Supreme Court will review immigration dispute over law aimed at keeping families together

June 25, 2013

Supreme Court US by Flikr user dbkingAP, 6/24/2013

The Supreme Court on Monday waded into a complicated dispute over a law aimed at keeping immigrant families together in a case that underscores the occasionally tense relationship between immigration proponents and the Obama administration as Congress debates immigration reform.

The justices said Monday they will hear an appeal from the Obama administration arguing that children who have become adults during their parents’ years-long wait to become legal permanent residents of the United States should go to the back of the line in their own wait for visas. Under U.S. immigration law, children 21 and older cannot immigrate under their parents’ applications for green cards, even if the parents’ application took decades to process.

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Demographics: Birth rate fall and prospect of longer life cloud Mexico’s future

June 4, 2013

shutterstock_102739391Financial Times, 6/3/2013

Raúl Velasco remembers the time when Mexican families were big. “There was never any question that you would have seven, eight, maybe even 10 children,” says the retired construction worker from Mexico City. “That was what our parents did and that is what we imagined our children would do, too.” Mr Velasco’s seven children – three boys and four girls, all born in the 1960s and 1970s, and all now with families of their own – broke with the country’s age-old tradition. Between them, they only have 11 children and Mr Velasco says they do not plan to have any more.

The dramatic demographic shift in Mr Velasco’s family mirrors almost exactly the wider trends at work in Mexico over the past 50 years or so. From an average of almost seven children per woman in the 1960s, the birth rate has fallen to roughly two today. Those changes have created both opportunities and problems for the world’s 11th largest country by population as it grapples with the strains of trying to become a fully developed nation over the next generation.

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First Ladies from Mexico and Guatemala chat about child migration (Spanish)

April 24, 2013

Street childrenEl Universal, 4/23/2013

Mexico’s first lady Angelica Rivera de Peña hosted a meeting  with Guatemala’s first lady Rosa María Leal de Pérez at Los Pinos. The issue of concern discussed in the meeting was migration of unaccompanied children.  As concluded, both Mexico and Guatemala  will work together to provide better protection for migrant children.

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American Children In Mexico Face Educational Challenges

April 19, 2013

education2Fronteras, 4/19/13

At the Biblioteca Benito Juárez in Tijuana, Yara Amparo López López, coordinator of the Programa Binacional de Educación del Migrante (PROBEM) in the Mexican border state of Baja California, is presiding over a meeting. It’s her and a bunch of teenagers, speaking Spanish, English, and Spanglish.

For Rosa, whose 10-year-old son doesn’t speak Spanish, the meeting is helpful. Rosa’s kids are two of an estimated 4,000 American citizen children who currently attend school in Tijuana. In the last two years, more than 205,000 parents of American citizen children were deported from the United States. That means a new influx of American kids are now living – and learning – in Mexico.

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Children’s Hospital To Be Inaugurated in Chihuahua (Spanish)

April 10, 2013

Photo Credit: Kelly DonlanMilenio, 4/10/2013

A pediatric specialty hospital will be inaugurated on April 30th in Chihuahua. According to DIF state president, Bertha Gomez Duarte, this facility plans to serve Chilren from the states of Chihuahua, Durango, Sonora, and Coahuila.

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The majority of poor in Mexico are children – UN report

April 4, 2013

education - school childrenUN News Centrer, 4/3/2013

More than 20 million children and adolescents in Mexico are estimated to live in poverty, and five million of them in extreme poverty, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) today reported in a joint study with the Mexican Government. “The economy has grown well over the past years but this does not always mean that the poor are better off,” said the UNICEF Representative in Mexico, Isabel Crowley. “The human development indexes in some parts of Mexico are close to those of some of the world’s least developed countries.”

According to the ‘Child and Adolescent Poverty and Social Rights in Mexico’ study, produced by UNICEF and the national social policy evaluation agency CONEVAL, children are overrepresented among the poor. According to 2010 figures, 46.2 per cent of Mexico’s residents lived in poverty – a figure that rises to 53.8 per cent among children.

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How Mexico’s Drug Cartels Recruit Child Soldiers as Young as 11

March 29, 2013

boy-with-toy-gunWired, 3/28/2013

In case you thought Mexican drug cartels had sunk as low as they could get, a new report details how they use children as young as 11 years old to do their murderous bidding. In the last decade, the cartels “have recruited thousands of street gang members, school drop-outs and unskilled workers,” the International Crisis Group recently reported. The ICG, a non-government organization that seeks to prevent conflict, notes many of these “recruits” — to use a clumsy term — are younger than 18, considered expendable, and deliberately ordered to attack superior Mexican military forces.

According to military officers interviewed by the organization, the “cartel bosses will treat the young killers as cannon fodder, throwing them into suicidal attacks on security forces.” First, the children are enticed or manipulated into joining the cartels, and given basic weapons instruction at training camps, many of which have been discovered in the jungles along the Guatemalan border. The weapons are varied, ranging from AR-15 rifles to Uzi submachine guns, and .38 and 9-mm caliber pistols. Next, the kids are put into cells led by experienced cartel soldiers, who have some prior training with the military or police.

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The Country That Stopped Reading

March 7, 2013

Books by Flikr user Rodrigo GalindezNew York Times, 3/7/2013

Earlier this week, I spotted, among the job listings in the newspaper Reforma, an ad from a restaurant in Mexico City looking to hire dishwashers. The requirement: a secondary school diploma. Years ago, school was not for everyone. Classrooms were places for discipline, study. Teachers were respected figures. Parents actually gave them permission to punish their children by slapping them or tugging their ears. But at least in those days, schools aimed to offer a more dignified life.

Nowadays more children attend school than ever before, but they learn much less. They learn almost nothing. The proportion of the Mexican population that is literate is going up, but in absolute numbers, there are more illiterate people in Mexico now than there were 12 years ago. Even if baseline literacy, the ability to read a street sign or news bulletin, is rising, the practice of reading an actual book is not. Once a reasonably well-educated country, Mexico took the penultimate spot, out of 108 countries, in a Unesco assessment of reading habits a few years ago.

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Surviving with $15 pesos (Spanish)

February 22, 2013
Photo by Flickr User Global Tribe

Photo by Flickr User Global Tribe

La Jornada, 2/22/2013

Maria Martinez’s sunken eyes and wrinkled skin make her seem more than 50 years old.  In Mixtec, she explains that she does not remember when she was born;  meanwhile, the nurse revises her records  clarifies the doubt:  Maria is 35 years and the baby she carries in her arms  is her seventh child.

Like her, many families live with 10 or 15 pesos a day (one quarter of the minimum wage)with which they can only afford  pasta, beans and, if revenues improve, chicken or beef every 15 or 30 days. “A chicken costs 80 or 90 pesos, and I can’t afford it,” says Maria.

Even though 300 families receive some aid, malnutrition, remoteness, lack of education, and unemployment keep them in the geography of poverty.

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More minors are arrested (Spanish)

February 4, 2013

hands in handcuffs

El Universal, 2/4/2013

Mexico faces a  outbreak of  young offenders who participate in organized crime. The most dramatic case is that of the state of Nuevo Leon, but states like Sinaloa, Aguascalientes, Morelos, Tlaxcala and Sonora also recorded an increase in the number of young children mixed up in crime.

In addition to young men, more women are committing high impact crimes such as drug trafficking and homicides linked to organized crime.

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