Denied asylum and facing deportation, Mexican journalist says he’ll be killed if sent home

12/08/2017 Washington Post

Emilio Gutierrez, seen here with Associated Press journalist Michele Salcedo, received a press freedom award from the National Press Club in October. (Noel St. John/National Press Club)

A Mexican journalist who sought asylum in the United States in 2008 was arrested by U.S. immigration agents this week and told he would be deported, though an appeals board temporarily halted his removal Friday — sparing his life for now, he said.

Emilio Gutierrez, 54, who in October received a press freedom award from the National Press Club in Washington, said he and his 24-year-old son, Oscar, were taken into custody by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on Thursday while trying to enter an appeal to their asylum claim.

“We can’t go back to Mexico. They’ll kill us,” Gutierrez said, using his attorney’s cellphone to speak from an ICE detention center in Sierra Blanca, Texas.

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Mexican president asks Senate to broaden discussion over security bill

12/08/2017 Reuters 

HE_Enrique_Peña_Nieto,_President_of_Mexico_(9085212846)MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto on Friday asked Senate lawmakers to include civil society’s views in their discussion of a divisive bill that critics say would give the military greater powers and deepen its role in the country’s drug war.

The bill, which enjoys cross-partisan support, aims to regulate federal defense forces’ involvement in the drug war, which has claimed well over 100,000 lives in the last decade.

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Farmers in Mexico’s avocado heartland are relying on vigilantes to protect their ‘green gold’

12/6/2017 Business Insider

AvocadosGlobal demand for avocados has grown considerably in recent years, and Mexican farmers have been a major beneficiary, declaring the crop “green gold.”

Mexico produces about 45% of the world’s avocados, and the western state of Michoacan is the country’s top producer. But Michoacan has also been a locus for organized crime, and the state’s residents have suffered as criminal groups overwhelmed and corrupted authorities.

Vigilantes, called self-defense groups or autodefensas, cropped up in the state to fight off criminal groups when local and federal authorities were unable or unwilling to do so.

Many of those autodefensas have been dismantled by the government or co-opted by criminal groups. But in the municipality of Tancitaro — home to 30,000 people in western Michoacan — residents set up their own specialized police force: the Tancitaro Public Security Corps.

Many Mexicans consider Tancitaro to be the “authentic” world capital of avocados.

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Arrests along Mexico border drop sharply under Trump, new statistics show

12/05/2017 Washington Post

Credit: LM Otero/AP

The number of people caught trying to sneak over the border from Mexico has fallen to the lowest level in 46 years, according to Department of Homeland Security statistics released Tuesday that offer the first comprehensive look at how immigration enforcement is changing under the Trump administration.

During the government’s 2017 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, U.S. border agents made 310,531 arrests, a decline of 24 percent from the previous year and the fewest overall since 1971.

The figures show a sharp drop in apprehensions immediately after President Trump’s election win, possibly reflecting the deterrent effect of his rhetoric on would-be border crossers; starting in May, the number of people taken into custody began increasing again.

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Baja California fishing leader released by Mexican authorities

12/3/2017 The San Diego Union Tribune 

Source: Mikko Koponen/Flickr

The leader of the largest fishing federation in San Felipe was released from jail on Sunday after being arrested late last month, an event that prompted protests calling for his release from federal custody.

A federal judge ordered the release of Sunshine Rodriguez and his wife, Sara Ahumada, after finding no grounds to hold them for trial, said his attorney, Enrique Acosta Fregoso. The judge “decided that the accusation by federal prosecutors was not supported,” said Acosta.

There was no immediate statement from the federal attorney general’s office, the PGR.

Rodriguez had been accused by federal agents of transporting a kilo of liquid methamphetamine, Acosta said. High-level officials in President Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration said he was under investigation for trafficking in the swim bladders of the giant totoaba fish, an endangered species found only in Mexico’s Gulf of California.

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Mexico Is Quietly Confronting A New Security Crisis

11/28/2017 Forbes 

federal tamaulipasThe killing of a senior executive at Televisa, one of Mexico’s most important corporations, is an unpleasant reminder that Mexico is moving backwards precipitously in the area of public security. Adolfo Lagos, the CEO of Televisa’s telecom subsidiary IZZI, was riding his bicycle on a highway outside Mexico City when he was assaulted. (A coroner’s investigation determined Lagos was actually killed by a bullet fired by one of his own bodyguards after the robbery turned into shoot-out.)

The incident highlights the fact that violent crime is on the rise again in Mexico. While Trump and the future of NAFTA have dominated the news the security dynamic in Mexico has quietly but rapidly deteriorated.

During the first ten months of 2017 there were 20,878 murders in Mexico. Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto, has been criticized for not defining a clear national security strategy. Most recently he has tried to dismiss criticism of his record on crime as unfair “bullying” of Mexico’s law enforcement agencies.


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Mexico Bill Cements Military’s Crime-Fighting Role. Some Civilians Are Uneasy.

11/29/2017 The New York Times 

3928405577_d7ef320868_bMEXICO CITY — Mexican legislators are preparing to write the military’s role in the drug war into law, drawing fire from critics who say the legislation will keep soldiers on Mexico’s streets indefinitely and lead to the suspension of basic civil rights.

A vote by the lower house of Congress, the Chamber of Deputies, could come as early as Thursday before debate moves to the Senate as sponsors seek passage by Dec. 15.

Supporters say the measure would provide a legal framework for Mexico’s armed forces to continue battling organized crime under a presidential declaration. The military has led operations against criminal gangs for more than a decade based on little more than a command from the president and the request of state governors. Over the past year, the defense secretary, Gen. Salvador Cienfuegos, has pressed for a law to guide deployments.

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