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Migration News Brief 11.7.19

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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.

US Enforcement

Trump administration weighs restricting asylum-seekers from working 
Julia Ainsley, NBC news, November 4, 2019 

“The new proposal, which has not yet been finalized and comes as a new acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security has been named, would keep asylum-seekers from applying for work permits until they had been in the country for at least a  year, the officials said.”

A Temporary Ban to Trump’s Health Care Requirements for Immigrants
Michelle Hackman, The Takeaway, November 4, 2019 

“The policy was set to go into effect on Sunday, but will now be blocked for at least 28 days. And with this legal battle far from over, the Trump administration is once again battling in the courts over its immigration strategy.”

Honduras Joins El Salvador in Obtaining Protected Status Extension in U.S
Reuters, New York Times, November 1, 2019 

“The U.S. government has extended temporary protection for Hondurans living in the United States by a year, Honduran officials said on Friday, following a similar extension for Salvadorans in a rollback of U.S. plans to end the program.”

USCIS Changes Policy on Fee Waivers, Potentially Deterring Thousands of Citizenship Applications
Melissa Cruz, Immigration Impact, October 30, 2019

“Under the change, people may only request a fee waiver if they can prove their annual household income is at or below 150% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or if they can demonstrate financial hardship by some other means. The two remaining alternatives are more difficult to prove. They require substantial documentation and often the help of an attorney.”

Groups sue to block administration from denying visas to immigrants who can’t afford health care
Camilo Montoya- Galvez, CBSNews, October 30, 2019

“In their lawsuit, the groups, which include the American Immigration Lawyers Association, Innovation Law Lab and the Justice Action Center, accused the administration of trying to “unilaterally rewrite” the nation’s immigration laws.”

AGC Says 37,000 Construction Jobs Saved by TPS Extension
Michael Roth, Rental Equipment Register, October 30, 2019

“Stephen Sandherr, CEO of the Associated General Contractors of America, praised the decision by the Trump administration to extend by one year temporary protected status for Salvadorans, including roughly 37,000 currently working legally in the domestic construction industry.”

White House May Try To Sneak Trump’s Ineligible DHS Pick In Through Loophole
Dominique Mosbergen, Hugg Post, October 30, 2019

“Trump’s two favored picks for the top DHS job are reportedly Ken Cuccinelli, the acting director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and Mark Morgan, acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Both officials, who were nominated to their roles by Trump earlier this year, have publicly defended and championed the president’s hardline immigration agenda.”

No refugees will be resettled in the US in October, leaving hundreds in limbo around the world
Priscilla Alvarez, CNN, October 29, 2019 

“‘We are systematically re-traumatizing people who have already been through a significant amount of trauma. It’s unconscionable,’ Grigsby said.”

Migrant Children Trapped in Mexico are Leaving Their Families and Crossing the Border Alone 
Debbie Nathan, The Intercept, October 29, 2019

“‘Se estan tirando,’ people say about these children — spanish for ‘they’re throwing themselves,’ or ‘they’re launching,’ and the phrase is newly being used to describe young immigrants who’ve begun leaving a refugee camp in Mexico with no adult beside them in order to make it into the U.S. They do not know if they will ever see their parents again.”

US Adds Sixth City to Controversial ‘Remain in Mexico’ Program
Victoria Macchi, VOA, October 29, 2019 

“Asylum-seekers will receive notices to appear at the tent court in Laredo, Texas, for hearings two to four months in the future, according to CBP. The cities are about 200 kilometers apart — a more than two-hour drive.”

Detentions of Child Migrants at the U.S. Border Surges to Record Levels 
Paulina Villegas, The New York Times, October 29, 2019 

“American immigration authorities apprehended 76,020 minors, most of them from Central America, traveling without their parents in the fiscal year that ended in September — 52 percent more than during the last fiscal year.”

No refugees will be resettled in the US in October, leaving hundreds in limbo around the world
Priscilla Alvarez, CNN, October 29, 2019

“The United States is on track to not admit any refugees in October, after already canceling around 500 flights this month, CNN has learned.”

Trump administration to begin sending asylum seekers to Guatemala as soon as this week
Nick Miroff, The Washington Post, October 28, 2019

“Critics of the accords say it is unrealistic to expect weak Central American governments to safely resettle vulnerable groups when they already struggle with widespread poverty and some of the world’s highest homicide rates.”

The Amount of Money Being Made Ripping Migrant Families Apart Is Staggering
John Washington, The Nation, October 28, 2019

“Immigration enforcement budgets have ballooned from $350 million in 1980, to $1.2 billion in 1990, to $9.1 billion in 2003, to a whopping $23.7 billion in 2018, all going into what has become our border industrial complex. Those budgets then annually funnel $2.32 billion back to the private sector through federal immigration, corrections, and detention contracts.”

Florida Child Migrant Detention Facility Shuts Down
Associated Press, VOA, October 28, 2019

“The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement that it has reduced bed capacity from 1,200 to zero and the contract with Comprehensive Health Services Inc. is set to end on Nov. 30. About 2,000 workers will be let go in the coming days.”

Exclusive: Texas immigration center guard accused of assaulting boy, five
Amanda Holpuch, The Guardian, October 25, 2019

“The complaint said the boy’s hand was swollen and bruised and he was treated with pain medication and ice at the South Texas family residential center in Dilley, in a remote part of the state about 100 miles from the US-Mexico border.”

‘Secret and unaccountable’: Where some immigrant teens are being taken by ICE
Blake Ellisa and Melanie Hicken, CNN, October 24, 2019

“The places these youth are held don’t appear on ICE’s online map of detention centers. The agency doesn’t make its reports about the conditions of the facilities available like it does for others. And family members can’t find their loved ones using the federal government’s official detainee locator since it only provides information on adults.”


Mexican Enforcement

Otorga Comar refugio a 23 mil migrantes
Reforma, El Diario, 3 de noviembre de 2019

“En lo que va del año, la Comisión Mexicana de Ayuda a Refugiados (Comar) ha otorgado refugio a 23 mil 475 personas de las 62 mil 299 que han solicitado dicha condición.”

En un año desaparecieron 100 de la caravana migrante
Iñigo Arredondo y Montserrat Peralta, El Universal, 3 de noviembre de 2019

“Un grupo de entre 80 y 100 individuos, de diversas nacionalidades centroamericanas, en su mayoría mujeres y niños fue invitado por unos hombres a subir a los vehículos que los llevarían a Sinaloa, donde les prometieron trabajo y techo. Casi un año después, nadie sabe dónde están”

El muro del sur
Carlos Martinez, Monica Gonzalez, Gladys Serrano, El Pais, 2 de noviembre de 2019

“EL PAÍS y EL FARO nos hemos unido para tratar de destripar este territorio y verterlo en relatos. Como parte de la alianza que iniciamos en abril para contar Centroamérica fuera de sus fronteras, durante los próximos seis meses equipos conjuntos de periodistas de los dos medios, más de 20 personas en total, trabajarán para desvelar las identidades, conflictos y preguntas que esconde esta zona, para narrarla por entregas y en múltiples formatos.”

Aumentan secuestros y violencia extrema hacia migrantes en la frontera sur de México
Médicos Sin Fronteras, 28 de octubre de 2019
“En menos de un mes, MSF brindó atención a 11 migrantes que fueron víctimas de secuestro y tortura. Esta cifra es igual al número total de casos de secuestro atendidos en los primeros ocho meses del año en ese punto de atención. Los sobrevivientes narraron en consulta médica y psicológica haber sido llevados a casas abandonadas donde fueron obligados a quitarse la ropa, fueron atados con lazos durante horas, expuestos a la intemperie a altas temperaturas y bajo las inclemencias del tiempo a cambio de que proporcionaran los números de teléfono de sus familiares.”

Root Causes 

The migrant debt cycle
Kevin Sieff, The Washington Post, November 4, 2019

“Guatemalans use the word “prestamistas” to describe the informal moneylenders who are still less discerning than banks or cooperatives. Some are friends or relatives or religious leaders. Their high interest rates have become an accepted part of the shadow financial industry, a premium accepted by the country’s riskiest borrowers.”

El hambre que cien años dura
Alejandra Agudo, El Pais, 3 de noviembre de 2019

“Dice un refrán que no hay mal que cien años dure, pero el hambre en Guatemala va camino de prolongarse un siglo. La escasez de alimentos, exacerbada por el cambio climático, provoca que los agricultores de subsistencia y las familias más vulnerables no tengan qué comer. Y la situación no tiene pinta de mejorar.”

What links a prison murder, a New York drug trial and the Honduras president?
Jeff Ernst, The Guardian, November 1, 2019
“The murder is the latest embarrassment for the US state department, which continues to ignore the haze of allegations around the Honduran government while pushing the country to cooperate in Donald Trump’s regional crackdown on migration.”

Coyuntura desde los territorios | Mujeres insurgentes: tejiendo un nuevo movimiento socio-ambiental en Honduras
Redaccion, Centro de estudio para la democracia, 1 de noviembre 2019

“La acción de defensoría territorial implica riesgos y cada una de las defensoras sabe que en un estado de indefensión, como el de Honduras, difícilmente podrán tener respuesta frente a los diferentes riesgos y situaciones de vulnerabilidad a los que se enfrentan.”

100 organizaciones nacionales e internacionales urgen revisar medidas de Guapinol para garantizar que enfrenten proceso legal en libertad
Centro por la Justicia y el Derecho Internacional, 30 de octubre de 2019

“El pasado marte 29 de octubre familiares de defensores del agua de Guapinol y Sector San Pedro en Honduras solicitaron que la jueza de jurisdicción nacional Lisseth Vallecillo convocara inmediatamente a audiencia para revisar las medidas cautelares de prisión preventiva y, con ello, dejara a los defensores en libertad mientras enfrentan su procedimiento judicial. Actualmente, los defensores enfrentan prisión preventiva en una cárcel de máxima seguridad.”

Mexico among Top Countries Where Killers of Journalists Enjoy Impunity
Latin American Herald Tribune, October 29, 2019

“So far this year, Mexico has been the country where the most journalists have been killed, with 11 deaths and five other cases in which it was confirmed that the motive for the attack was the target’s profession, the organization said.”

En El Salvador, los asesinatos disminuyen y el presidente tuitea
Roberto Valencia, The Washington Post, October 21, 2019

“La reducción en la cifra de homicidios es sostenible en el tiempo? Es la pregunta del millón, que no se puede responder a la ligera. Se la planteé a Bukele vía WhatsApp y esto contestó: “Estoy seguro de que sí. Habrá altos y bajos, como en todo. Pero poco a poco vamos a convertir nuestro país en un país seguro. Estamos lejos de serlo, pero nadie puede negar que estamos dando pasos en la dirección correcta”.

Actions, Alerts, Resources 

IACHR expresses concern over migrant DNA collection and policies restricting the mobility of migrant persons in the United States
November 1, 2019, Interamerican Commission for Human Rights

“The IACHR urges the United States to respect and ensure human rights of all persons in its territory, including migrants, without distinction on the basis of race, national origin, or any other protected status.”

Check Out These Creative Initiatives Standing Up for Immigrant Students
Rosario Quiroz Villarreal, The Next100, October 30, 2019

“Undocumented students have long felt and dealt with the structural barriers to higher education imposed upon them. While Plyler v. Doe guarantees a right to a public education for children regardless of immigration status, this right does not extend beyond high school.”

Seeking Asylum: Part 2
US Immigration Policy Center, October 29, 2019
“Nearly 9 out of every 10 of our respondents (89.5%) who were asked by U.S. immigration officials about fear of being returned to Mexico responded by expressing fear of being returned to Mexico. Of these individuals, 40.4% were given a secondary interview by an asylum officer and 59.6% were not.”

One County 650 migrant deaths
Stephanie Leutert, Lawfare Blog, September 27, 2019

“These 650 cases in the Brooks County Sheriff’s binders tell a story about the men, women and minors who have crossed into Brooks County over the past decade. In the series that follows, I’ll examine their journeys, their lives and the loved ones they left behind.”

*The Central America/Mexico Migration News Brief is a selection of relevant news articles, all of which do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Latin America Working Group.