Harsh immigration realities set in for many ‘dreamers’

March 25, 2014

shutterstock_89005363LA Times, 3/24/14

As prospects for comprehensive immigration reform this year fade, many young immigrants like Santos are confronting the limits of the president’s program, saying it has not transformed their lives as much as they had hoped.

The program offered a two-year deportation deferral and work permits to hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who came to the country illegally before age 16. Santos and others, dubbed the “dreamers,” were encouraged to come out of the shadows and build new lives. The program was hailed as an important first step in addressing the plight of more than 11 million immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.

But since the program started, more than 40% of participants have failed to land new jobs after receiving work permits, and only 45% reported getting pay increases, according to early results from a 2013 survey of 2,381 participants, conducted by Roberto G. Gonzales, an assistant professor at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education.

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Alison Brysk: Urbanization, Economic Change Hidden Drivers of Gender-Based Violence

March 18, 2014

wc_vert_colorGender-based violence in developing countries is more than just a product of culture, war, extreme poverty, or historical patriarchy; it’s also a result of rapid economic change and urbanization, according to Alison Brysk, a fellow at the Wilson Center and the Mellichamp professor of global governance at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

“I think culture plays an important role, but I think there are some broadly-based features of patriarchy that change and morph over time,” Brysk says in this week’s podcast. “If we compare, for example, India, South Africa, Brazil, Mexico, these are countries that have very different cultural roots, and they’re all democracies…where the governance is troubled, but they’re not war zones and they’re not the poorest or most patriarchal.”

Listen to her podcast, here.


Mexico Targets Gang That Infiltrated the Mining Industry

March 7, 2014

federal police mexicoThe New York Times, 03/05/14

Mexico has stepped up its effort to crack down on one of the most powerful and feared criminal organizations in the country, with arrests and seizures this week aimed not at drug trafficking or extortion but at the gang’s lucrative infiltration of mining and smuggling iron ore to China. The gang, the Knights Templar, has become a violent menace in western Mexico, giving rise to vigilant groups that formed to stop its reign of extortion, kidnapping and murder. That, in turn, forced the government to send the federal police and the military to try to take back a region it conceded had fallen out of state control.

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LA mayor in Mexico: Obama should cut deportations

March 6, 2014

Border fenceWashington Post, 03/04/14

U.S. President Barack Obama should cut deportations of migrants and focus resources on the 2 million people in the U.S. who are eligible to become citizens, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Wednesday during a visit to Mexico’s capital. Garcetti, on his first foreign trip since taking office in July, said he supports Obama on immigration reform but said families and communities have been divided by the president’s policy of deportations, which have totaled nearly 2 million since Obama took office.

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Mexico City “Eco-Bici” Inspires Alternate Transportation

March 5, 2014

people walking down city street - blurNBC, 3/4/14

It’s called “Eco-bici”, as in “economical bicycle.” It’s a cheap way to get from point A to B but nope, you can’t find it in Los Angeles, at least not yet. Some 2,000 miles to the south, in a city similar in square miles, but three times the population of LA, the eco-bici is thriving in Mexico City. Stations located throughout the city, especially in the financial and business districts of Mexico are growing in popularity especially when compared against other forms of transportation. A subway ride costs 5 pesos (38 cents) but riders say the bike is still a bargain and it’s better for the environment. While the program is still growing in Mexico, some citizens say Los Angeles could learn from Mexico’s program.LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, who is traveling in Mexico this week, says the program could work in Los Angeles.

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Read our latest piece on Forbes by Director Duncan Wood

February 25, 2014

WWC_MI_C (3)Forbes, 2/24/14

In our most recent publication , the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center argued that, whereas a trilateral vision for the region is necessary for long-term progress toward strategic goals, a dual-bilateral approach may be complementary and even achieve more in the short term. Throughout the 20 year history of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the bilateral approach has more often than not trumped trilateralism, and cooperation in the region has moved ahead accordingly.

Last week’s trilateral North American leaders’ summit in Toluca, Mexico represented an important opportunity for the two presidents and prime minister to meet, and to discuss the future of the region. Four areas of cooperation were discussed that hold real promise. However, it may be that the bilateral talks that took place around the summit prove to be of more lasting significance.

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Update: Quick Reaction to Capture of ‘El Chapo’ Guzman from the Mexico Institute

February 22, 2014

“The detention of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is clearly the most significant arrest in the war on drugs in over a decade, and shows that there has been serious high-level cooperation between United States and Mexico to achieve this result. Chapo Guzman is a singular, almost mythic figure in Mexico’s criminal underworld, so his arrest is a huge accomplishment. That said, the net impact— in terms of drug flows, drug consumption, or the flow of US firearms to Mexico— is unlikely to be very significant, because black market demand will always produce new suppliers. Indeed, we don’t even have a very clear sense of how Guzman’s arrest will change the dynamics within the Sinaloa cartel, given that his partner in crime, Ismael Zambada, remains at large and may be the real source of power in the organization.”

David A. Shirk
Global Fellow, Mexico Institute
Associate Professor, University of San Diego

“The arrest of the head of the Sinaloa cartel is a major success for the Pena Nieto administration, for US-Mexico security cooperation and promises to be a deeply disruptive event for the struggle against organized crime. We cannot accurately predict what impact this will have on levels of violence nor on drug flows but it does show the commitment of the administration to go after those who challenge it’s authority and the rule of law.”

Duncan Wood
Director, Mexico Institute

“The arrest of Guzman shows that however imperfect the rule of law in Mexico, no individual is above the law. His capture signifies neither the end of organized crime in Mexico nor the Sinaloa Cartel, but there is no doubt it is historic and of great consequence, both symbolically and practically.”

Christopher Wilson
Associate, Mexico Institute

Media Inquiries may be directed to duncan.wood@wilsoncenter.org and christopher.wilson@wilsoncenter.org


Mexican Broadcasters Voice More Objections to Slim TV

February 21, 2014

Carlos SlimThe Wall Street Journal, 02/21/14

Mexico’s main television broadcasters turned up the volume Thursday in their dispute with billionaire Carlos Slim charging that agreements his company’s fixed-line unit has with satellite TV provider Dish Mexico violates the terms of its concession.

Telmex, the fix line unit of Mr. Slim’s  company America Movil has a “de facto partnership” with Dish Mexico under its billing and marketing agreement with Dish owner MVS Comunicaciones, one of the broadcasters said.

“Aside from absorbing the lion’s share of the operation and resulting investment, Telmex is offering its broadband customers ‘triple play’ by unduly packaging phone, Internet and television service,” said the country’s biggest broadcaster, Televisa.

Read More……


Harper stands firm on Mexico visa restrictions on eve of trilateral talks with U.S.

February 19, 2014

Photo by Flickr user I.A.M.The Globe and Mail, 2/18/14

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he has no plans to lift the controversial visa restrictions for Mexican travellers and took issue with the trade imbalance between Canada and Mexico, setting a chilly tone ahead of trilateral talks with the United States.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto publicly raised the question of the travel restrictions, forcing the Prime Minister to make it clear that Ottawa has no plans to change the rules. The President’s comments brought an undercurrent of tension to the fore as the two leaders concluded an afternoon of bilateral talks in Mexico City on Tuesday. They will be joined by U.S. President Barack Obama in Toluca on Wednesday for a trilateral summit that is expected to focus on trade, energy and security issues in North America.

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US Agent Hit by Rock Kills Man at Mexican Border

February 19, 2014

shutterstock_24590917Abc News, 2/18/14

Investigators say a man who was shot and killed by a U.S. Border Patrol agent near San Diego threw several large rocks at the agent, including one the size of a basketball. The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said Wednesday that the attacker began throwing fist-sized rocks at the agent from a hillside perch. The rocks got larger, and one of the bigger pieces hit the agent in the head.

The sheriff’s department says the agent fired his gun twice Tuesday, fearing that he might be killed or incapacitated if he was hit again. The agent was treated for minor injuries at a hospital and released. The episode has fueled debate about how the Border Patrol should respond to rock attacks.

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