

“A soldier with the Texas National Guard allegedly fired a gun near the U.S.-Mexico border, hitting a 22-year-old man across the border in Mexico. Mexican authorities and an advocate for human rights say the bullet crossed the border from El Paso on Saturday near the Bridge of the Americas.”

Border Patrol Cages for Migrants in Arizona Violate Court Order

Ryan Devereaux, The Intercept, August 28, 2023

“The US Border Patrol has been detaining asylum-seekers outdoors in a deadly corner of the Arizona desert for the better part of a year — significantly longer than was previously known — according to photos, video, and interviews conducted by The Intercept. The practice was one of several described by concerned officials with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Border Patrol’s parent agency, who say that their agency is a flouting a federal court order mandating the humane treatment of migrants.”

Mexican Enforcement

Map shows the Catholic Church’s migrant shelters in Mexico

Diego López Colín, The Catholic News Agency, September 5, 2023

“The Catholic Church in Mexico has released an interactive map showing the location of the shelters, soup kitchens, and information centers for migrants that it operates throughout the country.”

Solicitudes de refugio aumentan en México 29% en 2023, señala la Comar

Jorge Butrón, La Razón, 1 de septiembre de 2023

“Las solicitudes de refugio de migrantes irregulares en México aumentaron 29 por ciento de enero a agosto de 202, contra el mismo periodo de 2022, de acuerdo al más reciente reporte de la Comisión Mexicana de Ayuda al Refugiado (Comar)”.

Especialistas e IP llaman a que migrantes se integren al mundo laboral en México

Nilsa Hernandez, Milenio, August 30, 2023

“Especialistas, integrantes de derechos humanos y empresariales hicieron un llamado para que las empresas mexicanas integren y conozcan a las personas migrantes y refugiadas en sus filas laborales.”

Todas las noches migrantes cruzan de manera irregular por playas de Tijuana hacia EU

Khennia Reyes, El Imparcial, 29 de agosto de 2023

“Cada noche de 2 a 3 migrantes cruzan de manera irregular hacia Estados Unidos por playas de Tijuana, quienes nadan o utilizan algún tipo de embarcación para llegar a las playas de La Joya, California”.

Border Report: Tijuana’s Migrant Shelters Are Struggling

Sandra Dibble, Voice of San Diego, August 28, 2o23

“Refugio Salesiano Don Bosco, a shelter in eastern Tijuana, was alive with laughter and chatter on Thursday morning. Dozens of migrants, all women and children, were starting their day with a meal of refried beans and scrambled eggs. They hailed from as far as Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Africa, though most had fled communities in southern Mexico.”

Root Causes


Un hijo bajo tierra: las madres buscadoras conquistan el espacio político en México

Carmen Morán Breña, El País, 5 de septiembre de 2023

“Las Madres Buscadoras de México son las Madres de la Plaza de Mayo de nuestros días y su relevancia la han ganado a pulso abriendo la tierra con las manos”.

Un país anestesiado y dolorido: las desapariciones en México y el caso de los cinco jóvenes de Lagos de Moreno

El País, 5 de septiembre de 2023

La periodista Gabriela Warkentin analiza junto al especialista en seguridad David Saucedo y la abogada experta en derechos humanos Alejandra Nuño la tragedia de los cinco amigos de Jalisco, los más de 100.000 desaparecidos del país y la violencia que atraviesa México”.

Why Did a Drug Gang Kill 43 Students? Text Messages Hold Clues.

Natalie Kitroeff and Ronen Bergman, The New York Times, September 2, 2023

“It is perhaps Mexico’s most notorious cold case — 43 college students shot at by the police, forced into patrol cars, handed over to a drug cartel and never seen again.”

Suspect arrested in Mexican journalist’s murder; person close to the journalist says it’s a cover-up

Jorge Antonio Rocha, Aztec Reports, August 31, 2023

“Mexican authorities arrested Carlos Gerardo Sánchez Mendoza for allegedly murdering journalist Armando Linares back in March 2022 in Zitacuaro, Michoacan. However, the intellectual authors behind the murder, which some allege include Michoacan government officials, remain free.”

Mexico: Rights experts ‘outraged’ over attacks on women activists

United Nations News, August 30, 2023

“Human rights defender Teresa Magueyal was shot dead while riding her bicycle in Celaya, Guanajuato state, on 2 May.  Her son, José Luis Apaseo Magueyal, 34, disappeared three years ago. Ms. Magueyal was part of a group formed by families of people who have disappeared and was the sixth volunteer to be killed since 2021, according to media reports.”

The Geography of Human Trafficking on the US-Mexico Border

Insight Crime, August 30, 2023

“Officials often portray human trafficking as being controlled by large, organized crime groups — frequently referred to as “cartels” — but the reality on the US-Mexico border illustrates that there is a far wider array of groups behind this problem.”


Puebla Group Warns About the Danger of a Coup in Guatemala

Telesur, September 5, 2023

“On Monday, several Ibero-American former presidents gathered in the Puebla Group denounced the “lawfare” that is underway against Bernardo Arevalo, the elected president of Guatemala. ‘We warn of the danger of a coup d’état in process.’”

‘There is no work’: Guatemala political crisis spotlights calls for change

Sandra Cuffe, AlJazeera, September 4, 2023

“Guatemala continues to be roiled by political turmoil following last month’s election run-off, with rallies picking up again in cities and towns around the Central American nation to protest efforts to undermine the vote.”

Comisión socializa anteproyecto de ley

Giovanni Pérez, Diario de Centro America, 1 de septiembre de 2023

“La Comisión de Integración Regional del Congreso de la República dio seguimiento al borrador de un anteproyecto de ley, denominado Prevención y Atención Integral de Personas en Condición de Desplazamiento Forzado Interno (DFI)”. 

Declaran emergencia sanitaria nacional por tres meses por aumento de casos de dengue en Guatemala

Merlin Delcid, CNN Español, 31 de agosto de 2023

“El gobierno de Guatemala declaró este jueves una emergencia sanitaria en todo el país por un plazo de tres meses debido al incremento de casos reportados de dengue y para redoblar los esfuerzos y prevenir esta enfermedad que trasmite el mosquito”.

Sandoval: reflexiones sobre el exilio y su posible regreso a Guatemala

Red de información del combate a la impunidad en Guatemala, 30 de agosto de 2023

“En una entrevista exclusiva con Carmen Aristegui en CNN en Español, el exjefe de la Fiscalía Especial contra la Impunidad (FECI), Juan Francisco Sandoval, uno de los 40 exfuncionarios guatemaltecos en el exilio, examinó la situación política actual de su país y reflexionó sobre la posibilidad de un eventual regreso a Guatemala en un futuro, especialmente tras la victoria electoral de Bernardo Arévalo”.

Guatemala arrests anti-corruption lawyer, prompting international outcry

AlJazeera, August 29, 2023

“Guatemala has arrested a former member of a United Nations-backed anti-corruption mission, the latest in a string of legal actions taken against those who prosecuted government wrongdoing and organized crime.”


A sus anchas operan 8 bandas de “coyotes” que trafican migrantes

La Tribuna, 4 de septiembre de 2023

“Alrededor de ocho estructuras criminales dedicadas al tráfico ilícito de personas, que tienen conexiones en América del Sur, Centroamérica, México y Estados Unidos, según investigaciones policiales, operan tranquilamente en Honduras, ya que, supuestamente, algunas autoridades de la Policía, empleados de migración y del Instituto Hondureño de Transporte Terrestre (IHTT) recibirían sobornos, al igual que ciertos dueños de hoteles y empresarios del transporte”.

Opposition Boycotts Election of Prosecutors in Honduras: Castro

Telesur, August 31, 2023

“On Wednesday, Honduran President Xiomara Castro said the parliamentary opposition is boycotting the appointment of the attorney general and deputy attorney. “The National Congress, made up of a majority of politicians who oppose my mandate, boycotts the appointment of the candidates for Attorney General and Assistant Attorney who were best evaluated by the Opinion Commission,” Castro said.”

Honduras Attorney General Election Breakdown 2023

Corie Welch and Ana María Méndez Dardón, WOLA, August 30, 2023

“At the crossroads of a critical juncture, the upcoming election of a new Attorney General (AG) and Deputy Attorney General on September 1 carries immense significance for Honduras. As established by Honduran law, the AG oversees the prosecution of crimes, holding the pivotal position of overseeing the justice system across the country – a system that human rights experts have highlighted as in dire need of substantial reforms.”

El Salvador

Pita Floja: la vertiente salvadoreña bajo amenaza minera

Michelle Recinos, Alharca, 5 de septiembre de 2023 

“Cerca de 90 familias dependen de un solo nacimiento de agua en Pita Floja, al occidente de El Salvador. Este caserío fronterizo del municipio de Metapán se ubica a 5 kilómetros de distancia de la mina Cerro Blanco, en Guatemala. En este lugar vulnerable a sequías extremas por ser parte del Corredor Seco Centroamericano, especialistas advierten más escasez de agua si se reactiva el proyecto minero de capital canadiense”.

In El Salvador, the State of Exception imprisons environmental activists

El Salvador Perspectives, September 3, 2023 

“El Salvador’s government locked up five community organizers and environmental activists from the rural community of Santa Marta, alleging their participation in a decades old crime during El Salvador’s civil war.  But the circumstances surrounding the case suggest to many that the real motivation for their detention is to weaken resistance to metallic mining in the country and make possible the lifting of a mining prohibition.”

El Salvador: Santa Marta Community Leaders Continue Imprisoned

Telesur, August 31, 2023

“On Wednesday, Alfredo Leiva, a member of the Santa Marta Social Economic Development Association (ADES), denounced that five community leaders are still in prison despite the fact that a judge ordered their house arrest on August 23. The Directorate of Penal Centers has not yet authorized the release of the community leaders, who were arrested in January and accused of allegedly committing a murder in the context of the Salvadoran civil war (1980-1992).”


Number of migrant children moving across Latin America and the Caribbean hits new record amid violence, instability and climate change

UNICEF, September 7, 2023 

“Children are migrating through Latin America and the Caribbean in record numbers and now account for a larger share of the migrant population than other regions in the world, according to a UNICEF child alert issued today.

Panamá y Costa Rica analizarán la crisis migratoria en una cita en su área fronteriza

Agencia EFE, 31 de agosto de 2023

“Los cancilleres y ministros de Seguridad de Panamá y Costa Rica se reunirán el viernes cerca de la frontera común en el marco de la explosión del flujo migratorio que cruza ambos países, expresado en la cifra inédita de más de 330.000 viajeros irregulares llegados desde Colombia a través de la jungla del Darién”. 

REDESCA publica informe temático “Pobreza, cambio climático y DESCA en Centro América y México, en el contexto de movilidad humana”

REDESCA, 28 de agosto de 2023 

“La Relatoría Especial sobre Derechos Económicos, Sociales, Culturales y Ambientales (REDESCA) de la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CIDH) publica el informe temático “Pobreza, cambio climático y DESCA en Centroamérica y México, en el contexto de movilidad humana”. Dicho informe aborda como pobreza, desigualdad, los impactos de la emergencia climática y las limitaciones en el acceso y disfrute de los DESCA han incidido en los movimientos migratorios en Centroamérica y México”. 

Gender and LGBTQ+

México ya piensa en la primera presidenta de su historia

Carmen Morán Breña, El País, 7 de septiembre de 2023 

“Dos mujeres pelearán el 2 de junio de 2024 por la presidencia de México. Claudia Sheinbaum, la exalcaldesa de la capital, ha ganado las primarias en Morena, el partido de izquierdas en el Gobierno, y Xóchitl Gálvez se alzó victoriosa, días antes, en la selección interna de la oposición, que aglutina a formaciones de ideología diversa, como el derechista Partido de Acción Nacional (PAN), mayoritario en la coalición, el PRI, que atraviesa una larga crisis existencial, y el minoritario y progresista PRD, todos ellos bajo la marca Frente Amplio por México”. 

Corte Suprema despenaliza el aborto en todo Mexico

Fabiola Sánchez, Associated Press, 7 de septiembre de 2023

“La Suprema Corte de México despenalizó el aborto a nivel federal, en una decisión que amplía la legalidad de la interrupción del embarazo al resto del país, en línea con otras naciones en América Latina, aunque grupos conservadores ya consideran organizar movilizaciones contra el fallo”.

Actions, Alerts, and Resources

Guatemalans Vote Overwhelmingly For Change But Threats Remain

Tania Del Moral, Latin America Working Group, August 23, 2023 

Click now to send your message to your member of Congress. If you are following the situation in Guatemala closely, you can also call your member of Congress and ask to speak to the foreign policy aide. Together, we can ensure that corruption and impunity do not prevail.” 

Si eres salvadoreño, así debes aplicar al programa TPS antes del 10 de septiembre

CNN en Español, 24 de agosto de 2023

“El plazo para que los migrantes salvadoreños puedan inscribirse al programa de Protección Temporal conocido como TPS termina el 10 de septiembre. Yanira Arias, beneficiaria del TPS y directora de Campañas Nacionales en Alianza Américas, informa sobre cuál es la documentación que se debe presentar, cuánto cuesta el trámite y la importancia que tiene completar el proceso, ya que aquellos que no lo realicen pueden perder el estatus migratorio en EE.UU. y hasta enfrentar una deportación”.

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.