President Trump Wants a Wall? Mexico Is It

2/21/2017 New York Times

brazil flag -- brick wallJust over 10 years ago, United States Border Patrol agents were startled by an unexpected new development in their rear-guard battle to stop illegal immigration: Brazilians.

In 2005 thousands of them started streaming across the southwestern border. More than 31,000 were apprehended by the Border Patrol trying to make their way into the United States, a number surpassed only by Mexicans, Salvadorans and Hondurans.

And then, just as abruptly, the flow stopped. Under pressure from Washington, Mexico reimposed a tourist visa requirement on Brazil that it had eliminated five years before. This severed a trafficking route that started with an easy flight from Rio de Janeiro to Cancún and ended in a trek across the desert into southern Texas.

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US Border Patrol shooting of Mexican national goes to Supreme Court

2/21/2017 CNN

Supreme Court US by Flikr user dbkingThe Supreme Court on Tuesday took up the case of a 15-year-old Mexican national who was shot to death in 2010 as he cowered behind a pillar in Mexico, by a US Border Patrol agent standing on American soil.

The family of Sergio Hernandez is seeking to sue the border official for their son’s death. They say the agent violated Hernandez’s constitutional rights.

The violent shooting was caught on cell phone video and sparked outrage because fact that Hernandez was unarmed.
This is the first case the Supreme Court heard under the new administration and comes as President Donald Trump’s policies concerning his executive order on immigration have raised questions about the constitutional rights of non-citizens. Another backdrop is the tense relations between the Trump administration and Mexico over the issue of building a wall between the two countries.

Mexico and Canada Say Nafta Should Be Re-Negotiated Trilaterally

2/21/2017 Bloomberg

NAFTAThe foreign ministers of Mexico and Canada presented a unified front ahead of potential trade talks with Donald Trump’s administration, stressing the North American Free Trade Agreement has benefited all three countries.

Mexico’s Luis Videgaray and Canada’s Chrystia Freeland said Nafta should be re-negotiated with all three nations seated at the table, rather than in bilateral discussions.

“We very much recognize that Nafta is a three-country agreement,” Freeland said Tuesday at a panel discussion with Videgaray in Toronto ahead of private trade talks. “We really value our relationship with Mexico.”

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[Video] Charting a New Course Part 1: U.S.-Mexico Economic Interdependence

The Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute has released a series of new essays covering a range of important bilateral issues. We kick off our companion video series, “Charting a New Course,” with a focus on economic interdependence. Mexico Institute Deputy Director, Chris Wilson provides an overview of the scope and depth of U.S.-Mexico economic cooperation and also talks about what can be done to make the alliance stronger. That’s the focus of this edition of Wilson Center NOW.

Watch the video…

Biologists Find Weird Cave Life That May Be 50,000 Years Old

2/17/2017 New York Times

cave-flickr-creative-commonsIn a Mexican cave system so beautiful and hot that it is called both Fairyland and hell, scientists have discovered life trapped in crystals that could be 50,000 years old.

The bizarre and ancient microbes were found dormant in caves in Naica, Mexico, and were able to exist by living on minerals such as iron and manganese, said Penelope Boston, head of NASA’s Astrobiology Institute. .

“It’s super life,” said Boston, who presented the discovery Friday at the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference in Boston.

If confirmed, the find is yet another example of how microbes can survive in extremely punishing conditions on Earth.

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Top U.S. Diplomat, Security Chief to Visit Mexico Wednesday

2/21/2017 New York Times

tillerson-public-domainWASHINGTON — Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will visit Mexico this week along with the Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to discuss issues including border security with the southern neighbor amid frayed relations under new U.S. President Donald Trump.

Tillerson and Kelly will meet with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and other top Mexican officials during the two-day visit on Wednesday and Thursday, the State Department said in a statement.

They will discuss border security, law enforcement and trade, the State Department said.

The Feb. 22-23 visit comes amid tensions between the United States and Mexico since Trump took office on Jan. 20.

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Trump administration drafts plan to raise asylum bar, speed deportations

2/21/2017 Reuters

border patrolThe Department of Homeland Security has prepared new guidance for immigration agents aimed at speeding up deportations by denying asylum claims earlier in the process.

The new guidelines, contained in a draft memo dated February 17 but not yet sent to field offices, directs agents to only pass applicants who have a good chance of ultimately getting asylum, but does not give specific criteria for establishing credible fear of persecution if sent home.

The guidance instructs asylum officers to “elicit all relevant information” in determining whether an applicant has “credible fear” of persecution if returned home, the first obstacle faced by migrants on the U.S.-Mexico border requesting asylum.

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